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A Selfie of the Potential Murderer as a Young Man

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“To hate Arabs isn’t racism, it’s having values. #IsraelDemandsRevenge.” Posted to an Israeli Facebook page in the last 24 hours.

“To hate Arabs isn’t racism, it’s having values. #IsraelDemandsRevenge.” Posted to an Israeli Facebook page in the last 24 hours.

Since the beginning of colonialism, it has been a cruel, cynical practice to push the native into a desperate position in which he creates brutal acts of despair. Israel didn’t invent this pattern; it only upgraded it. This practice historically enabled the Christian sovereign to portray the native as a barbarian beast that needed to be either domesticated or slaughtered.

At the same time, the sovereign painted a self-portrait of himself as a martyr on the cross. The sovereign always performed an ethical-cultural “superiority” in a white-Western framework. He always admitted to some ethical glitches as exceptions about which he made sensitive art (or films) to perform repentance and soul-cleansing. Yesterday, in Israel, the sham revealed itself.

Like two mirrors facing each other in infinite regress, tens of thousands of young Jewish colonialists stood in front of the camera and created a self-portrait of potential murderers. This portrait reveals that Israeli terror is not only performed by the army, but also by tens of thousands of citizens. It took only a day for the potential murderers to become actual murderers. The mask of innocence fell from their faces. And now it appears as if all of us are murderers, Jews and Palestinians alike.

Therefore, without undermining the personal responsibility of the individual murderers, it’s crucial for us to understand that the true murderer of all the youngsters, Palestinians and Jews, is the occupation, the apartheid, and the ideological meta-structure of Israeli sovereignty. “Who murdered first?” and “Who murdered how many?” are side questions, and sometimes even misleading questions, within the oppressive machinery of the Israeli government throughout its history.

Udi Aloni

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45 Responses

  1. seafoid on July 3, 2014, 11:21 am

    The Guardian has a selfie of Mohamed Abu Khdeir (front page of, the Palestinian who was murdered by a Jewish lynch mob incited by the Grand Wizard Netanyahu as well as other ministers and politicians

    And there is such a contrast between the optimism of a 16 year old’s selfie and dying to assuage Israel’s need for revenge, to be the unknown Arab, the sacrifice.

  2. seafoid on July 3, 2014, 11:26 am

    Facebook is great. A lot of racist Hebrew discourse is unreported in Galut but Facebook brings it right out front stage where it belongs and google translate does a wonderful job.
    Israel’s culture of nihilism is obviously shared and something people value.

    This, for example, is a good example of what has happened to the IDF since all the militant yeshivas in the West Bank started sending recruits to replace the secular crowd

    Hatikva turned out real different, didn’t it ?

    • PeterAgur on July 4, 2014, 4:00 pm

      This facebook page is repulsive hate speech. I reported it on FB as such, and I hope others do so as well and they take it down

  3. Taxi on July 3, 2014, 11:32 am

    Oh wow two israeli bimbo terrorists who share the same lipstick.

    • libra on July 3, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Kudos for Israeli self-reliance though. No need for dumb Shiksas now it’s got its own brand of brainless bimbos.

    • piotr on July 3, 2014, 12:24 pm

      Once again, Taxi hurls unsupported accusations. If you stare, you can see that the shades of red are different (and selected with care!).

      • marc b. on July 3, 2014, 12:48 pm

        It is stomach turning. Lipstick, French nails, and designer sunglasses. That’s the closest those two will get to civilization.

      • Taxi on July 3, 2014, 1:47 pm


        Wow, poitr, you’re an expert on lipstick – good for you! But I suggest you don’t have to stare to see the blonde is hogging most of the light and leaving the brunette somewhat in the shade, therefore making the brunette’s lipstick appear just a smidgen darker/”different”.

        I’ll be cool if you can link me to my hurling “unsupported accusations”.

      • Djinn on July 4, 2014, 10:12 am

        Think you missed the sarcasm there taxi

  4. wondering jew on July 3, 2014, 11:32 am

    Udi Aloni says, it is not vengeance or violence or the urge to violence that is bad, it is colonialism that is bad. Is this summary accurate?

    • Woody Tanaka on July 3, 2014, 11:44 am

      For love of Pete, the article is FOUR PARAGRAPHS LONG. If you can’t comprehend it on your own without someone holding your hand and explaining what all the big words mean, then please, abandon your account and go feed pigeons in the park.

