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Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
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Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
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Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
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30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
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* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
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* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013
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Posts

Israeli actor Juliano Mer-Khamis, founder of the Freedom Theatre, shot dead in Jenin

juliano-mer-khamis

haaretz.com

Israeli actor Juliano Mer-Khamis shot dead in Jenin

Mer-Khamis, 53, was shot five times by masked militants; he had established his name as actor, director and political activist both in Israel and abroad.

Jack Khoury, Avi Issacharoff, Anshel Pfeffer and Haaretz Service, 4 April 2011

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See also: Juliano Mer-Khamis, in his own words

Dimi Reider’s appreciation of Juliano Mer-Khamis, 4 April

Maan News Agency (West Bank), Thousands expected for commemoration of slain director, 5 April

Iyad Burnat, for the Popular Committees against the wall and israeli occupation, In memory of our beloved friend Juliano Mer-Khamis

Gideon Levy remembers Juliano Mer-Khamis: An Arab, a Jew, a human being, 5th April

Amira Hass, Mer-Khamis and binational resistance movement, 6 April 2011

Tikun Olam (including Akiva Orr’s appreciation) , Juliano Mer-Khamis: The Death of Hope




On the assassination of Juliano Mer Khamis

Dimi Reider, 4 April 2010

News just broke that Juliano Mer Khamis, who has established and run the Freedom Theater in Jenin, has been assassinated by masked gunmen in the refugee camp near the theatre. Mer Khamis, son of a Palestinian father and a Jewish mother, has faced threats since forever: From conservatives in the camp who took a strong dislike to the theatre’s liberal repertoire and casting of both men and women, both boys and girls; from nationalists who saw him as an agent of the occupation, a promoter of normalization; and from just about every Israeli who commented on any news piece covering him and his activity.

There will be so much said and written about Juliano in the coming days. Friends and students will laud his tremendous bravery, his contempt for the walls and barriers – especially barriers of fear – that crisscross our country, his sense of stage, his talent. Enemies will pour mud on him, rejoicing in the death of one they see as a half-breed and a turncoat. Comrades will remember a complex and uneasy man, as famous for his rough temper as he was for his devotion to the cause.

There will be so much said. I would just like to share this memory. It’s seven years ago, 2003. The Student Coalition at Tel Aviv University, an organization I co-founded, is staging a massive teach-out on the university square, trying to disrupt the normalcy of dozy lectures as the streets were burning.

At the end of a long, long day with lectures and arguments and songs and chants, as darkness fell on plush northern Tel Aviv, we screened Juliano’s film, “Arna’s children” – still, to my mind, the best documentary ever done about the Occupation. We, some five hundred students, sat in the outdoor auditorium, stunned. Before us, the “Palestinian gunmen” of the newscasts we knew since childhood – these footnotes in the reports, usually afforded no visuals, just “three Palestinian gunmen were shot in the West Bank today, IDF spokesman said. In other news…” – were coming to life as human beings, speaking about their childhood dreams, their slain comrades, their hopes or lack of hope for a future; sometimes as children, sometimes as grown, gun-wielding men, with children just like they used to be clustered around their knees. After the credits rolled and passed, the plaza was completely silent. One girl, a moderate centre-leftist from the campus chapter of Meretz, raised her hand. Juliano called her out. She got up and asked: “What can we do to help?”

This was the most humanizing, wall-shattering moment of my life.


Thousands expected for commemoration of slain director
Published today (updated) 05/04/2011 18:20
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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Jenin Freedom Theater director Juliano Mer-Khamis will be buried on Wednesday, in Kibbutz Ramot Menashe, following three funeral processions in Haifa, Jenin and Ramallah on Tuesday morning.

Hours after the artist was gunned down in his car outside of the theater in the Jenin refugee camp, some 50 Palestinian artists and actors gathered in Ramallah’s central square to protest against the killing. They held up signs saying Mer-Khamis’s murder was “a loss for Palestine.”

Theater students released a statement on Tuesday morning, saying “Juliano, your mother’s children have passed away, your mother Arna has passed away and so did you – but your children are going to stay, following your path on the way to the freedom battle, and we will go on with your revolution’s promise, the Jasmine revolution.

“The Revolutionary message will not pass away. It will come storming the yellow sands and the mountains covered by almond trees, blowing the jasmine revolution out of the freedom fighter’s hands, from here, from the Freedom Theater’s stage, where men were and are made to be free and engaged in the cultural revolutionary battle for Freedom.

