How Race Has Shaped People’s Perception of the Paris Attacks

A man buys fruit at the Marche Barbes, the outdoor market located in the 18th arrondissement, in Paris on Nov. 18, 2015, as normal life resumes in the area.
Frederic T. Stevens/Getty Images
A man buys fruit at the Marche Barbes, the outdoor market located in the 18th arrondissement, in Paris on Nov. 18, 2015, as normal life resumes in the area.
Frederic T. Stevens/Getty Images

Commentators See Hypocrisy in Positions on Refugees

African American, Latino, Asian American, Arab American and Native American commentators each found coverage of the Paris terrorist bombings worthy of comment from their ethnic vantage point Wednesday as the world remained transfixed by developments following the attack that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more.

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Yet, "As much of the world remains focused on the Islamic State and its horrific attacks in Paris, another radical band of extremists has, by one account, captured the infamous title of the world' deadliest terrorist group: Boko Haram," Dionne Searcey and Marc Santora reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

"Boko Haram, the militant group that has tortured Nigeria and its neighbors for years, was responsible for 6,664 deaths last year, more than any other terrorist group in the world, including the Islamic State, which killed 6,073 people in 2014, according to a report released Wednesday tracking terrorist attacks globally. . . ."

Philip Bump added for the Washington Post, "Since Jan. 1, there have been at least 21 terror attacks around the world in which 50 or more people have been killed. Six of those attacks killed more people than died last Friday in France. This is probably news to a lot of people. . . ."

The enormity of the coverage given the Paris attack and the resultant American conversation on whether to admit Syrian refugees prompted debate over how much was driven by race and ethnicity.

"Leading voices in Hispanic journalism are condemning the rise of anti-refugee rhetoric following the terrorist attacks in Paris, pointing out how the underlying sentiment reflects conservative media's typical nativist and anti-immigrant bias that has effectively cast all immigrants as 'terrorists and criminals, without reforming a system that would allow us to know' who among us poses an actual threat,"Cristina Lopez reported Tuesday for Media Matters for America.

Hector Luis Alamo, deputy editor at the Latino Rebels site, wrote Tuesday under the headline, "Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz Are Hypocrites," "Of course, Senators Cruz and Rubio are Cuban Americans themselves, and are constantly crowing about being the sons of Cuban refugees who fled persecution in Communist Cuba (although Rubio's grandfather actually fled Batista's Cuba and returned weeks after Fidel took power, only to flee his homeland again a few years later). Both Republican senators wax on and on about how the United States opened her arms to their forebears and embraced them as new Americans.

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"But now that millions of Syrians are fleeing conflicts largely ignited by Republican warmongering, these two sons of refugees feel the United States can ill afford to embrace asylum seekers from other countries. . . ."

On the same site, Matthew Kolken, an immigration lawyer, went after President Obama, who said, "When candidates say we shouldn't admit three-year-old orphans, that's political posturing," and Hillary Clinton, front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who stated, "We have always welcomed immigrants and refugees."

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"It appears that both President Obama and former State Secretary Clinton have very short memories, or at the very least they hope that we do," Kolken wrote Wednesday. "Recent history reminds that the president has been jailing 'three-year-old orphans' in deportation internment camps for well over a year now, where they are subjected to abuse, neglect and torture.

"Immigration lawyer Dree Collopy, a partner of the Washington D.C. firm of Banach Ragland, spoke about the abuses she witnessed while representing refugees in one of Obama's family deportation jails in Artesia, New Mexico. Ms. Collopy encountered dehydrated, listless and malnourished children 'clinging to their mothers, while their mothers' pleas for medical care were met with degrading and abusive treatment.' . . ."

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The Arab American News, based in Dearborn, Mich., published the "Top 10 reasons governors are wrong to exclude Syrian refugees" by Juan Cole, the Richard P. Mitchell professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan. Cole called the governors' reasons "a form of political hysteria and not grounded in any rational policy considerations."

