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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Parliament of Canada remembers Ukraine’s famine/genocide of 1932-33

The memory and experiences of survivors of the Holodomor - the Ukrainian famine/genocide in 1932 and 1933 – were commemorated on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in an evening ceremony dedicated to remembering those who both perished and survived the man-made tragedy.

His Excellency Ihor Ostash, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada and Mark Warawa, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, co-hosted the Holodomor Commemoration Ceremony on behalf of the Embassy of Ukraine and the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Senator Raynell Andreychuk, Vice-Chair of the Friendship Group and Master of Ceremony for the service, reminded guests that the evening would be centred around heightening awareness of the forgotten Famine/Genocide as well as promoting international recognition of this deliberate attempt to exterminate a nation.

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who spoke on behalf of the Government of Canada, reinforced the government`s dedication to “remain committed to remembering the victims and promoting international awareness of this genocide.” The Minister also reminded guests that in 2008, Canada was the first G8 nation to recognize Holodomor as an act of genocide.

Members of the Ukrainian Canadian clergy, Senators, Members of Parliament and representatives from over twenty nations were present to show their support alongside a strong contingent of members from the Ukrainian community who travelled from across Canada and Ukraine to share in the sombre celebration.

Ukrainian Canadian Congress President Mr. Paul Grod was among the speakers along with all parties as Bloc Quebecois MP Bernard Bigras, Liberal MP Bonnie Crombie, NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis, and Conservative MP Mark Warawa each spoke passionately about different aspects of the atrocities that occurred during the Famine/Genocide. This demonstration of non-partisanship is very admirable, and much appreciated.

The themes of education and awareness were prominent during the evening ceremony as MP James Bezan, alongside representatives from the Canadian Friends of Ukraine, Canad Inns, and The League of Ukrainian Canadians, presented educational Holodomor materials; a Limited Edition Commemorative Stamp Collection, a commemorative historical film and a comprehensive collection of educational tools known as an “Exhibit in a Box,” respectively, to Ms. Lynn Brodie, Director General, Information and Document Services of the Library of Parliament so that future generations will never forget.

The evening’s most poignant moment came when Mrs. Halyna Zelem, a Holodomor survivor, who was only six years old at the time, shared her story. She spoke about her family’s struggles during the Famine/Genocide. Many in the audience were moved to tears as she recounted her story of how her father did all he could to provide for his family.

“He was taken away and we never heard from him again. We never learned what happened to him. He was labelled an enemy of the state. The only thing he was guilty of was providing for his family.”

MP Mark Warawa closed the evening with a statement of hope and a clear message to everyone:

“I am pleased the Library of Parliament now holds important Ukrainian educational material that will help Canadians and the world learn about Holodomor. I hope all countries join Canada in recognizing Holodomor as what it truly was—a genocide.

"Vichnaya Pamyat’ — in eternal memory to the Ukrainians who perished in the Holodomor.”

Holodomor bill introduced in British Columbia

BC is joining Quebec on the path to official recognition of the famine genocide in Ukraine of 1932-33 (Holodomor). Bills introducing legislation to do so passed first reading in both provinces yesterday.

News of the Quebec reading were reported yesterday and details of the bill can be found here.

Meanwhile, here in British Columbia, a delegation of 14 people watched as New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Whalley, Bruce Ralston, introduced Bill M207 in the legislature. The delegation included survivors, local community members, and a retired officer of the Ukrainian Armed Forces currently visiting BC.

Many thanks to MLA Bruce Ralston for his relentless support and efforts to have BC officially recognize and commemorate the Holodomor. He has been at it for some time, as this excerpt from Hansard demonstrates.

The legislation proposes that the fourth Saturday in November every year be commemorated as Holodomor Memorial Day in B.C. It also recognizes the survivors of Holodomor who moved to British Columbia and made a positive contribution to the province. (A draft transcript of Bill M207 can be found here.)

