Saturday, February 19, 2005
A depressed Iraqi's reflections on some great quotes

There are many lovely quotes out there, but these are much more wiserthan to be considered ‘just lovely’. I’ve commented on some of them, but unfortunately not at one of my best moments.

“Years later, when I got to college, I learned about an important theory of psychology called Learned Helplessness, developed by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman. This theory, backed up by years of research, is that A GREAT DEAL OF DEPRESSION GROWS OUT OF A FEELING OF HELPLESSNESS: THE FEELING THAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL YOUR ENVIRONMENT.”

- Measuring how much it is impossible to change one’s environment in Iraq, can give you a hint of the ‘great deal of depression’ that is growing out for us Iraqis

Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.
Laurence J. Peter

- Well, I chose one, but unfortunately he did not even get a chair in the new national assembly, so the one I chose will not be blamed after all.

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flights, but they, while their companion slept, were toiling upward in the night.

- I’ve spent many nights working and keeping myself awake just by reminding myself of this quote, but unfortunately now we have a curfew at night so we cannot go toiling upward in the night ;-)

Management is not to make people work, but to make it possible for people to work

- I am a technical manager, and I’ve tried to follow this advice, but in Iraq ‘it is impossible to make it possible’ for people to work.

“Architecture is the art of how to waste space.”
—Phillip Johnson

- I’ll send this to my brother :D

" A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits."
President R. M. Nixon

- I am on the verge of quitting, so if I leave this country to avoid quitting, what will this action be considered?

"We are going to do something terrible to you. We are going to deprive you of an enemy" a top Soviet official addressing the Americans

- America: It is strange how much this statement is true, and how the US officials quickly managed to find a way around this.

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Herman Goring at the Nuremberg Trials

- I worry that this is what the Americans, and our governments are really doing. I do hope this is not the case.

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." Nietzsche

- America and any new Iraqi government, please be careful.
I do fear that when any new Iraqi government tries to follow up and catch terrorists or any of those whom it thinks are a source of threat, the government will reach a point where it will follow the same techniques that Saddam did in stopping those opposing him.

" Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstien

- I thank God that I have a little of both.

"Oil is too important to be left to the Arabs." Henry Kissinger

- Well, it has not been really left to the Arabs at any time. So don’t worry

"I touch the future. I teach." Christa McAuliffe, Arab-American Astronaut

- I do hope to touch the future sometime in the future.
In 1998 I taught a course of Advanced Engineering Mathematics, I paid more money to the parking man at the university parking than the university paid me! but I touched the future then, I was happy with that then, but also, I was broke then. It would help to gain some money while touching the future.

"Be the change that you want to see in the world." Gandhi

- Believe me, I am doing my best.

"If you hit bottom, there is no way but up" Arabic proverb

- We Iraqis, and for the past 35 years, we’ve always thought that we had hit the bottom, but amazingly enough, it always turns out that what we had hit was not yet the real bottom. This situation still holds.... Please define ‘bottom’ we do need to know where we stand.

"Man who say it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it."
Chinese Proverb

- If at any point in time, I will say that the situation in Iraq has reached a point that it is beyond repair, please remind me of this quote.

Despite all this, I still believe that in two years time, Iraq ‘will start to see some improvement and will start the rebuilding process. What I am worried about is the next couple of years till this starts happening.