aboriginal, children, culture, future, knowledge, population, the past

Australian aboriginal culture

In July, 2014 p 9) the last tracker is retiring from the Queensland police force, which highlights the fact that few of the younger aboriginal generation are learning aboriginal culture – which includes tracking, spatial know-how, finding desert food and water, making temporary shelters, weaving dillybags, knowing the southern stars – all of which are more important for the future of white as well as black than being good at football and painting pictures for white buyers, and specific aboriginal languages.

This is the aboriginal culture that can be taught by aboriginals to whites, thus raising their self-esteem. The time will come when we will be glad of it.

The very terms <indigenous> and even <aboriginal> cannot be spoken by aboriginals, much less written by them.

Aboriginal children stupefied by white imports of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, petrol for sniffing, and gambling cannot benefit from white imports of education. Fetal alcohol syndrome produces a next generation that is not capable of either aboriginal culture or white culture.

Different languages are claimed to be important, as they are dying out. Their importance is really how they carry practical as well as legendary knowledge which is dying out.

Different aboriginal ‘nations’ have different knowledge which should be kept.

Even the older white records are being lost, which record some of it – .e.g. how to make and throw boomerangs – a better weapon than guns which require a supply of bullets.

At present the aboriginal settlements in the far outback are losing the ability to survive in it without constant supplies from the white shops. At the same time, they are not keeping their numbers down as in the past to the numbers that can survive in the desert and semidesert; they multiply, when in the past they kept their numbers stable.

They eat out the traditional foods, like turtles and fish.

They have far too many among them, from babyhood to adulthood. who are disabled by white imports, Diabetes and other disorders they never had before have been imported or developed in response to white food, as well as diseases like trachoma which are eradicated elsewhere in Australia, but the young aboriginals still catch to make them blind.

Parts of the old culture which are harmful still remain. Mothers in Palm Island still tickle straws in babies’ ears to quieten them – and introduce germs for deafness. Then the deaf or semi-deaf children cannot respond to teaching, either white or black.

Who can do anything about this? The aboriginal elders that are recognized by the aboriginal people themselves, who may even have some of this passing knowledge themselves. The aboriginal leaders that are recognized by the white people. The publishers of books for the youth and educational market, white and aboriginal. The remaining custodians of the aboriginal culture, who will die out within a generation unless they can transmit it now.

Aboriginal children still attend kindergartens in Western Australia who if asked where they live can point accurately in the right direction while their white peers can give an address, but do not know where it is.

There are still blackfellers who can sleep out in the cold of a desert night without suffering, and who can find water where nobody else can.

There are librarians and scientists who have collected bodies of knowledge that should be more widely known.

There are gardeners now interested in aboriginals’ plant foods that were extirpated by our cattle.

Who is collecting this knowledge?

 

When I was a child in Blackburn, then a rural suburb of Melbourne, there were aboriginal campers up on the hill at the end of our street. We were taught to keep clear of them – nobody thought they could teach us anything. Now they are gone – and what they knew then, nobody knows now.

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aged, children, death, parent, population, the past

Past solutions to the problem of the aged – Japan

Past solutions to the problems of the aged

 

In the past, how did tribes solve the problem of their aged?

The nomads left them at the rivers that they could not cross.

In settlements, at constant edge of survival, what did they do with unproductive old folk?  As in many undeveloped countries today – what might they do?

They did not have the resources of modern medicine to keep them alive longer than they remained healthy enough to stay alive – though as Ecclesiastes and Shakespeare’s Ages of Man show, the elderly did not enjoy life, and suffered the slippered woes of The sixth age that shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank;
and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everyt
hing.

The Ballad of Narayama” is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty, in our eyes, about life trying to survive in a medieval village. The village kept itself off starvation by a tradition- among other strategies- that people over seventies went up the mountain of Narayama to die. Seventy was the latest age to remain healthy at that time. Almost everyone, including the elderly themselves, accepted this.  The film showed an elderly woman planting out seedlings before she was willingly carried up the mountain by her loving son. Her only hope was that it would snow, so she would die quickly. She had had a long life, with everything she had lived for, and needed to live no longer.

The Ballad of Narayama” is a 1958 Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens up between its origins in the kabuki style and its subject of starvation in a mountain village!  It shows among other things the village enforcing the tradition of carrying those who have reached the age of 70 up the side of mountain and abandoning them there to die of exposure.

