Monday, 28 February 2011
Adrift on a Darkened Sea
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by David Asia (March 2011)  

                 I

Kevin came to see me.

He had escaped serious injury,

Only some burns on his arm

And a broken walk.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:55 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Dagenham - The Times They Are A Changin'
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (March 2011)


Has anybody seen the film Made in Dagenham? The critics called it ‘a sweet natured film’ with ‘a little too much of the grimness removed’. The Guardian’s Greenslade ended his blog post on the film’s release last year thus,  “the film captured a sense of working class solidarity . . . that is too easily forgotten. Especially in the much-changed place called Dagenham.”  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:49 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Deganga Intifada – Update
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by Dr. Richard L. Benkin (March 2011)
 

Last October, New English Review reported on three days of anti-Hindu violence by Muslims in the Deganga area of North 24 Parganas, only 40 kilometers from the West Bengal capital of Kolkata (“Deganga Intifada?New English Review, October 2010).  While Indian papers continue to refer to the incident as a “riot” or “disturbances,” local activists insisted that it was nothing less than a planned pogrom carried out by Muslims against Hindus with the expressed purpose of driving them from the area. more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:42 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Muhammad and People of the Lie
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by Louis Palme (March 2011)

 

Some 28 years have elapsed since the noted American psychologist Dr. M. Scott Peck published a book in which he attempted to characterize human evil. The book was titled People of the Lie, and it is still available for sale in stores and on-line. While he made brief allusions to the German Nazis and other extremist ideologies, Dr. Peck did not connect human evil with Islamic doctrine. However, using his perspectives on human evil, it is easy to see evil in many pronouncements by Muhammad and the Quran.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:36 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Death and Destruction in Virgil’s Aeneid
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by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (March 2011)



One of the most striking features of the Aeneid, as opposed to the Homeric poems on which Virgil’s epic is extensively based, is the much greater level of pathos the poet arouses in the reader for the sense of loss that pervades the work. To take just one example, consider the various ways in which the deaths of both Trojan and Italian warriors are described during the general fighting that ensues following the Latins’ violation of the treaty between Aeneas and Latinus.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:31 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
A Brooklyn Tyro Issues the Holocaust Novel of the Century
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by Thomas Ország-Land (March 2011)


The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Knopf, 2010, 602pp., $26.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-4116-9 (1-4000-4116-3)
&
Viking (Penguin), 2010, 624pp., £14.99
ISBN: 978-0-670-91458-6

A 30-SOMETHING Brooklyn author has written a brave and beautiful book about the Holocaust comparable, without exaggeration, to the greatest novels of all literature. Readers must read it, teachers must teach it, and those among us who have survived the horror that it describes must be grateful to its author for making our experience comprehensible for the 21st century.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:25 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Assyrian Agonistes
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by Jerry Gordon (March 2011)

St. Peter’s Bones
By Kenneth Timmerman
Cassiopeia Press, 2011, 293 pages

Ken Timmerman, NewsMax.com columnist and foreign correspondent has written another action-packed tale about real world moral questions. His first thriller, Honor Killing, was based, in part, on Timmerman’s nearly 20 year investigation of the Iranian nuclear development program and secret war against the US and Israel, as well as, humanitarian issues arising from Islamic totalitarian doctrine and infiltration of our government.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:19 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Guns, Violence, and Culture
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by G. Murphy Donovan (March 2011)

             
“A perfect world doesn’t need guns. We don’t live in a perfect world."
                                                                     – Sheriff Ben Johnson

Firearms play a large role in American history. Guns of every sort are used to settle issues great and small. Literature and film does not exaggerate so much as reflect the role of guns in American history and culture – although Hollywood body counts are more than a little fantastic.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:12 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
When is a Hate Crime Not a Hate Crime?
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by Rebecca Bynum (March 2011)


Tennesseans may remember the resulting hysteria when a defaced Koran was foundon a doorstep by a Somali Muslim on June 24th, 2005 in Nashville. The entire Muslim community was up in arms and complained vehemently that the police didn’t respond quickly enough, though what they could have done under the circumstances is unclear. more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:06 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, Unedited
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (March 2011)



A Chance Meeting

I had come in from the desert, tired, filled with dust and hungry. It was the dry season in northern Kenya, that period between the long and short rains, when you can see the ribs of the nomads’ cattle bulging from their sides, when milk is short, the warriors far away from the camps of the elders and, when pleas for rain from the Rendille elders are answered by their invisible God with dust, wind and sky without clouds.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 5:03 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Why Can't a Woman be More Like a Man?
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by Mary Jackson (March 2011)

