Fouzia Saeed

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Fouzia
Manganhaar two.jpg
Fouzia Saeed opening a Manganhaar Festival
Born (1959-06-03)June 3, 1959
Lahore, Punjab Province, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Occupation Director, Mehergarh: A Center for Learning; Member, National Commission on the Status of Women; Member, International Board of Directors, South Asian Partnership
Known for Author of TABOO: The Hidden Culture of a Red Light District

Fouzia Saeed, Ph.D. (born 1959 in Lahore, Pakistan) is a social activist, gender expert, trainer/facilitator, development manager, folk culture promoter, television commentator and author. She is the author of two well regarded books. The first [1][2][3] is an ethnographic look at prostitution in Pakistan, (TABOO!: The Hidden Culture of a Red Light District (Oxford University Press[1], Karachi, 2001, 2nd edition 2011). The second, Working with Sharks: Countering Sexual Harassment in our Lives(Sanj, Pakistan, 2011), is an autobiographical expose on sexual harassment in the United Nations and the revenge meted out by the UN management she and 10 other women faced for making their case.[4]

Saeed is well known in the activist circles of Pakistan's social movement,[5][6] having worked for decades on women’s issues,[7] especially those linked to violence against women, prostitution,[8] women in the entertainment business, women’s mobility and sexual harassment. Her work on violence against women spans over 20 years and includes founding Bedari, the first women’s crisis center in Pakistan in 1991. For the past several years, she has been working to reduce the level of sexual harassment[9] and debt bondage[10] in the country and has most recently focused her attention on the ways terrorists establish themselves in fragile communities.[11][12][13] She organized a large gathering of citizens at the National Library on 23 June 2009 to map out a strategy for countering talibanization in Pakistan [14][15] and has supported a constitutional amendment establishing local government as a third tier of the state administration.[16]

On 10 March 2009, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, named Saeed to a three-year term as one of the 15 members of the National Commission on the Status of Women.[17][18]

The government of Japan named Saeed as one of seven Asian Leadership Fellows for 2010. She attended the Fellowship program in Tokyo from September to November 2010 [19] and gave lectures at numerous Japanese universities[20] and wrote about her experiences on her return.[21]

Saeed was awarded the 2012 Battle of Crete Award by the Oxi Day Foundation for 'courageous action for freedom and democracy' based on her decade-long struggle for the criminalization of sexual harassment in Pakistan.[22]

Saeed says of herself: "I want to be judged by my abilities, my struggles and my achievements and not labeled or stereotyped by my gender, my economic background, my nationality or my beliefs."

Personal profile[edit]

Saeed was born on 3 June 1959, in Lahore, Pakistan. She received most of her schooling and early college education in Peshawar, Pakistan where she graduated from the University of Peshawar with a BS in Home Economics as the University Gold Medalist for Academic Excellence in 1979. As a result of her academic achievements, she received a Quaid-e-Azam Overseas Educational Award and spent 8 years at the University of Minnesota, where she earned an MS in Design and a Doctorate in Education. She received additional funding from the Ethel L. Parker International Fellowship Award of the American Home Economics Association for her doctoral research. Saeed returned to her native land immediately after completing her degrees, but has returned to Minneapolis on several occasions as a visiting lecturer and to receive a Distinguished International Alumni Award [23] in 1998 and the International Leadership Award [24][25] in 2008, both presented by the University of Minnesota in recognition of her contributions to the field of education and the women’s movement in Pakistan.

She presently serves as the Director of Mehergarh: A Center for Learning where she heads its programs on youth, gender and human rights.

She lives in Islamabad with her husband, Paul Lundberg, whom she met in 1995 when they were both working in the United Nations in Pakistan. They have also lived together in Manila and Cairo. She is one of the very few Pakistani women of her generation who has learned how to SCUBA dive and has dived in the Bahamas, the Mergui Archipelago of Burma, Fiji, and various islands of the Philippines.

