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An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns -- though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

I found this article on...hold your breath...hold it....ok here we go...FOXNEWS. Exhale slowly....slowly there you go.....ok let’s continue on.

As if U.S. troops and diplomats didn't have enough to worry about in trying to understand Afghan culture, a new report suggests an entire region in the country is coping with a sexual identity crisis.
An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns -- though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

I had never heard of the Pashtun, so I did some fast digging. The Pashtan live in the areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. It seems the Pathan are divided into tribal and sub-tribal groups to which they remain loyal. In Afghanistan, Pashtuns have traditionally resided in a large semi-circular area following the southeastern Afghan border.

The report details the bizarre interactions a U.S. Army medic and her colleagues had with Afghan men in the southern province of Kandahar. In one instance, a group of local male interpreters had contracted gonorrhea anally but refused to believe they could have contracted it sexually -- "because they were not homosexuals." Apparently, according to the report, Pashtun men interpret the Islamic prohibition on homosexuality to mean they cannot "love" another man -- but that doesn't mean they can't use men for "sexual gratification."  

In Islam, homosexuals (called qaum Lut, the "people of Lot") are condemned in the story of Lot's people in the Qur'an (15:73; 26:165) and in the last address of the Prophet Muhammad. However, attraction of men to beautiful male youths has been a part of the culture of some Islamic societies and the attraction is not generally condemned in itself.

With regard to lesbian homosexuality, some have argued that since penetration is not involved, female homosexual acts should be less severely punished. Shari'a (Islamic law) is most concerned with public behavior and outwards, so there is no strong condemnation of homosexuality if it is not displayed in public.

The group of interpreters who had contracted gonorrhea joked in the camp that they actually got the disease by "mixing green and black tea." But since they refused to heed the medics' warnings, many of them re-contracted the disease after receiving treatment. The U.S. army medic also told members of the research unit that she and her colleagues had to explain to a local man  how to get his wife pregnant[ephasis mine]. The report said: "When it was explained to him what was necessary, he reacted with disgust and asked, 'How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean, when one could be with a man, who is clean? Surely this must be wrong.

The last part is so bizarre I don’t know what to make of it. it seems that the eldest male holds complete authority over the extended family. Married sons live in their fathers' households, rather than establishing homes of their own. The household normally consists of a man and his wife, his unmarried children, and his married sons and their wives and children. When young women marry, they join their husbands' households and transfer their loyalty to their husbands' families.

The report also detailed a disturbing practice in which older "men of status" keep young boys on hand for sexual relationships. One of the country's favorite sayings, the report said, is "women are for children, boys are for pleasure." The report concluded that the widespread homosexual behavior stems from several factors, including the "severe segregation" of women in the society and the "prohibitive" cost of marriage. Though U.S. troops are commonly taught in training for Afghanistan that the "effeminate characteristics" of Pashtun men are "normal" and not an indicator of homosexuality, the report said U.S. forces should not "dismiss" the unique version of homosexuality that is actually practiced in the region "out of desire to avoid western discomfort.

Afghan Men Struggle With Sexual Identity, Study Finds <=== Read the report here</p>

Pashtuns Of Afghanistan

Pashtun  General Info

Homosexuality and Islam

Originally posted to nase48 on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM PST.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives."

    by nase48 on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 12:45:46 PM PST

  •  This is very interesting, and very sad. (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the diary.

    If I push (Obama) to the left, it's not because I'm mean, it's because I like him and I want him to do well. - metal prophet

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:00:30 PM PST

  •  I doubt FOX would've reported it (5+ / 0-)

    if it didn't figure it would make Americans hate Afghans more.

  •  Similar to Arab culture (4+ / 0-)

    There is a great deal of male/male sexual activity in Arab cultures which is denied while the culture is homophboic and misogynistic. Poor women, segregated, devalued and with very little individual authority over their lives.

  •  interesting, though.. (12+ / 0-)

    i'm surprised you dont know who the Pashtuns are, considering we've been fighting in Afghanistan for 9 years now. Our puppet president over there, Karzai, happens to be Pashtun.


    by lizard people on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:14:24 PM PST

  •  I Don't Think Pre-Industrial People (14+ / 0-)

    Have "sexual identities" the way people do in the modern West.