One of Jane Austen’s characters refers to people who “seek to recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing their own”. Men make generalisations about women and vice versa; this is not admirable, but it is understandable. But if a man were to declare that all men are bastards, I would suspect his motives. If all men are bastards, why should I believe him? Is he not a bastard too? And a woman who makes sweeping derogatory statements about all women is likewise suspect. Both are trying to ingratiate themselves with the opposite sex.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 4:59 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
“Obama likes radical Islamic rule.” A wide ranging interview with Kenneth Timmerman
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by Jerry Gordon (March 2011)


Kenneth Timmerman
 is a NewsMax.com columnist and foreign correspondent. He has authored important non-fiction works on domestic and international foreign policy issues and thriller novels about contemporary national security and human rights issues. Starting in 1977, Timmerman spent nearly two decades abroad reporting on developments in Europe and the Middle East from his base in Paris. From that vantage point he had an early view of the Iranian Islamic Revolution that overthrew the late Shah’s reign and secularism in Iran to become the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran. 
more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 4:54 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Scorsese’s Gangs of New York: How the Left Misuses American History
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by Norman Berdichevsky (March 2011)


I saw this film in Spain. The Spanish audience emerged visibly shaken by the violent scenes. In their discussion about the movie that I overhead and read in reactions to the newspapers, many viewers reflected that the film “confirmed” their anti-American sentiments regarding American foreign policy in Iraq, and the old prejudice still deeply held that America has been “anti-Catholic” as well as anti-Negro, anti-immigrant and simply anti-poor.
  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 4:49 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
The First Christian Holy Wars
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by Richard L. Rubenstein (March 2011)


The Crusades are never very far from Muslim memory, as was evident on February 23, 1998 when the London-based, Palestinian newspaper, Al Quds Al-Arabi, published the full text of aDeclaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders.The document was signed by al-Qaeda’s leaders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as by an Islamist leader from Egypt, Pakistan, and Bangladesh respectively.[1] The most spectacular outcome to date of that jihad has been the destruction of New York’s World Trade Center and the assault on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Contemporary Islamists often identify the United States as “the Crusaders” rather than by its proper name. Similarly, the memory of Saladin’s defeat of the real Crusaders in 1187 assures most Muslims that their jihad against the  State of Israel will soon succeed. By contrast, the West has a far weaker memory of the Crusades in spite of their contemporary historical relevance. It is for that reason that this writer has written the essay that follows.   more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 4:44 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Of Termites & Mad Dictators
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by Theodore Dalrymple (March 2011)


To hate a tyrant is not to love liberty: rather more is required than that. And with liberty as with all other objects of affection, the course of true love never did run smooth. It is unlikely to do so in the Middle East.  more>>>

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Posted on 02/28/2011 4:38 PM by NER
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Iran threatens Olympic boycott over logo design
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Now I know what I think about the Olympics.  I begrudge the Olympic levy that my husband and I pay towards it every month.  I hate the way east London has been dug up and east Londoners displaced to accomodate it. That none of these 'new jobs' have gone to anybody I know. I dread the disruption to be expected next year. That we will not be allowed to move freely because of the privileged routes solely allocated for officials and competitors, not just in London but at peripheral events outside the city. I think the mascots are tacky and the logo is ugly and surely my money could have gone to someone who can actually design. But I don't hate it as much as the Iranians.

Iran has threatened to boycott the London 2012 Olympics unless organisers agree to change the design of the logo.

The Iranian government has lodged a formal protest with the International Olympic Committee over the four-year-old logo, claiming that it must be changed since it spells out the word 'Zion'.

And the Middle Eastern nation has warned that it will order its athletes to stay at home next summer unless the logo is replaced and its creators asked to explain themselves.

"As internet documents have proved, using the word Zion in the logo of the 2012 Olympic Games is a disgracing action and against the Olympics' valuable mottos," the Iranian government wrote in a letter to the IOC, which was released via the state-backed Iranian Students Agency. "There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the Games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles."

It's not the first time that the logo has been at the centre of an unusual complaint: it has been heavily criticised ever since first being unveiled in 2007, and has been compared to everything from a swastika to a stylised image of two people making love.     An IOC official confirmed that the letter had been received, but insisted that the logo "represents the figure 2012, nothing else" 

 If the Iranians hate it because they see the word "Zion" then it can't be all bad.