“In thousands of silences only one violin is playing, and in thousands of silences only one voice is raising up, it’s the freedom fighters’ voices, to whom you taught how to carry the cultural gun on their shoulders.”

The statement was signed, “Juliano’s Children.”

Mer-Khamis was the son of Arna Mer, an Israeli Jewish activist who founded the first theater in the camp, the Stones Theater, which opened during the First Intifada in the late 1980s, and closed during the Second Intifada. In 2006, Mer-Khamis, whose father was a Palestinian from Nazareth, opened the Freedom Theater after filming the documentary, Arna’s Children, which cataloged his mother’s struggle to open and maintain the project.

Condemnations continue, killing called ‘cowardly’

“Through their cowardly act they have robbed us of a leading light in Palestinian theatre, an advocate of peace, and a true friend to all people of good will,” a spokesman from the British Foreign and Commonwealth office said.

“Juliano was a good friend of the Consulate and an inspiration for people well beyond the Palestinian territories. He was a brave man who stood for tolerance and free expression. Those responsible for his death could not be more different than him.”

The spokesman added: “We sincerely hope that those responsible will be caught and held accountable for this heinous act.”

A group of popular committees organizing weekly protests against Israel’s separation wall issued a statement “expressing our deep sadness” over the death, calling the act “part of the escalation exercised by the Israeli occupation,” and blaming the tense political situation.

“It is what permits such horrific acts,” the statement said, adding that the groups “hold the Israeli occupation responsible” for the death.

“We are not against Jews in the world. We are against the occupation and our goal to live in freedom and dignity like the rest of the world.”

The committees said that they believed the “killing of Juliano only serves Israeli interests.”

Palestinian investigators were instructed by West Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to work around the clock to locate the gunmen. Initial reports were unclear as to whether one or two armed individuals carried out the attack.

Freedom Theater officials said Mer-Khamis was in his car with his son and the child’s nanny when he was stopped, and shot through the windshield.

“We are shocked and saddened by Juliano Mer-Khamis’ murder, not only was he a unique and talented actor and director, he was also a symbol of coexistence and peace,” a spokesman for UN Mideast peace envoy Robert Serry said.

“Our thoughts are with his family and all those he touched through his life,” spokesman Richard Miron said, adding that Serry had met with Mer-Khamis during one of his visits to Jenin and the theater.



maan

Thousands expected for commemoration of slain director

05/04/2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Jenin Freedom Theater director Juliano Mer-Khamis will be buried on Wednesday, in Kibbutz Ramot Menashe, following three funeral processions in Haifa, Jenin and Ramallah on Tuesday morning.

Hours after the artist was gunned down in his car outside of the theater in the Jenin refugee camp, some 50 Palestinian artists and actors gathered in Ramallah’s central square to protest against the killing. They held up signs saying Mer-Khamis’s murder was “a loss for Palestine.”

Theater students released a statement on Tuesday morning, saying “Juliano, your mother’s children have passed away, your mother Arna has passed away and so did you – but your children are going to stay, following your path on the way to the freedom battle, and we will go on with your revolution’s promise, the Jasmine revolution.

“The Revolutionary message will not pass away. It will come storming the yellow sands and the mountains covered by almond trees, blowing the jasmine revolution out of the freedom fighter’s hands, from here, from the Freedom Theater’s stage, where men were and are made to be free and engaged in the cultural revolutionary battle for Freedom.

“In thousands of silences only one violin is playing, and in thousands of silences only one voice is raising up, it’s the freedom fighters’ voices, to whom you taught how to carry the cultural gun on their shoulders.”

The statement was signed, “Juliano’s Children.”

Mer-Khamis was the son of Arna Mer, an Israeli Jewish activist who founded the first theater in the camp, the Stones Theater, which opened during the First Intifada in the late 1980s, and closed during the Second Intifada. In 2006, Mer-Khamis, whose father was a Palestinian from Nazareth, opened the Freedom Theater after filming the documentary, Arna’s Children, which cataloged his mother’s struggle to open and maintain the project.

Condemnations continue, killing called ‘cowardly’

“Through their cowardly act they have robbed us of a leading light in Palestinian theatre, an advocate of peace, and a true friend to all people of good will,” a spokesman from the British Foreign and Commonwealth office said.

“Juliano was a good friend of the Consulate and an inspiration for people well beyond the Palestinian territories. He was a brave man who stood for tolerance and free expression. Those responsible for his death could not be more different than him.”

The spokesman added: “We sincerely hope that those responsible will be caught and held accountable for this heinous act.”

