By Syed M. Aslam
July 29 - Aug 04, 2002 




(Brief message scrawled on a ballot by one of the deputies who voted for Indian President-elect Abdul Kalam, dubbed the father of national missile programme, who is famous for unkempt hair and crumpled clothes)

*** "PAY OUR MONEY and we will pay back our debts. Why there could not be some legislation at the international level and why the banks are allowed to accept such deposits?"

(President Pervez Musharraf asking the international community to wage a war against corruption and urging it to help recover the looted money at the inaugural session of a seminar)

*** "Minimum 4 Per Cent."

(Percentage of the US population planned to be recruited as domestic informants by the government to report 'suspicious activities'. The US civil liberties groups have already warned that the Patriotic Act passed earlier this year has the potential for abusive, large-scale investigations of US citizens)

*** "IT IS CERTAINLY TRUE that money has been distributed it is the way things work in this part of the world ... In any case, you do not buy warlords in Afghanistan: you 'rent' them for a period."

(Unnamed UK Foreign Office sources confirming covert distribution of large sums of money by the US to persuade Afghan warlords not to rebel against the new government)

*** "WHERE THERE IS AN OPERATION in Iraq or not, whether Turkey participates in such an operation or not, we believe the US should meet as much possible the sacrifices that we would endure."

(Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit saying the US should pay for any damages his country would incur in a possible military operation against neighbouring Iraq)

*** "I WILL SELL my vote, since I know that whoever wins will not make any difference in my life."

(A Nigerian voter reflecting the widespread disenchantment of the people against growing poverty, inadequate public services and rampant corruption ahead of the first polls since the end of military rule)

*** "... people like Baroness Thatcher were the cause of capitalism and global problems, which meant the world was in danger of suffering irreparable damage."

(Prosecutor John Gilbert saying that London theatre producer, Paul Kelleher who beheaded the statue of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a protest against global capitalism, intends to use his trial to highlight his concerns about the future of the world and future of his two-year-old son)

*** "PRESIDENT BUSH and his government did not bring the Iraqi leadership to power therefore they cannot remove the Iraqi leadership from its place because of their own decisions."

(Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz speaking to reporters after his week-long visit to South Africa)

*** "I LEFT EVERYTHING behind, even my medals."

(The gymnastics star of 1976 Montreal Olympics, Nadia Comaneci now 40, narrating her escape from her native Hungary, way back in 1989)

*** "IF THINGS do not improve, well, I will certainly pray for the Americans and wish them success, but I will no longer be able to take part in this."

(Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah demanding a greater say in the US choice of military targets which has claimed hundreds of civilian lives through a tragic pattern of mistakes)

*** "WE DON'T THINK other governments have a right, no matter how powerful they are, to change the government of another country. That is an undemocratic thing to do."

(Malaysian President Mahathir Mohammed slimming propose US military action against Iraq to remove President Saddam Hussain)

*** "THE JUDICIARY has been emasculated and bludgeoned into submission at the hands of Dr Mahathir. I WISH Dr Mahathir good luck. He has nothing left to destroy."

(Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim accusing Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed after losing his final appeal against a conviction and six-year prison term for corruption)

*** "SLOWLY THEY WILL SAY everyone must go... President Saddam Hussain of Iraq, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Bashar Al Assad of Syria..."

(Consul General of Palestine in Dubai, Saleem Abu Sultan, saying that Americans have their own agenda in the Middle East and thus are not interested in solving crisis)