In Roanoke, Va., Mayor David Bowers was sternly rebuked by fellow council members, Democratic and Republican leaders and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as well as by  George Takei, the Japanese-American actor famous as Mr. Sulu on the original "Star Trek," when he called Wednesday for the region's governments and nongovernmental agencies to suspend help in relocating Syrian refugees to the Roanoke Valley.

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Bowers cited internment of Japanese following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Matt Chittum reported for the Roanoke Times. Takei invited Bowers to the Broadway musical "Allegiance" in which he is performing about his childhood experience with the internments.

Charles D. Ellison, writing Tuesday on The Root, which targets African Americans, was struck by the difference in coverage accorded the Paris attacks and those by Boko Haram.

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"Few dare rope that race elephant in the room and admit that media racism — whether intentional or not — can factor into newsroom decisions," Ellison wrote. "But it's an appropriate moment to remind a larger media-industrial complex that Islamic State-backed terror in Africa is of equal strategic value to what just happened in Paris. . . . What's the difference between that act in France last Friday night and the scores of deadly attacks by the same group in Nigeria over a stretch of months?"

Much the same point had been made Saturday by Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, about the terrorist killings of 45 innocent civilians in Beirut on Thursday.

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"When my people died on the streets of Beirut on November 12th, world leaders did not rise in condemnation. There were no statements expressing sympathy with the Lebanese people," he said in comments that went viral.

"There was no global outrage that innocent people whose only fault was being somewhere at the wrong place and time should never have to go that way or that their families should never be broken that way or that someone's sect or political background should never be a hyphen before feeling horrified at how their corpses burned on cement," Fares wrote.

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Bobby Ghosh, an Indian American foreign correspondent and former news manager at Time, was among those who responded.

Ghosh wrote Tuesday for Quartz: "Let me put my own emotions on my sleeve. I care about Beirut, not only because I'm a journalist who covers the Middle East, but also because I have friends there. However, I care more about Paris than about Beirut, because I've been to Paris, and love it.

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"The 2004 Madrid bombings affected me more than last week's attacks on Paris, because I've visited the Spanish capital many more times, and love it more. The 2005 London attacks affected me still more because I lived in that city for two years. And more than all these, I care about terrorist attacks in Baghdad — even though they are very frequent — because I lived in Iraq five years, and have many, many friends there.

"This doesn't make me a hypocrite. It makes me human."

That was the bottom line for Gyasi Ross, Blackfeet Nation/Suquamish Territories, editor at large for the Indian Country Today Media Network.

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"It seems like we're comfortable with the deaths of brown and black people," Ross wrote on Tuesday. "It happens. It's not a big deal.

"I'm not sure that there is proper or a wrong way to mourn. I mean, I get the politics — Native people have definitely been on the Lebanese side of national mourning; it seems like no one ever cares when we die. And that makes me stingy with my mourning — honestly, I tend to save it for when my folks die because I know that nobody else seems to care about it.

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"But I don’t know if that's right either. I mean, when a child loses her/his parents because of some unnecessary and evil act, it's terrible. The color doesn't matter. When a child gets killed for whatever reason, of any color, it should hurt everybody’s spirit. It's easy to simply act militant without much thought, 'Screw them! Our people were killed and nobody cared so I'm not gonna care about anybody either!' You know the rhetoric.

"But that's stupid. And dishonest. At some point, we're all just humans. . . ."

