Frontline World

About the Series

From the producers of FRONTLINE


Stories From a Small Planet

ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINE WORLD, three stories from a small planet. First, a rare glimpse of life inside North Korea. Our BBC reporter explores a country confronting the United States.

KOREAN MAN: You look like an American.

WILL DAWS, Producer: That's not good here, is it.

NORTH KOREAN MAN: Bloody bad imperialist bastard! [laughter]

ANNOUNCER: Next a journey to Nigeria, where a beauty pageant sparked rioting.

ALEXIS BLOOM, Reporter: It's chaos, really. All the contestants are locked away in their rooms.

ANNOUNCER: And a woman's death sentence is provoking outrage.

STELLA DIN, Miss World Organizer: You don't stone a woman, let alone a woman who has a little baby.

ANNOUNCER: And finally, in Iceland, hot rock from a cold country.

MARCO WERMAN, Reporter: This is going to be really loud.

North Korea: Suspicious Minds

Reported by Ben Anderson

BEN ANDERSON, BBC Television, Reporter: [voice-over] This is the last and oldest cold war frontline in the world. It's the absurdly named Demilitarized Zone, one of the most heavily armed places on earth.

AMERICAN GI: Checkpoint Bravo's manned 24 hours a day and regulates all traffic in and out of the Demilitarized Zone.

BEN ANDERSON: We took a tour from the south. We had an American GI as our guide. This is the line that's divided Korea since the end of World War II, when Russia occupied the north, America the south. Both countries then put puppet regimes in power. In 1950, after numerous incursions by both sides, North Korea invaded the South. The ensuing Korean war lasted three years and cost two million lives.

No peace treaty was ever signed, and technically, the two sides are still at war.

AMERICAN GI: OK, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to United Nations command checkpoint 3. On this ridgeline, that's the northern boundary of the DMZ, which is approximately 2,000 meters from where we're standing at right now. Over here on the lefthand side of the treeline, you'll see what looks like some large white letters. OK, that's actually a North Korean propaganda sign. Once translated from Han-gul to English, it roughly states, "Our general is the best general."

Now, if you look straight off from that, that's another Korean sign. And roughly, that one says, "Yankee go home."

AMERICAN GI: See that radio tower?

BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] Yeah.

AMERICAN GI: That's the city of Kaesong. And those radio towers - you can see three more over there - they're actually jammers to block all of our transmissions, our radio and our television transmissions, so that they have no idea of what actually goes on in the outside world. So I'm sure when you get there, you're going to see a big difference [unintelligible] going on. Kind of like Hitler burning the books.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] There have been plenty of skirmishes along this line. The most famous was in 1976, when American soldiers used an axe to chop down a tree that was obscuring their vision. North Korean soldiers approached, a fight broke out, and two Americans were killed by the very same axe they were using to chop the tree.

My journey into North Korea was going to be controlled by government-appointed minders who would not allow me to meet any ordinary North Koreans. So I traveled to Seoul to meet defectors who had completed the long and hazardous journey to the south. At least a quarter of a million have fled across the Chinese border. Only the lucky few make it to the south, where they are finally given refugee status.

[on camera] There's a couple of North Korean refugees here who'll talk to us but don't want to appear in front of a camera. I don't know if they're worried about their own safety or the safety of their families back in North Korea.

[voice-over] This would be the only time during my trip I could talk openly to North Koreans.

[on camera] I'm just trying to get a sense of what- what daily life is like there. You know, what are the hardships? What are the dangers?

FEMALE REFUGEE: [subtitles] They educate you from the moment you are born. The moment a child utters a word, they start him on ideological training, making him say, "Thank you, Dear Leader" and "Thank you, Great Leader" all the time. So they can't think for themselves.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] In the mid-1990s, a tragic mixture of natural disaster and state failure led to a famine that killed between one and three million people.

MALE REFUGEE: [subtitles] North Korea is a country where people die of starvation. Can you imagine that? People say, "May the Great Leader live 10,000 years." Even those dying of starvation say it. When you go to North Korea, you'll only get to meet those saying "Long live the Great Leader, Father General."