      • Mooser on July 3, 2014, 6:55 pm

        Woody, that’s the one thing that really gets me. I understand that Zionists wish to convey the idea that Jews are brutal, aggressive, and self-serving, that’s a win all around. After all, anything which might convince people that Jews should live separately is grist for their mill. But when they try to convey the idea that we are stupid, too, I wonder if it helps.

    • eljay on July 3, 2014, 12:05 pm

      >> Udi Aloni says, it is not vengeance or violence or the urge to violence that is bad, it is colonialism that is bad. Is this summary accurate?

      Is colonialism not bad? Does it not result in violence against the oppressed and in retaliatory violence against the oppressor?

      • DaBakr on July 3, 2014, 8:25 pm

        its not always bad. the world is filled with 100,000 years of colonial conquest so I don’t know how anybody can make such a blanket statement. its almost, wait……bigoted. The Arabs came in large masses [usually referred to as hordes] and conquered the ME . Then the Ottomans colonized Syria-Paleastina so the whole ‘colonial’ thing pretty much reeks of liberal short-sightedness and dislike of Zionism.

      • eljay on July 4, 2014, 12:20 pm

        >> its not always bad. the world is filled with 100,000 years of colonial conquest so I don’t know how anybody can make such a blanket statement.

        The world is filled with 100,000 years of rape, torture, mutilation and genocide so, according to your “logic”, rape, torture, mutilation and genocide are also not always bad. Interesting.

    • Donald on July 3, 2014, 12:56 pm

      “Is this summary accurate?”

      No, it’s not. He’s not defending violence or the urge to violence. Where do you get that? He’s saying that colonialism is at the root of all the violence on both sides.

      To me what’s revealing about the Israeli reaction to the murder of the Palestinian teen is that it shows a kind of mindset one sees in Westerners–violence by private citizens is far more disturbing than violence inflicted against others by one’s own government. Here I don’t mean the usual hypocrisy when people condemn the crimes of their enemies and ignore their own, because in this case many Israelis are condemning the murder of the Palestinian boy. I don’t doubt that some of the Israeli shock is genuine, but they seem far more upset when some private citizens murder a boy then they are when the IDF shoots a protestor or arrests children or in general, engages in all the violence that is necessary to keep the occupation going. Basically, without thinking it through, they want things to be “normal”, which means that the daily repression of Palestinians by official organizations is something that they can live with indefinitely (until some happy date in the distant future when the 2SS is here), but they are disturbed when individuals on either side start murdering people. This willingness to tolerate officially sanctioned violence even extends to barbarisms like Operation Cast Lead.

      It is a kind of Western attitude, I think–many Americans are like this too. Only one’s own government (or its allies) should be allowed to kill people, and a huge amount of leeway is granted to them to do it. You can pretend it was necessary for security purposes. It’s harder to do that when some individuals go off and start killing random innocents.

      • jenin on July 3, 2014, 1:30 pm

        very good and correct analysis, imo. In a lot of ways, it’s very problematic that people think that way. For instance, I have heard so many people equate the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians with random acts of terrorists (the old ‘both sides are wrong’ adage). However, it is clear to me that government sponsored terrorism is far more problematic, because there is no one that will hold those responsible accountable except in rare situations where international bodies intervene or the government turns on its own soldiers/leaders (that’s why the IDF keeps getting away with it). Neither is commendable, of course, but they are very clearly different things.

        and of course, needless to say, acts of terror by Palestinians not only cannot be equated with acts of terror by IDF soldiers, but also cannot be equated with Israeli acts of terror–because it is the Palestinians who have been ethnic cleansed, occupied, and oppressed for decades, and and are desperate. The Israelis hardly have such an excuse. But that’s another story.

  5. Kay24 on July 3, 2014, 12:19 pm

    Israel is refusing to release the body of the young Palestinian kid today, and supposedly will do so tomorrow.
    I guess they need more time to try and cover up the evidence, fake medical reports, to protect their human animals, before the medical teams from the Palestinian side take over.
    Israel has taken the law into it’s own bloodied hands, and has run amok. This is Netanyahu’s Israel. A rogue state.