Al Jazeera America and Associated Press: Suicide bombers strike Nigeria phone market

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Hector Luis Alamo, Latino Rebels: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz Are Hypocrites

Philip Bump, Washington Post: 2015 has seen six terror attacks deadlier than Paris

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Juan Cole, Arab American News: Top 10 reasons governors are wrong to exclude Syrian refugees

Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma: Over 100 Killed in Paris: Resources for Journalists

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Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Boko Haram has been deadlier than the Islamic State group

Editorial, Daily News, New York: Firearms for fanatics: Stop suspected terrorists from getting guns

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Editorial, La Opinión, Los Angeles: We Should Not Close the Doors

Charles D. Ellison, The Root: When Terrorism Strikes, Black Lives Don't Seem to Matter as Much

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Roy Greenslade, the Guardian: Rupert Murdoch to Obama on refugees: admit only 'proven Christians'

Roy Greenslade, the Guardian: Bomb Isis in Syria? Newspapers, even on the right, are not united

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Sharon Grigsby, Dallas Morning News: Truth in Paris-Beirut debate: We are hypocritical and that's OK

Kristen Hare, Poynter Institute: On front pages today, unity on the pitch, closing borders in the U.S.

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Mike Hashimoto, Dallas Morning News: Abbott, others who oppose Syrian refugee resettlement are far from alone

Curtis Houck, NewsBusters.org: ABC’s Jonathan Karl to Ted Cruz: Isn't It 'Un-American' to Put Restrictions on Syrian Refugees?

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Alastair Jamieson, NBC News: Father's Talk With Son About Paris Terror Attack Goes Viral

Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: Tough talk on immigration is popular now but could hurt GOP next November

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Matthew Kolken, Latino Rebels: The Refugee Hypocrisy of President Obama and Hillary Clinton

Don Lemon, BlackAmericaWeb.com: ISIS Threatens America. Will Obama's Strategy Protect Us?

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Cristina Lopez, Media Matters for America: Hispanic Media Decry Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Underlying Anti-Refugee Rhetoric

Errol Louis, Daily News, New York: Open all eyes to ISIS' horrific goals: Let's be clear that the Koran is what inspires them

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Brian Mastroianni, CBS News: Doctored photo wrongly accuses Sikh man of being Paris terrorist

Robert Mclean, CNNMoney.com: Facebook's Safety Check activated following Nigeria bombing

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Jim Mitchell, Dallas Morning News: Obama is making the same mistakes as Bush

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: It's time for war

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Bashing Syrian refugees: Christian hypocrisy on parade

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Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab: The New York Times is using Paris email updates to explore a new method of interaction with readers

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: The Islamic State wants you to reject refugees

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Obama's critics should stop playing political games over the Islamic State

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Gyasi Ross, Indian Country Today Media Network: Pray For Paris: The Confusing Politics of Native People Mourning Tragedies

Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica: Trail of Paris Attackers Winds to Terrorism's Longtime Outpost

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Yolanda Sangweni, Essence: Coming to America: My Personal Journey from Refugee to ESSENCE Editor

Dionne Searcey and Marc Santora, New York Times: Boko Haram Ranked Ahead of ISIS for Deadliest Terror Group

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Tasnim News Agency, Iran: American Protesters Rap CNN Coverage of Paris Attacks

David Uberti, Columbia Journalism Review: The Paris-Beirut debate: Why news organizations paid more attention to the attacks in France

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Carson Adviser Questions Candidate's Grasp of Middle East

"One of Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson's foreign-policy advisers questioned the candidate's grasp of Middle East events in an interview with The New York Times, prompting a quick rebuke from Carson's campaign," Pamela Engel reported Tuesday for Business Insider.

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"Duane Clarridge, a former CIA officer whom The Times identified as a 'top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security,' said Carson struggled to understand the intricacies of the Middle East and that Carson needed weekly foreign-policy conference calls to 'make him smart.'

" 'Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,' Clarridge told The Times.

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"Clarridge was repeatedly described by The Times as a top Carson foreign-policy adviser, though Clarridge's exact role in the Carson campaign was not immediately clear. Carson's campaign pushed back on that description of Clarridge and suggested the paper was taking 'advantage of an elderly gentleman.'

" 'Mr. Clarridge has incomplete knowledge of the daily, not weekly briefings, that Dr. Carson receives on important national security matters from former military and State Department officials,' Doug Watts, a Carson campaign spokesman, told Business Insider in an email. . . ."

