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For the Record

27th  Sep, 1999

  Thinking Out Aloud
For the record

*** "The United Nations’ mission is not limited to the settlement of conflicts among states . . . this mission extends to defending human dignity within each state and where necessary— as the Charter permits— against states."

(French prime minister, Lionel Jospin, speaking at the 54th General Assembly of the UN. The Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, also endorsed military intervention over human rights abuses and disbanding of sovereign impunity cover by the individual states)

*** "WE DO not only check the quality of food provided, but we are also keen that food is stored in good condition at school cafeterias . . . checking that pure water is provided to all private schools in the emirate."

(Head of the Health Section at Sharjah Municipality, Ali Abdulqadir Murshid, on stricter hygienic measures at private schools )

*** "TO SAY the least, I am no expert. To be completely blunt . . . I watch my children . . . surfing the net and feel, a mild, not to say profound sense of humiliation . . . It’s a big psychological barrier to get over."

(British prime minister Tony Blair confessing humiliation at his ignorance of the internet and saying that he would sign up basic computer skills course)

*** "EDUCATION IS a luxury only the rich can afford. Will education put food on my table, will it bring me medicines when I am ill? Education is useless for us. My children will help me in my work which will eventually help for our livelihood"

(Sentiments expressed by slum dwellers of Delhi. Social workers say that the disillusion is caused by the decades of oppression and exploitation which have made the residents not to expect too much from life and the feeling that their children are not going to do much better than them even if they go to school)

*** "THE ADOLESCENT fled her employer’s Paris home . . . she was found wandering the streets, carrying a knife saying she wanted to commit suicide."

(French police investigating a probe which accused an unnamed Paris-based Indian diplomat for keeping an Indian girl as slave)

*** "WE HOPE that some responsible government functionary would remove the impression created by the former foreign secretary that the army did not want the resolution of the Kashmir dispute."

(A senior Pakistani military source rejecting former foreign secretary, Niaz A. Naik’s claim that had there been no Kargil crisis, Pakistan and India would have reached a settlement on Kashmir in September or October this year)

*** "THINKING OF donating blood in the U.S.? Don’t bother— in fact, you won’t be allowed to— if you were in Britain for a total of six months or more between 1980 and 1996."

(Concern that the blood could be contaminated with mad-cow disease which has made US health officials not to accept blood donations from the above mentioned people)

*** "AT LEAST ten innocent civilians were killed by security forces when they refused to vote."

(Yasin Malik, a leader of All Parties’ Hurriyat Conference in Indian occupied Kashmir, on the atrocities committed by Indian army to bring voters to polling stations)

*** "THE GREATEST thing you can do is provide somebody a wonderful education, and you’d like to do that in a way that they can really focus on their studies."

(Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corporation and the wealthiest US individual, on donating $ 1 billion for college scholarships to minority students over next 20 years. The donation is hailed as the largest gift in the history of higher education)

*** "DEMOCRACY IN South Asia is not about people, it is about access to state power . . . Despite their democratic leanings, South Asian states had failed to provide their people with freedom from the worst forms of deprivation. This paradox forms the political crux of South Asia’s crisis of governance."

(UN Development Programme report prepared by Islamabad-based Mahbub-ul-Huq Human Development Centre which characterised democracy in the region as ‘one step forward, two steps backward’)

Edited by Syed M. Aslam