As mentioned in an earlier post, the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario have enacted legislation recognizing the Holodomor and honouring the survivors of this crime against humanity, as has the federal government.

Pictured here are representatives of BC's Ukrainian community present at the reading in support of Mr. Ralston in his efforts to promote Holodomor recognition and awareness, along with other MLAs.

L-R:Valentyna Kaspryk (survivor), Alexandra Ciacka (wife of survivor), Ludmilla Weaver, Robert Herchak, Myroslav Petriw (Secretary-Treasurer UCC-BC), MLA for Surrey-Whalley Bruce Ralston, Rev. Edward Kwiatkowski, MLA for West Kootenay Katrine Conroy, Roman Brunwald, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers Sue Hammel, MLA far Vancouver-Kensington Mable Elmore (not pictured - Ihor Stanley Osobik and Maria Pomircha) L-R: Mariika Pilip, Bohdan Fedorko, Ludmilla Weaver, Olga Zakhariw (survivor), Peter Zakhariw, Alexander Teliszewsky (visiting officer of Ukrainian Armed Forces ret.)

Photos courtesy Mirko Petriw.

Many thanks to the politicians in both provinces for introducing and supporting these bills. It is inspiring and encouraging to see them put aside their political rivalries from time to time and do the decent human thing together.

Thanks also to the local Canwest folks out east for reporting the story in Quebec, and to the Montreal Gazette for carrying it. Not surprisingly, our local BC media did not see fit to report on the reading here. Likewise it escaped the notice of the national media that two provinces introduced more or less identical legislation on the same day. I guess they do not consider it newsworthy when events and issues bring people together, as opposed to dividing them ... especially in the arena of partisan politics. Which is fine. Gives us citizen journalists an opportunity to hone our skills.

National Holodomor Awareness Week continues through November 29. You can find a list of commemorative events across the country here or visit the UCC website.

Ukraine Remembers – the World Acknowledges
Україна пам'ятає - Світ визнає

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holodomor bill being introduced in two provinces today

In BC's legislature, the MLA for Surrey-Whalley Bruce Ralston (NDP) is introducing legislation today that would recognize the “Holodomor,” the famine and genocide that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33.

His press release states that the Holodomor occurred during the period of forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, which is true. However, it is still not widely known that by 1932 collectivization was almost complete. So, like drought was cited used at the excuse for genocide before it was debunked, now collectivization has become it is a very handy red herring being used by die-hard deniers to downplay the genocidal nature of the Holodomor.

Nonetheless, this initiative is very welcome, and it is to be hoped that partisan politics do not get in the way of it passing.

The legislation proposes the fourth Saturday in November of each year as Holodomor Memorial Day in British Columbia to memorialize those who perished. The legislation also recognizes the survivors of Holodomor who moved to British Columbia and made a positive contribution to the province.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, Madam Louise Beaudoin, the MNA for Rosemount (PQ) is introducing a similar bill today as well. There, too, it is hoped that partisan politics will take a back seat to human compassion and decency while this bill is passed.

It is a matter of both pride and gratitude to note that Canada's federal government and four provincial governments (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario) have already passed Holodomor memorial bills.

I hope that BC and Quebec will join their ranks today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holodomor survivor wants monument in Vancouver

Nash Holos interview: November 23, 2008.

Anatoli Ciacka, President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, British Columbia Provincial Council/Vancouver Branch, recalls how the Holodomor affected him personally, and discusses his efforts to erect a Holodomor monument in Vancouver.

The interview aired a year ago, but is still relevant today. Click here to listen to the audio file.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

National Holodomor Awareness Week in Canada

This year, National Holodomor Awareness Week will be observed from November 23 - 29 across Canada.

Throughout this coming week, Canadians will unite in remembrance on the 76th anniversary of the Holodomor, the famine genocide in Ukraine from 1932-33.

