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Old 06-14-2008, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mods, I hope I have put this in the right section. My husband is born Iraqi and I am born Canadian (english, scottish, german-u get the picture). It just seems lately that he has been putting me down alot for the fact that i cant cook iraqi food at all and has started calling me not a real woman. I know how to cook canadian but he is not interested in it at all. I have tried to learn to cook his food but it is hard when noone will teach me and believe me the cookbooks/internet about it are not authentic according to him. I used to love cooking and now i hate it. I am just not sure how to resolve this or if it is indicative of a larger problem with our different cultures. We are so different with regards to child rearing, views on life etc. I am starting to wonder how we ever got together at all. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how did you deal with it? To be honest, I am beginning to feel that the marriage was a mistake.
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:43 AM
 
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Is this about food or does it go deeper?

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Old 06-14-2008, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It goes way way deeper. Food is only one example. We cant seem to agree about anything at all. Even the way he has been treating me I am not sure if it is due to culture or something else. Even the way we talk is different and how we view life. I am just not sure if it is a cultural problem here or if it is a marriage problem.
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:51 AM
 
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s

I couldn't read and not reply. Thats sounds really tough.

My DH is grew up in India, and I grew up here in the US (my parents grew up in India). So although we look the same, DH and I have very different upbringings.

I understand about different cultures having totally different views on what married live should be like.

If you don't mind my saying, I find that what helps us in our marriage is to *not* think about things as a cultural problem but a me and dh issue. DH and I can't control cultural attitueds and norms, but we can change what our attitudes are, and what is normal for our household, so it really helps me feel way less hopless. (does that make any sense?)

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Old 06-14-2008, 04:02 AM
 
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Oooh, and I just wanted to add, I did sort of feel this way when DH and I first started dating. And it's gotten soooo much better since then.

I know this sounds corny, but I really feel that we are establishing our own brand or mix of culture.

Please PM me if you want to talk.

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Old 06-14-2008, 04:44 AM
 
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I'd bet that your individual, family style, economic, personality and cultural differences are all part of the mix that both brought you together, and are causing conflict.

Blaming culture is something my DH does often. Our biggest conflict centers around MILs behavior. DH often claims that the problem is cultural, but that doesn't explain why her SIL (same culture as her) has the same conflicts I do with MIL.

In your example of food the problem probably is more complicated than simply that you don't make it authentically enough. He may want it to be just the way his mom made it. He may be missing the celebrations that surrounded his favorite dishes when he was young. In these cases it would be much more about family than culture as a whole.

It might be more an issue of his feeling isolated. It may be impossible for you to reproduce the dishes he knows b/c you don't have access to the the ingredients in fresh form (you mntioned there is no one around to help you so I'm guessing there aren't Iraqi groceries.) This could remind him that he is very far from home. He may mostly be feeling isolated and is having trouble opening up to you about it.

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Old 06-14-2008, 04:57 AM
 
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How exactly is he treating you??

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Old 06-14-2008, 05:07 AM
 
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I'm American, DH is Turkish, so similar cultures to yours. I think a lot of times men (and women too) want someone to blame for why their adopted culture isn't more like their culture of origin. I've known Turkish men in the states who complained about the same things--their wives don't cook Turkish food, don't do things the Turkish way, etc. I can tell you from experience that there is no way to make Turkish food (or Iraqi food or Lebanese food, etc) on the North American continent because the ingredients just aren't the same. Although the eggplant that you buy in the US (or Canada) may look just like a Turkish or Iraqi eggplant, they don't taste the same or cook the same. You can be the most expert cook in whatever regional cuisine, but if you're trying to make it out of that region, it's not going to be the same. Which is to say, don't beat yourself up over the cooking. It's not your fault. Tell your DH I said so.

Food is so reflective of culture, and nowhere is that more true than in the "Middle East." When he's criticising your cooking, is he really criticising the food or is he saying, "This isn't what I expected. I didn't think my life would have to change so much." Is he trying to cling to his own culture and feeling that he's being swallowed up by Canadian-ness? Are your differences power struggles or are they truly differences? Does he say black just because you say white? (Or do you say white just because he says black?)

I'd also look at the pregnancy issue. You're due in a couple of months, right? Not saying that it's the right thing to do, but some men get really wigged out at the end of a pregnancy. How was he with your first two girls?

Religion is another angle to tackle, but I won't do that publicly. PM me if you want to go there. I've also got some tricks for making American food taste more like Arabic/Turkish/Persian food, if you want them.

Hugs and Du'a for you. I feel for you.
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How exactly is he treating you??