BEN ANDERSON: I was traveling with Will, my producer, armed only with a small camera. We had been told to expect heavy questioning and possibly even a strip search upon arrival in North Korea. I left the bustling and prosperous streets of South Korea expecting a grim-faced and hostile reception.

Mr. PAK, Guide: Welcome to Korea.

BEN ANDERSON: Our two guides were Mr. Pak and Miss Pak - no relation. They would accompany us in our every waking hour for the next seven days.

In just one line of his "axis of evil" speech, George Bush condemned North Korea as a regime arming itself with missiles and weapons of mass destruction while starving its citizens. Last year, only 150 Western tourists came here. With no Internet, mobile phones and only state-run media, North Korea has rightly been described as "the hermit kingdom."

[on camera] Well, the first thing you notice is just how quiet it is everywhere. I mean, there's literally, I don't know, 10- I mean, I'm looking over half the city, and I can probably see 10 cars.

[voice-over] North Korea is desperate to engage with the outside world, and it soon became clear that our tour was going to be one long advert for North Korea and its heroic soldiers, factory workers, farmers and intellectuals. I was taken to the statue of North Korea's president, officially called "Great Leader, Comrade Kim Il Sung," and for a few U.S. dollars was told to lay flowers at his feet.

Miss PAK, Guide: Oh, Mr. William, don't forget to take a full picture of the statue, OK? Don't cut the- don't cut in half. This is the most sacred place, yes?

BEN ANDERSON: The Great Leader ruled from 1948 until his death in 1994, and over $2.5 billion was spent on ceremonies and monuments in his memory. He holds the office of president eternally, making North Korea the only country in the world with a dead president.

[on camera] Was Kim Il Sung just a human being or more, greater?

Miss PAK: Of course, he's a human being, but he's high- highly what-

BEN ANDERSON: Developed?

Miss PAK: Yes, I think. He is not God, but I think he's very hard-working for the people, and he do everything for the people.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] And the people are still working hard for him. An army of volunteers keeps his statue spotlessly clean, and when a bird threatens to blemish the Great Leader, there is panic down below until the bird is finally chased away. After three years of official mourning for the Great Leader, his son, Kim Jong Il, was declared the country's Dear Leader, creating communism's only-ever dynasty.

[on camera] Kim Il Sung was called the great leader-

Miss PAK: Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: -and Kim Jong Il is called the dear leader.

Miss PAK: Yes. Right.

BEN ANDERSON: Does that- does that mean he is- he is less than his father?

Miss PAK: No, that does not mean-

BEN ANDERSON: Just different?

Miss PAK: Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum was the first of many I would be taken to. Here I would learn that the Great Leader single-handedly defeated Japanese imperialism in 1945, with no mention of World War II.

MUSEUM GUIDE: This picture shows the invincibility of Korean people united strongly around the Great Leader, General Kim Il Sung, who defeated imperialism, U.S. and Japan.

BEN ANDERSON: In 1950, after finally getting support and permission from Russia and China, General Kim Il Sung invaded the South in an attempt to reunify Korea.

MUSEUM GUIDE: In this room and next room, you can how the U.S. aggressors occupied South Korea and prepared the aggressive war against the northern half of the republic.

BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] If the attack came from the South first-


BEN ANDERSON: -how come the North made so much progress into the South?

MUSEUM GUIDE: Oh, I will explain later.

BEN ANDERSON: OK. What were the Russians and Chinese doing in North Korea?

MUSEUM GUIDE: I will explain later.


[voice-over] The showpiece of the museum is a huge revolving panoramic painting of a famous battle. The unshaven alcoholics are the U.S. imperialist aggressors, the sun-tanned heroes with white teeth the North Korean army.

[ Read interview with the reporter]

[on camera] So this is the- this is the USS Pueblo, which is the only U.S. naval vessel in captivity in the world, which they've proudly kept open for us a little bit later than normal.

[voice-over] The USS Pueblo is North Korea's greatest trophy, and it's moored permanently in the country's capital.

WILL DAWS, Producer: Who is he?

[on camera] He's a veteran who played a part in the battle to capture the USS Pueblo.

[voice-over] After a gunfight, the crew were captured. One sailor was killed.

[on camera] The American soldier was killed here?

Mr. PAK: Yes, here.

