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Stats: 2,134,784 members, 4,632,734 topics. Date: Tuesday, 11 December 2018 at 03:18 AM
A Tribute To The Beautiful Itsekiris Of The Niger Delta / Igbele: Evil Forest Where Itsekiris Dump Corpses Of Witches, Wizards / Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. (2) (3) (4)
|The Itsekiris. by mohadana: 5:00pm On Jun 29, 2007|
Itsekiri came from Benin City about the middle of the 15th Century, under the leadership of (Ginuwa) a son of the reigning Oba of Benin called Olua, Oginuwa died at Ijalla and was buried there. The Itsekiri called the place "Eri-Olu Itsekiri," or "Itsekiri's Royal Grave." The 'Aramula' oracle was consulted as to the best land in which to settle. One Idibie, who was priest to the oracle, hurled a harpoon into the river and Speared a large fish, which he followed by means of the float attached to the harpoon to Ode Itsekiri or Iwerri, which is now known as Big Warri" And of them an Asst. District Officer R.B. Kerr in his own report(2) in 1931 wrote:"The Itsekiris are a sub-tribe of the Yoruba tribe. It is said that their leader was one OGINUWA, a favourite son of the Oba who had him put into a magic box and conveyed in this fashion accompanied by seventy sons of Benin Chiefs to found a new and mystical Kingdom which is today the Warri Kingdom."The Itsekiri homeland with an estimated ltsekiri population of about 270,000 is traditionally known as Iwere, and the people themselves are called Itsekiri. How have they come about these names, and what are the myths about them? Ijijen, the first son of Ginuwa, and who became the Second Olu of the Kingdom, was given a royal welcome at Ode-ltsekiri: Egert Omoneukarin has given this account(3):"Before this stage however, Ijijen has already sighted a very large area of land with grown up leafs (sic leaves) which he identified as "EWERE-LEAFS"This leaf signifies "goodluck and peace" in Edo land. Knowing the importance of this leaf and its ceremonial significant in Benin Kingdom, he drew his host (sic host's) attention to his discovery……… Itsekiriene (the host) was compelled to Christian (sic christen) the land IWERE Another account(4)on the origin of Iwere says that"the purported blessing of Okhienwere by the Oba and his Chiefs (upon) the travelling royal team, when they were leaving the Kingdom, was continuously used by the group in wishing their leaders well as they journeyed On (through the Sea Kingdom)…… Iwere (is a) mispronunciation (of Okhienwere) a word of Edo language."Whichever is the source of the word, these myths are so strong in ltsekiri-land that one tends to believe one or the other.In several waves of migration before the 15th Century, and some a little later, groups from Igala in Nupe country came in through the creeks; Yoruba from ljebu-Ode, Akure and Owo found their way into parts of the Kingdom and a group from Aboh also came in. Some along the coast came in through Gulani/Amatu. No wonder the historian John Sagay(5) says "that the people who constitute. the tribe called ltsekiri have diverse origins". And Stride and ifeka(6) say that "the ltsekiri are probably a mixture of several people …… And in my book(7) published early this year; I have said."Before long this hotch-potch of several peoples from Ode, the coast via Arnatu or Gulani Aboh, Akure and Owo, Igala in Nupe country and Benin welded into a coherent ethnic group which is today called ltsekiri. They synthesized a Yoruba dialect whose vocabulary today has been widened by the infusion of a large number of Portuguese, English and Bini words." Prof.P.C. Lloyd( has said of them; "The ltsekiri call themselves ltsekiri or Iwere, and the Yoruba and Edo use the same names; the Urhobo call them Irhobo, a term sometimes said to mean ‘those floating on water’, the Ijaw call them Selemo. In the English literature they are known as Warri or Jekri, though in the 19th century, they were often referred to as Benin, since contact with them was first made on the banks of the Benin River"And according to Prof. Obaro Ikime(9) " Warri, the name of the modern township is clearly a corruption of the name Iwere which the Itsekiri sometimes use to refer to themselves or their capital, Ode-Itsekiri," The African Encyclopaedia(10) says: "The Itsekiri people live on the Western edge of the Niger Delta in the Midwest State of Nigeria……… The largest town of their area is Warri which has become an important center of Nigerian’s petroleum industry. The Itsekiri language is closely related to Yoruba."So far, no doubt we have seen that the Itsekiri people, also known as Iwere, call their homeland Warri, a corruption of Iwere. P. C. Lloyd(11) has said:"Warri and Itsekiri have been spelt in many different though recognizable ways by European writers, e.g. Oere, Ouere, Awerri, Owerri, Jekri, Jakri".