Areas of work[edit]

Sexual harassment[edit]

In 2000, Saeed was instrumental in forming a network called AASHA [2] (An Alliance Against Sexual Harassment) in Pakistan. Six organizations form the core membership of AASHA. They, along with several hundred individuals and organizations serve as partners and friends of AASHA. In 2002, AASHA, together with the Government, developed a Code of Conduct[26] on gender relations at the workplace that was initially adopted voluntarily by over 130 companies [27] in Pakistan. From 2002 onwards, AASHA continued to collaborate with the Government to press for the passage of a law requiring all public and private organizations to adopt and implement the Code. On November 2009 an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code was passed by the Pakistan National Assembly explicitly making sexual harassment a cognizable offense anywhere in the country.[28] This was ratified by the Senate on 20 January 2010 and signed into law with immediate effect by President Zardari on 29 January 2010.[29] On 21 January 2010, the National Assembly approved a second bill requiring all organizations in Pakistan to adopt and implement the Code of Conduct.[30] After lengthy debate, this bill was also passed by the Senate on 25 February and signed into law by the President on 9 March 2010.[31] On 10 May 2010, Saeed was named by the NCSW to head the Government's Implementation Watch Committee, which will facilitate and monitor the progress of adoption of the sexual harassment legislation.[32]

On December 22, 2010, Dr. Saeed, under the AASHA banner, organized the 10th Annual Working Women's Assembly. The Assembly was held in the Prime Minister's Auditorium and the Prime Minister, along with Fehmida Mirza, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ferdous Awan, Minister of Women's Development and Shanaz Wazir Ali, officiated at the gathering of over 400 working women, including agricultural field workers, police officers, parliamentarians, doctors and senior government officials.[33] In his speech, the Prime Minister declared December 22 as National Working Women's Day [34] and he fulfilled a major aspect of the law by naming Ms. Musarrat Hilali as the first Ombudsperson for Women's Rights.[35]

Although she had been working on gender issues since the late 1970s, her attention became more focused on this particular issue when she and ten other women found themselves trapped in a systematic sexual harassment scenario by several of their managers [36] when she was working for an agency of the UN in Pakistan. Despite being competent, well respected and committed to their careers, they each had to take the risk of jointly reporting their supervisor to the UN Headquarters in New York. The women fought the case together, despite serious attempts by the UN leadership in Islamabad to break them up and discredit their professionalism, and finally won after nearly two years of effort.[37] After the main perpetrator was removed from the UN, the case became widely known and resulted in many policy changes in the work environment of the entire UN system. However, as reported in May 2009, this issue remains one of the most difficult for the management of this large, international organization to properly address.[38] This case has been fully documented in Dr. Saeed's publication, Working with Sharks: Countering Sexual Harassment in our Lives. The publication of book was warmly received by a cross-section of Pakistani society.[39] and internationally[40] The book now has its own Facebook page.[3] The early reviews of the book have praised her bravery while questioning how such a situation could unfold with the management of a well-known international development agency fully backing the perpetrator.[41]

In her efforts to counter the stigma that Pakistani society attaches to the victims of sexual harassment Saeed has started to highlight the role of the harasser. Together with her colleagues from AASHA, she created a series of characters whose behavior constitutes sexual harassment, whether knowingly or not. She gave each character a humorous name in order to break the aura that prevents women from complaining. Naming also concretizes an issue and makes it manageable. Sabir Nazar, a famous cartoonist in Pakistan, drew the cartoons and they were compiled in a calendar for 2008. The response was electric with the calendar being reprinted several times. The calendar was widely discussed on television and in the press as a major breakthrough in shifting the public's perception of the root causes of harassment away from women's clothes and to on men's personal behavior.[42] A second calendar, with 12 new characters, was brought out in 2009, followed by a third in 2010. The final calendar appeared in January 2011 composed of the favorite 12 characters out of the original 36, selected by fans via internet voting. The calendars appeared to rave reviews in all leading English newspapers[43][44][45][46] [47] [48] with full praise going to "the ascerbic humor and intelligent wit of Dr. Fouzia Saeed of AASHA."[49]

H

Violence against women[edit]

Saeed has worked extensively on issues of Violence against women (VAW) and its effects on women and their children over the past 25 years. Other than crisis counseling and sensitization on the issues, she has given numerous talks on the subject of VAW in general, Domestic Violence, Rape, Incest, and Bride burning. While studying in the United States at the University of Minnesota, Saeed actively volunteered at crisis centers in Minnesota. She received training as an advocate and a councilor to deal with violence survivors at Chrysalis [4]. She worked on the helpline, counseling violence survivors on the phone and provided them with references for legal help, medical and shelter facilities. She also received training from Minnesota Intervention Center for facilitating small groups of women. Later, she conducted a research study for St Paul Intervention Center [5] where she assessed the satisfaction level of violence survivors from the law enforcing agencies. This included police, courts, counselors and shelters. The outcomes of the report and the specific recommendations were presented to a body of senior judges and police officials. She also worked with St. Paul Intervention Center as a woman’s advocate and volunteered in a program which provided violence survivors direct support after they had requested police intervention.

