SANA’A, YEMEN – The booby prize given by the U.K.-based Plain English Campaign for funniest remark last year by a public figure goes to U.S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Last February, Rummy said this to the press about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq:
“Reports that say something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me because, as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns, that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
Strange? Oh yeah. But in 2003 some stranger things came across my own desk for some serious editing at the Yemen Times. Give grace as the Times is an English paper in an Arab country. But in the spirit of plain language everywhere, sit back and think about these bloopers.
“I ask all patriotic Americans, have you had your six glasses of fluoridated water today? Good. That should keep you dumbed-down enough to continue not to question the heinous execution of John F. Kennedy, for the next generation to totally forget it.” (Stop the fluoride!)
“To open congested nose, add more pepper to your food. It contains capsaicin which helps to snivel, and melts mucus to make it easy to snot. Inhale vapour of hot water to melt mucus.” (I like Dristan.)
“Ariel Sharon is the Blocking Stone to peace.” (Is that a Rolling Stone playing middle linebacker?)
“This report will prove to you that the U.S. government is the biggest most murderous terrorist organization, along with the United Nations and their Hidden Masters of the Jews Masonic Illuminati Super Government.” (Sounds like a wild comic series.)
“Duke quoted Billy Graham to former U.S. president Richard Nikon, as saying that the Jewish grip is threatening the American nation. Nikon advised Graham not to voice this fact again.” (Nikon then prospered in the camera business.)
“It is ironic that George W. Bush had to swallow his own cud and accept the intervention of the United Nations.” (Nobody likes to swallow their cud.)
“The new office building is the big agent for the corruption for the education ministry. This office never ever will change unless the old cows are changed.” (More cud.)
“We have Arab as well as Muslim scientists in all spheres of life. The world got surprised by their scientific superior capabilities.” (I’m forever being surprised.)
“The agreements require sums to put at the three banks disposal to finance Yemeni traders exporting to buy Saudi un-oiled products.” (Those products must rust.)
“This man was arrested for abusing the president and Sheikh Abdulla Al- Ahmar. Many Islah leaders accuse them for BLA BLA, skewing from true religion.” (Some accusation. But is it true?)
“The U.S. news media will not tell the truth. The only way to get the truth to the American people is through the mail.” (Brilliant.)
“Federal government agents went throughout America, slipping LSD in people’s drinks in bars.” (Another reason to avoid bars.)
“No AIDS appeared until U.S. agents used the smallpox situation to infect AIDS into the African people as a bio-terrorist weapon experiment.” (Those agents are out of control.)
“Science is not restricted to a group of people. The westerners are not as knowledgeable as some claim.” (Absolutely.)
“Did anyone realize fluoridation of the water supply was first done in Hitler’s concentration camps to keep prisoners complacent? Look it up if you still can.” (It’s too late.)
“The industrial-military complex, otherwise known as the ‘War-Machine,’ took over the world and hasn’t looked back.
“Try to stop it. Jesus did. JFK did. MLK did. John Lennon did. Bobby K. did. Ronald Reagan was about to try. I guess it’s not a such a good idea. War benefits only the ‘War-Machine’. Follow the money.” (Where do we start?)
“The people are as tough as their lands. Just keep on indulging rough and tough talk. There is no room for laughing or cracking of jocks. I could hardly see smiling, innocent faces.” (I agree. We all grow old when we stop laughing).
Be young. And have a great New Year.