[ Timeline on U.S./N. Korea conflict]

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] The crew were only released 11 months later, after the U.S. government wrote a groveling apology.

[on camera] "The government of the United States of America shoulders full responsibility and solemnly apologizes for the grave acts of espionage committed by the U.S. ship against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

NORTH KOREAN VETERAN: [subtitles] Our seven men boarded the Pueblo and captured 83 of the armed villains. If the American imperialists infiltrate this land again, we'll chase them to the end of the world and bomb their bases. We'll crush them mercilessly under our feet.

WILL DAWS: What does he think of Bush?

NORTH KOREAN VETERAN: [subtitles] He is a war fanatic and a warmonger.

BEN ANDERSON: So where do you live? Do you live in- near here?

Miss PAK: This is middle district, and I live here, just beside the river.

BEN ANDERSON: Do you live with your families?

Miss PAK: Yes.


Miss PAK: Mother-in-law and father-in-law and my husband and one daughter. Her name is Teun [sp?], meaning the pond of knowledge.

BEN ANDERSON: Oh, really?

Miss PAK: The lake of knowledge. Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: And she's only 1 year old.

Miss PAK: Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: Do people here like American music?

Miss PAK: I just forgot the name of the famous singer. It starts from "E."

BEN ANDERSON: A man or a woman?

Miss PAK: A man.


Miss PAK: Elvis, yes! I know him.


Miss PAK: Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: He's your favorite.

When I kind of came here, I'd read all the articles. I'd read all the books, and I was coming here, really, to sort of laugh at the personality cult here and, you know, the ridiculousness of it all. And I came here, actually, thinking that by the end of the week, I'd- I'd confront our guides and say that "What you're showing me is a sham." But I don't know. They're breaking my heart.

[voice-over] The next day, we were driven for three hours to visit what we were told was a typical cooperative farm. This vision of agricultural perfection did not tally with what I had read about the great famine.

[on camera] Many people are dying from starvation.

Miss PAK: I don't think it's so serious. It's not that serious.


Miss PAK: Yes. Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: Because we read that many, many people starve.

Miss PAK: There is still lack of foods, but not- not very- not that kind of serious problem, many people dying.

BEN ANDERSON: Are we wrong? Because we- in our newspapers, it said that maybe a million people died from starvation.

Miss PAK: Maybe it will be propaganda.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] Propaganda, the response I got every time I suggested there might be a few cracks in the Great Leader's "sunshine state." It seemed pointless to mention the fact that many aid agencies think the number of deaths from famine could be as high as three million.

Miss PAK: Let's go inside.

BEN ANDERSON: If millions have died through starvation, loyalty to the Great and Dear Leaders remains unbreakable.

GIRL: [singing] [subtitles] Sun, sun, if there's sun, it's the morning. Sun, sun, if there's sun, the birds fly. The Great Leader's picture is the sun, to whom I am grateful. I can't live without him. I am thankful to him.

BEN ANDERSON: Everywhere you go in North Korea, you see evidence of a country constantly prepared for war. One in ten North Koreans wears military uniform, and you often see army trucks carrying soldiers and weapons.

WILL DAWS: What was in there?

Mr. PAK: Beef.

BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] Lots of boxes of shells and machine guns.

Mr. PAK: Beef.

BEN ANDERSON: Are you afraid the beef will go off?

WILL DAWS: That was a lorry full of beef.

Mr. PAK: Right. Beef. Yeah.


Mr. PAK: Yeah. Right.

BEN ANDERSON: Beef can mean trouble. Like if I have beef with you, it means I have a problem with you.

WILL DAWS: America has a beef with North Korea, you could say.

Mr. PAK: Lots of, I think, the nuclear beef they have. [laughter]

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] Just one week later, and I was back at the Demilitarized Zone. Only this time, I was inside the "axis of evil," looking out.

NORTH KOREAN SOLDIER: [subtitles] This place is very volatile. In other places, you need a big incident to start a war. But here, even the smallest mistake made by one soldier could lead to a war. During the Korean war, my whole family - 11 in total - were massacred. My father was the only survivor. Because of my family history, my father has been in uniform all his life, and his five sons are all serving on the front line. American soldier.

Miss PAK: American soldier.