Orin, a 70-year-old widow has resignation in the face of her traditional fate is in stark contrast with the behavior of her neighbor Mata, who protests violently against his fate. Their family attitudes are similarly opposed; while Orin’s son Tatsuhei loves his mother and doesn’t have any desire to carry her up the mountainside, Mata’s family has already cut off his food, and he wanders the village as a desperate scavenger; Orin invites him in and offers him a bowl of rice, which be gobbles hungrily.

In contrast with her resignation and her son’s reluctance to carry out her sentence, Orin’s vile grandson Kesakichi  can’t wait to be done with the old woman, and begins singing a song mocking the fact that she retains, at 70, all 33 of of her original teeth. This is taken up by the villagers, who materialize as a vindictive chorus, their song implying she kept her teeth because of a deal with demons. Eager to qualify for her doom, Orin bites down hard on a stone and when they see her again her mouth reveals bloody stumps. The fearful neighbor Mata appears soon after bound head and foot, dragged protesting by his son (“Don’t do this!”).

The sets and backdrops reflect the changing seasons with lush beauty: Spring, summer, the red leaves of autumn, then the wintry snows on the slopes of Narayama. On the mountaintop, blackbirds perch on snowy crags as the camera uses lateral moves to sweep across the desolate landscape. Finally depositing his mother in an empty place on the mountain, Tatsuhei greets the snow with relief: She will freeze more quickly. This he can sing only to himself, because the journey up the mountain has three strict rues: (1) you must not talk after starting up Narayama; (2) be sure no one sees you leave in the morning; (3) never look back. His adherence is in contrast with the adventures of the fearful neighbor Mata, who appears soon after bound head and foot, dragged protesting by his son (“Don’t do this!”).

Orin’s goodness and resignation are at the center of the story. In particuar, notice her kind welcome for Tama (Yuko Mochizuki), a 40-year-old widow she has decided will be the ideal new wife for her widower son. Known for her ability to catch trout when no one else can, she leads Tama through the forest on a foggy night and reveals a secret place beneath a rock in the brook where a trout is always to be found. This secret was never revealed to her first daughter-in-law. She even wants to die before her first grandchild arrives. She wants to rid the village from a hungry mouth.

Tatsuhei’s second bride Tama tells him: “When we turn 70, we’ll go together up Narayama”,

Some will find Orin’s behavior strange. So it is. Perhaps, in the years soon after World War Two, she is intended in praise of the Japanese ability to present acceptance in the face of the appalling. You can attach any set of parallels to the parable and make them work, but that seems to fit.

This scenario fitted the Japanese willingness to sacrifice for the good of everyone else, which is also seen in the kamikazi suicide flying in the 2nd world war.

The Japanese are very pragmatic, and have a history of self-sacrifice and stoicism.  Their attitude to death is not that of the West.

They may well solve their ageing population now not by increasing the total population with more young people to care for them – a growth policy which must reach disaster point at some time – but by decreasing the numbers of the elderly, who must be cared for, as a source of employment by the younger group.

Decreasing the numbers of the elderly could be by the voluntary deaths of the demented and painfully-dying, two very costly groups. The Japanese people could very well be willing to do this for themselves – (and bring the numbers of adult nappies in landfill down to the numbers of child nappies.)

Up to 1950, Japanese population was under 90 million. I was there in 1950, and the place seemed just right regarding population, ability to feed itself after the war, and beautiful countryside. What further population did it need?  Now in 2015, 65 years later, the population is 127 million.  Will the growth stop at any time?

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future, Muslim

Saudi influence through paying for schools and mosques

How many of the young second generation Muslims of the West joining in IS jehads attended schools and gorgeous mosques donated by the Saudis and preaching Wahhabi Islam? Many of these places are actually named after the Arabian king who gave the money.

 

Many of the mosques in Australia are more splendid than the churches, and many of the Islamic schools are pretty fine institutions. They have been built with Saudi money and have Wahhibi principles. That is one reason why the young second-generation Muslims are more jehad-oriented than their parents

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books, children, future, innovation, knowledge

Human Rights read by all

Human Rights understood by all

The UN Declaration of Human Rights as it stands is short and intelligible enough for educated people, but language and length are still too hard for everyone. A shorter, simpler version could be understood by all, and be a ready reference.  It could be part of the humanist curriculum for schools, and agreement with it part of the admission to citizenship.

The 30 clauses, set out in around 950 words, could fit on one page, or in large print, on two sides of one sheet.  Its vocabulary should be known by all, because these words are at the heart of democracy. The 30 rights can also be set out as slogans, short enough to list on passports as reminders of what nations require of their citizens.

Our multicultural societies risk division by segregation. New immigrants need more help to adapt, as they must. The whole population needs to know how to help, and to pull up their own socks. Migrants may bring with them values, beliefs and practices that downgrade or restrict women, deny religious freedoms, or youth that has been accustomed to violence. All these problems are in our own past, and latent still.