That is the problem. For a long time, I felt and have been told by others including a social worker who visited me in the hospital that he is verbally/emotionally abusive. It is hard to put it all down here but I will try to give some examples. He tells me I am fat, ugly, old and not a real woman. I am a bad mother and (his words) if I leave him the kids will end up on the streets with no future. I have no mind. Everything I do is wrong no matter how I try. He thinks it is ok to look at porn, and then come to me and later compare me to the women in them. He has told me he is only staying with me because of the kids and tonight I found he has been searching on arabic matrimonial websites. He actually slapped my older dd on the face one time and only one time because I told him if he ever did that again I would phone the police and file charges. I was willing to think the one time was due to his upbringing but I have doubts now. He actually had CPS one time called on him when I was in the emergency room (hyperemesis) because when dd1 tried to run into the street into traffic he grabbed her by the hair and yelled at her and at a stranger who tried to tell him what he was doing was wrong. Again, I was thinking maybe it was his culture and if he realized we dont do that here he would change. I told him straight out I was glad the woman called CPS and I also told the social worker who I asked to talk to in hospital. I have given him too many chances havent I? He has never tried anything else with the kids and if he did that would be it. Reading this, I am thinking I have been stupid and negligant havent I? I have been trying to hold the marriage together for the sake of the kids but if I have to keep watching and not sure if he will lose control again it isnt worth it. I should say he has never physically hit me at all but I am wondering if those 2 lapses is an indication that I should get out now for the kids sakes. The social worker told me that she thought the hair pulling incident was him panicking since it was one time only but considering how he also slapped her on the face...I am not so sure. Sorry this is so rambling. I am up tonight trying to figure out what to do and if I leave where to go and how.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:07 AM
 
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That is the problem. For a long time, I felt and have been told by others including a social worker who visited me in the hospital that he is verbally/emotionally abusive. It is hard to put it all down here but I will try to give some examples. He tells me I am fat, ugly, old and not a real woman. I am a bad mother and (his words) if I leave him the kids will end up on the streets with no future. I have no mind. Everything I do is wrong no matter how I try. He thinks it is ok to look at porn, and then come to me and later compare me to the women in them. He has told me he is only staying with me because of the kids and tonight I found he has been searching on arabic matrimonial websites. He actually slapped my older dd on the face one time and only one time because I told him if he ever did that again I would phone the police and file charges. I was willing to think the one time was due to his upbringing but I have doubts now. He actually had CPS one time called on him when I was in the emergency room (hyperemesis) because when dd1 tried to run into the street into traffic he grabbed her by the hair and yelled at her and at a stranger who tried to tell him what he was doing was wrong. Again, I was thinking maybe it was his culture and if he realized we dont do that here he would change. I told him straight out I was glad the woman called CPS and I also told the social worker who I asked to talk to in hospital. I have given him too many chances havent I? He has never tried anything else with the kids and if he did that would be it. Reading this, I am thinking I have been stupid and negligant havent I? I have been trying to hold the marriage together for the sake of the kids but if I have to keep watching and not sure if he will lose control again it isnt worth it. I should say he has never physically hit me at all but I am wondering if those 2 lapses is an indication that I should get out now for the kids sakes. The social worker told me that she thought the hair pulling incident was him panicking since it was one time only but considering how he also slapped her on the face...I am not so sure. Sorry this is so rambling. I am up tonight trying to figure out what to do and if I leave where to go and how.
Well, you need to get away from him. As soon as possible. If you have no family in the area or no one to help you - try to find a safe house. This is exactly what I thought it was from your first post as I've seen this happen so many times.

Where exactly are you in Canada?

And big I know that you're going through a lot right now.

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Old 06-14-2008, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in Edmonton, Alberta. I did get a list of safe houses from the social worker I spoke to back in March(?). I spoke to her for quite awhile about the situation and though she thought that maybe he had panicked with the hair pulling incident, she thought other things indicated emotional/verbal abuse. I have just been trying to hold it together for the sake of the kids but I think I have been a fool. I grew up in a broken home, and my mother was on social assistance for a long time. It was very hard financially and not having a father around. I think that is what has been holding me back. I have 2 dds and am almost 7 months pregnant now and have just not been sure if I should leave now or after baby is born. I read that alot of women are being turned away from the safe houses right now and if they turn me away, the children and I will have nowhere to go. Unfortunately, I dont have any family at all. So it is a hard hard decision to make. I have the numbers and plan to phone them when he is not around.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:03 AM
 
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Yah, I don't think your trouble is cultural. Bad, abusive men are bad, abusive men. Even a man from a patriarchal or abuse-encouraging environment can *choose* to be loving, kind, and compassionate, so it's not a "cultural difference".

I hope you find a safe place.

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Old 06-14-2008, 10:55 AM
 
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Agree with above, your problem is not cultural. Your problem is your UAV of a husband. The actions and attitudes you describe above are *NOT* in any way, shape, or form part of his culture of origin.