  6. ritzl on July 3, 2014, 1:18 pm

    Next time some idiot posts or mentions pictures of Palestinian kids wearing suicide vests and/or the proverbial “culture of hate” — STFU Exhibit A [thru Z]. Case closed.

    • jenin on July 3, 2014, 1:32 pm

      some Zionist commenter on an article a friend posted on facebook claimed a few days ago that Israelis would never have done such a kidnapping, because Israelis aren’t raised in a “culture of hate” etc., and they wish no harm to innocent Palestinian kids. Whereas, of course, all Palestinians just want to kill innocent Israeli kids. these people are such blind hypocrites.

      • ritzl on July 3, 2014, 2:06 pm

        yeah, jenin. seafoid pointed out the “Jews just wouldn’t do that!”, what might you lawyers call it, exculpation(?) a while back. Too true.

        I don’t know if it’s the definition of blind or hypocrisy but loving the benes of occupation yet deploring/disregarding the necessary ongoing, daily murder, violence, and deprivation fits. Probably both.

        What gets me a lot is that that ongoing, daily, murder, violence, and deprivation is going on just a few thousand meters away. So it’s not just a natural line of sight blockage, Israeli societal blindness is/has to be intentional. You have to deliberately look away as you’re walking down the/a/any street ffs, which explains how their kids got to be this way.

        PS. Someday (D’oh!, or now…) I’d like to ask you whether your father’s experience over the past few weeks during this “crackdown” may have changed his level of risk aversion (not a negative, not at all). A nosy question to be sure, but interesting to the extent you can or would share. It would be an up-close view of a part of where Palestinian society is going.

      • jenin on July 3, 2014, 2:32 pm

        yeah, I agree with you. Hypocrisy/blindness might not be the best words to describe this. It appears to be some mix of these things you mention.

        regarding your question, you aren’t being nosy and thanks for your interest. I’m happy to share what I know about my dad’s experience. I didn’t get the impression it changed much for him at all. He said the occupation was somewhat nastier than before, but nothing too far beyond what he’d experienced. But he grew up under the occupation and endured some pretty bad stuff. He remembers the ’67 “war” (I prefer to call it an invasion) very well when he and his family hid in a cave for weeks. He said his father asked one of his uncles, “do you think they’ll shoot us, or slit our throats?” his father said “oh, they won’t waste the bullets on us, they’ll slit our throats for sure.” Of course that was traumatizing in itself. And it doesn’t necessarily prove anything about the IDF in itself, other than that the Palestinians were truly afraid of them. He just has countless stories from his childhood and being scared to death by Israeli soldiers. mostly, though, it was the day-to-day stuff–checkpoints, degradation, being unable to find work because of the restrictions and therefore living in abject poverty until he was able to come to the US, the separation of his family (some of his family fled to Jordan in ’67 and haven’t been allowed to return to the West Bank since, for reasons I’m not too clear on). So that’s a very long answer to your question–but the short of it is, I think he’s endured so much and expects such misery in Palestine he is never very surprised. He said he’d talk to me more about his trip when I see him in a few weeks, so I’ll let you know if I hear anything interesting.

      • ritzl on July 3, 2014, 3:53 pm

        Hmm. I’m glad I asked. As an outsider and someone who has never experienced what your father (and you) have experienced, I would never have thought that seeing too much would actually (I don’t quite know the right words here, so please forgive any overstatement) make one more able to reserve/dose/hold in abeyance the accompanying outrage.

        That must have been a remarkable situation to grow up in. It probably advantages you in your work.

        Thanks for sharing. I learned something.

      • jenin on July 3, 2014, 5:33 pm

        I don’t want to give the wrong impression. My dad is always upset when he returns, but never surprised. I think he’s kind of protecting himself by not allowing his hopes to be raised. And he’s pretty cynical at this point about the whole thing. I think he lost a lot of hope when Rabin died– that’s the last time I remember him being truly hopeful.

      • Mooser on July 4, 2014, 5:30 am

        Thanks very much for telling us about that.