BEN ANDERSON: I don't dare tell him we'd been shown around by the very same soldier just a week before.

[on camera] In the newspapers, it said that they have an axe on display.

Miss PAK: Oh, yes.

BEN ANDERSON: One that they used to kill American soldiers in the 1960s or 1970s.

Miss PAK: Kill American soldiers?

BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, with an axe.

Miss PAK: [subtitles] He saw in a newspaper that the axe that hit the American soldiers is on display.

NORTH KOREAN SOLDIER: [subtitles] Didn't you see it? It's there. There are photos there, as well.

Mr. PAK: OK. Then we will have to drop in there to see the axe.


NORTH KOREAN SOLDIER: [subtitles] Sorry about the power cut. Can you film in this light?

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] And in the darkest part of the museum, we found the axe, proudly displayed in a glass case.

NORTH KOREAN SOLDIER: [subtitles] The Americans, in their desire to dominate the world, didn't want to leave South Korea. So in order to have an excuse to stay, they provoked this incident.

BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] Smiling, waving North Korean soldiers is very different to how we are told in the West.

Miss PAK: Yes. Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] I had expected a hermetically sealed communist state to be cold, gray and heavily industrialized, so I was surprised to find an afternoon on the beach as part of our itinerary.

[on camera] We're on the beach, but there's a kind of wooden fence, and there's an electric fence to stop American espionage scuba divers from swimming in from ships and becoming spies in North Korea somewhere. He told me the fence is electric, but I'm not sure I believe him.

Mr. Pak, I can touch it?

Mr. PAK: No!


Mr. PAK: Yes [unintelligible]

BEN ANDERSON: I don't believe you.

Who do you think might attack this country?

Mr. PAK: This country?


Mr. PAK: Americans. We think like that.

BEN ANDERSON: [unintelligible] attack?

Mr. PAK: Yeah. We think like that. If we have not enough the arms, then maybe it will be attacked by the Americans because, anyhow, maybe it's happened in Iraq and then here. Iraq, and then the here. The Afghanistan and the like. If we are not ready, of course, you see, for the attack, then maybe they can easily, of course, occupy this land.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] The Korean war ended almost 50 years ago, but it seems clear the North Koreans would fight to the death tomorrow.

Miss PAK: If the U.S. imperialists want to fight, then we will fight. So we have to prepare. But if they want to make- if they want to talk peacefully, then we also want.

WILL DAWS: That's good.

BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] Yeah. Yeah.

WILL DAWS: So you want peace.

BEN ANDERSON: What is that noise?

Miss PAK: Hour of noon, 12:00 o'clock.

BEN ANDERSON: Not an air raid-

Miss PAK: It's 12:00 o'clock.

BEN ANDERSON: It's not an air raid warning?

Miss PAK: [laughs] No! You have to run.

BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, that's what it sounds like.

Miss PAK: OK?

AMERICAN TOURIST: It's an air raid siren.

BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. He's saying the same thing!

Miss PAK: Oh, yes! [laughter]

Mr. Pak told you, you have to get permission.


Miss PAK: Maybe they get angry.

WILL DAWS: For whatever we film?

Miss PAK: Oh, yes. Of all people. Get the permission.

WILL DAWS: To film?

Miss PAK: Yes.


Miss PAK: Is that all right?

WILL DAWS: Yeah. That's fine.

Miss PAK: Looks like Americans.

WILL DAWS: Oh, so they think-

Miss PAK: Oh, yes.

WILL DAWS: -I could be American.

Miss PAK: Yes.


KOREAN MAN: You look like an American.

WILL DAWS: That's not- that's not good here, is it.

KOREAN MAN: Bloody bad imperialist bastard! [laughter]

BEN ANDERSON: Miss Pak was faithfully toeing the party line. However, our conversation about books showed that her world didn't revolve entirely around the Great and Dear Leaders.

Miss PAK: I also like novels.

BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] Which book is your favorite book of all time?

Miss PAK: Maybe mostly I read Jane Eyre.

BEN ANDERSON: Oh, really?

Miss PAK: Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: I didn't know you had that here.

Miss PAK: Yes.

BEN ANDERSON: [voice-over] Even Mr. Pak was opening up.