Consider contacting your local masjid for assistance. You may have better luck than with social services, depending on the imam. Situations like this are what zakat should be used for.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:06 AM
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This is nothing to do with culture. It has to do with domestic violence. Your husband is guilty of spousal and child abuse.

Please, please, please get out of there. Do you want your little girls growing up thinking this is an acceptable way to treat your wife?
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have decided to leave him. The social worker gave me a list of safe houses when i spoke to her. I have to wait until he goes out. There is no way he would let us go if he knows i am leaving which is weird because everything points to him wanting out. I am not sure if i should talk to an imam or not. I cant seem to get the words out and i am not sure what good it would do. I dont think he will ever change and there has been so many bad things he has said to me that i dont think i could just go on kwim? I just feel so stupid right now and like a bad mother. I have tried to keep it together for the kids and i swore i would never let anyone hurt my kids. The hair pulling incident was one time and i rationalized that, and i have more or less successfully scared him off from trying to slap yasmeen though there have been a few times i have had to physically put myself in between to protect her. But she is so scared of him. She so much wants love from him (i grew up with my dad not around so i know how dads are needed) but she is too frightened to approach him and i have to coax her when he is in a "good" mood. I always swore i would never let anyone hurt my kids and he has done it not only physically but emotionallly as well. I will just have to plan and quietly get important papers together (i still cant find the passports....i dont know if he would try to take the kids if something happened) and then leave when he is not here. Thanks for your imput. He had me convinced it is just me and all in my head.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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Yah, I don't think your trouble is cultural. Bad, abusive men are bad, abusive men

ITA.

Op, after reading your later posts, it does seem like there is a serious problem with your DH.

It sounds like you've already started thinking about leaving. If you have family/ a safe place to go to, I would leave as soon as possible.

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Old 06-14-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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I have decided to leave him. The social worker gave me a list of safe houses when i spoke to her. I have to wait until he goes out. There is no way he would let us go if he knows i am leaving which is weird because everything points to him wanting out. I am not sure if i should talk to an imam or not. I cant seem to get the words out and i am not sure what good it would do. I dont think he will ever change and there has been so many bad things he has said to me that i dont think i could just go on kwim? I just feel so stupid right now and like a bad mother. I have tried to keep it together for the kids and i swore i would never let anyone hurt my kids. The hair pulling incident was one time and i rationalized that, and i have more or less successfully scared him off from trying to slap yasmeen though there have been a few times i have had to physically put myself in between to protect her. But she is so scared of him. She so much wants love from him (i grew up with my dad not around so i know how dads are needed) but she is too frightened to approach him and i have to coax her when he is in a "good" mood. I always swore i would never let anyone hurt my kids and he has done it not only physically but emotionallly as well. I will just have to plan and quietly get important papers together (i still cant find the passports....i dont know if he would try to take the kids if something happened) and then leave when he is not here. Thanks for your imput. He had me convinced it is just me and all in my head.
Nope, not in your head. Do you think that your imam would help you leave?

Sometimes its difficult for people outside a situation to see how bad it really is. If you don't think that imam would be supportive, you might talk to him after you leave. Not being in this situation might give you the claritiy that you need to talk to the imam.

ETA: You sound like such a brave mama!

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Old 06-14-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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It is not about food, or culture, it is about disrespect. If you have made up your mind, and you are certain that you want out, than get a lawyer. A women's shelter or women's resource organization, should be able to put you in contact with lawyers who will help you for free, or who will make your husband pay for their services.

The lawyers will represent your rights and the rights of your children so that you receive child support, and spousal support. Your husband owes that to your children and to you.

Please take care of yourself and your children.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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It is not about food, or culture, it is about disrespect. If you have made up your mind, and you are certain that you want out, than get a lawyer. A women's shelter or women's resource organization, should be able to put you in contact with lawyers who will help you for free, or who will make your husband pay for their services.

The lawyers will represent your rights and the rights of your children so that you receive child support, and spousal support. Your husband owes that to your children and to you.

Please take care of yourself and your children.
Brand newbie here, sorry for jumping in w/o introducing myself, but I just wanted to propose that speaking with a lawyer might be a good idea even if you haven't made up your mind that you want out. And if there's any possibility that he would/could try to take the children back to Iraq (or anywhere abroad, for that matter), please talk to a lawyer who handles international custody/abduction matters.

I'll be thinking of you.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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OP There is a way to get your children's passports flagged (not sure how) so that they are stopped at the airport/customs

My prayers are with you dear momma
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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See The Hague Convention on International Child Abductions. I don't have time right now to search it for you--it's late here--but InshAllah, you'll find what you need to prevent him taking the children out of the country.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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If you have any suspicions of him trying to take them out of the country that can be really dangerous! Especially if it is to an Islamic country! There the court will most likely not be in your favour.