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Meanwhile, BET plans to live stream a forum on criminal justice policy Saturday with Carson and Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley in Columbia, S.C., Claudia Koerner reported Nov. 5 for BuzzFeed.

"The 2015 Presidential Justice Forum is being organized by the 20/20 Leaders of America, a bipartisan group of black mayors, police officers, and other leaders. Each of the candidates vying for the Republican and Democratic nomination was invited to participate in the event, which will be held Nov. 21 at historically black Allen University. BET will [live stream] the forum, and Jeff Johnson will moderate. . . ."

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Nora Dunn, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Trump and Carson: Weaklings on Race and Citizenship

Charles D. Ellison, The Root: 4 Reasons Why No Sane Black Voter Should Be Voting for Ben Carson (Nov. 12)

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Trip Gabriel, New York Times: Ben Carson Is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say

Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Ben Carson, the Brian Williams of Presidential Politics (Nov. 11)

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Bobby Jindal Is a "Charlatan" to Indian American

"The surprise isn't that Bobby Jindal dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for the presidency," Len Patel wrote Wednesday for AsAmNews, referring to the Louisiana governor. "The surprise is that it took him this long to realize he had zero chance to even make an impact on the political discourse. . . ."

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Patel also wrote, "He wasted time talking about the virtues of assimilation and what's wrong with the concept of the hyphenated American. He espoused turning away from his cultural heritage.

"Jindal did everything he could to distance himself away from his own Indian American heritage. Even his slogan seemed to deny his brown brothers and sisters.

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"In announcing his candidacy for president, he proclaimed that he was 'tanned, rested and ready.' Yeah, that brown tone on his skin wasn't part of his Indian heritage, it was his tan.

"It got so ridiculous, that the hashtag #BobbyJindallsSoWhite began to trend.

"It got so ridiculous, Jindal had to declare 'I'm not White' after some ridiculed a portrait of Jindal that appeared to lighten his skin tone.

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"No, Bobby, you're not White. Neither are you a viable candidate for president. You were a charlatan trying to appear White and to trick the American public into voting for you. You lost your own identity. You lost your heart and soul and you lost the trust and votes of your own Indian American community and of the American public. . . ."

Meanwhile, "The campaigns of John Kasich and Lindsey Graham have filed requests for equal time with NBC and affiliates following Donald Trump's hosting of 'Saturday Night Live' on Nov. 7, Ted Johnson reported Monday for Variety.

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"The campaign of another GOP candidate, George Pataki, said on Friday that they would also request time for the 12 minutes, five seconds that Trump appeared on 'SNL.' . . ."

Editorial Board, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: His presidential hopes over, will Bobby Jindal finally focus on Louisiana?

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JR Ball, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: What might have been for Bobby Jindal — and Louisiana

Asma Khalid, NPR: Indian-Americans Feel 'Disappointed,' 'Abandoned' By Bobby Jindal (audio)

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Traci G. Lee, NBC News: Aziz Ansari Was Hoping to Play Bobby Jindal on SNL (Nov. 5)

thehansindia.com, India: Indian American Bobby Jindal says no to Syrian refugees

Why No Actresses of Color Grace Hollywood Reporter Cover

"As we prepared for this cover, we discovered precisely ZERO actresses of color in the Oscar conversation . . . ," Stephen Galloway,  executive editor, features, of the Hollywood Reporter, wrote Wednesday.

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"I don't in any way wish to diminish the actresses on our cover. This current roundtable is a triumph, appropriately published today on the 5th anniversary of THR’s shift from daily newspaper to weekly magazine. I anchored a conversation featuring eight of the most talented actresses alive: Cate Blanchett, Jane Fonda, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan, Charlotte Rampling and Kate Winslet.

"Yet even for me, a white man, it was impossible to ignore the fact that every one of these women is white — whether old or young, English, Australian or American. That was appalling.