    The idea of being gay or even of "sexualities" is product of family and power relations that are specific to modern times.

    Desire that is unshaped by classical antiquity, Christianity, Freud and modern media culture is likely to seem very foreign to us.

    This is yet another reason that I think our project of somehow transforming Afghans into modern people is going to take a long time -- as in, a few centuries.

    Libertarian is another word for teabagger.

    by bink on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:17:35 PM PST

    •  But Let's Not Let That Stop Us (5+ / 0-)

      From trying to accomplish it all before Obama leaves office.

      Libertarian is another word for teabagger.

      by bink on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:21:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Not to Say (6+ / 0-)

        That our sexual identities -- gay, straight, et al. -- are not completely real.  They are.  But they are a product of a social context in which Afghans are not participating.  And won't be, not for a long, long time.

        Libertarian is another word for teabagger.

        by bink on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:22:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sexual identity a "product of social context?" (0+ / 0-)

          Hmmm... that's starting to veer into the Christian fundamentalist territory of "being gay is something you choose to be, and it can be changed."  One might argue that the expression of sexual identity is a product of social context, and that sexual identity is more complex than we acknowledge or wish to acknowledge -- but when I was a kid I REALLY liked looking at Sophia Loren, and I required no prompting from society to do so.

          •  All of These Things Are Beyond Conscious Choice (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Both society and biology exercise a power over human behavior that is very strong and often beyond what we think of as "choice."

            To some degree, I do believe that desire is innate.  For most humans, opposite-sex desire predominates.  

            For most people in Western cultures, the heterosexual identity is most certainly the norm -- it's so over-whelmingly the norm that deviance is limited to a very small minority which seems to be 5% or less of the population.

            I guess what I am trying to say is that while biology creates humans ...

            Society creates types of human beings as a layer on top of that biology.  "Sexual identity" -- the idea that we have identities that are derived from sexual orientation -- is one of these social constructs.

            Desire -- in my view -- is both biologically and socially constructed and originates at a "lower level" in the human person than today's terms of "gay" and "straight."

            Libertarian is another word for teabagger.

            by bink on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 03:37:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  in fact noone is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            completely hetero or completely homo, at all (same as no one is completely male or completely female). Acknowledging that (which is biological reality, transcending us - this flexibility is part of our animal nature, and no different from what we see in apes or birds), acknowledging that has nothing to do with the christianist "treatability" fantasy.  

            Ici s´arrète la loi.

            by marsanges on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 04:22:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, not to mention (6+ / 0-)

      our project of somehow transforming Afghans into modern people

      that that's cultural imperialism pure and simple.  

    •  Persistent attractions to.. (7+ / 0-)

      ....members of the same sex and behavior consistent with that.  No, there's no room for a social identity to develop, but that doesn't mean that what we call sexual orientation doesn't exist there.

      It's the policy, stupid

      by Alec82 on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:35:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Afghanistan... (4+ / 0-)

      before the Soviet invasion had many women employed as doctors, engineers, architects, etc.  It was not always a medieval cesspool.  Sadly those educated people who were not killed fled the country.  

      Intelligence is the new black.

      by chillindame on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:27:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  sure they do, Pederasty is an old term (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink, sayitaintso, FarWestGirl, teloPariah

      so is sodomite.

      some of the later roman emperors were gay.

      heck the greeks were using homosexual relationships in the army.

      George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

      by nathguy on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:58:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same-Sex Desire, Of Course (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jayden, FarWestGirl, teloPariah

        But sexual "identities" are certainly a product of modern times.

        Libertarian is another word for teabagger.

        by bink on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 03:00:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i'm not sure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          roman emperors more or less openly had male lovers.

          maybe we are arguing semantics.

          George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

          by nathguy on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 03:09:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Think It's Safe to Say (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FarWestGirl, teloPariah

            That there was no EuroPride 127 A.D. hosted in Rome with drag queens in the streets dancing to the music of Sylvester.

            I guess what I meant to say is that certain things might have been constant over time -- perhaps even types of desire, though I'm not sure of that -- but the whole idea of an "identity" centered around your sexual orientation is a product of the current age.