A group of popular committees organizing weekly protests against Israel’s separation wall issued a statement “expressing our deep sadness” over the death, calling the act “part of the escalation exercised by the Israeli occupation,” and blaming the tense political situation.

“It is what permits such horrific acts,” the statement said, adding that the groups “hold the Israeli occupation responsible” for the death.

“We are not against Jews in the world. We are against the occupation and our goal to live in freedom and dignity like the rest of the world.”

The committees said that they believed the “killing of Juliano only serves Israeli interests.”

Palestinian investigators were instructed by West Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to work around the clock to locate the gunmen. Initial reports were unclear as to whether one or two armed individuals carried out the attack.

Freedom Theater officials said Mer-Khamis was in his car with his son and the child’s nanny when he was stopped, and shot through the windshield.

“We are shocked and saddened by Juliano Mer-Khamis’ murder, not only was he a unique and talented actor and director, he was also a symbol of coexistence and peace,” a spokesman for UN Mideast peace envoy Robert Serry said.

“Our thoughts are with his family and all those he touched through his life,” spokesman Richard Miron said, adding that Serry had met with Mer-Khamis during one of his visits to Jenin and the theater.


ffj_bilin
From: Iyad Burnat

Date: Tuesday, 5 April, 2011

In memory of our beloved friend Juliano Mer-Khamis

Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the uncompromising struggle for freedom and for dignity. With his brutal murder the Palestinian struggle has lost a brilliant charismatic and courageous fighter for justice and freedom. Both parts of his life’s work were seamlessly joined. His art was inseparable from his political commitment. The dignity and humanity which his art sustained were just as important to Palestinian resilience -sumud as his explicitly political work. His life was tragically cut short but he nevertheless managed to live a life full with purpose and meaning. In his typical way he fully dedicated himself to realizing his principles and gave up the comfort of life in Haifa to move to Jenin.

The Freedom theater which Mer-Khamis founded enriched the lives of countless young participants who all loved Juliano and their audience. It demonstrated the resilience of Palestinians, who transcended the most difficult situations to create a lasting legacy of art and consciousness. The effect of the Freedom theater reached far beyond Jenin and even the West Bank. People throughout the world were inspired to support the work of the theater and Palestinian solidarity in general.

We offer his family our condolences and support. We will always remember and miss him. His legacy will continue to inspire us to struggle for dignity and liberation. We will follow Juliano’s example in his work and in his spirit.

The Popular Committees against the wall and Israeli occupation.
Iyad Burnat



haaretz.com

Gideon Levy remembers Juliano Mer-Khamis: An Arab, a Jew, a human being

Juliano Mer-Khamis was one of the most talented theater actors to ever emerge here was also the most courageous of them.

Gideon Levy, 5th April


A little over a month ago, Juliano Mer-Khamis stood on the stage of his Freedom Theater at the edge of the Jenin refugee camp.

Directing his remarks at the young, noisy group of children making its first-ever visit to a theater, he said: “This is a dangerous show, with subversive messages. Whoever talks will be thrown out of the hall.”

Juliano Mer-Khamis March 29, 2006. Juliano Mer-Khamis in Tel Aviv, March 29, 2006.
Photo by: Daniel Tchetchik

A hush came over the audience. For the next 75 minutes, I watched one of the loveliest, most stylish, political plays I had ever seen.

None of the children interrupted the show, with the exception of one infant who burst into tears at the sight of the servant hanging on a rope.

The Freedom Theater presents “Alice in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carroll. Directed by Juliano Mer-Khamis, with Udi Aloni as playwright.

I first saw Mer-Khamis in another time and another place. It was in the late 1980s, when he stood for a number of days in the front yard of the Israel Fringe Theater festival in Acre, his naked body dipped with oil as part of a one-man show that knew no end. Years later I caught “Arna’s Children,” a brilliant film which he co-directed with his dying mother, Arna Mer, the founder of the theatre in Jenin and the daughter of the doctor who cured malaria in Rosh Pina. It is arguably the most moving film ever created about the Israeli occupation.

Since then, I have met him on numerous occasions, always in the camp. This tall, strapping, handsome man who oozed charisma, a Jew and an Arab on account of his parents – perhaps a Jew in the eyes of the Arabs and an Arab in the eyes of the Jews – decided to devote his life to Jenin, where he lived as an Israeli and as a human being. One of the most talented theater actors to ever emerge here was also the most courageous of them.