A captain John Adam(12) probably early in the last century spelt it Warre; Consul John Beecroft in the 1850’s wrote Wari; Consul Richard Burton in 1862 spelt it Wari. It was Vice Consul Captain Gallwey who at the end of the 19th century introduced the variant Warri, which has stuck till today.
I have always appreciated Prof. Lloyd’s description(13) of Itsekiri homeland which says:"The administrative unit known as Warri Division (now, Warri Local Government Area) of Delta Province whose area is 1520 Square miles, is approximately co-terminus with the territory of the Itsekiri ……"This homeland of theirs they romanticise as Warri Kingdom.The Itsekiri homeland is bounded approximately by lat.5deg 20min and 6deg N and long, 5deg 5min and 5deg 40min E.ITSEKIRI SOCIETYNow we have known the ltsekiri people and their homeland i.e. Warri Kingdom. It is now time to say something about the structure of their society over the centuries. Historically, the ltsekiri have a monarchy, over 500 years old, and which, as a rallying point in their society, remains its supreme government. From 1480 to now, there have reigned 19 Olus: five Olus of the pre-Christian era; 1480 - 1597: eight Roman Catholic Olus from 1597-1735, and six Olus of the post-Roman Catholic Christian era. Atuwatse I, baptised as Dom Domingo. reigned between 1625 and 1643, having studied in Coimbra University in Portugal for eleven years where he obtained a degree. It may interest you to learn that the first-ever church monastery built in what today is Nigeria was erected in Big Warri (Ode-ltsekiri) before 1700 and was christened Saint Anthony (Today, the site is known as Satone).Traditionally, the ltsekiri are fishermen and traders. In the 16th -19th Centuries they acted as middlemen to carry trade between Europeans at the coast and the peoples. further inland. Prof. lkime (14)says of this state of affairs:"The promotion of economic activity thus became a major pre-occupation of the ltsekiri monarch from the 16th Century, The Europeans tended to go to areas which had a political system that could guarantee peaceful trade. Hence Benin, the States of the Eastern Delta and Itsekiriland in the Western Delta. In other words, the fact that there existed a kingdom was important in the decision of the Europeans to do business with the ltsekiri".And the African Encyclopaedia (15) states as follows:"In the 17th-19th centuries they (Itsekiri) acted as 'middlemen' to carry trade between Europeans at the coast and the peoples further inland"According to Sir Alan Burns(16), the distinguished administrator and historian the account is:The Itsekiris were formerly important as middlemen between the early European traders and the inhabitants of the hinterland".And in a booklet by Nigeria Magazine (l7) it is written:
"the Itsekiri tribe of the Delta area, has always been a unique tribe………They were among the first to have contact with the Portuguese traders in the 16th Century
LIFE IN PRE-COLONIAL ERA
At this point, it may now be instructive to give you some perspectives into the typical pre-colonial ltsekiri community life. First, let us see the image of the Olu of Warri at the turn of the 18th Century, i.e. about 200 years ago. A British Captain John Adams who paid a courtesy call on an Olu of Warri then wrote in his report(18)."We arrived at Warre about Five O'clock the following day. After passing through five or six apartments of various forms and sizes we were ushered into the audience chamber where we found his stable majesty fully prepared for the occasion, A boy was holding a pink umbrella over his head and another was brushing off flies with an elephant's tail. To our surprise, we found the King rigged in European style"Then let us see a typical Itsekiri town, i.e. Ebrohimi, before its destruction by the British during the Nanna War of 1894. Captain Alan Biosragon (19), one of the two survivors of the Benin Massacre, who had known Ebrohimi well wrote in his book:"………Brohoemi (Ebrohimi), made by (Nanna's) father Alluma (Olomu) was a most wonderful sight, the ground on which the greater part