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December 2021 Issue [Readings]

Kids Say the Darndest Things


From a conversation between Olaf Scholz and two eleven-year-olds, Pauline and Romeo, who were interviewing candidates for chancellor of Germany. The exchange aired in September on Late Night Berlin. Scholz is a member of the Social Democratic Party, which won the most seats in Germany’s recent election. Translated from the German.

pauline: Hello, Mr. Scholz. We are happy to have you.

olaf scholz: It was nice of you to invite me.

pauline: Why do you want to be chancellor instead of a YouTuber?

scholz: Because I’m better at being a chancellor than a YouTuber. It relates more to my life.

romeo: I saw videos of children drowning in the sea because they wanted to come to us. Why didn’t you just organize a plane for them?

scholz: We have a lot of people who want to come to Europe, and many choose methods that aren’t safe, because they want to come in illegally, and using boats is one of those methods. We have to do everything in our power so that this doesn’t happen.

romeo: But why don’t you just get a plane for them?

scholz: Because we can’t say that everyone who wants to come to Germany can. We have to have rules and regulations.

pauline: But children are drowning.

romeo: How do you know who can come in and who can’t?

scholz: I personally do not, but I know we have rules and regulations. One of the rules, for example, is that if you are a member of the European Union—

romeo: Can an Italian come in?

scholz: —like someone from Italy or Spain, you can come here to live and work.

romeo: I don’t understand this. An Italian can come in, but someone from Ghana cannot?

scholz: There are many people in Germany who are from Ghana. But there are rules for how people may come to Germany.

pauline: Is that fair?

scholz: I think it’s important to have rules, because we have to somehow be able to do this in an orderly fashion.

pauline: I asked if it was fair.

scholz: And I said it is in line with our rules.

romeo: And you personally agree with this?

scholz: Yes I do.

romeo: That makes me kinda sad.

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