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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Wole Soyinka

Nobel Prize for Literature

Wole Soyinka: Those elections were very violent and the people resisted. This was the Western Region at the time. I was then teaching at the University of Ibadan. Violent, and the incumbent government used its power of incumbency in the region, in alliance with the power of the center. It was a federal structure. In spite of that, they could not rig the election successfully. And so what they did was just start altering the results. And even that proved exceedingly difficult for them. Finally the premier of the region decided to just forget the whole thing and announce his victory on radio. And I happened, you know, by very fortunate coincidence, I learned that this was going to become a fait accompli. And since he had the support of the federal government, something drastic had to be done. And so with some assistance, some of my usual collaborators, I managed to stop the broadcast, substitute my -- I pre-recorded my own statement. So I went to the studio and I took the premier's tape off and substituted my own and went away. And so I was tried -- very, very nasty charge. I was charged with armed robbery, because apparently this event was supposed to have taken place with the aid of a gun, and so -- very cunning people, coming to frame a charge of armed robbery, for a tape! Costs under a pound or whatever, and I substituted one, anyway -- so it wasn't -- and I left that one. So where was the robbery?
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Wole Soyinka

Nobel Prize for Literature

When I realized that war really was going to happen, I tried to -- and he (Christopher Okigbo) had left, like the other Igbo that fled to the East, where they were more secure. Chinua Achebe was in the East. We had other writers like Gabriel Okara in the East, and I felt maybe by linking up and resurrecting that tight community we might be able to do something to prevent that war, and so I traveled. By then the firing had started, the early skirmishes had begun. And I traveled by road to the East. I was promptly arrested as a suspected enemy by the Biafrans whom I had come to see, but of course, some time after, the police realized who I was and I was released. And who had come into my police station? He didn't know I was there. It was Christopher Okigbo, coming from the war front, coming for more equipment. And so we were reunited for the last time. He went back to the front. So the leader of the secessionist enclave, Ojukwu, we spoke, and then when I came back I was detained for having traveled to the East. I was accused of all kinds of things, including trying to buy jet fighters for the -- I don't know why people like to cook, you know, fantasies, around one's individual existence.
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Thomas Starzl

Father of Modern Transplantation

Thomas Starzl: I was always worried. Of course there were textbooks describing operations. Even if I had done an operation 100 times, if I had an operation that I had done two days before, I'd go back and read the book and refresh books, which quickly became tattered and exhausted by constant use. But I think the great worries that tended to accumulate, so that they eventually became very heavy, were about what happened afterwards to the people. So if you operated on somebody with a cancer, you were always worrying that you were going to get that unwelcome phone call from somebody that they had a recurrence. Or in the case of the transplant patient, because the mechanisms of engraftment were not known, transplantation was a field in which big things were accomplished without knowing why and how. There was no reason to hope at the beginning of transplantation that those operations were cured. That is, if you could put a kidney and it had a chance of lasting for a lifetime. So instead the idea was that you had an alien, foreign organ in there that was under constant attack, and even though it lasted for a year, or a couple of years, that it was slowly, slowly going to go away. And if you actually came to know those patients, and I did, at a personal level in almost every case, you were sitting around like a parent watching over a child with an inevitably slowly advancing disease, and that you were going to get a phone call that the end had come. So if you had patients for whom you had a particular affection, and those uncommonly often were children, you just had an idea that you'd never see them grow up. So it was a deadly wait actually.
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

We'd come in low and put a snake-eye fixture on a snake eye bomb. That meant as soon as it felt itself released, it would have a shield come up to slow it down so we wouldn't be getting hit with our own shrapnel. Now that's the kind of stuff you have to work with all the time, but even with all that, I could hear boom, boom, boom, boom. This little engine is right there. The cockpit is no wider than that, and it's very noisy inside, but I looked right there and I saw that damn plane and I thought ,"There's my Armageddon." And it was fireballs coming at me one after the other. And then now everything is out. The engine is shot up, the hydraulics are gone, and I've just got to get out of the airplane and I did. I didn't have my lip mike on. I had to get it up and say, "I'm going to eject."
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

It never got above 1,000 feet even with the trajectory, and I was low and I was going right into this little town. Straight -- it was a town that I could imagine being very similar to the places I saw in Illinois, a town of about 800 people with one thoroughfare and that's it. They're farmers or rice people or whatever. And I landed and got myself on deck, flipped off my protective -- the thing that held my parachute on -- and then I looked up and I had seen traces of this -- A thundering herd was coming down on me. All probably between 18 and 24. They were going to defend the honor of their town.
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

They got a couple of teams of torture guards and they had a special procedure. And the way it was done was to get a long iron bar and shackle your legs to it, and then the man on the back would start weaving ropes through your arms to bend them backwards. And then they -- getting as much leverage as he could -- what they're doing is shutting off the blood circulation in your upper body. And then he would push, he would bend you double and stand on your back and he would pull from this angle, giving him better leverage, and then he would find--you know, it's about over when you feel the heel of his foot in your--back of your head and he put your nose right on the cement and there you are. You're encased in ropes. Your blood is not circulating. You're in pain and you're in claustrophobia.
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

And so I said, "I've got to change the status quo," and with that I got off from my traveling irons and went over and shut off the light, pulled back these blankets, and exposing the plate glass window, using the palm of my hand, which was relatively free -- I had enough freedom there, to get the long shards, pull the curtains back, turn on the light, get back in my chair and sit down and just start going like this. And, first of all, I started getting blue blood and I said, "Where is the blue blood coming from? We've got to get some red blood." And so I said, "I don't " I said to myself, "Is this right? I don't know but I know I've got to " my hands -- I had run out of ideas and I had to explore the future. You wouldn't think I had a future if you saw me. I passed out in a pool of blood.
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