Events across the country will commemorate one of history's most heinous crimes against humanity and honour its victims, who number in the millions. Lectures, film nights, discussions with survivors, and commemorative services will raise awareness of this horrific genocide against the Ukrainian people.

In Canada, communities will begin reading the names of Holodomor victims. A comprehensive list was published in 2008 by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor.

In Toronto, Hamilton and St. Catharines, Ontario, installations of black flags at prominent city locations will pay tribute to the millions of children, women and men who were victims of the Soviet regime's ruthless policy to eliminate a nation.

On November 24, a commemoration ceremony will be held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, sponsored by the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada and the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group.

On Friday, November 27, Holodomor Memorial Day will be marked in schools of the Toronto District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

Saturday, November 28 marks International Holodomor Memorial Day and Holodomor Memorial Day in Canada. On this Memorial Day, all Canadians are asked to honour the memory of the victims with a moment of silence at 9 a.m., and light a candle of remembrance in their homes.

On Sunday, November 29, memorial services will be conducted in churches across the country.

Canadians of all ethnic origins are invited to join the Ukrainian community in remembrance. The Committee for National Holodomor Awareness is coordinating these commemorative events. For more information visit the UCC website.

Ukraine Remembers – The World Acknowledges

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trip down memory lane: 1984

The quality is a little dicey but watching this video took me on a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Ron Cahute had hair, and the MC at this festival was my former co-host on Nash Holos from 1990-96, Bohdan Zajcew!

It was great fun watching this. Three fabulous songs ... enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Entertainment in Lviv

Where were these folks when I was in Ukraine???

I guess it's fair to say that there wasn't nearly enough time on the schedule to allow for finding treasures like this restaurant. Something for my next visit ... which I hope will be soon!

In the meantime, there's always this video to enjoy...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nash Holos Recipe: Fresh Mushroom Soup

This week’s recipe is Fresh Mushroom Soup. Judy tells me it’s a big seller at her restaurant, Prairie Cottage Perogies.

You can use any variety of cultivated mushrooms for this recipe, as long as they’re fresh. Or you could try a combination of cultivated and wild mushrooms from the supermarket.

Ukrainians are known for their love of mushrooms, especially wild ones. Some Ukrainians have an uncanny way of knowing exactly where, when, and how to pick the right ones in the wild. This knowledge is highly prized, as it goes beyond knowing the secret spots for the best mushrooms. It can be a matter of life and death, as some fatally toxic wild mushrooms closely resemble the edible varieties, and can fool any but the most experienced and knowledgeable mushroom pickers.

So whatever you do, please don’t set out on an expedition to pick wild mushrooms for this recipe unless you are an absolute expert at distinguishing edible from toxic varieties. And definitely DO NOT use magic mushrooms! Play it safe and visit your favourite supermarket or green grocer and stock up there.

Fresh Mushroom Soup

1 1/2 lbs fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 large potatoes, diced
1 small parsnip, sliced
1 medium turnip, diced
8 cups of water or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup whipping cream (optional)

Sauté the mushrooms and onions and butter. Cook until onions become soft.
Sprinkle with flour and mix.

Cook the other vegetables in water or stock until done. Add the mushroom-onion mixture, stirring while bringing to a boil.

Season to taste and continue to cook over medium heat for ten minutes. Add whipping cream and remove from heat. Puree soup if desired.

Serve with a rich brown bread for a nice hearty lunch. (Serves 8-10.)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Article of interest: Metaphors of betrayal

I would like to share with you a fascinating article by Mykola Ryabchuk, a political commentator who has been on several lecture tours in Canada and the US recently.

It's titled "Metaphors of betrayal." Mykola pretty much explains why east is east and west is west and why never the twain shall meet ... until the West starts to take an interest in the Rest of the world.

The lack of interest in Eastern Europe by North America and western Europe is rooted in the west's self-serving economic system ... and its utter obliviousness to the self-sabotage inherent in its cold and callous narcissism.

