Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Nicholas D. Kristof, fully Nicholas Donabet Kristof

American Journalist, Author, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times, Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes

"It feels unseemly to defend the vaporizing of two cities, events that are regarded in some quarters among the most monstrous acts of the twentieth century. But we owe it to history to appreciate that the greatest tragedy of Hiroshima was not that so many people were incinerated in an instant, but that in a complex and brutal world, the alternatives were worse."

"The most important decision we’ll make in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita isn’t whether to rebuild New Orleans. It’s how to tackle global warming."

"Random violence is incredibly infectious. "

"You don't need to invade a place or install a new government to help bring about a positive change."

"In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world."

"More girls were killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century. More girls are killed in this routine gendercide in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century. The equivalent of 5 jumbo jets worth of women die in labor each day... life time risk of maternal death is 1,000x higher in a poor country than in the west. That should be an international scandal."

"The news media's silence, particularly television news, is reprehensible. If we knew as much about Darfur as we do about Michael Jackson, we might be able to stop these things from continuing."

"Abortion politics have distracted all sides from what is really essential: a major aid campaign to improve midwifery, prenatal care and emergency obstetric services in poor countries."

"Americans of faith should try as hard to save the lives of African women as the lives of unborn fetuses."

"A few countries like Sri Lanka and Honduras have led the way in slashing maternal mortality."

"A little bit of attention can go a long way."

"All of a sudden their husband's dead and maybe a child is dead and they have absolutely nothing - and they're heading through the desert at night."

"As soon as I was old enough to drive, I got a job at a local newspaper. There was someone who influenced me. He wrote a column for The Guardian from this tiny village in India."

"I have often tried to tell the story of a place through people there."

"Even though we are peripheral to the slavery, our action is necessary to overcome a horrific evil."

"Half a million women die each year around the world in pregnancy. It's not biology that kills them so much as neglect."

"Conservatives, who have presumed that the key to preventing AIDS is abstinence-only education, and liberals, who have focused on distribution of condoms, should both note that the intervention that has tested most cost-effective in Africa is neither... Secular bleeding hearts and religious bleeding hearts will have to forge a common cause."

"Every year 3.1 million Indian children die before the age of 5, mostly from diseases of poverty like diarrhea."

"I think it's dangerous to be optimistic. Things could go terribly wrong virtually overnight."

"If President Bush is serious about genocide, an immediate priority is to stop the cancer of Darfur from spreading further, which means working with France to shore up Chad and the Central African Republic."

"It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in this routine gendercide in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century."

"It really is quite remarkable that Darfur has become a household name. I am gratified that's the case."

"It's easy to keep issuing blame to Republicans or the president."

"Just a little help, a small security force, a bit of food, can save lives."

"I try to be careful about wording. One of the things I've tried to combat in my blog is the notion that journalists are arrogant and unconcerned with the readership."

"Most of the villagers were hiding in the bush, where they were dying from bad water, malaria and malnutrition."

"One of the things that really got to me was talking to parents who had been burned out of their villages, had family members killed, and then when men showed up at the wells to get water, they were shot."

"Neither left nor right has focused adequately on maternal health."

"One of the great failings of the American education system (in our view) is that young people can graduate from university without any understanding of poverty at home or abroad."

"Philanthropists and donors traditionally haven't been sufficiently interested in women's rights abroad, giving money instead to higher brow causes such as the ballet or art museums. There could be a powerful international women's rights movement if only philanthropists would donate as much to real women as to paintings and sculptures of women."

"Neither Western donor countries like the U.S. nor poor recipients like Cameroon care much about Africans who are poor, rural and female."

"Photographs are still being taken but aren't being shown. There's one of a skeleton bound at the wrists with pants still around its ankles; if it was a woman, she was likely raped; if it was a man, he was possibly castrated."

"So let us be clear about this up front: We hope to recruit you to join an incipient movement to emancipate women and fight global poverty by unlocking women's power as economic catalysts. That is the process under way - not a drama of victimization but of empowerment, the kind that transforms bubbly teenage girls from brothel slaves into successful businesswomen."

"The conflict in Darfur could escalate to where we're seeing 100,000 victims per month."

"Sexism and misogyny. How else to explain why so many more witches were burned than wizards?"

"The bulk of the emails tend to come after a column. I can get about 2,000 after a column."

"The equivalent of 5 jumbo jets worth of women die in labor each day... life time risk of maternal death is 1,000x higher in a poor country than in the west. That should be an international scandal."

"The equivalent of five jumbo jets' worth of women die in labor each day, but the issue is almost never covered."

"The fact that people will pay you to talk to people and travel to interesting places and write about what intrigues you, I am just amazed by that."

"The implication of the sex ratios, Professor Sen found, is that about 107 million females are missing from the globe today. Follow-up studies have calculated the number slightly differently, deriving alternative figures for ?missing women? of between 60 million and 101 million. Every year, at least another 2 million girls worldwide disappear because of gender discrimination."

"The photos were taken by African Union soldiers. People in Congress saw them. I thought if people could see them, there would be public outcry. No one would be able to say, ?We just didn't know what was going on there.?"

"The north of the Central African Republic is now a war zone, with rival armed bands burning villages, kidnapping children, robbing travelers and killing people with impunity."

"The U.N. Population Fund has a maternal health program in some Cameroon hospitals, but it doesn't operate in this region. It's difficult to expand, because President Bush has cut funding."

"There could be a powerful international women's rights movement if only philanthropists would donate as much to real women as to paintings and sculptures of women."

"The world spends $40 billion a year on pet food."

"The tide of history is turning women from beasts of burden and sexual playthings into full-fledged human beings."

"There are other issues I have felt more emotionally connected to, like China, where I lived and worked for some time. I was living there when Tiananmen Square erupted."

"There is an element of anger among women who've been raped. There's certainly a major element of humiliation. But it really does seem like a medical condition of shock and horror."

"There seems to be this sense among even well-meaning Americans that Africa is this black hole of murder and mutilation that can never be fixed, no matter what aid is brought in."

"There isn't a political price to be paid yet for doing nothing. People need to get upset with President Bush. People need to get upset with their Congressmen."