Mr. PAK: This one is a bourgeois watch.

BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] Bourgeois watch?

Mr. PAK: Yeah, a bourgeois watch.

BEN ANDERSON: So how much?

Mr. PAK: Maybe $1,000.

BEN ANDERSON: Fourteen dollars.

Mr. PAK: Fourteen?


Mr. PAK: Fourteen dollars.

BEN ANDERSON: How much was your watch?

Mr. PAK: Twenty.

BEN ANDERSON: Twenty dollars?

Mr. PAK: Approximately.

BEN ANDERSON: You're so bourgeois! [laughter] I am proletariat.

Mr. PAK: Proletariat?

BEN ANDERSON: You're bourgeois with your $20 watch! [laughter]

[voice-over] The most excessive display of nationalism is the Arirang Festival, where 100,000 performers praise the Great and Dear Leaders and mourn the division of their country. The South are shown as long-lost family members, with reunification blocked by the American military presence. While all the people of North and South live for reunification, I wondered if the Dear Leader felt the same way. He had to realize an open border and the information it would reveal would surely mean an end to his reign.

On our last night, our guides finally agreed to join us for a meal.

Mr. PAK: We are happy to toast with the British bourgeoisie. [laughter] Cheers!

WILL DAWS: You glad we're going?

Miss PAK: How can you ask in that way? I am so sad. Really. Yes.

WILL DAWS: What have you enjoyed most this week?

Miss PAK: This week? Every time when I was with you, I enjoyed very much. Yes. Really. It's true.

WILL DAWS: Even when we argued about politics?

Miss PAK: Oh, yes. Of course. Because that is the stage that we are getting close and we are getting understand. Yes. I think.

BEN ANDERSON: Mr. Pak, do you still think we're bourgeois?

Mr. PAK: Maybe you are turned into the revolutionary, I think. Socialist. From bourgeois!

BEN ANDERSON: When I go home, I'm going to give up all my luxurious goods.

Mr. PAK: Precisely. Yes.

Miss PAK: I am a revolutionary, yes. So I think in politics, you'll never - what - you'll never convert me.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up later, Iceland, the Arctic island that's making some of the world's hottest music.

But first, a clash of cultures in Nigeria.

Nigeria: The Road North

Reported by Alexis Bloom

ALEXIS BLOOM, Reporter: [voice-over] We were driving north, towards a city called Kaduna, on our way to find a Muslim woman at the center of a controversy. Amina Lawal has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The trial of this woman has deepened the growing split in Nigeria between the Christian south and the Muslim north.

Traffic suddenly ground to a halt.

DRIVER: They are fighting in Kaduna.

ALEXIS BLOOM: [on camera] What are they fighting about?

DRIVER: People are not going inside there. People are afraid. People are afraid to go inside.

Hello, boss. Are we safe?

ALEXIS BLOOM: [voice-over] Our driver, because he's from the east, doesn't really know what's going on. So I'm having to stop to ask other people whether it's safe to go through or not.

[on camera] What's with the leaves?

DRIVER: [on camera] That leaf means peace.

ALEXIS BLOOM: [voice-over] We followed a procession of cars covered in leaves, all fleeing the city, heading further north. Fires burned in the distance, but nobody stopped to find out why. Only later that night did we realize how bad the violence had been.

TELEVISION NEWSCASTER: Rioting first broke out in Kaduna, in northern Nigeria. After Friday prayers, Muslim youths armed with knives went on a rampage, setting fire to cars.

ALEXIS BLOOM: The riots were sparked by Nigeria's hosting of the Miss World beauty pageant. The contest was being held here because Miss Nigeria had won last year. But Muslims denounced the pageant as a parade of nudity. And then a Christian fashion writer said that the Prophet Mohammed would surely have picked one of the Miss World contestants as his wife. To Muslims, this was blasphemous, and the riots broke out in Kaduna. Churches, mosques and homes were burned, and 200 people were killed.

The next day, we heard the pageant was being canceled. We jumped in a local taxi and sped south to the capital, Abuja.

[on camera] We're here outside the Hilton Hotel. All the contestants are locked away in their rooms. The Miss World organization's not letting them talk to anyone. It's chaos, really. All the journalists have been kicked out of the lobby.