After returning to Pakistan in 1987, she joined Women's Action Forum[6]. She formed a taskforce under its Islamabad chapter called Committee for Violence Against Women. This committee analyzed factors that have helped this violence persist and initiatives needed in the society to address some of these aspects. In order to deepen the discussion she and others on the task force organized workshops on the issue.

Bedari[edit]

Saeed was a Founding Member and Executive Director of, Bedari [7], a community organization focused on women’s issues, specifically related to violence. The organization was founded in 1992 by Saeed and Ambreen Ahmad. At that time others among the core members who formed the first executive body included Sara Tirmazi, Shazreh Husain and Roshaneh Zafar. Bedari became the first Crisis Center in Pakistan that dealt with women experiencing violence.

Women in folk culture[edit]

Fouzia Saeed has been working throughout her career on women’s issues in the field of folklore, development and social change. Her career started as a Deputy Director Research at the Pakistan National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) where she developed and supervised a folklore research program and contributed to improvement of the folklore archives and the library of the Institute. She conducted research on various aspects of folklore, through the Institute and on her own. Her first research was on women in folk theater in 1991. Recently, Lok Virsa requested her to update and enhance the book, which they published in 2011 as 'Forgotten Faces: Daring Women of the Pakistani Folk Theatre'.[50][51] In the book, she chronicled the life of Bali Jatti, the first women to own a travelling stage theater in Punjab, as a vehicle to capture the tradition of Punjabi folk theatre through the eyes of the female performers whose careers are spent in front of audiences of men who keep their wives hidden at home. The first review of the book,(Documenting Arts by Sarwat Ali) appreciated her ability to present these stage stars as real women who faced more than their share of troubles in their lives.[52] She has also done research on other entertainment forms like folk circus, folk dances and folk natak (drama), and has mostly focused on women’s experiences in each of them.

Her book, Taboo: The Hidden Culture of a Red Light District,[53] is the first book-length ethnography that captures the fading traditional systems of prostitution in Pakistan,[54] with their close relationships with classical music and dance, as they are steadily replaced by the more exploitative modern brothel systems. The culture of the prostitutes serves as reverse-image of mainstream Pakistani society with their female heads-of-household and male family members who serve no economic purpose. Saeed used this culture as a mirror for Pakistanis to assess their own gender relations. For this reason, the book became a cult classic among young English-speaking Pakistanis.[55][56] The book was published in English and Urdu by Oxford University Press[57] and has been translated into Hindi [58] and Marathi[59][60] by nonprofit groups in India. A Japanese translation was published by Commons in October 2010.[61]

She also contributed a shorter, more technical version of her book in an international collection of articles comparing legal systems for prostitution in Europe and Asia.[62]

Saeed has been actively involved in reviving Pakistani folk performance arts [63] through organizations she has been associated with, and is also a folk dancer herself. Together with the Folklore Society of Pakistan she helped to re-establish the Manganhar folk singing genre that had almost died out in Pakistan.

Media[edit]

Saeed has been associated with electronic media since 1977 when she was among the first female television news announcers on Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) from Peshawar. She was a college student at the time. After completing her studies in the USA, when she returned to Pakistan in 1987, she started her engagement with PTV again. This was through conducting programs for PTV and later with other television channels from time to time.

She hosted four different television series of talk shows on social and cultural issues: Hum Qadam, Bholi hui hun dastan, New Horizons and Rishtay (about 50 programs in total). In addition, she has hosted numerous live transmissions and special programs onvarious occasions.

