Kurdo's World
Kurdistan blogger. Blogging about life in Kurdistan.

My French Connections

Just before I was going to add the "French translated" version of this blog to the sidebar, I received an email from Theirry "not Theirry Henry" about the kidnapping of Florence Aubenas, the French journalist.

OK I have a confession. I have some French Connections. Back in the 1970s, my uncle fled Saddam's henchmen to France, where he met a French lady and decided to settle down. So now I have a few half-French and half-Kurd cousins who find reading this blog difficult. That is why I added the Google translation but they told me that google translates word by word and not the concept...So that is a bit harder for the French.

Theirry's interest in the Iraq conflict has increased after the kidnapping of Florence and has decided to create a blog and also has done a superb job for translating a number of Iraq blogs including my one.
My blog entries in French
My photoblog in French (Thanks Theirry !!)
Florence Aubenas, a brave woman who dangered her life first for her love for the Iraqi people, and second for her passion for her job as a journalist, was kidnapped by a group of terrorist theives who have no sense of humanity at all.I have also added her photo to the sidebar...
May our prayers be with her and with all those who danger their life for the sake of the Iraqi people.
For more french connections, visit my Incoherent Thoughts, a blog by Sandrine aka Piling who also posts in KBU.

So what's a photocopier ?!

I was just reading the comments section here, and it seems that most people are not able to accept the report which was published in Jemawer a couple of days ago.

Psychologically speaking, I can understand why some Americans are not ready to accept the reality of what their soldiers do.
Their brain, automatically rejects any negative stories about themselves. For example, until this day there are Arabs who still believe that Israel was responsible for September 11th. This is normal by the way.

When the photos of Abu Ghreb prisoners abuse came out, we heard stories of "digital editing" and "Islamic propaganda" etc. Until this moment, there are Americans who can't accept that their soldiers are responsible for that. This is normal from a psychologist point of view, the impact of these events are outside their brain magnitude of acceptance.

When I translated the report from Jemawer, most of the Americans automatically were trying to find excuses to make the report look fault. i.e. Asking why do we need to buy a photocopier in a Kurdish store ?!
The Reasons
Well, a photocopier is used to make multiple copies of a paper for those who don't know. And second, electronic equipments are the cheapest in Kurdistan and Iraq. Third, it takes 2 months if the US unit ask for a photocopier to be shipped from USA. Fourth, supply lines from Baghdad are usually hit by "insurgents".

So for all those reasons, it is practically easier if you buy one from a local store for half of the price of the shipping rather than ordering one from USA. Plus these units can't wait for ever for a photocopier. So for those who try to be "analytical" it is better to consider what is on the ground rather than what is on the papers.

Then instead of using cheap words, why not contact the newspaper itself ?! Someone posted the details on the commenting section but here it is again :

Jemawer Weekly
+964 7701570917

Ironical email : hemn at freedom.usa.com
(damn you spams)

US soldiers misbehave in Duhok

The Mazi Supermarket in Duhok, Kurdistan.

According to the Kurdish newspaper "Jemawer" (Jemawer 21/02/05 PDF file page 1), a group of US soldiers attacked the Mazi Supermarket, the biggest supermarket in Kurdistan and all over Iraq (8000 meter square), after they were refused a refund.

Apparently the US soldiers from Mosul bought a photocopier in Mazi Supermarket a month ago, they returned to the store in Duhok to return it and asked for a refund, they were told they can't get any refunds on items which were sold for over a month, but if there is any faulty with it, they are ready to fix it.

But the US soldiers didn't listen, their commander ordered to break up the "money safe" and they stole some money and went back to Mosul.

Now this incident might be a small one, but in which country, except an occupied one, do soldiers have the right to use power to get a refund ?
Are they allowed to do that in USA ?! How would the American people themselves feel if their policemen and soldiers did that in Texas, or Washington ?!

One of the reasons of why the "insurgency" or "resistance" (or whatever you call it) is on the increase is because of the misbehaviour of the US army.

They are not acting like "liberators" at all. They are acting like a bunch of aggressive, power-abusing nasty outlaws. As usual, of course not all, but those who act like that are spoiling the efforts of the rest.
If you want to stop the "insurgency", behave your soldiers, and soon all those who have joined Zarqawi-Baath Ltd will return to their normal lifes.