The Declaration consists of Rights, Freedoms to and Freedoms from, and Responsibilities. Here is a shortened version, with Parallel Text to help students with literacy problems:

RIGHTS. All citizens could all be expected to understand and accept that all people are born free and equal, and have the same rights without discrimination – political rights to life, liberty, justice, fair trials, privacy, security of person, and recognition and protection by the law, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and to be given asylum from persecution; the right to a nationality, and to take part in their government; rights to a decent standard of living, work, a fair wage, join a trade union, own property, marry and have a family, social security, education, rest and leisure, and to participate freely in their community and enjoy the benefits of our progress, in an international order that makes these possible to realise.

FREEDOMS TO” are freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, association, and freedom of movement.

FREEDOMS FROM include freedoms from slavery, servitude, torture, and arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

RESPONSIBILITIES. With these rights go duties to the community, in order to be full citizens. No one has the right to destroy any of these rights or freedoms for others.

 

Here is a very quick summary of what could be the equivalent of a bill of rights and citizenship test for every country of the world. Since even in Western countries they are not all taken as manifestly accepted, everyone is asked to think about each clause.

 

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
For each item, think, Do you agree?  If not, think why not.

  1. All people are born free and equal
  2. Everyone has the same rights without discrimination
  3. Right to life, liberty and security of person
  4. No slavery or servitude
  5. No torture
  6. Recognition as a person in law
  7. Protection of the law
  8. Right to justice
  9. No arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
  10. Right to a fair trial
  11. Innocent until proven guilty
  12. Right to privacy
  13. Freedom of movement
  14. Right to asylum from persecution
  15. Right to a nationality
  16. Right to marry and have a family
  17. Right to own property
  18. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  19. Freedom of opinion and expression
  20. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association
  21. Right to take part in government
  22. Right to social security and the benefits of society’s progress
  23. Right to work, a fair wage, and to join a trade union
  24. Right to rest and leisure
  25. Right to a decent standard of living
  26. Right to education
  27. Right to freely participate in their community
  28. Right to an international order in which to realise these rights
  29. Everyone has duties to their community
  30. No one has the right to destroy any of these rights or freedoms.

Summarised by Bruce McCubbery 1999

 

A short 950-words version -one page of small print, one double-sided sheet of larger print – of the full Declaration is suitable for schools, new immigrants and all citizens, as well as for international use. It can be found at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/humrights.htm and in an earlier version of this article on Online Opinion, Jan 17 2008, at http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6881

As an example of my right to free speech, add The right to literacy should be added to these rights.  ‘Everyone has the right to free access to literacy, anywhere, anytime’.  An implication of this is that writing sistems must and can be made as user-frendly as possibl, while remaining close to the appearance of present print to maintain easy acsess. Lerning literacy must also be made as easy as possibl, including simpl methods of self-help: See. http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/sprules1p.htm

____________________

Short version for general use

Freedom, justice and peace are founded on the inborn dignity and equal rights of all human beings, protected by the rule of law.

Article I. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They have reason and conscience to act to each other as brothers and sisters.

  1. These rights and freedoms are for everyone, no matter what race, colour, sex, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth or birth, and in all countries.
  2. All have the right to life, liberty and personal safety.
  3. No slavery in any form.
  4. No torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

6-8. Everyone is equal before the law, to have the equal protection of the law to maintain their basic rights.

9 No arrest, detention or exile without just cause and public knowledge.

  1. Fair and public trials.
  2. The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty. No-one can be held guilty of a penal offence that was not an offence at the time, or given a heavier punishment than what was legal at the time.
  3. The right to the protection of the law against all arbitrary interference with privacy, or attacks on reputation.
  4. Freedom to move within the borders of each state, and the right to leave any country, including your own, and to return home.
  5. The right to seek and find in other countries asylum from persecution (except for non-political crimes or acts against the principles of the United Nations.)
  6. Everyone has the right to keep their nationality or to change it.
  7. All adults have the right to marry and found a family, with rights to free consent to marry, and equal rights within marriage and in its dissolution. The family is protected by society and the State.
  8. The right to own property, and not have it arbitrarily taken away.

18 The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, with freedom to change religion or belief, and to follow your religion or belief in public and private.

19 The right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to seek and give information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

  1. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association with others. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

21 The right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. The right to equal access to public service. The will of the people is the basis of the authority of government. This will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections, by universal and equal rights of adults to vote by secret vote or equivalent free voting.