  7. stevemaslow on July 4, 2014, 10:13 am

    Udi Aloni’s eloquent cry from the heart is a lesson to all of us never to confuse our own odor with perfume. As remarkable a statement as he has made, I think it’s early. Now is the most important time to remember these four innocent boys who I hope are playing soccer together in Paradise. I pray for each of them: Naftali, Mohammed, Gilad and Eyal. I grieve for their parents and family and friends. To everything there is a season and during mourning perhaps we should stop all the talk of Israelis and Palestinians. These were children. Shame on their murderers, all. But if we do not take time to grieve, to do what makes us human, to feel our pain, then we cannot expect others to feel human either. Mourning has not been made digital. Take a break from rhetoric, go to shul, to the mosque, to church. Help these poor childrens’ souls rise to heaven. The wheels of justice will grind down on their murderers, we all know that. It is time to re-present these boys in our minds, to mourn and reflect on them. Otherwise our actions will only be re-actions, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Blessed are those who mourn. My condolences to the families of Naftali, Mohammed, Gilad and Eyal; all the children of Abraham.

  8. Basilio on July 4, 2014, 11:53 am

    Israel does not view the occupation of the West Bank as a colonial project, but the reality is when it settles the land with Jewish Israelis and has to often remove indigenous people who were already there to do so, that is, by-definition, a colonial project in a true sense. Prior to 1967, there were not many Jews in the West Bank. There were some in some certain areas like Hebron including some who were killed by fanatics during some hysterical moments (And, yes, some were protected by neighbors). Thus, for the most, the only indigenous inhabitants were those who in circa 2014 spoke a form of Levantine Arabic as Aramaic-Syriac was no longer the dominant language by the 12th century as the inhabitants had converted from Christianity and Judaism for various reasons. The people who are part-and-parcel of the land’s history are being treated as if they are a mistake of history and not even human beings except when someone without state authority possibly kills and burns a Palestinian youth. When the IDF does it with an official uniform it’s easier to ignore it and explain it away. That’s a colonial attitude that reminds me of Albert Camus’s book “L’etranger”.

  9. jenin on July 4, 2014, 12:11 pm

    actually, sorry, but those who really care about the innocent suffering are the ones who are working tirelessly to end this conflict by informing the public–at least the receptive public–about what is really going on in Israel/palestine (like the people who run this site). The conflict will not end until Israel, the occupier and oppressor in this conflict, stops its horrific treatment of Palestinians. You can go to to your church or synagogue and that’s all very nice, but in the end it is the people engaging in the “rhetoric” who are actually trying to do something to prevent more suffering.

    • annie on July 4, 2014, 12:58 pm

      speaking of rhetoric, last night i was listening to a bbc news report, rather long with some incredible interviews, including 2 cousins of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the palestinian boy who was brutally burned alive in the revenge killing.

      one of the interviews was of a palestinian legislator. he was saying we needed exposure about what was going on over there and the bbc interviewer kept telling him he wasn’t interested in all his ‘rhetoric’ kept trying to shut him seemed like. and then they interviewed mark regev, who just spouted this endless propaganda and he wasn’t chastized for his ‘rhetoric’, not one bit.

      but i do believe it is exposure that will best serve justice. and the enemy knows it too which is why they try to control the discourse, the media. but social media is taking over. no one can hide what is going on over there anymore.

      • jenin on July 4, 2014, 1:02 pm

        I do hope you are right. Exposure is the best hope. It seems that people use the term “rhetoric” to refer to exposure they deem undesirable

      • annie on July 4, 2014, 1:21 pm

        It seems that people use the term “rhetoric” to refer to exposure they deem undesirable


      • Walid on July 4, 2014, 1:45 pm

        Is Erekat away on vacation? Haven’t heard a word out of him since this ordeal started. Everybody else is debating whether or not this will be the start of Intifada III. The same about Abbas’s radio silence. I have heard MK Ahmad Tibi a couple of times and Mustafa Barghouti about 3 times but not once have I heard anything out of the dynamic duo.

    • just on July 4, 2014, 1:01 pm

      Agreed, jenin.

      Annie– thanks for that.

      I haven’t seen the results of the autopsy– was he burned alive?