Why 2 Million Kurdistanis voted for "Independence" ?!

On 30th of January 2005, as well as participating in the Iraqi elections, around 2 Million people participated in the unofficial poll on independence. Around %98 of the voters, voted for an independent Kurdistan state.

Watching the news headlines, the commentators were stunned by this massive figure of people wanting to break away from Iraq, something which embarrassed the Kurdish leaders who were calling for a united Iraq.
I will be honest with you here, the only reason there was a high Kurdish turn-out in the Iraqi elections, was because they viewed a high Kurdish bloc in the Iraqi Parliament as a closer step towards indepenence.
Now these %98 figure of people are not maniac, extremist, ultra-nationalist people. They are just ordinary citizens that are affected by day to day events in Iraq.

I will translate a word-to-word account of an eyewitness who is calling for "independence instantly" in one of the Kurdish newspapers. (ASO, 20/02/2005, page 6 (PDF FILE).)
"Mohammad Nasradeen, a Kurd, but with an Arabic name. Travelled to Mosul to get his university certificate. On the way back to Kurdistan, near Goear (place close to Mosul), an armed gang stopped their taxi.
They approached and shouted "Who is a Kurd, let him step down ?"
No one dared to reply. They were 2 Kurds, 2 Turkmens, another Arab passenger, an an Arab driver.
Then the gang members asked for I.D.s (In Iraq, the I.D shows your place of birth and your name).
The Arabs easily got through. The Turkmens, were insulted and sworn at, but they managed it through.
Now it is the turn for the 2 remaining passengers. The turn came to "Mohammad Nasradeen", who pretended he is an Arab, but as he says, he got a few insults but got away with it.
Now to the final passenger, they take his I.D. and shout "Sherzaaaaaaaaad ?! huh ? Kurdish ? come down." Yes, the passenger's name was Kurdish and he couldn't lie or pretend.
They force Sherzad out of the taxi. Sherzad starts to plea for his life. He says "Only my name is Kurdish, I am an Arab. I haven't got anything against Arabs let me go". But the gang won't listen. They shoot him. They shoot him and they shoot him again.
The gang members return to the taxi, they shout "This is the fate of every Kurd in Iraq" .
These incidents, of killing people for just being Kurds, for just having a Kurdish name, are now common.
The writer goes on "There are no solutions for us apart from independence. The Kurdish government should stop brain-washing our people for emtpy slogans of fake "unity and brotherhood".

The next 6 months are going to be the most important time in Iraq's history. This 6 months will decide whether the "Kurdish-Arabic" brotherhood is fake, or is real.

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day
Kurdistan Bloggers Support Iranian Bloggers

It has never been safe for bloggers, especially in Iran. As called by BBC, let's today stand with the imprisoned Iranians, Mojtaba and Arash , who were arrested just because they blogged.

thanks Karzan for the graphic

Himalaya ?!

Darbaz's blog for more photos from Kurdistan

A reply to a Turkish blogger

I accidently ended up in some Turkish blogs. I came across Zikzak's blog in which he points out to Hiwa, and Medya's rather not very friendly remarks against the Turks in general.

We, the people of Kurdistan, don't hate Turks. I don't share Medya's and Hiwa's remarks.
We don't like the Turkish government's racist remarks and threats against us, and that is probably being reflected among some of our people.
In South Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan), most of the companies who work here are Turkish. The Turkish companies have won most of the important projects, including the Sulaimani Airport. So if "racism" was the case, I wouldn't have seen any Turkish companies in Kurdistan.

So "hate" is not the word to describe the relations between Kurds & Turks from the Kurdish side. I would rather use "boredom from harrassments of the Turkish government".

If you read this and this and this and that , you should realise how much tensions and threats are coming from the Turkish government.
I think Turkey should accept the democratic elections in Kirkuk with a big heart, because a peaceful and democratic neighbour on your South-Eastern borders is in Turkey's benefits, as much as a democratic European Turkey is in our benefit.

I don't know why the Turkish government insists in interfering in Kirkuk, and also why it claims to be protecting the Turkmens, while Turkey didn't say a word about the Turkmens while Saddam was in power.
The Turkmens are much closer to Kurds ratehr than to Turks. We have shared a long peaceful history together. I don't think there is a need to spoil that.
I guess the nationalist Turkish Generals in the Turkish Army are pushing the government to make these threats, and I hope that is the case, I hope it is not coming from the Turkish people.

