October 11, 2009

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(Haile Selassie and friend - In retrospect, the lion was a pushover)

With all the anti-intellectual rhetoric and dumbing-down going on in our nations high schools, I'm wondering what would be made of this little gem - a weekly talk show where the panel is made up entirely of High School students (mostly journalism majors), fielding questions to the political heavy-hitters of the day. A weekly show that ran for years called "Youth Wants To Know", posed pertinent questions of the day to politicians and world leaders. The only purpose of the show was to stimulate a curiosity towards the world and its goings-on to people of high school age. What a concept.

This particular program, aired on May 30, 1954 featured Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie on the occasion of his state visit to Washington and talks with President Eisenhower.

Selassie doesn't go overboard elaborating answers to his questions, since everything is going through an arduous translation process. Still, he doesn't dodge anything and the kids get some good questions in.

Elva Schurabel (student): “Emperor Selassie, I want to know if Ethiopia has actually signed a 99 year pact with the United States for military bases?”

Selassie: “It is true that Ethiopia has signed a pact for military bases for 99 years with the United States of America.”

Simple, direct question and simple, direct answer.

How refreshing

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