The seven bullets extinguished the light of courage that he radiated. “Jule was murdered,” a trembling voice belonging to a refugee camp resident on the other end of the phone told me. My voice also trembled.


Mer-Khamis and binational resistance movement

Through his life and his body, Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the possibility of a binational resistance movement.

Amira Hass, 6 April 2011


Those who knew Juliano Mer-Khamis, the Nazareth-born actor and director who was shot in Jenin on Monday, will have to be the ones to write about him; all that the rest of us can do is write about the milestones in his life.

Juliano was lucky. He was born Palestinian and Jewish, Jewish and Palestinian. This angry man was beset by conflicting yet complementary identities. He was the long shadow of an imagined binational community from the 1950s. Like a Peter Pan who refuses to grow up, Juliano embodied the potential of a shared life (ta’ayush in Arabic ) while striving for equality. The son of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father, he was born to two cultures, and chose to live in both. He saw no need to explain.

My guess is that Juliano wasn’t entertaining illusions; sustaining blows from all sides, the potential of ta’ayush shrank. Ta’ayush is the sane vision, but the chance that it will be realized is increasingly slim. There are some who fantasize about the days of the Messiah to avoid thinking about the days before the next disaster strikes. Juliano’s was the offspring of a fantasy of ta’ayush. His birth was the outcome of a fantasy of ta’ayush, and his death is a disaster.

Juliano was angry. His rage was the kind that only a Jew like him, who was born on the left and craved equality until the end, can allow himself to express as a way of life. Palestinians must conquer the anger, mellow it; they must tame it, repress it, sublimate it. That’s the only way to stay both alive and sane (without getting arrested, wounded or killed ) under the conditions of physical and non-physical violence dictated by Israel.

Oy, this coarse violence, which reeks of rationalism and supremacy and pretends to be enlightened. It is found in every detail of life, moment by moment, from cradle to grave. It is found from a expropriation order and an accompanying map to the firing hole of a watchtower; from the Interior Ministry expelling Palestinian Jerusalemites from their home town to the blocking of return to the Galilee village of Bir’im; from the racist responses of Jewish youth in opinion polls to the drone that homed in on children playing on the roof in Gaza. The violence is always there, from the Jerusalem municipal taxes despite the ruined roads and uncollected garbage to the security cameras in the Jewish neighborhood/Crusader shtetl in Silwan; from the lush green of a settlement to the Palestinian cistern destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer; from the permits granted to individual ranches in the Negev to the incrimination of Bedouin as “infiltrators.” In short, from the Jewish to the democratic.

This violence has so many different angles that it can drive you mad. Juliano was lucky to be an artist, and madness was one of his paintbrushes. Through the theater he founded in Jenin, Juliano allowed himself to criticize repressive aspects of Palestinian society. One would guess he did so as a left-winger, as an actor committed to the artist’s oath of truthfulness, and as a Palestinian. Let’s hope that the killer will be found, and then we’ll know if a Palestinian artist was killed because of his courage to live in a way that disrupts the order, or if a Jewish artist was killed because he gave himself permission to overtly criticize a society that is not his, according to some, or if a left-winger was killed because he was disrupting the norm. Or perhaps all three together. Even if he was killed for some other reason, Juliano was still an artist and a Palestinian, a left-winger and a Jew.

Now that the prospect of the sane vision of ta’ayush is small, what is left? The path. This is the option of a binational resistance movement, which wants to topple the Gadhafi-like, Mubarak-like, Assad-like rule of one people over another.

There are some who insist on fantasizing about a binational movement as a historic necessity, as a logical antithesis to the ideology of the demographic separation that has become the bible of the Oslo process. The truth must be said: In the meantime, most of those who harbor such a fantasy are Jewish. Thus do we soften the contradiction between love for the people and the place on the one hand and the abhorrence of the enlightened violence on the other.

Through his life and his body, Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the possibility of a binational resistance movement. The killer, whatever his motive, was aiming for the body. In his death, Juliano has bequeathed us the possible.


Juliano Mer-Khamis: the Death of Hope

mer khamis alice in wonderlandJuliano Mer-Khamis’ Palestinian production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Juliano Mer-Khamis, the noted Israeli actor-director, was assassinated in Jenin on Monday. The PA has arrested Mujahed Qaniri, a Palestinian suspected of the crime.   The shooter has alleged connections to Hamas.

Mer-Khamis was a living, breathing representative of what an Israeli, and Israel itself, could be in the vision of a “state of all its citizens.” He was the child of a secular Jewish mother and Christian Arab father. Always, when you write about an Israeli you must know his/her religion and ethnicity to really understand him or her.