When the Lord builds up Zion again, and shows himself in his glory. Psalm 102.16.

 

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Posted on 02/28/2011 12:41 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Hitchens: Raymond Davis, Held Hostage By Pakistan
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From Slate:

Our Man in Pakistan

The dreadful treatment of Raymond Davis is a reminder of how dysfunctional our relationship with Pakistan has become.

By Christopher Hitchens
In April 2001, a Pakistani diplomat—the first secretary of the Pakistani Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, as a matter of fact—was found by the Nepalese police to be stashing a large cache of sophisticated high explosives in his home. Muhammad Arshad Cheema invoked diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution and, after a short interval, was sent home.

In October 1985, after the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean, an act of open piracy that culminated in the rolling of a disabled man, Leon Klinghoffer, from the vessel's deck into the sea, the organizer of the "operation" was apprehended and taken into custody by the Italian police. But Abu Abbas was not inconvenienced for long. He was released when he was found to be carrying a diplomatic passport—an Iraqi diplomatic passport as it happened, though he was by nationality a Palestinian and had never been accredited to any overseas mission.

In April 1984, during a demonstration by anti-Qaddafi protesters outside the Libyan Embassy in London, a fusillade of shots fired from inside the embassy struck 12 people. One of them, a police officer named Yvonne Fletcher, was killed. So grave was the incident that it led to the breaking of diplomatic relations between London and Tripoli and to a series of negotiations that only ended when Libya agreed to accept "general responsibility." But the entire staff of the Libyan Embassy was allowed to return home without let or hindrance.

These cases were far more murky and gruesome, and involved much more serious breaches of local and international law, than the decision of Raymond A. Davis to use deadly force against men he believed to be his assailants in Lahore, Pakistan. Additional murk has resulted from inter-agency incompetence on the part of the United States, which has given discrepant accounts of his no-doubt discrepant job descriptions "in-country." But this does not in the least alter the main element of the case, which is that Davis is "our diplomat," in the president's own words and that the Pakistani authorities have no right either to detain him or to put him on trial.

Even if he were accredited to a country like Portugal or Poland, it would make no difference whether or not Davis was a member of the "special forces," a CIA agent, or a man working under contract. Nor would it matter whether or not he was using his own name. Even in the case of a deliberate breach of local law, he would be repatriated before it was decided whether or not, or how, to proceed against him. But Pakistan is not a "normal" country. It is a failed and rogue state, where Davis would have had to know that his assailants might very well be working for the forces of law and order. There would be no need for him to be carrying arms if it were not notorious that the Pakistani army and police are the patrons of the Taliban and in league with various criminal and fundamentalist gangs.

A similar observation holds true when the grotesque idea of trying him in a Punjabi court is mooted. This is a country where senior lawyers offered their services for free to the boastful jihadist murderer who had just slain Punjab's governor Salman Taseer in broad daylight, and where grinning police officers oversee hysterical demonstrations calling for Davis to be hanged (never mind the trial). Prison conditions in Pakistan are of a kind to make Abu Ghraib look trivial: sarcastic letters in the Pakistani newspapers mockingly stress the fact that a shortish stay in such a jail would be near enough to a death sentence anyway.

Not to mince words, then, Davis is a hostage. In addition to the usual sense of the word, he is a hostage to the Pakistani authorities who dare not—even if they wish—make an enemy either of the Islamist mobs or the uniformed para-state run by the intelligence services. He is also a hostage to the inability or unwillingness of the U.S. government to call things by their right names. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made the correct noises about the relevant international statutes governing immunity, and their envoy Sen. John Kerry (who should never have been sent unless notified in advance that he would return with the prisoner) has even spoken of putting Davis on trial in the United States, which in ordinary circumstances might seem a little premature. But they all talk as if Pakistan were a country of law, and they all talk as if Pakistan were not a client state. Its client status, indeed, is what leads so many Pakistanis to detest America, without whose largesse and indulgence it would long ago have faced collapse. Thus to the final irony: We are denied leverage by the fact of the very influence for which we are hated.

This sick relationship with Pakistan, which plays a continuous and undisguised double-cross on us in Afghanistan, will probably have to be terminated at some point. But in the meantime, it will have to be made very clear to the rulers of that country that if they want to keep Raymond Davis in prison, they will have to manage without our subsidies. He may be a bad test of an important principle, but it is still the important principle that is being tested, and we have no more right to compromise on the principle of diplomatic immunity than the Pakistanis have to violate it.