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"The awful truth is that there are no minority actresses in genuine contention for an Oscar this year. Straight Outta Compton, which has provided some great roles for African-American men (and whose success adds proof that studios ignore minority audiences at their peril) had no female leads. Furious 7? Not quite Oscar bait.

"This is at a time when people of color make up almost 38 percent of the U.S, population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and African-Americans, in particular, buy far more movie tickets per capita than Caucasians. . . ."

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Galloway concluded, "Unless the half-dozen men and women now running the major studios demand and foster a culture of diversity, the status quo will continue as it is. And I’ll be writing a mea culpa every year."

Kim Bellware, HuffPost BlackVoices: Hollywood's Diversity Problem Doesn't Get More Obvious Than This

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Jeff Yang, NPR "Code Switch": Fresh On The Screen: How TV Is Redefining Who We Think Of As 'American' (Nov. 9)

Derek Murphy, Former USA Today G.M., Focuses on Future

The only African American to become executive vice president and general manager of USA Today has left the newspaper and its parent Gannett Co. and told Journal-isms on Wednesday he is "planning some new ventures" from his base in New York.

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Derek J. Murphy, trained at Wharton business school, had been general manager of multicultural media at AOL Huffington Post Media Group, leading teams for its BlackVoices, Latino, LatinoVoices and LGBT channels before joining USA Today in 2013.

"Murphy, who will report to USA TODAY President and Publisher Larry Kramer, will oversee the newspaper's daily operations and help develop new business opportunities," a news release said then.

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"Leveraging the recent relaunch of the USA TODAY site, Murphy will also focus on expanding 'new digital offerings and creating demand for all USA TODAY brands,' he says. . . "

Murphy said by telephone that he had "focused on the digital transformation of USA Today" and worked on new mobile products and strategic initiatives. On Murphy's watch, the company introduced USA Today-branded inserts for 35 local Gannett papers and partnered with Starbucks for a "Race Together" project. Starbucks baristas were given the option of writing the words 'Race Together' on customer cups. The project also included a website and a series of special newspaper sections.

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In May, Murphy left USA Today, based in McLean, Va., for Gannett's New York offices, where he "led development of business strategies across Gannett platforms. . . ," according to his LinkedIn profile.

Gannett, meanwhile, spun off its newspaper division, which includes USA Today, into a separate company.

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Murphy said he left because he "wanted to pursue some new opportunities" and was focusing on the future.

Caretaker Given Up to 23 Months in Death of Autistic Woman

"The caretaker whose autistic charge froze to death last year after wandering off while shopping at the Macy's store in Center City pleaded guilty Wednesday before a Philadelphia judge," Joseph A. Slobodzian reported for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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"Weeping uncontrollably, Hussanatu 'Ayesha' Wulu entered the plea to a single count of neglect of a care-dependent person in the death of Christina Sankey, 37.

"Under a plea agreement negotiated by Edward McCann, first assistant district attorney, and defense lawyer Gregory J. Pagano, Wulu was immediately sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison, followed by three years of probation.

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"Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner then paroled Wulu to electronically monitored house arrest and allowed her to surrender Nov. 30 to begin her sentence. . . . "

As reported on Monday, Ronnie Polaneczky, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, received the 2015 Pulliam Editorial Fellowship awarded annually by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation for uncovering the neglect that preceded Sankey's death.

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Polaneczky said Saturday that she wanted to convene a summit "to see what one, two, three things we can do. There's a huge population of kids with autism. One day they will be middle aged. I hope to do it in honor of Christina and the other Christinas out there, and for her mom and her family."

TV Film Promises More Authentic Story of First Thanksgiving

"A new film airing this month on the National Geographic Channel promises to set the stage for more nuanced conversations about the fabled first Thanksgiving," Alysa Landry reported Monday for Indian Country Today Media Network.