of it was built having been reclaimed from the mangrove swamp by millions of canoe - loads of sand poured on it. The whole place was kept extremely clean, and the houses built in streets running at right angles to the main road, broad as Piccadilly (in Westend London) which connected Nanna's own part of the town with his father's which lay some half-mile distant".But this beautiful city was burned down during the British expedition against Nanna in 1894. An insight may be gained into the enormous wealth of this typical Itsekiri town of Ebrohimi in the mid -19th Century from the little that was salvaged from Nanna's treasures which today form the collections of the National Antiquities housed in Nanna's Palace in Koko. Much still remains to be done to attract people to this place as a tourist centre. Not only was Ebrohimi was so beautiful. Jakpa, Bateren, Bobi, Deghele and Ode-Itsekiri. the Olu's seat, were all said to be beautiful. Captain Adams (20) about the close of the 18th Century wrote of Ode-ltsekiri in these words:
"This town is situated on a beautiful island, about five miles in circumference", "and (Ode-Itsekiri) might(2l) have fallen from the clouds in the midst of a desert - for it is a little elevated above the surrounding country, is well cultivated and has much appearance of an extensive park. The substratum of the island is composed of a tenacious red clay, from which the inhabitants manufacture jars for holding water, and utensils of various forms for domestic purposes. The capital of Warri is divided into two towns, distant from each other half a mile. The most populous one is that in which the King resides, and the combined population amounts probably to 5,000 souls". However Landolphe(22) had earlier, about 1770-90, suggested a population of 12,O00-15,000.
WARRI TOWNSHIP:WARRI TOWNSHIP:
Now let us consider the development and growth of Warri City, the centre of today's oil industry in the Delta. In the centuries under review, the trade in Itsekiriland grew extensively and Big Warri (Ode ltsekiri) as capital, remained its focal point. As time went on the expanding trade in Itsekiriland ,spilled over to the mainland - "New Warri" (a British name). Then from 1900 on-wards most parts of "New Warn" were formally acquired by the British on a 99~year lease from Chiefs Dore and Ogbe as Olu's representative (there was an interregnum then). Thereafter the new town was laid out and developed, and became the headquarters of the Old Warri province. Following this development new patterns of trade, transportation, communication and public institutions emerged within and around "New Warri", and the need arose for the ltsekiri people to re-order their way of life to suit the new dispensation. For example, it became necessary for the Olu thereafter to maintain palaces both at Big Warri (Ode ltsekiri) and "New Warri " (Warri township).The Niger Coast Protectorate in its report(23) dated 19th August 1894 on the Consulates said of Warri as follows:"Warri, a trading settlement of considerable importance, is situated some 40 miles up the Forcado River……… Warri itself is the ancient chief town of the Jekri people (the middlemen and traders of this part of the Protectorate)……… The town of Warri itself is the usual collection of native huts, but is held in considerable veneration by the Jekri people, "No wonder, the first Warri Native Council set up by the British in 1896 had fifteen ltsekiri of its sixteen members. The sixteenth member was an ljaw. And it couldn't be a coincidence that all the eight Warri-based Warrant Chiefs in 1896 were ltsekiri. And when Sir Claude Macdonald, the Consul-General visited Warri on August 19, 1891 he reported (24) "that the chiefs of Warri were ltsekiri who were under Nana the great middlemen Chief of Benin (River)".
Up to this point, we have examined the origin of the ltsekiri people; we have considered their homeland; we have studied the outline of their system of monarchy and looked at their traditional life pattern. Then we briefly have to look at the cultural and economic life in Itsekiriland.
