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  Creative Nonfiction

The Silent Piano

By Michael, 11, Santa Ana, CA. USA

Piano with no music, a broken arm is why, this piano has no music, no birth, no death, no day.
This piano has no soul, no burn, no passion, because of a broken arm.
I don't know what to do, all there is is havoc, a broken arm is why.
All I hear is silence, I hear nothing more, because of a fractured arm.
(July 2004)

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The gift

By Pratyusha, 10, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

It was the week before my birthday. I was very excited. I sat glued to my chair, trying to pay attention to my teacher, but my thoughts kept wandering. I thought about the wonderful treats covered with colourful wrapping papers I would receive on my special day. I smiled to myself and at the same time mentally reproved myself for being so greedy. Finally, the bell rang.The teacher announced "Class dismissed,". I left the classroom and proceeded to board the bus home.

Soon the bus reached my stop home and I alighted from it and headed towards my house. Reaching the door I rang the bell. No one answered. Growing impatient, I tried again. At last, the door opened. My aunt stood before me. Surprised, I questioned her presence. She explained that my pregnant mother had given birth while I was in school. I slowly absorbed the news. A mixture of excitement and fear came over me. In a daze, I hurriedly changed and ate lunch. Then, I rushed to the hospital along with my aunt.

In the hospital I saw my mother lying on a bed. She looked exhausted but delighted as well. Beside her lay a tiny baby, my sister. I gazed at her for a long time. My aunt ushered me out of the room after a while. She said that we had to go home. She chatted away during the ride home but I remained silent. After we reached the house she asked me how I found my sister. I broke into a smile and whispered "She's superb!".

A few days later, I had my birthday party. As I had predicted I did have numerous beautiful gifts. After they had all been opened my friend asked me which gift I liked the best. Without hesitating, I replied that it was my new sister. Now a few years have passed from the incident but my answer remains true. My sister is the best gift I have ever received. (June 2004)

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By Jo, 11, Canada

My friend Christopher had a brain tumor - it started last year Jan. 2003.
He went into chemo treatments and our class said the rosary for him every day. He started getting better.
Then in September they found another tumor.
Our principal came in and said that it was time for him to go and we should give up hope and stuff.
Then myself and a whole bunch of friends went and cried in the bathroom. I was so glad I had my friends with me. Then a week later I moved. 19 days later he died. On my best guy-friends birthday.
I went to his funeral and I saw his parents crying so much like I felt numb. I didn't cry cause there was no one to cry with. I just want him to know that I miss him very much and I wish he was here, and open those gates for me when it's my turn, I love you Chris.

Who would of thought a 11 year old boy?
I miss you Chris and I want you to be watching over me.
(May 2004)

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By Jeremy, 16, Newark, UK

A voice. Lonely at first it sings to itself. Simple beauty, uncomplicated and elegant. A second joins it, and together they follow, one after the other, both different and the same, complimenting the other perfectly in harmonious accord. A third and a fourth also join, leading and following are all the same, repeating what was said before intertwining with what has still to be sung.

Simplicity is their song and beauty their music.

The first begins again a new song, even as the others continue with repeated continuation of what has gone before. And soon after this new song is joined again by the second, then the third and the fourth, once again in repetition of the same, but different to the ear each one in itself a separate within the whole.

Simplicity is their song and beauty their music.

And once more the song has changed, always lead by the first and followed by the others, like river flowing, but changing and moving also. There is a difference now, as the first elaborates on the common theme, melding over the simple beauty of the others, becoming more complex and then again simplifying back as the others in turn take up this new song.

Simplicity is their song and beauty their music.

Faster goes the first and then the second, the third and the fourth also, up and up into spiralling and intertwining ribbons joining and separating with one another like the branches of a tree, the vines on a wall, the rushes by a stream: made of the same but all different and unique as long as each of them lasts. Further and higher they climb, until it seems like there will be no end, glorying in each other and themselves as if time and space had no meaning.