  1. Everyone has the right to social security and the economic, social and cultural rights essential for dignity and free development of personality, through national effort, international co-operation and according to the resources of each State.
  2. The right to work, with free choice of employment, with just and favorable conditions of work and protection against unemployment. The right to equal pay for equal work. The right to just and favorable pay for work, to ensure that everyone and their families can live with dignity, supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions to protect their interests.
  3. The right to rest and leisure, with reasonable working hours and regular paid holidays.
  4. The right to a standard of living good enough for health and well-being, including food, clothes, housing medical care and necessary social services, and with security if jobless, sick, disabled, widowed, aged or with other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control. Special care and help for mothers and all children, regardless of birth.
  5. Education. The right to free, compulsory elementary education. Technical and professional education must be generally available and higher education shall open to all on the basis of merit. The aims of education are the full development of human personality, respect for human rights and basic freedoms, and promoting understanding, tolerance, friendship and peace among all nations, races and religions. Parents have the right to choose their children’s education.
  6. The right to join in freely in the cultural life of the community, enjoy the arts, and share in scientific progress and its benefits. The right of protection of moral and material interests for anyone’s scientific, literary or artistic work.
  7. The right to live in a social international order with these rights and freedoms.
  8. Duties. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.   In exercising their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be limited only by the legal requirements to recognize and respect the rights and freedoms of others, and the just requirements of morality, public order and everybody’s general welfare in a democratic society.
  9. These rights and freedoms may never be exercised against the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

No State, group or person has any right to do anything aimed at destroying any of these rights and freedoms. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying that they can.

Short history of our declarations of rights

OUR HISTORY. The history behind the UN Declaration is a way to teach world history and the foundations to our own history, showing what hard struggles have obtained these precious rights and freedoms, not to be given up lightly. “History” in our schools should include its background.

Magna Carta is the Charter of 37 rights that the English barons forced King John to sign in 1215. It became the basis for English rights, including protection from arbitrary detention (habeas corpus) and arbitrary taxes.

The American Declaration of Independence, 1776, famously states that all humans are created equal, with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  And we add, the pursuit of truth.

Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood was the hope of the French Revolution 1795.

The Four Freedoms set out in 1941 during World War II, following Churchill and Roosevelt’s Anglo-American Atlantic Charter, are Freedom from hunger, Freedom from fear, Freedom of speech, and Freedom of worship.

History also shows us no steady progress. There are repeated roll-backs. Few countries today would score 30 out of 30. An annual Human Rights Ladder could/should be as publicly competitive as national medal scores in Olympic Games.

We can monitor our own legislation for how it matches up, or falls away, and why. Eroding basic freedoms attacks other freedoms. The foundations of all freedoms in the U N Declaration are freedom from fear and from want. Who are the fortunate and free, and what can be done about the unfortunate?

  1. The right to literacy should be added to these rights.  ‘Everyone has the right to free access to literacy, anywhere, anytime’.  An implication of this is that writing systems must be made as user-frendly as possible, while remaining close to the appearance of present print to maintain easy access. Lerning literacy must also be made as easy as possibl, including simpl methods of self-help. –

*  Using modern comunications such as TV, online and DVD –  http://www.ozreadandspell.com.au/

* Improved dictionary pronunciation gides, based possibly on

http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/spbbcguide.htm

* ‘Triple-line’ books that lead from sound-simbol correspondence to full texts on the same page. http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/humrights.htm

The rules of English spelling could be reduced to one page, eliminating unnecessary unpredictable spellings. All that is needed is thinking inovativly. http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/sprules1p.htm

http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/humrightsspelparalelprint.htm

 

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books, children, forgotten, future, knowledge, leisure.

The future of books

The future of books 12 11 2014

Like many older people, I have thousands of books.  Many of them I will never read again, and look for other people who would like them. Others I do read again and again.  P G Wodehouse I re-read while listening to the news – his books are no madder and much less upsetting.

I have two rooms for a ‘LITERACY MUSEUM’, full of children’s fun and teaching books, books on reading for teachers, the best collection on spelling in Australia, innovative materials for teaching reading and spelling,and  the history of education in Australia and overseas – and I  look for people who would like these books.  Otherwise they go when I go, which is a great pity.

Education Departments do not want these books – they are busy downsizing their book collections in their libraries. Some school libraries don’t have books any more.

Many of the books are already museum pieces, but all of them soon will be.