I beleive that Turks & Kurds can live peacefully side by side, in the Middle East, without anyone of each others trying to nominate or control the other.
We can help each other towards a peaceful and democratic Middle East.

P.S. More signitures are needed please for Talabani's blog !

President Jalal Talabani ??!!

I don't know if many of you know this guy. He is the general secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The reason why I am writing this, is that because he is the strong candidate for the post of Iraq's first elected President.
He is 72, and has been involved in politics since he was 13. So imagine 60 years of his life has been covered by politics.
Kurds are divided over his support, some see him as the guy who tries to please everyone first, then Kurds. Some see him as diplomatic, trying to silent everyone and do things undercover.

He is a law graduate from Baghdad's university, and he has his negaitve and positive sides of his life, which I don't want to go into.
What I must admit, is that he reads alot. I have seen him talking on special programmes and the amount of the information he knew is great. He is always referencing his qoutes, something which I like because otherwise you never know if the speaker is just talking or talking the truth.

He speaks around 5 languages, some say 7. His wife is also very active. Some accuse him of trying to take control of everything in his controlled region of Kurdistan, especially after it became a "law" to have his photograph in schools and other places, something which Saddam was doing.
Kurds call him "Mama" which is short for "Mam Jalal" or "Uncle Jalal".

So I have written a petition, I know it probably won't ever reach him, because I have already faxed and emailed this to his party several times, but just for the sake of the fun of it, consider signing.
Guess what it is ?!
An invitation for him to start his own blog !
Please consider signing if you want to read Iraq's president's blog !!

Welcome the Ladies

We have a bunch of new Kurdish blogs, first, let's welcome the ladies..

Ladies and gentlemen,

Naz from Kirkuk and her friend Lala (another girl I suppose) are writing in Pamaee (PINK) blog...Check out their photos and their talk about Valentine in Kurdistan.

Suzan another Kurdish girl from USA writes a new blog called Kurdish Lily....Nice music and photos and an excellent design...

Yet another Kurdish girl, Pepuley Kurdistan (or Kurdistan's Butterfly) writes in another pinky blog. She has just had Mahmood Tea (adverts for it are on all the Kurdish TVs and it is known as the tea of love).

And finally Darbaz from London talks about the recent elections...

Also check Dilnareen at KBU see if you can find an anwer to why Kurds always dance.

Finally thanks to Maureen here is what a volunteer teacher at an English School in Kurdistan, Sulaimania has to say about the elections on 30th January 2005 :

Jessica in Sulaimaniya. (Jessica is a volunteer teacher in the Gasha School, an English school made it for those who have returned back to Kurdistan from Europe.)

Saturday 29th Jan 2005 - In the late afternoon Iwe set off for a friend's house up near the university. Could we find a way into their street...all approach roads blocked off with wrecked cars, barbed wire, heaps of stones, anything to bar the way through. Green and white ribbons wound around and across lamp-posts and trees, banners and posters. A real party atmosphere and as dusk fell the cars came out once more hooting and honking, people sitting half-in and half-out waving flags and posters and shouting for their candidates. The children wanted to go to the bazaar to buy a flag and join in, but I don't think we could have found a way there and back without getting lost. 1,400 are reputed to have been commisioned to ferry people to and from their polling stations, free all day and the people in the office reckon the turn out will be over 90%.

I got back at 7.30 just before the car curfew at 8pm. soldiers and police everywhere but cheerful and friendly. People still walking around at 10.00pm but absolutely no private cars. Only the authorities checking the night watch. Highly organised and efficient from what I could see.

