Thursday, November 26, 2015

Classic Quotable: Stephen Vincent Benet on North Korean hatreds

Tuesday, November 24th 2015
News Item (AP, 25 Jun 2015) -- June is something like Hate America Month in North Korea.
Officially, it’s called “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” and — more so than usual — it’s a time for North Koreans to swarm to war museums, mobilize for gatherings denouncing the evils of the United States and join in a general, nationwide whipping up of anti-American sentiment.
The culmination this year came Thursday — the 65th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War — with a 100,000-strong rally in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium.

Radio Script:  “They Burned the Books,” written by Stephen Vincent Benét, broadcast on NBC on May 11, 1942:

They know what they are doing.
They know, if you take the children of a country
And teach them nothing but lies about the world,
Give them no chance for argument or questions,
Give them no books that show another side,
No word of all the words that speak for freedom,
The man who grows from the child will believe the lies
And never hear of the truth.
                                               It’s a simple plan,
As simple and efficient as arsenic.
Just rewrite all of the books to suit yourself
And the rest will follow in time – the beatings and the burnings,
The massed, mechanical might and the metal men.

Source:  “They Burned the Books,” in Stephen Vincent Benét, We Stand United and other Radio Scripts (New York:  Farrar & Rinehart, 1945), 110.

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