I stopped before I wrote the first sentence of this post, because the usual rules don’t apply.  What was he?  Just “Israeli?”  Israeli Christian-Jew?  Israeli Arab-Jew?  Israeli Palestinian-Jew?   The look and feel of the phrases seem unwieldy, preposterous. And yet is was. It simply was.  Just as the future Israel sometime will be.

But in the meantime, they killed him.  They killed hope.  “They” is the killer.  They is Hamas.  But they is equally all those who hate and fear on the Jewish side as well.  All the settler rabbis who call for the creation of concentration camps for Israeli Palestinians, or for shunning any Jew who rents an apartment to a Palestinian.

Mer-Khamis rejected all this nonsense.  He was beyond it.  He rejected it whether it came from Palestinians or Jews.  Because it was cant.  Because it restricted his freedom, both individual and artistic.  And that’s why they killed him.  Fear killed him.  Hate killed him.  Jewish hate.  Palestinian hate.  In his death is a little bit of the death of that vision I mentioned above.

Here is the cultural appreciation of an Israeli friend, Akiva Orr, published by Max Blumenthal:

Yesterday the Israeli-Arab actor-director Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot dead by a hooded assassin near his Freedom Theatre in Jenin.

Juliano Mer-Khamis’s funeral took place today in Kibbutz Ramot Menashe some 10 feet from his mother’s grave (which he designed).  I knew his mother very well.  Arna (1930-1995) was a genuine humanist who could not remain quiet when she saw someone being wronged.  It outraged her and she reacted vehemently.  It was a guts response, not a rational response.

Jules took after her but had the added complication that his Dad was a Christian Arab  (once the leader of the Communist Party in Nazareth) whereas Arna was a secular Jew whose father founded the medical corps in the IDF was a world authority on malaria, hated Ben-Gurion, and expelled her after marrying an Arab.

Jules had a cultural ID complex which he exploited through art. He was an excellent actor.  He acted out his life.  About  800 people attended the funeral, two third Arabs one third Jews.  I met many old friends there.  Nowadays we are too old to meet in demos so we meet in funerals.

An Arab youth choir sang and many people said a few words.

…Jules complained about the the arch conservative leadership of the Jenin refugee camp and planned to move to Jenin town, which is more enlightened.  The older generation leadership (50% of the camp inmates are under 20) was worried that the youth followed Juliano and his “Freedom Theater”.

He preached freedom not only from Israel, but also from Muslim tradition.  Many young girls, who rebel against the subservient role of women in the Palestinian society, were ardent actresses. The oldies didn’t like the fact that girls appear on stage, have roles, and act together with boys.

The theatre is located inside the camp.  There were two attempts to burn it down.

The latest play Jules staged was “Alice in wonderland.”  Most theatres in the West Bank refused to show it because the major role of a clever girl outraged all oldies in the West Bank.  No newspaper in the West Bank mentioned the Alice play.  It seems this was too much for the oldies.

So Jules paid with his life for staging “Alice in Wonderland” in Palestine.  He died for the cause of “women’s liberation” … which goes much beyond “Palestine liberation.”   Too much for some people.

MAY ALICE FORGIVE THE FOLLIES OF THE FOOLS

.


israel_the-only-democracy-

April 5th, 2011

From filmmaker and activist Jen Marlowe:

Dear friends,

Many of you may have already heard about the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis. The co-founder and director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, he was gunned down (five bullets to the head) this afternoon outside the theatre by an unknown assailant.

I first met Juliano in 2006, when I began working with a group of activists in New York to support the Freedom Theatre. I have visited the Freedom Theatre multiple times over the years, watching Juliano teach and direct young acting students. Most recently, I watched Juliano as he coached acting students three months ago, preparing for the much-acclaimed production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

I have no words at this moment to describe Juliano, the work of the Freedom Theatre and the scope and scale of this horrific event, both for his family (Juliano leaves behind two children, one still a baby, and a pregnant wife), for the theatre, for the community in Jenin Refugee Camp and for Palestine as a whole.

I can only offer this video, which I made in collaboration with my colleagues in ‘Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre’.


Please take a moment to watch Juliano, in his own words, as he talks about his vision for Palestine and how the Freedom Theatre is an integral part of that vision.

And please take a moment to share this video, to post it, to spread it.

Juliano was killed. But he has not been silenced.

With deep sadness,

Jen Marlowe


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