Sunday 30th January 2005- Despite being confined to the hotel this morning, I did slip out. Watching in eerie silence from my window I could see people begining to go to a polling station very close to the Ashti, so I thought I could risk a quick visit. People walk with a determined air, elderly, bright young things, families and single women. Some in traditional "gilli Kurdi" national costume, old women in spangled black robes and men in the baggy trousers and cumberbund, smart and proud. Flags flying everywhere in the bright cold sunshine. On the street corners outside the polling stations, red flock roses are handed out to the voters who were sensible 'early birds'. Its a lengthy process. Soldiers and police frisk one and all. Women must leave their handbags in a heap at the road block before joining the queues. Separate ones for men and women, of course and then the proceedings inside as you may have seen on TV. I took as many photos as I could without being too intrusive.One group of police asked me to take their picture, but I was stopped by an over conscientious young soldier who asked me what I was doing and called his superior officer. We grinned at each other and admitted to not being to speak our respective languages, so he asked if I could speak Arabic!! I told him I worked for KSC and was cordially waved on. Magic.
The buses keep coming but it's lunchtime now and the trickle has slowed down. I"m sure it's been a high turnout and I do hope it makes a difference to the number of seats the Kurds get in the national paliament

I guess this post was a too girly. But why girls like pink ?! Ladies !?!

*Seb Walker from Erbil has an excellent report on Iraq's next President's profile .

*Turkish Democracy ?!!!

Can you see how much hate is there in that Turkish soldiers eyes against that old probably 70 years old Kurdish man ??!

This was today during a march by the Kurdish Democratic People's Party in Turkey (DEHAP).

I am preparing a photoblog for all the photos of the snow and the massive celeberations of last night.
It is very funny how people in a place like Kurdistan celeberate Valentine's Day. After all these bloodshed, there is something which never dies, guess what it is ?!!

Hint. It is not capitalism.

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Kirkuk & Mosul : Kurdistani Lists Win !

Kurdistan list for Mosul province council : 109 000 votes (Majority).

Kurdistan Brotherhood List in Kirkuk : 237 300 out of 400 000 despite cancelling 90 000 Kurdish votes in Kirkuk. (%59.3).

Kurdistan List overall in Iraq : 2 175 000 = %25.4 of the votes.

Welcome back to Kurdistan MOSUL & KIRKUK !!

Kurdistan Parliament Results

Kurdistan List (PUK-KDP and co) : 1 507 000 = (%89.5)
Kurdish Islamic Group : 85 237 (%5)
Toylers & Independents : 21 000 (around %1.5).

Others : %4.

It is worth mentioning that voter turnout was the greatest in Sulaimani city with 738 000 voters.
Erbil (Hawler) came second with 638 00 and Duhok with 378 000 as the third.

It is going to be an interesting 6 months before the referendum on the permenant constitution.

Americans sent their sons and daughters for "Painting" in Kurdistan not for fighting

If you have been watching this blog, you might remember about the US team which removed a Kurdistan flag back in December 2004.
Many didn't beleive. But now the American army is proud of their "Paint Team".

Let's see what is the American "Paint Team" is in Kirkuk :

According to Reuters, this team is set up by US Army in Kirkuk to paint over any flags in that city apart from Saddam Hussein's flag.

This is "Team Paint", set up by the U.S. military to obliterate many of the flags, symbols and slogans that cover the walls of Iraq's most ethnically diverse city.

So this is what the Americans are doing in Kirkuk. Some PUK sources said recently suggeted that Zarqawi has arrived in Kirkuk. Also Reusters says the same.

No wonder. The Americans are busy "Painting" instead of tracing the terrorists.

The boss of the painters tells Reuters :

"If you start putting up a flag, people get upset," says U.S. captain Bill Hampton, a company commander based in Kirkuk for the past year.

"With my respect Captain Hampton, but I really do feel sorry for you and your men and women.
You guys were trained to find the terrorists not for painting. We have enough painters in Kurdistan and Iraq and many of them are jobless.
If I was ever a soldier I would find it extremely insutling if they told me to paint. I mean Zarqawi is walking free and is busy killing while you guys have a brush in your hands instead of a gun ?!!

I think the American Military should invent new guns. Perhaps with a "Brush" at its end. That way you can paint and kill at the same time.

We were thinking of painting the house. Perhaps we would make some noise and the Americans would come over and give us a hand ey ?!

Anyways, the flags that the Americans are painting over includes the Kurdistan flag. The flag which %68 of the voters in Kirkuk voted for. So I guess %68 of the voters in Kirkuk are not finding this a very "entertaining" Painting Team.