Though simplicity is gone, beauty remains as ever their music.

There is no higher place than this, no further distance that can be explored, and slowly the voices drift down upon what has gone before, never going too far, once and again returning to the pinnacle one last time until all their energies are spent, and there is no other course to follow, they intertwine more closely. Down further and nearer the beginning there is a recurrence of the first song, the same and yet changed again, slowing and growing in regal monumentality until finally there is an end. Such an end as to be fitting of what has gone before. And then a science.

Beauty was their song and beauty their music forever.
(August 2004)

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Rosewood and Jasmine

By Naomi, 10, Perth, Australia,

I'm walking through a forest of pine and redwood. It is dark and cool, and silent, but not eerie. Jasmine, lavender and roses grow tall and wildly majestic around me, their smells wafting through the air and mixing the the scent of pine. Little jitters and shakes in the branches give away the presence of birds and squirrels. An everlasting calm has come over me. If I were to hold the golden net of time, this is the moment I would want to catch.
The dull "crunch, crunch, crunch" of the pine needles under my bare feet seem distant as I stare into the welcoming darkness. Flowers, plants, trees and rocks are all around me, like peaceful, protective guardians. This is a wild wood, a forest of magic and longing. It holds secrets unknown to time, deep wells of magic that have been silently weaving their charm for many years. I want to stay here forever, in this pocket world of coolness and tranquility, of beautiful smells and wonderous hidden secrets, all of Rosewood and Jasmine.
(May 2004)

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By Tyler, 12, Michigan, USA

Some say life is hard
And some say life is just a dream
But all together
life is life and there's nowhere to escape
Most are wealthy and have big houses
Some look in dumpsters to find blouses
Lots of kids grow up on streets of neighborhoods
that people don't even want look at
let alone live on
Teenagers buy and sell drugs
and their parents kick them out
then they live in boxes... alone nowhere to be found
no one loves them not even their siblings
but they looked up to their big brother or sister
and someday they might be in the same position as that brother or sister
so remember some say life is hard
But you can choose your life and the path you take and you don't have to be that person living in that box in the middle of nowhere
(May 2004)

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Morning Mayhem

By Zack, 14, Rockville, MD, USA

It is 6:15 and I feel a large something on my stomach…woof, woof, “Arggh.” I moan. I am being licked to death.
“Get off me,” I shout, “get off.” I try to roll over but I can’t. Dumb dog. I just go back to sleep.
Then I hear some noise from the radio. I am not quite sure what the sound is. Darn alarm clock. Why now? Why me? I pound the alarm clock, but with no success. The alarm is still blaring. I sit up and throw my alarm clock across the room.
Finally I get out of bed and lumber into the bathroom, turn on the shower and stumble into it. Once in, I stand there for a while to wake up. I get out, dry off and put my clothes on.
I go downstairs grasping the railing for support. When I get to the kitchen, I grab a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. Once I finish with that I put my backpack together. Now it is time to rush my sister for about 10 minutes.
Time for school.
(March 2004)