 

THE MUSEUM KEEPS CHILDREN’S FAVOURITES –  story and picture books that pre-school children have loved and older children have used to learn to read.  Adults can use these books as picture-story books even with some babies of six months upward, pointing to the pictures and talking about them, rather than reading the text.  As children grow older, they like to hear the text, and the reader can run a biro-end under the words, so children can see how the print relates to the spoken word.  Children can ask about any words they do not know, or you can add an explanation of hard words as you read.  “He had a donkey – like a small horse with big ears – and rode it along the highway, along the road.”

Some of these books are now worn with use, but it is good for children to find out that tatty-looking books can be the best ones, because it can be a sign of love and long use. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

These children’s books include Stories, Myths and Legends, the Alphabet A-Z, Walt Disney,       Anybody at Home? (lift the tab and see what creature lives there), Bears in the Night ( a marvellous book for concept learning as well as learning to read); Cat in the hat picture dictionary (Children love this, including children learning  English, the New Golden Encyclopedia, Di Manaka aku? (An Indonesian sort of ‘Where’s Wally’,  but this book helps children learn more about the world and the people in it, and Australian children like it too, when you talk about it rather than read it,) Doctor Doolittle,  Flower Fairies series, The Ear Book (A marvellous book for children learning English spoken  language as well as literacy ‘I hear a ding, I hear a dong –‘), the Magic Beach (and other books by Alison Lester, an Australian author,)The Merrygoround – an Oxford  collection of rhymes and poems for children – (to read and sing to children, but learners also like reading it.  One seven-year-old severely disadvantaged girl learnt to read from this book when all else had failed,) My Book about Me, All the Doctor Seuss books – One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish,The Foot Book,       I can do anything – almost,       Plant and Animal Alphabet coloring book, Ten Apples up on Top! (a great counting book as well as reading book) The Golden Geography – a child’s introduction to the wider world, Old Hat, New hat (marvellous in learning to read) , People by Peter Spier. (This is a really marvellous multicultural book. If it is in print, get copies,)Inside, outside, upside down. (Children love this, including children learning English language as well as literacy),       Tale of Peter Rabbit (and all the Beatrix Potter stories,The Australia Book,What do people do all day? – Richard Scarry,        What makes it go? Also a sheet of lullabies for adults and children to sing to babies .

Add to this list. If they are out of print, they should be back in.

Rather than say ‘It doesn’t matter what children read as long as they are reading’ , the better principle is ‘You might as well read books worth reading’

Find books you like and look for other books by the same authors

This list will change from time to time.

If a book is tatty it often means other people have loved it.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

All the pictures should be ones children like to look at more than once, with CLEAR PRINT.

Everybody likes different books, so find the ones that YOU like.  In a library or have a Bookshop Crawl.   There is a lot of junk out there, so you can dig like a miner in a gold-mine for the gold..

1 Junior Beginners, babies and upward

My First Word Book. D Kindersley. Even good for adults learning to read.

The EAR book, by Al Perkins, Cat-in-the-hat beginner book. Random House 1968.ISBN 0 00 171203 9. Great for letters and sounds.

Gobble Growl Grunt, by Peter Spier. World Books. Marvellous sounds of animals and birds to read aloud.

Bears in the Night . Stan and Jan Berenstein, Collins. 1972. A great rhythm book.

The Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, and other favorite fairy stories

Dr Seuss books, including My book about Me, by Me, Myself

Possum Magic – Mem Fox

Animalia

National Geographics  Talk about the pictures

Milly-Molly-Mandy  stories. Happy little adventures in daily life. Joyce Lankester Brisley

Books with flaps that open out, such as Who Lives There?

Beatrix Potter books

Nursery rhymes and fairy stories

 Picture books of nature and science and technology and history that are really fascinating.

And there is more!

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aged, children, parent, population, refugees

Past solutions to the problems of the aged

Past solutions to the problems of the aged

 

In the past, how did tribes solve the problem of their aged?

The nomads left them at the rivers that they could not cross.

In settlements, what did they do?  As in many undeveloped countries today – what is that?.

They did not have the resources of modern medicine to keep them alive longer than they remained healthy enough to stay alive – though as Ecclesiastes and Shakespeare’s Ages of Man show, the elderly did not enjoy life, and suffered the slippered woes as the sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank;
and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everyt
hing.

A few years ago the Japanese produced a film called something like The snows of Narayama Mountain about life trying to survive in a medieval village. The village kept itself off starvation by a rule (among other strategies) that people over seventy went up the mountain to die. Seventy was the latest age to remain healthy at that time. Everyone, including the elderly, accepted this.  The film showed an elderly woman planting out seedlings before she was willingly carried up the mountain by her loving son. Her only hope was that it would snow, so she would die quickly. She had had a long life, with everything she had lived for, and needed to live no longer.

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