[voice-over] Miss World announced the 92 beauty queens were moving to London. The contest was in disarray. Panicked, the organizers lashed out at the media.

SPOKESWOMAN: What I'm trying to say, gentlemen and ladies of the press, quite honestly, you - not individually, but as a collection - are to blame. You all know Miss World had nothing to do with the riots.

ALEXIS BLOOM: The beauty queens fled in the middle of the night. Many never wanted to come here in the first place. They threatened a boycott to stop the stoning of Amina Lawal, the woman we'd come to find.

The next day, there wasn't a trace left of the pageant. Stella Din had been setting up the event for months.

STELLA DIN: The fact that it marred the hosting of Miss World 2002 in Nigeria sends strong signals out to the international community that Nigeria is not a country to be taken seriously, that we do have an image problem, and if we really want to be ranked as first among equals, we have blown our chances.

ALEXIS BLOOM: A Christian who lives in the south, Stella told us she was outraged at Amina's sentence.

STELLA DIN: From where I come from- I mean, every- any civilized nation, you don't stone a woman, you don't even stone a man to death, let alone a woman who has a little baby.

ALEXIS BLOOM: Amina Lawal's case has put pressure on the southern government here in Abuja. They insist she will never be stoned.

In this fractured country, the newly invented capital was built up from the ground only 10 years ago, created as a neutral place. But even here, religion is a strong presence. Evangelical signs are pinned on every street corner. God offers hope that the government doesn't. Abuja lies on a religious frontier. It's the last stop between the Christian south and the Muslim north.

The next morning, we decided to resume our journey north to find Amina Lawal. On the way, at a local market, I got some advice from a man selling Islamic literature.

[on camera] Is this good for Islamic women?

PAMPHLET SELLER: That's good. You got to put your head under- and all of this, also. And you have to cover this one.



ALEXIS BLOOM: OK. I'll cover up.

PAMPHLET SELLER: Yes. This one no good.


[voice-over] On the road north, we passed people filling their cars are jerry-rigged gas stations. Nigeria is one of the world's largest exporters of oil and a major supplier to the United States. But money from Nigeria's black gold doesn't trickle down here. The north feels alienated and disenfranchised form the decision-makers of the south.

No roadblocks this time, and nothing stopped us entering Kaduna.

[on camera] This side of the road is Muslim, this side is Christian.

[voice-over] This is a city divided between Christians and Muslims.

[on camera] Both sides burned. Both sides.


ALEXIS BLOOM: The ones from this side went that side, and the ones from that side went this side.

[voice-over] Kaduna is a microcosm of Nigeria's problems. These riots were just the latest wave of violence. Thousands have been killed.

[on camera] We're told that about 500 young boys just went totally on the rampage. A merchant just down the street told us. Yeah, this is the local church.

[voice-over] Mosques were also destroyed, their walls defaced with religious graffiti.

We met a Muslim woman, Amina Ladan Baki, who said poverty was the root of the violence.

AMINA LADAN BAKI: So many people have nothing to do- frustrated, idle. And the slightest provocation, and they start smashing things- cars, looting shops, you know? It's just a situation where there was, you know, a lot of poverty, and they had a chance to let off steam, so to speak.

ALEXIS BLOOM: Ladan Baki blames politicians for exploiting religious divisions.

AMINA LADAN BAKI: The politicians mislead people. They use religion. They use the different- you know, diversity of cultures to make- to get people to unite or disunite, you know, to "Vote for me because I'm of your stock."

ALEXIS BLOOM: But underscoring the bitter conflict here is Shar'ia law, the Islamic legal code under which Amina Lawal was sentenced.

We pressed on further north towards Amina's home. We arrived in Kano, an ancient trading post and West Africa's oldest city. In the old marketplace, Islamic culture thrives. Islam traveled to Kano over 700 years ago. Shar'ia has long been a way of life here, a code of conduct that encourages social welfare. For Muslims, it holds similar reverence to the 10 Commandments.

But Shar'ia criminal law was brought back three years ago, after the military dictatorship toppled. Thousands of supporters celebrated in the streets of Kano. This was the north flexing its political muscle, defying the southern government, and the people hoping for an end to corruption.