  10. stevemaslow on July 5, 2014, 1:09 am

    Appreciate the feedback, but my point is that there is a time for rhetoric and a time to mourn. This is the time to mourn. Few of these posts even mention the names of the children who were murdered; none name all of them. It’s as though we were permitting ourselves to abstract human lives, and then use these abstractions for the purposes of advancing our own rhetoric. And it is rhetoric. Those of us who live in the Middle East and care passionately about it know this well. There is a time to engage in rhetoric, I use the term emphatically, after mourning and careful consideration of the facts. Otherwise we are reacting and not responding. And the world will dismiss us as partisan. My own worldview and the majority (if not uniform) point of view being espoused by this publication probably overlap a great deal, but that is barely detectable now, as though we were intolerant of the very human need to pause and reflect and feel grief. Not doing so makes a statement too. Words are not sacred because one side says them, or shares them amongst like-minded souls (it’s just rhetoric, with all of its characteristic intolerance of other worldviews and its need to protect its own image.) Social media is every bit as manipulated and controlled as traditional media. Wake up. We are narrow-casting only to ourselves. Calling one side in this conflict “the enemy” and making predictive statements with no basis in any Middle East on this planet (“the conflict will only end when one side does this…”….) does not break any impasses and serves only to bolster the endless and highly inappropriate (at this time) talk going back and forth, signifying nothing. It’s time to pause, mourn and reflect. This is when and how insights are born, and, hopefully will supply us all with methods that differ from the murder of Eyal, Mohammed, Gilad and Naftali. Would it not be more appropriate for this publication to set aside a digital version of a place to mourn? To express condolences to the families of these poor children, and use our words to heal others ? Can we not take a few moments to see these children for whom they were, instead of making them poster-children for our point-0f-view?

    • annie on July 5, 2014, 2:08 am

      We are narrow-casting only to ourselves. Calling one side in this conflict “the enemy” and making predictive statements with no basis in any Middle East on this planet (“the conflict will only end when one side does this…”….) does not break any impasses and serves only to bolster the endless and highly inappropriate (at this time) talk going back and forth, signifying nothing. It’s time to pause, mourn and reflect. This is when and how insights are born, and, hopefully will supply us all with methods that differ

      your rhetoric aside (“never to confuse our own odor with perfume”), i find it really fascinating you’ve joined us here on mondoweiss for the first time ever with two posts about setting aside ‘digital’- Take a break from rhetoric in order to properly mourn.

      if, ‘to everything there is a season and during mourning perhaps you should stop all the talk’. why come here now? why not “go to shul, to the mosque, to church”?

      edit: one more thing. there’s a lot more going on here than mourning. some people (including myself) are in fear. sometimes just hearing other voices and relating to people in the same ‘space’ as one is in, is comforting. so i am not giving up the digital. but i recommend you do, for now, given how you feel. iow, practice what you preach (not to be confused with rhetoric/heavens no). and come back when the time is right for you. we’ll be here.

    • Taxi on July 5, 2014, 2:15 am

      Thanks for the thought-bouquet, stevemaslow. But in case you missed it, occupied Palestine is in a state of war, not a state of meditative sop. And this site lives under the banner: “The War of Ideas in the Middle East”, not ‘The Pause of Ideas in the Middle East’. So maybe you should “wake up” to these undeniable facts and either roll up your sleeves or step out of the hot kitchen.

      Are you hitting zionist sites and asking them to cool it too? Just wondering.

      • annie on July 5, 2014, 2:50 am

        you know what i find interesting? the theme of stopping the digital. if you google israel and social media, it’s a ot hot topic. they have their hands full. even cnn. i guess those FB pages calling for revenge cast a negative light (gee ya think!)

        Social media poisoning Middle East politics


        people are using the new tools of technology, social media, and you’re beginning to see radical fringe elements that are able to organize, galvanize support. So what happens after the horrific murder of these three Israelis is you see Israeli right wing extremist groups go on Facebook and create sites that basically say, let’s kill Arabs.

        then they try to float this kind of ‘both sides do it’ meme. except whoops, there is no FB page garnering 1000’s of ‘friends’ advocating killing jews, not that i know of.

      • Taxi on July 5, 2014, 3:15 am

        “Stop the Digital” = Don’t Seek The Truth.

        “Stop the Digital” = Get Off The Information Highway.

        “Stop the Digital = Don’t react to Evil.

        I could go on… but there’s a war going on that I am compelled to deal with first.

  11. stevemaslow on July 5, 2014, 3:55 am

    Eyal, Mohammed, Gilad and Naftali.

    That is all that matters at this time.