Even if the West undertakes no obligations vis-à-vis the Rest, the principles upon which it is built suggest some responsibility, writes Mykola Riabchuk. Ukrainians are particularly wary of the Realpolitik that dominates western dealings with Russia. Whatever one thinks about the "centuries old affinity" between Ukraine and Russia, any policy that downplays the issue of values is fundamentally flawed.

Full article here.
Mirko Petriw did a series of interviews with him on Nash Holos last year when Mykola was in Vancouver. They’re still up on the interviews page if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A timeless message for Remembrance Day

This message is from a few years ago.

It's by Fr. Bruce Power who hosted A Spiritual Moment on Nash Holos from 2006-2007. Listen to it here.

That year Nash Holos aired the day after Remembrance Day, but the Remembrance Day message still applies today ... and will continue to year after year.

Lest We Forget. ... Вічная Пам'ять!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prime Minister marks 20th anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall

On Monday November 9, 2009 Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended a commemoration ceremony marking the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

(Photo: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Ambassador Dr. Georg Witschel place a wreath in front of a section of the Berlin Wall at the Government Conference Centre to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Photo by Jason Ransom.)

The ceremony took place at the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa, where a piece of the Berlin Wall has been on public display since 1991. At the ceremony the Prime Minister announced that it will be moved to the Canadian War Museum where it will be available for public viewing.

For almost thirty years, the Berlin Wall separated East Germany from West Germany, a tangible symbol of the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. On November 9, 1989, the government of the former German Democratic Republic announced that travel restrictions had been lifted and that citizens could visit West Germany. In the following weeks and months, citizens began tearing down the concrete division and poured across the border, escaping Communism and finding freedom.

For Canada and its citizens (particularly those familiar with the atrocities committed in the name of communism), the fall of the Berlin Wall holds a special significance. It marked the culmination of forty years of foreign policy objectives pursued in partnership with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. It also reminds us that Canada has welcomed tens of thousands of newcomers fleeing communist regimes.

In 1991, Germany gave Canada an original piece of the Berlin Wall measuring approximately one metre wide and more than three metres high.

“I am pleased to announce that this section of the Berlin Wall will be relocated to the Canadian War Museum as an important relic of the Cold War,” said the Prime Minister. “There, it will honour the men and women of the Canadian Forces who served during that confrontation. It will also complement the memorial to the Victims of Totalitarian Communism, planned for the capital region by Tribute to Liberty.”

Two organizations – Tribute to Liberty and its partner the Open Book group – are proposing to erect a commemorative monument to honour the approximately 100 million lives lost under Communist regimes. According to the organizers, the design and construction of the monument is expected to begin in the fall of 2010 and an unveiling ceremony is scheduled for November 2011.

The monument would recognize the experience of the many Canadians who emigrated to escape these repressive regimes and pay tribute to Canadian ideals of liberty, freedom, democracy and human rights. The monument is to be entitled Memorial to the Victims of Totalitarian Communism – Canada, a Land of Refuge.

Incidentally, the "totalitarian" in the name of the memorial is a result of pressure from thin-skinned communists who are (still!) unwilling to acknowledge the atrocities committed in the name of their ideology. They couldn't exactly stop this memorial from being built... these days no one interested in avoiding ridicule dares deny the irrefuatable evidence of atrocities committed by soviet and other communists.

So they demanded that the word "communism" be removed ... ostensibly to make it "inclusive" of all oppressive regimes. (Nothing like detraction to obfuscate irrefutable facts, eh?)

And of course, as fond of political correctness as many of my fellow Canadians are, this worked. They succeeded at getting a qualifier in front of the name... "totalitarian."

Which is fine. The redundant qualifier will just serve as reinforcement of the reality of what communism is. After a close-up look at communism's legacy, it's not likely any intelligent person would regard communism as anything but totalitarian. So those communists with nefarious agendas (and their many useful idiots) will be hoist with their own petard. Good for them.