She continues to appear on PTV and other channels as a commentator on political and social issues.[64][65][66] On October 11, 2009, her latest television program began. This is on anti-talibanization called Ye Kon Log Hen? (Who Are These Guys?). The program ran for three months.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Taboo Review Dawn http://www.dawn.com/weekly/books/archive/030216/books6.htm
  2. ^ Taboo interview Sikh Spectrum http://www.sikhspectrum.com/012003/fouzia.htm
  3. ^ "Puneites are a very discerning audience", Richa Bansal, The Times of India,Pune, Times City, May 26, 2007
  4. ^ http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/09/new-culture-for-women.html, http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120113&page=9, http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jan2012-weekly/nos-15-01-2012/lit.htm#1,
  5. ^ "Is Taboo taboo?" by Shabnam Nasir, Books and Authors, DAWN, February 16, 2003
  6. ^ "Breaking Taboos" memoires by Kamil Ali Rextin in The Friday Times,October 9–16, 2009.
  7. ^ Speech on Women's Day 2007 http://gender.developmentgateway.org/Highlight.10973+M57aaec908a2.0.html
  8. ^ Men and sexuality http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C06%5C17%5Cstory_17-6-2006_pg3_3
  9. ^ AASHA http://www.aasha.org.pk
  10. ^ Bonded labor conference http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=178522
  11. ^ Dispelling the myths about Taliban http://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/introducing-amankaar-tehrik-peace-movement-in-pakistan
  12. ^ "Force back the Taliban and save the people" http://www.defence.pk/forums/strategic-geopolitical-issues/25847-precarious-position.html
  13. ^ "not a futile effort" http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HTNext&id=5872ff08-f2ce-4be8-89c0-b32123693a0e&ParentID=642c678b-913e-4891-be1e-ec9a2533a741&Headline=Battle+for+Pakistan%3a+Is+it+for+real%3f
  14. ^ Taliban leadership must be eliminated: experts http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=184553
  15. ^ Economic, social reforms to root out terrorism http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/13+economic+social+reforms+to+root+out+terrorism-za-09
  16. ^ Are we for a democracy? http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2009/09/are-we-for-a-democracy/
  17. ^ Official GoP list of NCSW membership http://www.ncsw.gov.pk/members.php
  18. ^ NCSW Press Announcement http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009%5C03%5C10%5Cstory_10-3-2009_pg7_46
  19. ^ ALFP http://www.i-house.or.jp/en/ProgramActivities/alfp/index.htm
  20. ^ http://www.ajwrc.org/eng/modules/bulletin/index.php?page=article&storyid=108
  21. ^ Saeed, Fouzia. "Some Like it Raw", The Express Tribune Magazine, January 16–22, 2011, p. 34.
  22. ^ http://www.oxidayfoundation.org/recipient-of-the-2012-battle-of-crete-award-announced/
  23. ^ Distinguished International Alumni Award http://www.alumni.umn.edu/Voices__Taking_on_Taboos.html
  24. ^ International Leadership Award http://www.international.umn.edu/awards/leader/2008/saeed.php
  25. ^ http://www.opfblog.com/5160/islamabad-dr-fouzia-saeed-gets-distinguished-leadership-award-from-the-university-of-minnesota/
  26. ^ Copy of the Code http://www.aasha.org.pk/The_Code_of_Conduct.html
  27. ^ List of employers adopting the Code http://www.aasha.org.pk/Progressive_Employers.html
  28. ^ http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/19-higher-punishment-for-womens-harassment-approved-hh-04
  29. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=228138
  30. ^ http://www.dawn.com.pk/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/18-national-assembly-passes-bill-on-sexual-harassment-am-05
  31. ^ http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/south-asia/zardari-signs-womens-protection-bill-into-law_100311652.html
  32. ^ http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Islamabad/11-May-2010/NCSW-forms-committee-to-implement-antiharassment-act
  33. ^ Malik, Javeria Azaz. "Civil Society Triumphs", The Friday Times,Vol XXII, No 48, January 14–20, 2011, p.9.
  34. ^ http://dugg.pk/gilani-declares-dec-22-as-national-day-of-working-women-72958.html
  35. ^ http://www.aaj.tv/2010/12/musarrat-hilali-to-be-appointed-first-women-ombudsperson-pm/
  36. ^ Discussion of the case http://www.mwlusa.org/topics/violence&harrassment/breakingsilence.htm
  37. ^ Announcement of official UN decision http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1999/aug/24/unitednations
  38. ^ Ban-Ki Moon comments on SH in the UN http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124233350385520879.html
  39. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/311146/book-launch-fouzia-saeed-tells-every-womans-story/ http://timesofpakistan.pk/business/2011-12-26/first-copy-of-dr-fouzia-saeed’s-book-sold-for-rs-125000/49192/ http://tribune.com.pk/story/312280/men-must-meet-women-half-way-to-counter-sexual-harassment-fouzia-saeed/ http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\26\story_26-12-2011_pg7_7 http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/24/working-with-sharks-launched.html http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/all%E2%80%99s-not-well-when-%E2%80%98working-with-sharks%E2%80%99/ http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C12%5C27%5Cstory_27-12-2011_pg13_4 http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/book-reveals-sexual-harassment-in-the-un-pak-office/ http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/27/how-to-sink-wild-sharks-at-workplace.html
  40. ^ http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6689353,00.html
  41. ^ http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120113&page=9, http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jan2012-weekly/nos-15-01-2012/lit.htm#1,
  42. ^ Article showing the cartoons Staying Silent no More http://jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2008-weekly/nos-28-12-2008/kol.htm#4
  43. ^ http://www.globalpost.com/webblog/pakistan/sexual-harassment-calendars-pakistan-ishtyle
  44. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=25924&Cat=6&dt=1/16/2011
  45. ^ http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Islamabad/16-Jan-2011/Calendars-exposing-sexual-harassers-launched
  46. ^ http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/16/calendar-on-women-harassment-launched.html
  47. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/104490/harassment-calendar-takes-the-mickey-out-of-sexual-fiends/
  48. ^ http://www.karachinews.net/story/732168/ht/Calendar-depicting-sexual-harassers-launched-in-Islamabad
  49. ^ Jajja, Nadia. "A parting shot", DAWN, January 21, 2011.
  50. ^ http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=126920, http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=79286&Cat=6, http://www.aaj.tv/2011/11/book-launched-on-daring-women-of-pakistans-folk-theater/, http://dailymailnews.com/1111/25/Islamabad/index.php?id=1, http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/25/book-exposing-double-standards-launched-2.html, http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/11/theatre-has-deep-roots-in-subcontinent/, http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/113-arts-a-leisure-top-news/36402-book-launched-on-qdaring-women-of-pakistans-folk-theaterq.html, http://jang.com.pk/thenews/nov2011-weekly/nos-06-11-2011/enc.htm
  51. ^ Kamal, Nudrat, Ode to the Theatrewallis", NEWSLINE, December 2011, pp. 93-94.
  52. ^ http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:PP94aOnS6yUJ:jang.com.pk/thenews/nov2011-weekly/nos-06-11-2011/enc.htm+But+the+purpose+of+Forgotten+Faces+by+Fouzia+Saeed+is+not+to+come+to+terms&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pk
  53. ^ "Breaking a Taboo", Mohsin S. Jaffri, The News YOU Vol 11, No: 48, November 27, 2001
  54. ^ Taboo review Newsline http://www.newsline.com.pk/NewsNov2001/book.htm
  55. ^ "Of myths, taboos, and bold truths" by Amina Kamal Khan, The Nation Literary Supplement October 7, 2001
  56. ^ Taboo review http://teenparlor.blogspot.com/2008/09/prostitution-red-light-area.html
  57. ^ Taboo Urdu edition release www.oup.com.pk/pdf/higherEducation/urdu.pdf Kalunk
  58. ^ Taboo Hindi launch http://archive.oneworld.net/article/view/94970
  59. ^ Taboo Marathi launch http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/web1/07may28/national.htm#3
  60. ^ "Some light on Red light", Maharashtra Herald, Register, p. 2, May 27, 2007
  61. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=14959&Cat=6&dt=12/22/2010
  62. ^ Saeed, Fouzia Good women, bad women: prostitution in Pakistan in Gangoli, Geetanjali and Nicole Westmarland, International Approaches to Prostitution, The Policy Press, University of Bristol, UK, 2006, pp. 141-164.
  63. ^ Folk Festival and Conference in Delhi, India http://www.delhievents.com/2007/12/seminar-seminar-cum-festival-of-saarc.html
  64. ^ BBC News interview comments http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/2089624.stm
  65. ^ honor killing in Balochistan (in Urdu)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cOxJPm4eDk&feature=related
  66. ^ CBS News interview comments http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/05/05/eveningnews/main4993589.shtml