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Posted on 02/28/2011 12:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 28 February 2011
A Musical Interlude: Sittin' In The Dark (Anona Winn, Sam Browne)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 02/28/2011 12:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Expert
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On February 20, 2011 NPR carried an interview with Sarah Leah Whitson, conducted by Liane Hanson, on the situation in Iraq. Sarah Leah Whitson is the head of the Middle East and North African Division of that notorious group, Human Rights Watch.She, and the organization she works for, have been famously preoccupied for years with what they depict as the crimes of the Israeli government in attempting to defend the state and its people from endless Jihad, and a few years ago she went on a fundraising trip to that champion of human rights, Saudi Arabia, where part of her pitch to the daggers-and-dishdashas members of the Al Saud family included the glad news that Human Rights Watch could be counted on to expose the crimes -- apparently without end -- of Israel.

In thiis short interview, she talks about how much work her group has done in Libya, how very familiar she is, therefore, with Libya and how competent she is to speak on the matter -- as she is on so many other matters in the Middle East, which holds no mysteries for Sarah Leah Whitson.

I have posted the transcript of the interview below. Note the most piquant part of the dismal proceedings occurs when Sarah Leah Whitson confidently asserts -- she's an expert, she's the head of the  Middle East and North African Divison at Human Rights Watch -- that the population of Libya is not much greater than that of Bahrain -- well, maybe twice as large. Others will not only beg but demand to differ, because they know -- as Sarah Leah Whitson spectactularly does not, that there are about 500,000  Bahrainis and six million Libyans.

The transcript follows:

LIANE HANSEN, host:

There are also protests in the North African country of Libya. There's also a government crackdown but it's difficult to get information. The government of Libya's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, keeps tight control over the media and few foreign journalists are allowed into the country. But some news is getting out. Sarah Leah Whitson is the executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division for Human Rights Watch. She's at her home in Brooklyn, New York. Welcome to the program.

Ms. SARAH LEAH WHITSON (Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch): Thank you for having me.

HANSEN: How is your organization getting information about what's happening in Libya?

Ms. WHITSON: We have traveled and worked in Libya many, many times over the past several years and have developed an extensive network of contacts in Libya among lawyers, journalists, activists, victims, as well as people in the government.

HANSEN: The Associated Press has reported that there have been significant protests in the two major Libyan cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. The State Department is warning of protests in at least five other cities. What are you hearing or learning about the size and scope of these particular demonstrations.

Ms. WHITSON: What we are hearing is that the biggest demonstrations are in the east of the country in Benghazi as well as a number of other smaller cities and towns in the far east of the country, which has traditionally been more independent, let's say, from the central government in Tripoli. But there have as well been demonstrations in Tripoli.

HANSEN: And how many people can you estimate are actually participating in these demonstrations.

Ms. WHITSON: You know, that's extremely hard to say because we are only relying on eyewitnesses in the ground and estimating numbers of crowds is the most inaccurate information that people ever give. But we have reports of thousands and tens of thousands people demonstrating in various cities.

HANSEN: What do you know about how the Libyan government has responded to these protests?

Ms. WHITSON: The Libyan government has responded with shocking brutality, I would say. We have now, we'll be raising our death toll to 184, which in a scope of three days in a country with a population of six million is just a staggering number. We also have reports that government forces are using live machine gun fire and sniper fire to gun down protesters.

HANSEN: What are the demands of these anti-government protesters.

Ms. WHITSON: Well, you know, similar to the demands in Bahrain, they have evolved. They started with calling for a constitution, calling for reform, calling for an end to corruption, but with the escalating violence they are now calling for Gaddafi's ouster and for a complete transformation of the government.

HANSEN: So, at this point do you get any sense that these people are getting any closer to their goal?

Ms. WHITSON: You know, it's hard to say what the tipping point is. It's hard to know in any situation when these brittle governments will collapse. But what's also clear is that Gaddafi is apparently even more ruthless than the Bahraini authorities in that for a country that's not much bigger than Bahrain in terms of the size of its population - may be double - there have been a hundred fold more deaths.

HANSEN: Sarah Leah Whitson is the executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. We reached her at her home in Brooklyn, New York. Thank you.

Ms. WHITSON: Thank you.

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Posted on 02/28/2011 11:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 28 February 2011
Muslim Crime In Marseille,The City Which Used To Be Hailed As A Model For The Rest Of France
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Read about Marseille here.

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Posted on 02/28/2011 11:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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