            The fact that gay people constitute a class of citizens that is the subject of oppression is completely clear to me.  As is the importance of gay rights as a civil rights issue.

            But the idea of "gay people" as an order of humans is a modern conception -- no less real -- but not applicable outside of our current cultural context.

            Libertarian is another word for teabagger.

            by bink on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 03:20:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  This is very true.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bink, FarWestGirl

          Not all people from pre-industrial cultures when surveyed who test as "homosexual" in their sexual practices can labeled as GLBT. Consider the Native American dilemma, where GLBT is an imposition or culturally genocidal identity. And yet gay sex and even same gender loving were revered in pre-conquered America.

          Our GLBT sexualities don't encompass these people, and going backwards isn't any sort of answer. Imperialism being what it is , GLBT's need to understand who's agenda we are complicit with by rejecting other social arrangements as problematic.

          This harkens back to Aristotle's declaration that the gay is "too violent" to assimilate into any reasonably functioning polity. Personally, I think it's bs, but only in the modern context..we should as westerners  try to extract religious dogmas out of cultures, present the result as a simple alternative, and leave it at that. Same goes for marginalization of women. All people understand utility, especially when confronted by the consequences of dogmatic beliefs that have failed. That applies to Western GLBT's too.

          "But then, liberals always were a little fond of mind control, assuming of course that it was put to good use." -DKos troll

          by teloPariah on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 04:56:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Meet our new clients! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey

    I know I keep saying it, but Afghanistan could really use Albanian-style proletarian revolution.

    Enrich your life with adverbs!

    by Rich in PA on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:21:02 PM PST

  •  I didn't see the "struggle" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wenchacha, jayden, adamsmo, FarWestGirl

    This reminds me of the age of AIDS investigation.  Initial reports listed susceptible groups as "gay men, intravenous drug users and Haitians," which confounded researchers.  Later explanations included the fact that Haitian men were acquiring the virus from sex with other men but were not reporting as "gay" because they didn't see themselves as such.  The explanation I most agreed with said that Haitian men felt no stigma about same-gender sex and didn't connect it to the label (and weren't being asked the more-specific question).

    Absent stigma, shame, and forced social structure, there's no reason to think that any two (or more) consenting adults can't satisfy each other.

    So many right-wing christians - So few lions.

    by john07801 on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:22:38 PM PST

    •  Plenty of stigma (5+ / 0-)

      The Taliban executed men for homosexuality and it is still criminalized in Afghanistan.  

      It's the policy, stupid

      by Alec82 on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:33:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  OT, Haitians in early AIDS investigation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      john07801, FarWestGirl

      As I the time researchers got to talk to them they were near death and quite depleted. Of course talking about any sexual activity outside of church-sanctioned, conventionally-sanctioned sex was taboo.

      Later it turned out that the "Tyhpoid Mary" of early AIDS, the vector that spread the disease fastest and widest in that early phase was a French-Canadian airline host. I wonder if having the French language connection was how the Haitians got to be among the first wave.

      Media Reform Action Link

      by LNK on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:49:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gaetan Dugas (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LNK, FarWestGirl

        was a one-man epidemic.

        Canadian Said to Have Had Key Role in Spread of AIDS

        In retracing the early spread of AIDS among gay men, the book says scientists suspect Mr. Dugas brought the AIDS virus to this country after having contracted it in Europe through sexual contacts with Africans. While there is no way to determine whether he was the first person to bring the virus to North America, studies by Federal medical sleuths, previously reported without disclosing the man's name, have implicated him as a key actor in the initial spread of the virus among homosexual men in the late 1970's, before AIDS was identified.

        Calling Mr. Dugas ''Patient Zero,'' researchers for the Federal Centers for Disease Control retraced his sexual activity as he traveled throughout North America, going from Canada to New York to Toronto to San Francisco on flight benefits, the book says.

        The book describes how the 28-year-old Mr. Dugas used his good looks and French-Canadian accent to lure handsome American men, even after he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1980.

        In July 1981, Mr. Dugas told doctors trying to track down the origins of the disease that he had averaged 250 sexual liaisons every year for the last decade.

        So many right-wing christians - So few lions.

        by john07801 on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:11:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Pashtuns (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eiron, jayden, Mariken, farbuska, FarWestGirl

    You did some quick reading to find about about Pashtuns?