We went to see Naiya Sada, who helped craft the new Shar'ia criminal law.

NAIYA SADA: People saw the Shar'ia now as coming in to save the situation, to bring justice to them, to bring justice to their doorstep, instead of the earlier system, where there is no justice, where there is so much delay, where there are so much problems, corruptions. The is that this ideal will come and solve my problem. People believed so much that something will happen. Whether it is happening now or not is a different thing entirely.

ALEXIS BLOOM: The notorious part of Shar'ia law is its harsh punishments. I asked Sada how he could justify stoning a woman to death.

NAIYA SADA: Well, the question of fairness is not the issue. Once you can prove adultery, under Islamic law, the punishment has to follow, is stoning to death. Nobody can change that punishment.

ALEXIS BLOOM: If there are flaws in the implementation of Shar'ia, it is women who suffer first. We talked to Mairo Bello, who counsels Muslim women on their rights.

MAIRO BELLO: As a Muslim, what I'm saying is that if it is good for the goose, let it be good for the gander. So if you punish the female, get the man that is responsible for that pregnancy and punish him, too. It's like the whole society is watching out for the woman to go out of line, for her to be punished.

ALEXIS BLOOM: Shar'ia law has now spread to one third of the country. North of Kano is the state of Katsina. This is where Amina Lawal was born. For the first time, we saw taxis for women only. We found the courtroom where Amina Lawal's appeal was turned down. At the time, men in the audience shouted praises to God.

We wanted to find the man in charge of Amina's case, the attorney general. Ibrahim Shema has said that others will learn from Amina's mistake.

IBRAHIM SHEMA: You're trying to at least find out from me what my thinking is about the rights of a woman vis-a-vis the rights of a man under Shar'ia, am I right?

ALEXIS BLOOM: [on camera] Yeah, and Amina-

IBRAHIM SHEMA: And my response to that is that this thing of equal access to justice, under Islamic law, is as available to the woman as it is to the man. But for the woman, the fact that she has pregnancy with her is enough proof that something has happened, if she is not married. And remember, we are talking about a Muslim woman. There's a belief-based system here. The woman has accepted that.

ALEXIS BLOOM: [voice-over] I asked Shema if he thought stoning was barbaric. He chose his words carefully.

IBRAHIM SHEMA: I cannot be able to comment on whether it's barbaric or not because, remember, you're asking me about something that affects my religion. So if I now come out with a position that says, "No, it is barbaric," then I'm going against my religious beliefs."

ALEXIS BLOOM: We tried to film on the streets of Katsina, but almost immediately, we were hauled off to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and told to stop.

The city walls were covered in Shar'ia graffiti. All we could do was film from the car.

Finally, we reached Amina's village. As soon as we arrived, we were approached by the village elders.

ELDER: [subtitles] Why do you film? Has this got anything to do with this Shar'ia issue or this Amina Lawal?

ALEXIS BLOOM: Then they asked us to leave. We found out that Amina had fled to the capital. She'd made her village famous, and they didn't seem to like it much. We headed back to find her.

RADIO DJ: Good morning, Abuja! How are you feeling? It is the beginning of a brand-new day in Abuja. Hopefully, you guys are enjoying the vibe. You are listening to the Good Morning Nigeria show, brand-new music on cool.

ALEXIS BLOOM: We were back in the urban metropolis. That night, we caught the Miss World contest on television. It went off in London without a hitch. Miss Nigeria handed her crown to the new winner, Miss Turkey.

Finally, we met Amina Lawal. She was in a safe house, and we agreed not to disclose the location. With the Miss World spotlight gone, she was no longer center stage, but still under threat of death. Amina said she never knew women could be stoned to death under Shar'ia law. She seemed tired, and I asked her if she was afraid.

AMINA LAWAL: [subtitles] Am I worried? Of course. But then, since this is what God destines it to be, there is not a thing that I can do. But of course, I am worried.

ALEXIS BLOOM: It was extraordinary to me that Amina's faith remains so firmly unshaken.

AMINA LAWAL: [subtitles] I leave everything to God. He is the creator. He gives life, and he carries out his judgments. May Allah let me die a Muslim, declaring my faith in him.