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My Secret Way of Traveling*

By Kathy, 9, Surrey, B.C., Canada

Have you ever dreamed of going to the ancient times? I have. And one day my dream did come true. I would like to share some of my thoughts about the many great times I had.
My favorite trip is to Ancient Egypt to see the great pyramid of Giza. It is the one and only Wonder that is still standing. It is also the oldest.
You won’t believe what I saw and what I did! I saw ten people pulling 1 huge stone brick up the spiral ramp of the pyramid. The ramp was covered with mud so it would be easy to push and pull in to place. All the people seemed so tired. I decided to help. And it was not a good idea. By the time I had finished, I was covered in mud and stressed out. But I was proud, for one of the bricks on the pyramid might just be the one I helped put on.
When the pyramid was built, it was 481 feet high and 751 ft in length! The most fascinating fact was that it took a 20-year period to finish!
After my visit to the pyramid, I decided to explore more about a mysterious island that I had passed while on my way to Giza. As I was rowing my boat towards the island, an amazing light high up in the sky attracted my attention. I was very curious, so I paddled faster than ever and finally I was there. The amazing light was actually Pharos, the first lighthouse finished in 250 B.C. in Alexandria. Since I saw a doorway under the lighthouse I decided to go in. Once I was in, I met Pliny the Elder who told me a lot of things about the lighthouse. He said that the reefs around Alexandria’s harbor made it dangerous for ships to navigate. So this gigantic tower was built to serve as a lighthouse. At the top of the tower there was a mirror that reflected sunlight during the day while fire was used during the night. He also said that there was a legend that says that the mirror was also used to sense and smolder enemy ships before they could reach the harbor! That was interesting. I thanked him and went out of the famous lighthouse of Alexandria.
Do you like my trips to Ancient Egypt? If you do you’ll also enjoy my trip to the hanging gardens of Babylon, the most beautiful place I have ever been to.
The moment I got to Babylon my eyes were dazzled by all kinds of flowers hanging from the palace terraces, and waterfalls going through the gardens. Can you already see how it looked like? There I sat on a seat and watched the garden like world around me. Then I had a wonderful stroll on the slanting hills admiring densely planted trees. Surprisingly the garden might have only existed in the Greek poet’s mind to please King Nebechadnezzar’s wife! This trip is a trip I would never forget.
I plan to go and see the other wonders in the ancient world and discover more facts. Do you want to go? Do you know how I got there? I didn’t go by airplane, train or boat. I went by using my imagination and the help of a book!
Editor's Award Winner for March 2004

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The truth about me

By Louise, 18, Doncaster, UK

This is a poem that I wrote to tell everyone the truth about me. Even though, I smile on the outside, my inside is just a jumble of emotions all fighting each other, trying to emerge stronger than the rest.

As I look through my window this morning
I see
Children going astray
And I walk through the fields of deception
I ask
Why does my life feel like clay?
Cold as ice, my skin's like an ocean
Colours that darken the day
If you look into my eyes
You'll see shadows dancing
Dance along with them
If you look into my eyes
You'll see rivers that drown them
Wipe them dry for me
I look on my life as you had left it
A paranoid pit of despair
I write these feelings down on paper
Cause I see no other way
My life is an ocean of nightmares
I am
Confused as of which way to turn
The figure whom I used to talk to
Felt the
Need to leave me alone
One on my own
I want to swim away from this
Turn my life from angst to bliss
Find my feet through consciousness
And crawl

I was bullied for 5 years at high school, and, as a result, became isolated, paranoid and self conscious.
(February 2004)

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Up In and Under the Night Sky

By Kyzia, 13, Texas, USA

Up in the night sky the stars dance. Up in the night sky the moon tells the sun to move on to his next place. Under the night sky the baby animals cuddle under their mother's warm bodies. Under the night sky the trees sway gracefully in the cool breeze. Under the night sky we sleep like babies. Under the night sky everyone is as quiet as they can be. But
before bedtime everybody says"Under the night sky we shall sleep and rest in peace. May God bless us and the sun… wherever the sun is."
(January 2004)

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In Bad Times

By Alex, 8, Burbage, Leicestershire, UK

In bad times.
Shells bang, give away some good lives.
I know mine’s not going to last ‘till the end of this time ... end of this very bad time.

All I know is that war lasts, rain soaks and the only thing I hear are shells banging in the mist.

Shells bang, give away some good lives.
I know mine’s not going to last till the end of this time
...end of this very bad time

In the silent mist, in deep trenches all we are ready for is any sight of attack and all we hope is that it stops soon.

Shells bang, give away some good lives.
I know mine’s not going to last ‘till the end of this time ....end of this very bad time.

Tomorrow is Christmas but not a single fire has gone off. Christmas is here, no helmets, no rifles, not even a bomb, instead a game of football is done.

Shells bang, give away some good lives.
I know mine’s not going to last ‘till the end of this time ....end of this very bad time.

and now it is done and only a few live!