Considering culture as the sum - total of a people's relationship with their environment, we would find the field too wide to discuss in this short address. In which case we would need to examine the language, the music, poetry and costume of the Itsekiri to their occupation,religion and what have you. However, it would suffice for our purpose here to say that the ltsekiri are a highly cultured people. Over the centuries they had impressive trade and cultural links with different peoples and these ties have broadened and enriched their own cultural life.Their early contacts with medieval Europe, especially Portugal, helped to foster a conservative Christian education and civilisation in Itsekiriland and the people remain proud of this historical circumstance. ltsekiri words such as oro, sangi, garafa, kidibe etc are derived from Portuguese as are torosi, tapita, woske etc from English. The ltsekiri royalty's affinity with Bini is another area of their cultural life: chieftaincy titles, funeral dirges, royal terms such as Ada, Omada, Daiken, Uselu etc carry' almost the same connotations among the Itsekiri. The famous Imaba dance of the Uwangue dynasty in Jakpa to all intents and purposes is a derivative of the Ugho royal dance in Benin.In the old ltsekiri perception the Ijaw possessed machismo and martial virility and were adventurous. Hence by and large ltsekiri noblemen of old delighted in deriving and adapting their sobriquets/appellations from Ijaw phrases or sentences e.g. Akaliparalogbe (never do you have two moons) Deideikumo (all. shut up). Amakimi (we have the land) Ojiguoguoseiname - (No one querries the damage done by waves or storms). And Ijaw songs are used in Itsekiriland; some Urhobo names for food items are used by the ltsekiri. Urhobo adopt ltsekiri names and some of their towns bear names of ltsekiri towns or villages. e.g. Deghele in Ukpe and Idimi Jakpa in Effurun.There is no denying the fact that the Nigerian women’s dress popularly known as George and blouse identified with the Delta in Bendel State had its origin in Itsekiriland.So too for the men's Kemije (Camisa in Portuguese) and the pleated wrapper. Until comparatively recently ltsekiri as a language was the lingua franca that was used by all Urhobo, ltsekiri and Ijaw - in the Warri area. In fact up to the 1940's, anybody in Warri area, stranger or not, learned to speak Itsekiri, dressed the Itsekiri way and even boreItsekiri names.
All that is being put across here is that Itsekiri, as middlemen in the foreign trade between Europeans and the hinterland peoples between the 16th and 19th centuries, imbibed the cross-fertilisation of cultures of the peoples that participated in the trade. It enriched and broadened their own cultural base which they claim has made them not only a role model but also a decent, peace-loving and disciplined ethnic group in our polity.
Name Abbreviation Gender Meaning
Ajemigbitse Ogbitse Unisex Give me the blessing
Abidemi Unisex A child born before either the father or grandparents arrive
Alero Female First-born female child
Ama or Amaju Unisex We do not know more than God
Besida Female As destiny decides/dictates
Omasan Unisex Child is good
Bemigho Unisex Lord watch over him/her for me
Gbubemi Unisex God answered my prayer
Onetoritsebawoete Bawo or Ete Unisex Whom the Lord is with cannot be put to shame
Oti or Timeyin Unisex The lord is behind me or the lord has my back
Oritseweyinmi Weyinmi Unisex The lord is with me
Oritsejolomi Jolomi Unisex The lord has fixed me
Oritsematosan Tosan Unisex God knows best
Tuoyo Unisex This is enough for joy
Mogbeyi Unisex I will take this (child) for now
Mofe Unisex This is my desire
Misan Female My head is good
Tofe Female What the lord desires
Toju Unisex God's (will) is supreme
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|Re: The Itsekiris. by ebeledi(m): 8:35pm On Jun 29, 2007|
why not give us the history of the ijaw
|Re: The Itsekiris. by ziddy(m): 11:33am On Jun 30, 2007|
mohadana's pearls cast before swine
|Re: The Itsekiris. by mohadana: 3:14pm On Jun 30, 2007|
;d ;d ;d
|Re: The Itsekiris. by DereI(f): 2:25pm On Aug 22, 2007|
ANCESTRAL HOMELAND OF THE ITSEKIRIS
History has it that, IGINUA (GINUWA) the ancestor of the ITSEKIRIS was a disowned son of Oba Olua of Benin. As a result, in 1480 Iginua was sent away from his home in Benin City and wandered to an unspecified location in the swampy forest regions around the Benin River. By a stroke of fate, he was picked up by the Ijaws of that region in their evil-forest referred to as 'SEIKIRI'. The Ijaws, in their usual act of kindness provided transportation to Iginua and his entourage, numbering about seventy people, all men, across the river to the Ijaws homeland of AMATU. This is the settlement were Iginua and his entourage underwent their first rehabilitation.