Congratulations and godspeed to the organizers of this monument. It is long overdue.

To support this noble effort, go here.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Nash Holos recipe: Keestu (Homemade Noodles)

When Judy shared this recipe on Nash Holos, I had a good laugh to hear that her mom said exactly the same things my mom said in certain circumstances. We were born in the same month and year (I'm younger by a few weeks) and are both from Winnipeg, but we first met here a few years ago. We discovered mutual friends "back home" but if our paths ever crossed in Winnipeg, it would have been as total strangers.

Yet, her story about her mom making noodles is so much like mine. Then again, whose mother never said to her kid: "Don’t eat raw dough, your stomach will stick together!" whenever said kid tried to sneak a hunk of it?

I must admit that raw keestu never appealed to me like it did to Judy. But cooked, now there's a different story. Yum!!

Here is Judy's mom's recipe for keestu:

2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons oil
4 eggs.

Combine all ingredients to make dough. If sticky, keep adding flour, until very stiff. (The stiffer the dough the better the noodles.)

Let dough rest for an hour. Roll out very thin ... 1/8 of an inch thick. Dry on paper for about an hour.

Lay dough on the table, lightly flour and roll up, then cut in half. Starting at one, end slice diagonally to make strips. Spread them out onto the table so they don't stick.

Bring a pot of water to boil. (Judy's mom would add chicken fat so it would not stick, but you can use oil instead.)

Add keestu to water and cook a few minutes ... until el dente.

Or let the noodles dry completely, then bag or put into a plastic container. But chances are they won’t last that long!


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Christmas Radio Greetings on Nash Holos

It’s that time again!

Businesses, professionals, community organizations and loyal listeners of Nash Holos are invited to send out Christmas greetings on programs airing from December 20, 2009 – January 17, 2010. There will be an extra week of Christmas programming this season, so your message can be heard on up to five programs.

You can either provide your own greeting or use the standard one. You can even voice your own greeting! Just let me know as soon as possible to make recording arrangements.

This coming year is particularly special. Vancouver will be in the world spotlight with the 2010 Winter Olympics happening shortly after the Ukrainian Christmas season ends.

As well, 2010 is a double milestone anniversary year for Ukrainian radio in BC. Nash Holos first went on the air on AM1470 in June of 1990 (20 years ago), and after a 4-year hiatus, returned to the airwaves on AM1320 CHMB in July of 2000 (10 years ago). Where did the time go??

I’d just like to take this time to thank those who have supported and patronized Nash Holos over the past two decades. And I hope you’ll continue to support Nash Holos into 2010.

There's a limited amount of time slots available for Christmas greetings, so it's first come, first served! You can download an order form with all the details here .

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Nash Holos Recipe: Khrustyky

This recipe is a family favorite of everyone I know, and Judy tells me she gets a lot of requests for it in her restaurant, Prairie Cottage Perogies.

These delectable dainties are usually made for special occasions, like Christmas, Easter, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers and funerals. They are so light that they melt in your mouth … and you almost feel like you’re eating nothing but getting a mouthful of flavour. Which is why you can never stop at eating just one!

They are called Khrustyky (or Nothings). For this recipe, you will need:

3 egg yolks plus 2 whole eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sweet cream or evaporated milk
½ half teaspoon vinegar.
1 cup oil or shortening (for frying)

Beat eggs and egg yolks thoroughly. Add all ingredients except the flour and beat again. Add 1 cup flour and stir. If necessary, add more flour, one teaspoon at a time. (Judy add 5-6 teaspoons).

Knead until smooth. Cover and let rest at least fifteen minutes.

On a board that has been lightly greased with oil, then wiped with a paper towel to remove excess oil, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick or thinner.

Slice rolled dough into long strips 1 ¼ inches wide. Slice diagonally the long strips into 2 ½ to 3 ½ inch long pieces.