By Alex (after we did a first world war assembly)
(December 2003)

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The Italian Who Came To America

By Antonio, 12, Romeo, Mi, USA

“The story of Antonio Vultaggio”

I start the story of this wonderful man on June 2, 1937. Born in Sicily, he was one of the twins his mother had. The boy was named Antonio and the girl, Rose. Miserably, only hours after the twin’s birth, Rose died. Most twins died when they were born back then. Antonio came home alone. At that time his family included his mom, dad, and sister, Bernadetta.
After Antonio’s birth the family had had two more kids, both boys. The boys names where Onofrio and Vincenzo. Onofrio was the older brother of the two. Antonio went to school until the third grade, for his family was very poor. He had to help herd his families’ sheep at the age of 8 to help make money.
When the family had enough money they sent Antonio to America. Antonio was engaged to a Sicilian women when they sent him. He had to go to help his family in their money issues. The instructions his family had had been for him to sail to America on a boat and when he raised enough money there to send some back over so they could come too. In the boat, Antonio spent three months doing his share of work. When he arrived, the 18 year old came to the state of Michigan.
This amazing man made some money doing sales work and bought a car. He found another Italian girl who had been born in America. The woman’s name was Francesca Giacalone. Her parents didn’t know how to drive, so Antonio used to drive them everywhere.
Finally after two years, Antonio had enough money to send his family over to America. He soon married Francesca and forgot about the girl he was still engaged to in Sicily. The couple had three children, Angela, Andrew, and Salvatore. They now have grandchildren too. The Vultaggio family just keeps on growing.
(December 2003)

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On An Autumn Day...

By Danielle, 13, Spotswood, NJ, USA

As I'm sitting on the porch cuddled around my fuzzy blanket I noticed that on an autumn day…
I can feel the wind blow my hair in my face and hear its whispers crumble the leaves falling down.
I can smell the toasty roasted peanuts from down the block and the laughing children playing outside.
I can see the tears of rain dripping down the trees like the tears streaming down my cheek.
As I look at the scenery, I can feel the emotions running through my mind, emotions too strong to express in human words.
As I open my mouth to say a word or two, my lips dried up much like the leaves that have fallen from the trees.
I begin to cry, wondering if this day is real or not, wondering if these tears are of joy or sadness.
I start to picture my day filled with smiles of others -
jumping in a pile of leaves,
carving a pumpkin,
or even picking apples.
Maybe their smiles will make me happier, or maybe they'll make me feel worse about my day.
All I want to remember is, on this autumn day…
My soul was strong,
Like something I've never experienced before.
(October 2003)

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My Dream Holiday

By Stephanie, 10, Plymouth, UK

Hi I'm Stephanie,
If you're reading this I just want to let you know that I hate the lesson Geography!!! I do honestly, It just gets so boring especially when our Headteacher goes on, and on about some silly maps and places round the world. Yawn! But the only good thing about Geography is when we talk about each others' favourite countries. My favourite is Florida, AA'h, Florida. My dream to go there to swim with my most favourite, favourite animal. The Orca Whale. I wouldn't care about the price I would just want to stroke their soft backs and to clutch hold of their long pointy fin.The reason I love Killer Whales is because of their wonderful pattern which I think is very beautiful and that they are very lucky to have such lovley skin.
I'm so sorry that I've just typed in all that stuff about a whale and I'm sure by the looks of It that you probably think I'm just a complete weirdo who blabbers on about her favourite animal. Oh well, I've got to stop typing now as my brother wants to use the computer. Bye, Stephanie