PUK and KDP joint list win in Kurdistani Parliament Elections

The Kurdish weekly "Hawlati" published the results of the Kurdistan Parliament Elections on Wednesday.
I couldn't care less about the results as they were not encouraging. The two ruling parties with some other small Kurdish, ChaldoAssyrian and Turkmen parties announced their "Kurdistani Democratic List" before the elections.

The results showed that Kurdistani Democratic List won over %90 overall. Individuals and independents group won only a few thousands of votes.

This is not encouraging because there will be no opposition in the parliament. The second winners were the reformed extreme Islamicists.
The Kurdish Islamic Group (Komall) of which their leader is in US custody since 2003 has come in the second place.

Confusion and the lack of trust lead people to vote for the PUK-KDP list. Most of people say "At least we know these people".

How fair was the elections !?

I won't say it was or it wasn't. I will let you judge. The PUK-KDP list carried out their dirty tricks throughout the elections day. For example, in the smaller towns and villages the number of those who can't read and write are high. So when these people were coming to vote, the election worker (who is supposed to be neutral) was telling them "VOTE FOR KURDISTAN DEMOCRATIC LIST). Or for the provincial elections, they were told to vote (109 PUK in PUK ruled areas) and vote for (KDP in KDP ruled areas).
This video taken by a Kurdish news website shows an observer on the day of the elections complaining about the election workers telling people to vote for the KDP-PUK list.

Because of the lack of international observers, some ballot boxes weren't sealed at 8 pm on 30/01/05.
But because of the sensitivity and the importance of the coming 10 months to Kurds, people don't really care about the Kurdistan Parliament. It is the Iraqi Parliament and Kirkuk which people are worried about.
As a guy of 68 years of age told me, "Once we make Kurdistan with Kirkuk as the capital a federal state in the permanent Iraqi constitution, we will come back to Kurdistan and work on building democracy. But before that guarantee, democracy in Kurdistan could not have any meaning"> .

Nationalist Arabs, USA & Turkey in an evil plan

There are reports in the Kurdish press that Nationalist Arabs backed up by USA and democratic Turkey are now working in cancelling huge number of Kurdish votes.
The expected President of the Kurdistan Federal State, Massou Barzani, said in a press conference today that we won't allow anyone to play with our future and our votes.
The reports said that the Election Results are delayed because the Elections Comittee are working in cancelling about 90 000 votes of Kurds in Kirkuk. They say these voters weren't born in 1957.
They forget that %50 of Kirkuk's Arabs were never born in Kirkuk and about %80 of them have arrived in Kirkuk after 1970.
Another report suggested in the Kurdish press saying that USA wants to keep the Kurdish representation in Iraq as low as %25.
This comes as the Kurdistani List is expected to win about %34 of the votes in the Iraqi Elections.

So now you know why the election results are not coming out as they were expected.

The Christians in Kurdistan

The Mar Yousef (Joseph) Church in Sulaimani

A while ago Dr. Benjami of HyScience sent me an article about prosecution of the Christians in Kurdistan. I was busy at that time with the elections, but I think now it is time for me to reply.

While I don't deny that racism exists in Kurdistan as much as it exists in any other part of the world, but the good thing is that institutional racism does not exist.

I followed up Dr. Benjamin's sources and it turned out to be that the US based Assyrian International News Agency (AINA.ORG)

AINA.ORG is being set up by a group of nationalist Assyrians based in USA, some of them weren't even born in Iraq but they continued of their attack-on-all Kurdish related issues.

A Danish writer wrote this 3 years ago :

In a previous article I argued on the basis on my own experiences as a student of political science with the Kurds as my main field that the Assyrians are not being persecuted or denied any of their rights. This article support the views expressed in the previous article, however, this time the article is not based on my own experiences, but on the experiences of the Swedish aid organisation Diakonia. Diakonia is an aid organisation established by 7 Swedish Free Churches. The aid organisation is one of the largest in Sweden; it operates in approximately 45 countries all over the World except Europe and North America. Diakoni operates in the entire Iraqi Kurdistan Region with base in the Dohuk Region.

Article 1
Article 2

The 2 reports provide solid evidences that unfortunately AINA.ORG tries hard to destroy the peaceful coexistence between the various ethnic groups in Kurdistan.

Extreme Christian groups are also taking AINA.ORG as a respected and trusted source. I'd urge those who take AINA.ORG as a source for their articles to first question AINA's credibility and ask them for proof, because as most know AINA.ORG are not on the grounds, they are some God-knows how many miles away from Iraq and Kurdistan.