    I'm surprised you don't know about Alexander! What do Americans learn in history class?

    Who the Pashtuns are is a key to the solution. If we all understand tribal cultures, they are worldwide,  maybe we can all move forward in tolerance and understanding.

    If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

    by ohcanada on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:24:44 PM PST

  •  I´m somewhat sceptical to this statement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alec82, farbuska, FarWestGirl

    Apparently, according to the report, Pashtun men interpret the Islamic prohibition on homosexuality to mean they cannot "love" another man -- but that doesn't mean they can't use men for "sexual gratification."

    I am not sure, but I would imagine that the concept of "romantic love" is not very prevalent among traditional Pashtuns.

    According to Wikipedia same-sex intercourse carried death penalty under Taliban (which of course are Pashtuns).  

    •  Yeah, It's The Death Penalty For Rape VICTIMS (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Taliban are notorious child molesters, like the whole madrassa system.

      Rape victims are executed, so basically the rapist owns his victim, and rape victims can be blackmailed into suicide bombings.

    •  There are other creative "interpretations" (5+ / 0-)

      of other restrictions in Afghanistan....I heard from my father that there was a grape growing area in Afghanistan where they made wine... and got around the Koranic proscription by heeding the text

      "drink not one drop of wine"

      ... dip finger in wine... pull out finger... flick away the one drop.... proceed to drink rest of wine...

      (Note that action is also a very old libation practice to a God or Goddess... and likely a Mediterranean custom... brought to Afghanistan by Alexander the great's Greek army)

      I lived in Afghanistan when I was a boy in the early '60s... (dad in the US embassy) and I can attest that men there liked young boys... one servant got too familiar with one of my brothers... (not overt entirely, but starting to cross the line...) he got fired... And I myself was nearly interfered with sexually by a male servant at the US Ambassador's house... (pushed me down in a corner squatted behind me and exposed himself... It went no further... I think he heard something... and I just shrugged and thought he was odd...)

      The women were invisible in society... it was like Spartan warriors... males did not grow up with women in their lives past early boyhood... men and boys hung around with other males. And did not readily associate sex and desire with women.

      in later years my father told me about an old, short Pashtun poem/jest.... "There is a boy across the river with a bottom like a peach... but alas I cannot swim"

      yes they are a very dysfunctional society but able to sustain the basis for it and continue like they have for many many hundreds of years. But they are not alone in extending same-sex activity beyond those individual with a strong tendency in that direction... There is a tribe in the Highlands of New Guinea with an odd but totally accepted structural interim almost universal homosexual phase in adolescence and then boys sort of graduate to normal relations with women.
      And as mentioned in another comment... Haiti has a prevalence of same-sex behavior... and the dominant partner in a pairing does not consider himself a homosexual... it is the same in Brazil and in at least in some other Latin American societies. (much like prison populations in the USA...)

      The common denominator is lack of exposure or access to women and/or a very repressive role for women.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 04:39:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  so faux is hung up on "homo" behavior... AGAIN?! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    their closet must be getting crowded... again!

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:31:08 PM PST

    •  I have news for FOX about man-man sex (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      farbuska, FarWestGirl

      London's financial center has a large, high-ranking homosexual network. An open secret in the financial world.

      I'm not going to name names in Wall Street.

      Hey, FOX, how about covering Log Cabin Republicans? Gays and Lesbians.

      Mission and Objectives

      We stand for the proposition that all of us are created equal-worthy of the same rights to freedom, liberty, and equality.

      The mission of the Log Cabin Republicans is to work within the Republican Party to advocate equal rights for all Americans, including gays and lesbians. Log Cabin's mission derives from our firm belief in the principles of limited government, individual liberty, individual responsibility, free markets and a strong national defense. We emphasize that these principles and the moral values on which they stand are consistent with the pursuit of equal treatment under the law for gay and lesbian Americans.

      [I challenge all Kossacks to read the whole Mission Statement and write a comparable one for our side]

      Media Reform Action Link

      by LNK on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:05:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Man Love Thursdays" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But he also noted they were told the practise of "Man Love Thursdays," as it was called, involved consenting Afghans and no one was raped by older men. The children involved were given small gifts or money in return for sex, soldiers said.

