By Syed M. Aslam
Sep 08 - 14, 2003 



*** "I THINK the recent controversy was a gift. It provided an opportunity to speak out about free speech... Freedom of speech starts with you opening your mouth and people often abdicate that freedom in their mind. They choose not to speak. Once you choose not to speak, you might as well not have it."

(US actor Tim Robbins taking a swipe at fellow Hollywood stars for failing to follow his example to speak out against the US-led war on Iraq)

*** "$ 1 billion"

(The cost the US government is already paying to support its force of over 140,000 of its troops in Iraq every month)

*** "I THINK about that. I stop and think: am I that tough or am I a (wimp)?. And a lot of times, I think I'm a (wimp)."

(Hollywood superstar Kevin Costner asked if he thought he'd made it in the Old West like tough guys he has played in a number of cowboy movies)


(US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher ridiculing Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg for continuing supporting a proposal, first introduced at a mini-summit in April, to create an autonomous European military command headquarters near Brussels separate from NATO. He derisively called the four countries collectively as "the chocolate makers" after describing the April meeting as one between "four countries that got together and had a little bitty summit")

*** "$ 1.54 trillion"

(The wealth owned by 500 richest people in the world)

*** "THIS STATEMENT comes to tell Sharon that your killing of the Palestinian people has borne fruit and we are ready to kill one another."



(Leader of Palestinian group Hamas, Abdel Aziz Al Rantissi, slamming the views of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to curb militants to effectively tell Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon that the Palestinians 'were ready to kill each other')

*** "I CATCH FISH in the morning and Americans at night. Catching Americans is easier than catching fish."

(Fisherman-turn-resistance fighter explaining hit-and-run attacks of US-led coalition forces in Iraq)

*** "HE IS GUILTY of one thing only: He is guilty of telling the truth. If that is a crime, then its is most honourable."

(Sarah Mugraby, the daughter of Lebanese anti-corruption activist Muhamad Al Mugraby, blaming his arrest on accusation of illegally practising law on 'enemies of truth' in a bid to silence him)

*** "ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER criticised the California school system, calling it disastrous. Arnold says California's schools are so bad that its graduates are willing to vore for me."

(One of the many jokes hitting the airwaves every day about the gubernatorial race in the US state of California, dubbed the fifth biggest economy in the world)

*** "YOU DON'T INTEND to write that."

(France's newly appointed ambassador to Israel, Gerard Araud, asking a reporter not to publish a comment he made at a foreign office party in Paris calling Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon a 'lout' and Jewish state as 'paranoid')



*** "IT IS EMBARASSING when there are four power cuts during one hour of discussion."

(Head of India's software giant Wipro and the country's richest man Azim Premji talking about frequent power breakdowns in nation's IT capital of Bangalore and the failure of the authorities to match the infrastructure with the boom)

*** "I AM RUNNING so we can keep America's promise to reward the hard work of middle-class Americans... to restore our true strength in the world which comes from ideals, not arrogance..."

(Democratic Party presidential candidate Senator John Kerry formally launching his campaign with a harsh indictment of President George W. Bush. He pledged to offer every American affordable health insurance from birth to age 25 as part of a $ 747 billion health-care initiative)

*** "33 million"

(Estimated foreign-born US population in 2002 which also accounted for nearly half of the nation's population growth)