Try to do things quietly and get yourself out. You have a good chance now because you are in your country and living by your laws and you have the chance to protect them. But if he takes them out it'll be fair game. The only way you will be able to try to fight it is to go to that specific country and fight in court there and like I said earlier, if it's an Islamic country your chances can be slim, especially if you have a son. And I'm not sure Iraq in particular follows the Hague Convention. I know the Emirates does not...

I am not sure if Iraq in particular uses the Shari'a law, but if they do then it will be hard. Especially if he has no issues with lying. All he would have to say is you are making haram or you had a boyfriend and you'd lose. I've seen some insane cases... A friend of mine was raped and because the man said she was "devilish" and "tempted" him she was put in prison for six months and then deported.

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Old 06-14-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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And I'm not sure Iraq in particular follows the Hague Convention.
Iraq is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. And the Convention only guides the actions of its' signatory countries after an abduction has occurred -- e.g., requiring that the child be returned, or not, depending on the circumstances. It won't offer guidance as to how OP can best protect herself and her children now.

Please OP, if international abduction is a concern, you should talk to someone who's a specialist in that area. It's very complex, I wouldn't try to navigate it myself (and I'm a lawyer). Hopefully they could tell you what, if anything, can be done now, before divorce and custody proceedings, to give you the best stance possible later down the road.

I'd be happy to ask the family law practitioners that I know for recommendations, but I'm in the US, have a couple of people I could ask in Canada, but not many.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:40 PM
 
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Hi mama -

No, this type of personality and behviour goes above and beyond cultural difference. Your DH is ill, and needs psychological help.

In the meantime, the onus is upon you to protect your little ones and yourself, and you are doing the right thing, as extremely difficult as it is. I'm a social worker and have done women's abuse counselling in the past, and I'm Canadian. You can PM me if you like. I'm not in Alta, but there are many similar laws across our provinces.

If you decide not to leave for whatever million reasons you have in your head (it's all a process), call the police should he lay a finger on you and ask for a peace bond - a 'contract' to mutually keep the peace. He can be put into jail if he breaches it. See if your mosque can do an intervention.

If he lays a hand on the kids, you can call children's services and a) have him removed from the house with a restraining order against him for you and the kids; he could potentially return to the home under a strict supervision order that mandates anger management and parenting programs; b) have him arrested. If he is arrested and goes through sentencing, he will have terms and conditions against him as part of his probation that include not being anywhere within so many metres of the house or you/the kids, among many other (like not being to have a firearm or engage in drugs/alcohol). He will also have to go through mandated anger mgt programs. He will be thrown into jail should be breach his terms.

As well, if you are both separate, he will need your signature giving permission to take the kids across the border into the US, and you can get your passports flagged, as mentioned.

If you decide to leave, please call a women's crisis line and let them help you come up with a safety plan, as well as transportation and a bed at a shelter. Let them help you come up with a packing list.

You have 2 months before you have to go through the newborn stage again, and this could raise the stress level in your household. As well, you may be too exhausted to act upon the good advice of these ladies here.

I have to run - baby calling, but please keep us updated.

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Old 06-15-2008, 04:38 AM
 
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I would think that since Iraq doesn't have an independent gov't but is under the jurisdiction of the US military for the most part, the Hague Convention would apply? But I'm no expert on international law. I know in the US there is some sort of petition that you can file to prevent a child from being taken out of the country, but not sure what or how or if Canada has something similar.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:50 AM
 
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I would think that since Iraq doesn't have an independent gov't but is under the jurisdiction of the US military for the most part, the Hague Convention would apply? But I'm no expert on international law. I know in the US there is some sort of petition that you can file to prevent a child from being taken out of the country, but not sure what or how or if Canada has something similar.
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I have a client in a similar situation and ex-husband is also from Iraq and they are all presently in Canada. She has filed a petition as well - and also taught her 2 little children to run for help if daddy ever takes them to an airport
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Turkish Kate View Post
I would think that since Iraq doesn't have an independent gov't but is under the jurisdiction of the US military for the most part, the Hague Convention would apply? But I'm no expert on international law. I know in the US there is some sort of petition that you can file to prevent a child from being taken out of the country, but not sure what or how or if Canada has something similar.
----

I have a client in a similar situation and ex-husband is also from Iraq and they are all presently in Canada. She has filed a petition as well - and also taught her 2 little children to run for help if daddy ever takes them to an airport
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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Oh, Veronicalynne,

I am so sorry you are having such a hard time.

I have no advice but I wanted to send you hugs and wishes for courage and strength.

I also wanted to congratulate you for being brave enough to realize that you do not have to accept things the way they are and that it is not all in your head.

The best of luck to you.
: to you from Rome.

-- Miss 1928 -- and Opera Singing Mamma to Eloisa -- 12 Feb 2007
-- Wife to a Wonderful Husband and Pianist -- 27 March 2003
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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