This view is supported by the account given by a British national and former professor of history at the University of Ibadan, Professor Allan Ryder, in his book titled "BENIN AND THE EUROPEANS 1485 - 1897". Chapter one, page 13 of the book reads, "Tradition relates that OLUA'S eldest son, IGINUA, became extremely unpopular in Benin where it was made clear that he would not be accepted as Oba. His father therefore…. sent him off…. into the swamp forest around the Benin River. Around this wandering band formed the embryonic Itsekiri Kingdom…". Note the reference is to Itsekiri Kingdom and not Warri Kingdom. In yet, another book titled "HISTORY OF THE ITSEKIRI" written by a renowned Itsekiri historian, William A. Moore, came more revelations. He wrote, "Prior to the advent of the Benin Prince Iginua, the territory now known as the Kingdom of ITSEKIRI or IWERE, was inhabited by three tribes, namely, Ijaws, Sobos and the Mahims. The most populous among them were the Sobos. They (Sobos) occupied the hinterland while the Ijaws occupied the coastline and the Mahims squatted on the seashore near the Benin River…. Prince Ginuwa first landed at Amatu where he squatted for about three decades. He moved to Oruselemo where he married an Ijaw woman named Derumo. After several years stay at Oruselemo, a dispute arose between him and the Ijaws of Gulani (Ogulagha) on account of the woman, Derumo who was killed by him…, He therefore moved to Ijala where he later died and Ijijen (Ijeyem), his senior son took his place. Hence Ijala is held to be the Olu's burial ground by the Itsekiri. Ijijen led the entourage from Ijala to Iwere or Ale-ode-Itsekiri…." The settlement at Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral homeland of Itsekiris occurred at about 1520AD.
IGINUA and his entourage haven been picked up in that portion of the forest known to the Ijaws as 'evil-land' were aptly named by the Ijaws as "SEIKIRI-OTU", meaning people from the 'evil-land'. 'SEI', in Ijaw language means 'EVIL', 'KIRI' means LAND, while OTU means PEOPLE. Similar Ijaw compound words that are descriptive of land that, some of the readers would recognize are; AMAKIRI, BOROKIRI, TORUKIRI, TARAKIRI, DAUKIRI etc. With the passage of time, SEIKIRI-OTU became adulterated to ITSEKIRI by the non-indigenes, but the Ijaws to-date, still maintain the usage of SEIKIRI-OTU in reference to the descendants of IGINUA. Thus, ITSEKIRI, is not a derivative of either an Edo(Bini) or Yoruba language, but of an Ijaw word that underwent an innocent transformation.
It is a sad commentary that, today the descendants of Iginua are claiming ownership of the territories of their benefactors with utter disregard to the magnanimity of their hosts. How ungrateful or low could one get? We would like to remind these descendants that "those whose palm kernels were broken for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble." History surely will not forgive them, should they continue in their path of self-aggrandizement.
PS: My name is Miss Oritsedere meaning "God Decided". AM an Itsekiri too
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|Re: The Itsekiris. by amarula(f): 3:40pm On Sep 13, 2008|
i really want 2 learn the itsekiri language,can d itsekiris in the house help me out
|Re: The Itsekiris. by tpia: 10:35pm On Sep 14, 2008|
|Re: The Itsekiris. by Ibime(m): 11:22pm On Sep 14, 2008|
Don't mention it . . . . you know the Ijaws took in a lot of tribes fleeing from the wars and strife in Benin . . . because we were the first people to flee from Benin. . .
Traditional history maintains that at a point in time a common language existed between, not only the Ijos and Urhobos, but also the Benis (Benin Kingdom of the 1st Ogiso period). This language was a proto-Ijo
language, which is now only spoken by the Ijos.
|Re: The Itsekiris. by elsie2(f): 5:09am On Sep 16, 2008|
My mum is Itsekiri and i speak a bit, what would you like to know?
happy to help
|Re: The Itsekiris. by amarula(f): 5:40pm On Sep 16, 2008|
@elsie, i want to learn everything but greetins 2 stat with. wen do we stat our lessons?
|Re: The Itsekiris. by ifyalways(f): 1:52am On Sep 18, 2008|
One of my grannies is Itsekiri.By God,those ppl sabi cook better food oooo
egusi peppersoup,banga and starch,kpo-kpo garri and fish etc
|Re: The Itsekiris. by amarula(f): 12:32pm On Sep 20, 2008|
thnks, pls keep them coming
|Re: The Itsekiris. by ifyalways(f): 8:42pm On Sep 20, 2008|
@ amarula u are welcome babes.sadly, i cant remember more now Unless i take some banga and starch
watch out,i wud be back with a bang soonest !
