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For The Record

Profile

Column

Science & Technology

By Syed M.Aslam
May 14 - 20, 2001

*** " WELL, IT IS the flip side that interests me: success is homogeneous, failure is rich . . . You can become rich without having any talent (via the scratchcard and the rollover lottery). You can become famous without having any talent, ((by abasing yourself on some television nerdathon). But you can't become talented without having any talent."

(Novelist Martin Amis, the 'bad boy of English letters', critici sing Britons' obsession for successs and game show culture)

*** "TEXT-MESSAGING generation against the vacationless class."

(Jailed former Philippine President Joseph Estrada blaming his overthrow in January on the country's 'elite class' as a conspiracy against the working class)

*** "THEY COME here and they kill unarmed women and children and he got a medal? . . . If I met him, I don't know if I would kill him or curse him. I don't think I'd want to say anything to him at all."

(Witness recalling the carnage by US Navy Seal squad lead by Lieutenant Bob Kerry, a decorated soldier turned politician, which killed some three dozen civilians in 1969 in Thanh Phong, Vietnam)

*** "... HE HOPES he doesn't butcher the Spanish as badly as he has the English."

(White House spokesman Ari Fleischer quoting President George W. Bush, known for his mangling of the English Language, on taping his weekly radio address in Spanish)

*** "IT WORKS, torture. Most people crack and talk. Afterwards, mostly, we finished them off. Did this trouble my conscience? I have to say no. I got used to all that."

(Former French generel Paul Aussaresses saying that he tortured and killed 24 captives during the freedom movement of Algiers in 1957)

*** "YOU OVERTHREW the shah 22 years ago, but there is another shah one thousand times stronger and better armed. This (new) shah is imperialism, and it's main stronghold is only miles away from our border."

(Firebrand Cuban President Fidel Castro urging Iran to help defeat US imperialism on the last day of his first-ever visit to the Islamic republic which accorded him a red-carpet welcome)

*** "THERE ARE always those who seek to re-create the journey of suffering and pain among people. They try to kill the principle of religions in the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ."

(Syrian President Bashar al-Assad saying that the suffering of Arabs under Israeli occupation was similar to that of Jesus Christ at the hands of the Jews at a farewell ceremony at the end of Pope John Paul's landmark visit to his country)

*** "POLITICIANS WHO have played their innings and have been bowled out on zero have no place in Pakistani politics."

(Administrative head, Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf, asking 'those politicians who have rendered themselves useless' to stay home instead of misusing May Day for holding rallies)

*** "AT THE END of the day, what America is to the world is not only what we say or do, it is who we are. And we are not hemleted giants hiding in our bunkers awaiting the enemy."

(US Secretary of State Colin Powell defending changing the emphasis of current US anti-terrorism policy from 'nation-specific' to 'group-specific')

*** "IF THE INSTIGATORS had appealed to the mid-ranking officers, the idealists who are angry at how the rich control everything in the Philippines, the coup might've worked."

(Unnamed Western diplomat explaining why the failed coup attempt by the supporters of deposed and jailed President Estrada did not succeed)

*** "WE NO LONGER LIVE in an era, or a world, in which rivers can be endlessly dammed, aquifers relentlessly pumped, ecosystems degraded and impoverished ... We have to focus on how we use water. That's where new water will be 'found."

(Chairman of World Commission on Dams, Kader Asmal, whose final report concludes that despite significant benefits dams remain an unacceptable choice as they extract a heavy price in terms of cost, environmental impact and displacement of people)