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Flowing Ink

By Emma, 13, UK

When I write, I get the most amazing feeling. My hand can't stop, words simply spring up inside my head and immediately flow out of my pen to settle on the paper in faultless lines. And once I decide what to write about I'm there: it's like there is a miniscule time travelling machine embedded inside my pen and it can take me anywhere, any time, effortlessly. I can be there, soaring through clouds and overwhelmed by placidness, fighting an intense battle with pirates on a colssal ship struggling through merciless waves, even walking with herds of dinosaurs through dusty plains and lush green forests. Whatever I write can make my heart pound with excitement or well up with despair. My head is like a bank of words and whenever |I need one I simply press a button and one emerges, free of charge. Then it's down on the paper before I have even registered. I can write about anything under the sun; and I have. There's seldom an idea that I haven't put down on paper. That's why I'm writing about writing, and how the wonderful feel of pen to pure white paper fills me with anticipation and pure unadulterated joy. As long as I have my pen and pad close by my side, I will feel happy, and I will certainly never feel alone with the potential of a whole world just inside my pen.
August 2003
(An Editor's Award Winner for August 2003)

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By Joe, 17, Oxford, England

1.That song that loops
over and over
in your head.
It's trying to tell you,
but you won't listen.
'Just because you feel that spark,
it doesn't mean it's there.'

I.There is too much,
there is repetition,
too much repetition.
and it feels like it feels
the same as ever
forever and ever.

2.The world around you
doesn't care what you
feel and think. only what you
say. You must remember that.

II.When falsifying your facial expression
only the eye can reveal your true emotion,
and who has the capacity
to spend time altruistically
reading deep into the infinate black holes
at the front of your face, the peepholes
to your soul.

3.Isn't it funny how
you don't talk about
you used to know for years
and then one day, when you're sitting
in a bar or a cafe or
and they come up in conversation.
then suddenly they walk in
and sit down next to you.

as though
you knew they were coming
just didn't know you knew.

III.A:You allright?
B:yeh. You?
A:Not bad. What you been up to?
B:Not much. You?
A:Not much.

A:Right, i have things
to be doing.
B:yeh, me too.
A:See you later.

4.and when you get your phone
out of your pocket
for no reason whatsoever
and then it starts ringing in your hand.

IV.I swear they're watching us
I swear,
there's cameras placed in every space
you'll never look - i swear.
Thats why they hide away
and only say
what they want you to hear,
i swear
we should all be watching our backs,
i swear.

5.and what about the power
that lies behind
the decision to turn
left at a junction
when turning right
.would have resulted in a head on collision with a drunk
driver in a nissan.
minutes later just around
the corner.

V.each story
begins at the point
at which its outcome
can still be

6.Everyone knows
Everyone else
in some way-somehow
it seems we are one mass
glued together by all
we're told.

VI...and it all comes back to you,
and you can see so much more
the wider scope of things,
because of the contacts you
and the web that you

7.This is what is happening.

VII.'This programmes contains
images of human suffering
that some veiwers may find

8.This is how we want you to take it.

VIII.and we wouldn't want you getting
now would we.
June 2003

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By Selma, 13, Stockton on Tees, UK

Bleak dismal clouds hang over the park like a vulture hovering over its prey. The ground’s covered in a layer of white fondant like a freshly iced wedding cake. The bare trees are dusted lightly in icing sugar with razor sharp daggers concealed here and there. Thick swirls of misty fog obscure the path like a shade screening the light. Brightly coloured fairy lights illuminate the streets, strung from the lamp-posts like spun cobwebs. Freezing gusts sweep the streets clean from rubbish like rakes.

The temperature increases; the last few swirls of fog linger like guests loath to leave the party. The panes of glass are smeared with the last specks of snow. The air is heavy with a fresh dew smell; the fields of tender green grass are filled with downy white sheep reflecting in the sky, filled with fluffy white clouds.

The blistering sun blazes mercilessly from the azure sky, melting the earth beneath. Occasionally a refreshing breeze ruffles the stillness, yet gives little respite, as children silently slouch in the streets, with cold sticky lollies, as if the heat has talked away their voices.

The temperature slowly sinks as calm cool winds sweep the cities; leaves crispen and exchange from green to vibrant crimsons and pale shimmering golds, before floating endlessly on the breeze, lost in private meditation. Morning sneakily switches from being cool and clear to a sharp misty sunrise and the day becomes shorter and darker like a grumpy old dwarf.