    I suppose the ad hominem on the author rather than his argument, is some kind of homage to the truth of the need to take time to mourn.

    But to the person who asked if I also post to other sites, I certainly do ! Here we are in violent agreement. In fact I usually post to more mainstream sites, as Udi Aloni well knows. Much more so than to Mondoweiss, which publication I support wholeheartedly, financially and by often quoting and sending its sometimes excellent articles to those who, say, are less than Hannah Arendt-like in their awareness that the world is populated by a plurality, who, by necessity must forge a common interest from their narrower private ones. And, of course, the need for taking time to withdraw and to think in private before emerging into the public realm, which this forum is, what she might have called a sine qua non of practical achievement.

    I was prompted to write here by my shock insufficient attention being shown for the lives of Eyal, Mohammed, Gilad and Naftali, which lack of respect I find inconsistent with an otherwise humanitarian viewpoint largely espoused in these “pages.”

    And for those of you who confuse narrow-casting to the choir with being part of a war or understanding the facts on the ground in the Middle East, where I live, well, I thank you for making my point about rhetoric more emphatically than I would dare to.

    Focus on the children:Eyal, Mohammed, Gilad and Naftali. Children. Have our hearts turned to stone? It is the lack of this focus, of pause, and of indulging ourselves in insufficiently- or un-meditated words, that is at the root of so many of our so-far-intractable problems.

    • Taxi on July 5, 2014, 4:20 am


      A practical question: how long do you suggest we “pause” for?

      And can you please link us to your other posts asking zios to “pause”.

    • Djinn on July 5, 2014, 6:26 am

      stevemaslow says:
      Eyal, Mohammed, Gilad and Naftali.

      When you post something like that don’t be surprised if people doubt either your knowledge and/or your honesty. If you do not know that the casualties are heavily skewed in the opposite way than you appear to frame them please go away and study before coming back. If you do know that and chose to deliberately frame this as 3 Israelis murdered and 1 Palestinian murdered please just go away.

  12. Taxi on July 5, 2014, 4:15 am

    What I also find truly despicable is the way the ‘digital’ criminal zionists are smearing M. Khudeir (R.I.P.), the 16 year old Palestinian victim of settler terrorism. They’re spreading word around the media and the net that his own family killed him because he had a gay lifestyle. They can’t stand the fact that M, despite the brutal occupation he was born and lived under daily, he still had enough self-worth and self-esteem to groom and style himself in his unique and cool way. This, to zio terrorists, is “gay” behavior.

    This lowly zio rumor displays both a wicked racism and a stereotyping of gays.

  13. stevemaslow on July 5, 2014, 8:31 am

    Eyal, Mohammed, Gilad and Naftali.

    May their memory be for a blessing.

    Doubt what you will. Your approval or disapproval is of no consequence to anyone, least of all me, and especially none of us here in the Middle East. You are not the arbiter of honesty; and ad hominem attacks (versus debating the timing point) are the surest sign there is that the argument I’m making is the correct one at this time. You are a point of indifference to me. It is the children I am concerned with. Showing respect for them and their families. And what we say here and when we said it, I believe, does matter. Not having full information yet about the death of Mohammed nor having fully digested the horror of what has occurred, I cannot yet comment on them.

    That this is a time to mourn and grieve, and think carefully is indisputable among civilized people everywhere. It is shameful to use the deaths of Eyal and Mohammed and Gilad and Naftali for rhetorical purposes, or any purpose, unless, I suppose, any one of them asked us to do so.

    An excellent question is the question of how long to pause. On one hand, long enough to avoid what Shakespeare immortally described in Hamlet’s mouth about the untimely death of his father that was followed too quickly by the re-marriage of his mother: “The funeral baked meats. Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.” And on the other hand, not so long, because the pain of mourning can sublimate into violence if justice is delayed too long. The Moslems have three day mourning rites (except widows for husbands) and the Jews, I believe, observe seven day mourning rites. My vote therefore is for eight days, after both periods have ended. I think the act of pausing and grieving and thinking is more important than the number of days in the pause.

    • Taxi on July 5, 2014, 10:07 am


      I kindly ask you, again, to please link us to zio sites where you’ve posted your noble ‘stop the digital and pause’ refrain.

      If you don’t provide a single link, then, well……

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