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These are some useful and favorite quotes of mine on various global issues:
When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.
— Dom Hélder Câmara
Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.
— Old Chinese Saying
Bad ideas flourish because they are in the interest of powerful groups
— Paul Krugman
Mutually Assured Destruction
— a description of the use of Nuclear Weapons during the Cold War!
That wild beast which lives in man and does not dare to show itself until the barriers of law and custom have been removed, was now set free.
— Ivo Andric, Nobel Laureate (reflecting on Nazi concentration camps and some hangings he had experienced).
...a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.
— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, when he criticised those who preferred the former type of peace.
I am for peace. And I am for a negotiated peace. But this accord is not a just peace.
— Edward Said
Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.
— Albert Einstein
Generally, news reporting and punditry are respectful of the rich and disdainful of the poor.
— Norman Solomon, Visible and Invisible Caregivers, Extra! Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, November/December 1997
There is a common tendency to ignore the poor or to develop some rationalisation for the good fortune of the fortunate.
— John Kenneth Galbraith
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men—true nobility is being superior to your former self.
No! Try Not — Do, or Do Not; There is no Try...
— Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind
— Mahatma Gandhi
Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them — and then, the opportunity to choose.
— C. Wright Mills
What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires — desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
— Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom
They make a desert and call it peace.
— Tacitus, defining Roman imperialism
Don’t use that foreign word “ideals”. We have that excellent native word “lies”.
— Henrik Ibsen
Fear is the path to the Dark Side... Fear leads to anger... anger leads to hate... hate leads to suffering...
— Yoda, Star Wars, Episode 1, the Phantom Menace
There’s enough on this planet for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed
— Mahatma Gandhi
I destroy my enemy by making him my friend
— Abraham Lincoln
Except for religious conflicts and the petty wars of feudal lords, wars are primarily fought over resources and trade. President Woodrow Wilson recognized that this was the cause of World War I: “Is there any man, is there any woman, let me say any child here that does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry?”
— J.W. Smith, Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle for the Twenty-First Century, (1st Books, 2002), p.58
There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change — and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future
— Noam Chomsky
Freedom without opportunity is a devil’s gift, and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal
— Noam Chomsky, Market Democracy in a Neoliberal Order: Doctrines and Reality
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places close to home...Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity, without discrimination
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Those with power are frequently least aware of—or least willing to acknowledge—its existence [and] those with less power are often most aware of its existence
As the world goes, right is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must
— Thucydides, The Peloponesian War, Book V, section 89
Never have the armies of the North brought peace, prosperity, or democracy to the peoples of Asia, Africa, or Latin America. In the future, as in the past five centuries, they can only bring to these peoples further servitude, the exploitation of their labor, the expropriation of their riches, and the denial of their rights. It is of the utmost importance that the progressive forces of the West understand this.
— Samir Amin
I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism
— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I dread our own power and our own ambition; I dread our being too much dreaded….We may say that we shall not abuse this astonishing and hitherto unheard-of-power. But every other nation will think we shall abuse it. It is impossible but that, sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in our ruin.
— Edmund Burke, describing his fears for the former British Empire
Most of the things worth doing in the world have been declared impossible before they were done.
— L. Brandeis
More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul.
— William Blake
Every corner of the public psyche is canvassed by some of the most talented citizens to see if the desire for some merchandisable product can be cultivated.
— John Kenneth Galbraith
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
— H.L. Mencken
[W]hat suffers in the atmosphere of immediacy is analysis. What suffers in this search for speed is depth. The media in the wealthy world are becoming increasingly simplistic, superficial, and celebrity-focused.
Live life simply so that others may simply live
The first casualty when war comes is Truth
— U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson, 1917
If you come only to help me, you can go back home. But if you consider my struggle as part of your struggle for survival, then maybe we can work together.
— An Aboriginal woman
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
— George Orwell
What journalism is really about—it’s to monitor power and the centres of power.
Rules are written for those who lack the ability to truly reason. But for those who can, rules become nothing more than guidelines, and live their lives governed not by rules but by reason.
— James McGuigan
Freedom? you asking me about freedom? you asking me about freedom? I’ll be honest with you, I know a whole lot more, about what freedom isn’t than what it is…
— Assata Shakur, from A Song for Assata (featuring Cee-Lo) on the “Common, Like Water for Chocolate” LP
I challenge anybody to show me an example of bias in Fox News Channel.
— Rupert Murdoch, (Salon, 3/1/01) [The thing I found interesting about this quote is where I read it: An article by Seth Ackerman, The Most Biased Name in News; Fox News Channel’s extraordinary right-wing tilt, Extra! A FAIR Special Report, August 2001.]
All The News Thats Fit to Print.
— New York Times slogan
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; Only love can do that.
— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
— Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger, 1916, Ch.9
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
— Albert Einstein
To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt about a tragedy. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” The grandfather answered, “The one I feed.”
— a native American Indian story
A fertilizer bomb that kills hundreds in Oklahoma. Fuel-laden civil jets that kill 4000 in New York. A sanctions policy that kills one and a half million in Iraq. A trade policy that immiserates continents. You can make a bomb out of anything. The ones on paper hurt the most.
— Raj Patel, They also make bombs out of paper
War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
— Thomas Jefferson
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
— Former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech on April 16, 1953
True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
— Rev. Dr. Matin Luther King, Jr.
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.
— Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906
To tackle the underlying roots of violence and conflict, we need a massive international effort to reduce poverty and injustice, and to promote development, democracy and human rights.
— Clare Short, Then UK International Development Secretary in a Speech to Labour Party Conference, Brighton UK, October 2001.
An apt and true reply was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride. “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”
— St. Augustine
All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
— Sir Edmund Burke
Todays impossibilities are tomorrows miracles.
— Dr. Robert H Schuller
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification.
— George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, 1946
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
All children behave as well as they are treated.
— Jan Hunt
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes...known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
— James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
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