„All that we did was human,
stupid, easily forgiven,
Not quite right.“

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„To whom are we going to ask to be forgiven? To the one who tried to kill us? To the one who tried to destroy our country? To whom? They are the ones who must ask to be forgiven for everything they did before September 11.“

—  Augusto Pinochet Former dictator of the republic of Chile 1915 - 2006
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„On a highway in a moving automobile. I wasn't driving. It worked out quite well, but I don't know how it did. I was young and stupid.“

—  Charisma Carpenter actress 1970
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„America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense… human rights invented America.“

—  Jimmy Carter American politician, 39th president of the United States (in office from 1977 to 1981) 1924
Context: America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way round. Human rights invented America. Ours was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded explicitly on such an idea. Context: I have just been talking about forces of potential destruction that mankind has developed, and how we might control them. It is equally important that we remember the beneficial forces that we have evolved over the ages, and how to hold fast to them. One of those constructive forces is enhancement of individual human freedoms through the strengthening of democracy, and the fight against deprivation, torture, terrorism and the persecution of people throughout the world. The struggle for human rights overrides all differences of color, nation or language. Those who hunger for freedom, who thirst for human dignity, and who suffer for the sake of justice — they are the patriots of this cause. I believe with all my heart that America must always stand for these basic human rights — at home and abroad. That is both our history and our destiny. America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way round. Human rights invented America. Ours was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded explicitly on such an idea. Our social and political progress has been based on one fundamental principle — the value and importance of the individual. The fundamental force that unites us is not kinship or place of origin or religious preference. The love of liberty is a common blood that flows in our American veins.

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„It is not for the world to judge, but to crown them all alike. Each and all lived out their own being, did their work in their own way, and carried a reluctant, stupid humanity to greater possibilities and grander heights.“

—  Clarence Darrow American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union 1857 - 1938
Context: Valiantly he fought on every intellectual battlefield. True he bowed and dodged and lied over and over again, that he still might live and work. Many of his admirers cannot forgive this in the great Voltaire. Rather they would have had him, like Bruno and Servetus, remain steadfast to his faith while his living body was consumed with flames. But, Voltaire was Voltaire, Bruno was Bruno, and Servetus was Servetus. It is not for the world to judge, but to crown them all alike. Each and all lived out their own being, did their work in their own way, and carried a reluctant, stupid humanity to greater possibilities and grander heights.

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„Hinduism is a religion of violence. All. Now, because of this, the consciousness of worshipping the killer or worshipping violence did not give any space for human rights. So my question is the human rights discourse must start with an anti-warrior position.“

—  Kancha Ilaiah Indian scholar, activist and writer 1952
"The State of Dalit Mobilization : An Interview with Kancha Ilaiah" in Ghadar Vol. 1, No. 3 (26 November 1997) http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v1n2/ilaiah.html.

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