2000s >> 2003 >> no-1184-april-2003

Quiz – Ten questions to answer

All these quotations are genuine comments, made by the people named – except that we have put in a single sentence in each interview what the person did not say. See if you can guess which is the made-up sentence we have put in.

1. Jack Straw, British Foreign Minister, speaking after a suicide bomb attack in Haifa which killed fifteen people (Times, 6 March): “There is no justification for attacks on innocent civilians. Except, of course, if we carry out the American generals’ plan to send 800 cruise missiles in to Baghdad in the first 48 hours of the planned war.”

2. Ari Fleischer, President Bush’s spokesman, speaking after the same attack in Haifa (Times, 6 March): “We will continue to pursue the path of peace in the Middle East. Except, that is, when we pursue the path of war against Iraq.”

3. Prince Philip (Observer, 29 December): “If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate how much more comfortable aircraft have become; that is, unless you travel on something called economy class, which sounds ghastly. Of course, most things about the lives of poorer people are ghastly, which is why it is so surprising that so many of them turn out at each election and vote for capitalism.”

4. Senior Vatican official (Observer, 29 December): “Illness is a consequence of sin. So the Pope is going to live for ever.”

5. Tony Blair (Times, 1 March): “At some point, you have a duty if you are to offer any leadership to your country in saying why it is we believe there is a real threat from terrorism and these appalling weapons to the security of our countries and to the wider world. Unless, of course, we had Socialism, when neither Iraq nor America nor Britain would have any appalling weapons, and there wouldn’t be any ‘leadership’ either, since people would be able to think and act for themselves.”

6. The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, and the Archbishop of Westminster, head of the Catholic Church in Britain (Times, 20 February): “It is vital, therefore, that all sides in this crisis engage through the United Nations fully and urgently in a process, including continued weapons inspections, that could and should render the trauma and tragedy of war unnecessary. An even better way to render not only this planned war but all future wars unnecessary – in fact, impossible – is to establish Socialism.”

7. President Bush (Eastern Daily Press, 19 February): “The role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security – in this case, security of the people. And if you don’t like leaders, taking decisions which may kill thousands of innocent people, you could always get rid of them by having Socialism.”

8. In an opinion poll, 65 percent of people questioned in the UK (Times, 12 February) said that “although it is right in principle to accept genuine asylum-seekers, we have now accepted our fair share, and cannot accept any more. It is not as if any British people have ever gone to live in other countries, like Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and so on.”

9. The Pope (Times, 10 February): “One cannot do nothing in the face of terrorist attacks, but equally we cannot be idle in the face of the threats now on the horizon. War is not inevitable. But even if we avoid this war, there are plenty of violent conflicts round the world now as I speak, and there will be a lot of wars in the years to come – you will have to establish Socialism if you really want to make war impossible.”

10. Rezan Fakhraden, a woman badly gassed at the age of five, when Saddam Hussein dropped poison gas on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988, killing over 5,000 civilians and injuring many more (Times, 22 February): “I cannot climb more than ten stairs. I cannot run. Sometimes my lungs bleed. I cannot stop coughing and I am often sick. I don’t trust Britain or America at all. They have said nothing about our plight due to the gases for fifteen years. They even supported Saddam then. We have received no medicines from Britain or America in all that time to help us, and now we have no more protection against chemical attack than we had then. Yet we may be the first to get struck. But, of course, hypocrisy is an essential characteristic of all capitalist politicians, including those now using the Halabja gassing to justify attacking Iraq.”

Answers: We have made up the last sentence, and only the last sentence, in each of these statements. All the other quotations on this page are genuine.

Score: 1 – 9: Keep trying. 10. You must have read the Socialist Standard before.

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