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" 'Saints & Strangers' is a four-hour, two-night movie event billed as the 'real true story of the Mayflower passengers, the founding of Plymouth and their relationship with the Native Americans.' The film, produced by Sony Pictures Television with Little Engine Productions, will air November 22 and 23.

" 'So many people celebrate Thanksgiving every year, but I think most people have no idea what the story is behind it,' said Kalani Queypo, a Blackfeet and Native Hawaiian actor who plays Squanto in the film. 'Even people who are indigenous, we're not taught that.'

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"Instead, Americans learn a dumbed-down version of the story, which often portrays Natives as one-dimensional people: savage, uncivilized and simple; or worse, a force to conquer. . . ."

Landry also wrote, "But the film comes with a warning from Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television, an organization established in 1981 to 'create a better understanding of issues pertaining to the image, portrayal and depiction of the American Indian.' Skyhawk, who is Lakota, said Nat Geo approached him for consulting services on the film, but he walked away because the project lacked integrity. . . . "

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Patricia W. Elliott, Canadian Journalism Project: Indigenous journalists are changing the news in Saskatchewan

Short Takes

Kenny Irby, a fixture at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., since 2000, is leaving the organization on Friday, he told Journal-isms on Thursday. "We just went through restructuring," Kelly McBride, vice president for academic programs, told Journal-isms by email. Since April 2012, Irby has been senior faculty, director of diversity programs and community relations and since 2010, senior faculty for visual journalism and diversity programs. Prior to Poynter, he was deputy director of photography at Newsday. "No future plans yet… just going to relax and pray on next steps," Irby said by email. The Rev. Irby preaches at the Historic Bethel AME Church in St. Petersburg. For the year ended in December, Poynter reported losses of $2.26 million compared with nearly $3.5 million in the previous year, the institute reported on Friday. [Added Nov. 19]

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In an interview with Ana Marie Cox in the New York Times Magazine, CNN anchor Don Lemon says, "I am not setting out to be a provocateur. I am setting out to inform people and to get people to think." But Erik Wemplewriting Tuesday for the Washington Post, recalls some provocative moments and quotes from a profile of Lemon by David Bauder of the Associated Press: "Lemon said he knew that he would get a reaction, and that it was important to start a conversation."

Constance Howard, news director of WROC-TV in Rochester, N.Y., has been named morning show executive producer at WRC-TV, the NBC-owned and -operated station in Washington, WRC News Director Mike Goldrick confirmed Tuesday. The two had worked together in Raleigh, N.C. Howard will work on programming that airs from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. She starts Nov. 30, Goldrick said.

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"The president of Florida State University today blasted CNN for its planned airing Sunday of The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus rape, calling it an 'inaccurate and incomplete' picture of the way colleges nationwide are dealing with allegations of sexual assault," David Robb reported Monday for Deadline Hollywood. CNN has said it stands by the film.

"The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has launched a Solidarity Fund to provide financial aid and humanitarian assistance to Yemeni colleagues and their families, who are in desperate need for help," the organization said Monday. It also said, "So far ten journalists have been killed in 2015 in Yemen and 16 remain held captive, mostly by Houthi rebels, according to the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate. Following the Houthis' occupation of media houses in capital Sana'a, most reporters have been forced to flee the city as the increasingly precarious and hostile atmosphere towards independent journalists grew. The IFJ is therefore inviting journalists, private individuals and organisations to show their solidarity by contributing to this appeal as generously as they can. . . ."

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"Sitiveni Moce, a photojournalist with the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun died from injuries sustained in the line of work as he covered the semi-civilian coup in Suva in 2000 and then again during the December 2006 coup," the International Federation of Journalists reported on Wednesday. "According to reports, Moce was beaten and attacked by rebel supporters in the 2000 coup and then during the 2006 coup, he was confronted as he tried to take pictures of soldiers escorting a person from the Methodist Church in Suva. . . ."

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