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School Violence

By Lotoya, 16, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate goal of any school violence prevention program is to create safe and orderly schools. However, school violence is not and should not be viewed solely as a school-based problem, nor will any single intervention be effective in combating school violence. Rather, any strategy to combat school violence must be a multi-modal, comprehensive, and coordinated effort that involves schools, communities, businesses, public and private agencies, parents, and elected officials.

Incidents of school violence and in-school weapon violations actually have decreased significantly during the last several years. Despite the occurrence of crime in schools, they remain one of the safest places for youth today. Linked to this decline are advances in understanding what works in planning and implementing school violence prevention strategies.

Although school violence is, in many respects, a local problem, Governors can significantly impact the preparedness of schools to combat school violence. Through leadership, the bully pulpit, legislative agendas, and the forging of interagency partnerships, Governors can develop a statewide capacity to effectively and proactively respond to this issue. Likewise, there are many strategies that schools can adopt, including incorporating codes of conduct, increasing student involvement, promoting positive adult interaction, using basic security measures, and developing crisis response plans.

However, some of the best advances in combating school violence come through the early identification of those youth most at risk of perpetrating it. While by no means definitive, researchers have identified risk factors and early and imminent warning signs for troubled youth. Understanding these signs within the proper context can help avoid further incidents of school violence. Although research is relatively new, within the last several years there has been a tremendous growth in research, information, and funding for school violence prevention efforts. As understanding increases about the causes of school violence, policy-makers will be able to create and implement more effective policy. February 2003

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Dare to make mistakes

By Salil, 17, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Mistakes are not only an acceptable part of life; they are essential for a successful life. But without the intelligent use of our mistakes, we would never go on to master any skill. George Bernard Shaw said, “A man learns to skate by staggering about, making a fool of himself. Indeed, he progresses in all things by resolutely making fool of himself.”But many of us, terrified by possibility of failure or ridicule, deprive ourselves of pleasures, adventures just plain fun by being too concerned with what people will think. The fact is that most people never observe us as closely and critically as we believe.

Let’s face it; in any new thing you attempt, there will always be someone better at it than you are. But the pursuit of a full and rewarding life is not competitive; it is an individual search for happiness. Impossible standards of perfection deprive us of our peace of mind. The sooner we accept the comforting fact that we are less than perfect, the sooner we can get on with our personal and professional goals.

The greatest successes in life are those fortunate few who accept responsibility for their mistakes as well as their accomplishments. Such individuals waste no emotion on vain regrets when they do err. Sometimes parents set impossible high standard to encourage top performance. They tell children so often that it will be a great disappointment if they do not measure up, but these parents virtually force these children into exaggerated fear of failure.

One of the first things to realize is that accomplishment follows a natural course of trail and error. We are prone to toss children the finished products of man’s achievements the radio, television etc. But what we forgot to emphasize is the painful process by which these miracles came into being. We should stress that virtually nothing comes out right the first time. Many major achievements have resulted from adventurous mistakes, which became stepping-stones of success.

To accept mistakes, take a sense of humour, and this wisdom, too frequently, doesn’t come until late in life. But, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forgot them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” January 2003

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*Hidden History*

By Momo, 13, USA

At my school we're just beginning to start our unit on the Holocaust. My teachers have been talking about it for quite some time now and one in particular is always saying how we should never forget that time. Ok, I've been reading a book lately and its about parts of American history students are not taught about in school. One point in history in particular is similar to the Holocaust. It is when Columbus came to America and carried out a mass genocide* of the Indians. Historians aren't sure how many Indians were killed. It could have been 1 million, 3 million or some even believe up to 8 million lives were lost after our so called "hero" who even has his own national holiday came to "America". This surely cannot be forgotten.

*genocide - the systematic and planned extermination of an ENTIRE racial, political, or ethnic group.

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