|Re: The Itsekiris. by amarula(f): 2:03pm On Sep 26, 2008|
|Re: The Itsekiris. by ifyalways(f): 9:08pm On Sep 26, 2008|
@Amarula,practice makes perfect.start speaking Itsekiri now.say "doo" instead of hello
am yet to get more words
|Re: The Itsekiris. by elsie2(f): 2:40am On Oct 03, 2008|
Sorry ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! i have been so busy and forgot all about the thread, only just saw it again . Please dont be offended.
OK lets start (Please make allowances for my itsekiri spelling)
Yesterday is Ola (opposite of the yoruba)
Today: Is Onuwey
2morow is Ejuma
The day after 2morow is Otola
This is harder than i thought!!!
|Re: The Itsekiris. by ezeagu(m): 5:06pm On Oct 05, 2008|
It 's the Itsekiri not Itsekiri[b]s[/b]
|Re: The Itsekiris. by amarula(f): 4:04pm On Oct 06, 2008|
@ifyalways and elsie2 u girls r great
|Re: The Itsekiris. by ifyalways(f): 4:52pm On Oct 06, 2008|
i dont know much,Elsie is da bomb
kpele kpele= take it easy !
|Re: The Itsekiris. by udezue(m): 5:14am On Oct 16, 2008|
I have an Itsekiri friend. The language is almost Yoruba to me. Too damn similar for anyone to say that they have no relationship with the Yorubas.
I see more Yoruba in Itsekiri than any mentioned group.
but oh well I'm not Itsekiri but I'm intelligent enough to make my observations. FACTS OR OPINIONS
|Re: The Itsekiris. by amarula(f): 3:43pm On Oct 30, 2008|
elsie2 and ifyalways hav u girls 4gtn me
|Re: The Itsekiris. by arramyjay: 12:44pm On Oct 31, 2008|
|Re: The Itsekiris. by elsie2(f): 1:04am On Nov 14, 2008|
Sorry oh, once again abeg no vex. I keep having to apologise!!. I am very busy at the moment so please please bear with me.
Not sure where to go next next in terms of our lessons, numbers?
Please Please pardon the spellings,
|Re: The Itsekiris. by DereI(f): 4:37pm On Nov 15, 2008|
My dad is an itsekiri while my mum is a yoruba but yet i cant speak both languages. I can only speak igbo and hear ibibio and a little bit of yoruba. Isnt that embarrasing?
|Re: The Itsekiris. by asha80(m): 5:45pm On Nov 15, 2008|
where did you grow up?
|Re: The Itsekiris. by chukwu25(m): 7:17pm On Nov 18, 2008|
@ the poster
Nice historical work but what did he do to be exiled.
|Re: The Itsekiris. by chukwu25(m): 7:22pm On Nov 18, 2008|
@ the poster
Nice historical work but what did he do to be exiled.
|Re: The Itsekiris. by tpia: 10:53pm On Nov 18, 2008|
|Re: The Itsekiris. by osisi6(f): 12:18am On Nov 19, 2008|
That's strange but then I can understand.Most likely your dad doesn't speak Yoruba and mom can't speak Itsekiri and you grew up in Igboland and cross river area.
Were your folks Police officers?
There was a kid in my primary school at Enugu in the same situation.
|Re: The Itsekiris. by Naijadrum(m): 4:29pm On Jan 20, 2009|
@Dere. I am surprised at your selective memory of the Warri Kingdom, is it not amasing how the Itsekiri language does not bear any resemblance to the Ijaw language, ? Does that not mean anything to you ? Rehabilitated by the Ijaws indeed !!! You no be Itseke , I can see from your last comment !!!
Abeg Amarula continue your classes joo. You'll love the language.
Ifyalways and Elsie2 God bless you both. Please keep it coming for Amarula.
|Re: The Itsekiris. by amarula(f): 3:10pm On Feb 19, 2009|
ifyalways and elsie2 u girls hav abandoned me in my quest 2 spik itshekiri abi
|Re: The Itsekiris. by comfort3: 7:49pm On Feb 23, 2009|
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