Bibliography[edit]

  • Saeed, Fouzia (2011), Working with Sharks: Countering Sexual Harassment in our Lives, Lahore: Sanj 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (2011), Forgotten Faces:Daring Women of Pakistan’s Folk Theatre, Islamabad: Lok Virsa Press 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (March 6–12, 2011), "of Myths and Men", The Express Tribune Magazine, p. 38-39 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (January 16–22, 2011), "Some Like it Raw", The Express Tribune Magazine, p. 34-38 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (September 2009), "Are We For A Democracy?", Newsline 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (2006), "Chapter 6: Good women, bad women: prostitution in Pakistan", in Gangoli, Geetanjali; Westmarland, Nicole, International Approaches to Prostitution: Law and policy in Europe and Asia, The Policy Press, University of Bristol, pp. 141–164, ISBN 1-86134-672-7 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (2001), Taboo!: The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area, Karachi: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-579412-5 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (December 1991), "Prostitution in Shahi Mohalla", Women’s World 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (1990), "Folk Dances of Pakistan", Lok Virsa Research Journal 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (December 1990), "Violence Against Women", Women’s World 
  • Saeed, Fouzia (1991), "Queen of Hearts", Newsline.
  • Saeed, Fouzia (1987), Social consequences of overseaseducation : readjustment of returning Pakistani scholars Dissertation: (Ph.D.)--University of Minnesota, 1987.

External links[edit]