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:31:31 PM PST

  •  welcome to life before recent times in the west (8+ / 0-)

    what is described is typical behavior in societies in which economic necessities require offspring and women are sequestered and marriages are arranged.
    what is unusual historically is the ability to survive without reproducing (kids as economic assets, as laborers and also in forging economic and political ties with other families through arranged marriages). being able to think of oneself as a homosexual and create a life outside of heterosexual marriage has only been possible in industrial societies.

    no doubt there have always been people who prefered same-sex to hetersoexuality in terms of desire, but homosexual lifestyles were precluded by economic necessity if nothing else. but it's also true that male homosexuality for pragmatic reasons has always existed when unmarried women were off-limits.

    the diarist assumes that all the Pashtun men discussed were REALLY homosexual and in denial. But, it is the diarist who is in denial about how sexual desire can be adjusted to circumstance and people not simply classified as heterosexual or homosexual.

  •  Struggling with Sexual Identity? (6+ / 0-)

    I hope there's a better word than struggle.

    These Afghan men are very much like Ancient Greeks. Separation of men and women. Sexy moments with boys and men not a problem and not 'homosexual' in our modern term.

    Latest science research indicates that sexual identity isn't polar opposites but on a sliding scale . . . . .

    Women 'are' unclean in many societies where menstruation and difficult childbirth leave women at a great disadvantage. There is a fine effort to repair childbirth damage which leaves women incontinent and even causes feces to leak into the vagina.

    Four stars from Charity Navigator, too:

    Media Reform Action Link

    by LNK on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:59:16 PM PST

  •  doesn't sound homosexual (7+ / 0-)

    One of the country's favorite sayings, the report said, is "women are for children, boys are for pleasure."

    it's pedophilia

    The biggest misunderstanding many people have is that pedophilia and homosexuality are one and the same. But to say that all homosexuals are pedophiles, or that all pedophiles are homosexual, is like comparing apples to rat poison. "They certainly are two distinct things," says James Hord, a psychologist in Panama City, Fla., who specializes in treating sexually abused children.

    •  Very, very important clarification. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sc kitty, FarWestGirl

      And this goes a long way to confirm my perception that right wing religionists have some major sexual hangups...disproportionately that is.  I mean, everybody's got issues.

    •  It's ALSO homosexual. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's homosexual in that it's two males.  It's also pedophilia, obviously, because a child is involved.  The same would apply if it were for young girls, but it would be both heterosexual and pedophilia.  Hetero/homosexuality do not solely involve consenting adults.  I think the terms "gay," "straight," etc. are somewhat different (in my mind, atleast.)

      I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.

      by adamsmo on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:56:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the kite runner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    had a lot of coverage on this

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:52:56 PM PST

  •  Same sex sexual relations (5+ / 0-)

    is far more common and tolerated, in middle east cultures,  if not spoken about, than folks would imagine.  Not just the Pashtun.  

    It becomes transgressive (to them) when individuals adopt, in public, relationship roles of man and woman, or, it interferees with assuming the traditional roles of .

    It isn't gay sex that freaks them out, most everybody does it, it is gay marriage.

    In their view gay sex doesn't make one a homosexual, gay relationships do, if that makes sense.

    Remember Ahmadenijad at Columbia when asked about homosexuals?  "We don't have that problem"?

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 03:00:03 PM PST

  •  So these people have issues... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and we're sending another 30,000 heavily armed individuals to their little corner of paradise to add to the drone rockets and aerial bombardment and helicopter gunships and landmines and lack of food and no clean water and no medicine...

    Shit. Like they didn't have enough trouble already.  

    They who have put out the people's eyes, now reproach them for their blindness---John Milton

    by mojada on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 03:37:06 PM PST

  •  My husband mentored some young Saudi men (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo in NJ, FarWestGirl

    12 of them were here from Saudi to study airplane mechanics (this was pre 9/11).

    One day they were all upset about something that had occurred in one of the dorm rooms. Some group nudity was involved and a couple of the guys refused to join in. The others forced them to.

    There were no women involved.

    Sexually repressive religions are cruel.

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 03:51:14 PM PST

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