At the middle of each piece, cut a one and half inch slit. Draw one end through the slit and fold it back. (It will look like a bow tie.)

Place each strip under a clean towel to prevent from drying out. Finish remaining strips.

Deep fry in oil or shortening until strips are golden brown, turning once. Watch carefully, as they fry very fast.

Drain on brown paper or paper towels. When cool dust with icing sugar.

These don't usually last very long on the counter, so be prepared to make many.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Trying to convince Microsoft to modernize its Ukrainian keyboard

Mirko Petriw, fellow author and occasional contributor to Nash Holos recently related to me that for the past couple of months, his website has been visited by IPs originating at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington (just outside of Seattle).

This started happening shortly after Ukrainian Day celebrations in Vancouver on September 12, which apparently attracted several visitors from Seattle's Ukrainian community. He speculates that at least one of them may work at Microsoft Corp (or knows someone who does).

Exactly why this sudden interest in his website is unclear, but he thought he'd take advantage of the situation.

As diaspora Ukrainians know all too well, the letter Ґ came under attack as part of the russification policy during the soviet times. This was a not-too-subtle attempt to demoralize Ukrainians and gradually destroy the language. The Ukrainian language has both a sound and a letter for Ґ (sounds like the English hard G) as well as for Г (sounds like the English H). The Russian language has only the Г which sounds like the English hard G.

Confusing, eh? As it was designed to be. And out of the confusion will emerge order, and according to Stalin's plan, Ukrainian would become more like Russian and eventually indistinguishable.

Of course, such a ridiculous plan was doomed to failure, and fail it did. The Ukrainian people adapted, they just used the letter Г for both sounds! Which is fine if you know both languages, and know the context when speaking Ukrainian.

But it leads to total silliness when translating into English, because you can get such gems as Al Hore (Gore) and Bill Hates (Gates). Mirko discusses this in his book Yaroslaw's Treasure so check it out for a good laugh.

During soviet times, then, the Ukrainian alphabet did not include the letter Ґ (since the soviets banned it) although of course diaspora Ukrainians hung on to it for dear life. For them, it remains a symbol of the Cold War, one the West was totally clueless about (and still is).

It really aggravates diaspora Ukrainians that this practice of interchanging the Ґ and the Г is still commonplace amongst Ukrainians in Ukraine (and recent immigrants). However, closer to home one of the more mundane annoyances is the Microsoft keyboard. It does allow one to type the letter Ґ in Ukrainian ... but provided you first tie your arms in a knot and do a backwards somersault mid-air (just about, anyway).

There is a very old font that has a nice phonetic keyboard containng the letter Ґ (where the English G resides) but unfortunately it's not being upgraded to keep up with the changes at Microsoft.

Which brings me back to Mirko. He decided to deal with this aggravation head on. He put up a message on his website to his anonymous visitors from Microsoft, asking them point blank to add the letter Ґ to Microsoft's Ukrainian keyboard layout!

Well, what the hey. No point beating around the bush when you have someone's attention.

You can see the message on the About page at his website. Time will tell if the Ukrainian brainiacs at Microsoft will comply, but it certainly was worth a try.

Tip of the hat to Mirko!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Zubrivka - great sound from Toronto

This song by Zubrivka opened the program last Sunday. Thought I'd share it again with you, this time with a video of them performing it live (courtesy Bill at UkeTube).

If you haven't got their CD Знову вдома (Home Again), you can order it through their MySpace site here. If you do have one, order a couple more ... Christmas is coming after all! :-)

Here they are singing Тече вода каламутна - Muddy Water's Flowing.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Podcast Round-up

If you ever wished for a "one-stop shop" where you could find links to a bunch of Ukrainian podcasts at one convenient location, your wish has come true.

My friend and fellow blogger Andrew at Ukrainian Canadian does a podcast roundup weekly, so check it out. This week's roundup (including Nash Holos) can be found here.

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