A trusted Christian (Assyrians and Chaldean) source is Ankawa.Com. (unfortunately no English just Arabic). Ankawa is a lively neighborhood of Erbil (Hawler) with a majority of ChaldoAssyrian populations and it is one of Hawler's best places.

The Assyrians and the Chaldeans have their own TV and Radio stations in their own languages as well as tens of newspapers and political parties.
There are some Christian Ministers with 7 members in the new upcoming Kurdistan parliament.

Recently some 200 000 Assyrians and Chaldeans and Kurds were deprived from voting in Mosul in which it resulted in mass demonstrations against the Iraqi Election Campaigners :
Photos from Ankawa
Photos from Ankawa 2

There are also reports that some Assyrians and Chaldean and Kurdish villages are now in talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government to create a new governate in Mosul and join it to Kurdistan because of the increase of terrorist attacks against Christians in Mosul. (see Pilling's post here)

Finally I praise the Assyrian and the Chaldean civilisations and their great contribution to the mankind's history. I am also looking forward for a peaceful coexistence between Kurds, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmens, Arabs and others in Kurdistan as well as in Iraq.

Kurds win in Mosul as well

The Kurdistan Alliance List and the Kurdistani-Brotherhood List in Mosul (162) have managed to get encouraging results.

PUKMedia reported that Kurdistan Alliance List has won about 35-40% of the votes in Mosul and the Kurdistani-Brotherhood List in Mosul has won %60 of the votes.

This is despite that around 200,000 voters of Kurdish and Assyrian and Chaldean backgrounds were deprived from voting because they were not provided with ballot boxes.
Towns and villages with a majority of Kurdish and Christian population didn't receive any ballot boxes or papers on Sunday's historic elections.
The Independent Iraqi Elections Committee didn't comment on the incident but there are rumours that Ghazi Yawar's Iraqis list may have been behind this.

I just want to add my comments on the recent Turkish government's agitation towards the results in Kirkuk, and tomorrow they may also agitate for the results in Mosul.

Democratically speaking the Kurdistan Brotherhood list has won over %68 of the votes in Kirkuk. Now if people were not convinced enough that Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan, they wouldn't have voted for this list in the elections. And the Turkish government should keep its noses off the border and not intervene in a democratic and historic elections aftermath.
It is better for Turkey to accept a peaceful life with us and should stop the intimidating racist remarks and comments. The people in Kurdistan do not have anything against Turkey or any other nations. We just ask for a peaceful life, is that too much ?!

95% of a total of 2.1 Million vote for "Independence".
Ex-US diplomat : Independent Kurdistan in 10 years

The referundum card which was given out outside polling station on Sunday, 30th January 2005.

Around 95% of the participants in the informal independence poll in Kurdistan have voted for an independent Kurdistan.

This comes as reports suggest that the Kurdistan Alliance List has won %30 of the votes in the Iraqi Electoins.
The Kurdish-Turkmen-Arabic-Christian Brotherhood has also won %68 of the votes in Kirkuk. In some some neighbourhoods, the original Arabs of Kirkuk have also voted for the Kurdish-Turkmen-Arabic-Christian Brotherhood list.

Kurdish newspapers also reported on 2/2/05 that Jalal Talabani, the PUK leader has been chosen as Iraq's next president.

Kurdish woman born in 1893 was not allowed to vote !

Aged 120 years, Rabia Mohammad Bakr, probably Kurdistan and Iraq's oldest human being, was not allowed to vote in Sunday's democratic elections.

Rabia was eager to vote, she turned up 3 times to vote, but because her name wasn't registered, she wasn't allowed to vote. She cried 3 times, but unfortunately, she wasn't allowed.

What a shame, someone probably waited 120 years for democracy and freedom, but as Kurds say, she wasn't not allowed to give her voice (vote).

Watch the interview (Kurdish).

Her birth certificate, one, two.

Winners and losers of the Iraqi and Kurdistani elections.

Swara has the pre-elemintary results of the elections in the some of Iraq and Kurdistan's provinces.

I will soon publish a post about violations conducted by the varying Kurdistani and Iraqi parties in the elections. (with video but needs translation).