ALEXIS BLOOM: Amina's lawyer, Hauwa Ibrahim, was also raised Muslim in a small northern village. This trial has brought them close together. Hauwa is defending several women sentenced for adultery.

HAUWA IBRAHIM: We are afraid that, when it comes to the issue of death, the moment you stone the first woman, there may be no stopping of it. And I cannot live with that.

ALEXIS BLOOM: If Amina's appeals are denied, she will be killed as soon as she weans her baby. She will be buried up to her neck, and a crowd will be asked to throw stones.

But Amina told me her biggest concern is for her child's safety. And before I left, she gave me her blessing.

AMINA LAWAL: [subtitles] May Allah give you your own child!

ANNOUNCER: Finally tonight, Reykjavik's post-rock revolution.

Iceland: The Future of Sound

Reported by Marco Werman

MARCO WERMAN, Public Radio's "The World," Reporter: [voice-over] It feels extra-terrestrial, this wind-scoured place. It's a land of sheep and steam. Iceland is out there on its own, a volcanic island in the middle of the North Atlantic, just below the Arctic Circle. Not many people live here, just 300,000 in the whole country. I came to Iceland to find out how it is that this remote island is making some of the most innovative pop music in the world.

Bjork is Iceland's best known musical expert. In the wake of Bjork's success, scores of pop bands have emerged from Iceland, and some of them are really avant-garde. One of Iceland's most intriguing new bands is a group called the Apparat Organ Quartet.

Today I'm covering the release of Apparat's debut CD. They're known almost as much for their deadpan humor as they are for audio experimentation.

JOHANN JOHANNSON, Apparat: Stereo rock-and-roll, stereo rock-and-roll, give me rock-and-roll in stereo.

MARCO WERMAN: Apparat was just one of the acts I caught at the 2002 Iceland Airwaves Festival. Northern European rock is hot these days, and the music business is paying special attention to Iceland. The festival is a chance for dozens of local bands to promote their homemade CDs.

[on camera] Are you from Reykjavik?


MARCO WERMAN: And the band is called Hudson Wayne, and they package this as one of the old-school floppy disks. Very clever. I like it.

[voice-over] Every style of artist from Iceland's music scene is here- electronica heads, DJs, garage bands, alternative country, even heavy metal.

BAND MEMBER: I'm a drummer in a metal band called Changer. We have a pre-production demo here and a CD. We're trying to get out of this country. It's not very good for metal here, but we're trying.

MARCO WERMAN: [on camera] Which one is this?

BARTENDER: It's vodka and honey.

MARCO WERMAN: Vodka and honey? Skoal!

[voice-over] Icelanders like to make music, and they also like a drink or two.

[on camera] Oh! That warms the cockles of your heart.

[voice-over] There is something about Iceland's long cold nights and stark nature. It's an austere beauty that Iceland's best bands seem to capture. The group Sigur Ros headlined the Iceland Airwaves Festival in 2001. They've also made top 10 lists of many rock critics around the world.

Maybe the best part of the three-day festival was seeing Icelandic artists I don't hear much about in America. The showcases are held in dozens of bars and nightclubs in downtown Reykjavik.

[on camera] All right, this is going to be really loud.

[ Read Marco Werman's notebook]

[voice-over] You can't see everything, but you can run yourself ragged till the wee hours of the morning trying.

This was particularly strange. This guy is a sonic artist who works off a laptop, performing in sound and light. The crowd listened attentively, but I couldn't take it for more than five minutes.

[on camera] And now Trabant, a band that's named after a now-defunct plastic East German automobile.

[voice-over] Their political satire reminded me of John Lennon's Plastic Ono band.

TRABANT: [singing] [subtitles] The Israelis are killing the Arabs, and the Arabs they're killing them back! What's this world coming to? Everybody seems to be bossing everybody!

MARCO WERMAN: I heard the full panorama of Icelandic music, crawling through all those Reykjavik pubs. I was still curious, though, about that group, Apparat, the four guys who play space travel music on old organs. I went to their sound check at Reykjavik's Madison Square Garden, the 3,000-seat Laugardasholl.

"Apparat" is the Icelandic diminutive for machine, and the band is seriously into its machines.

[on camera] Wow, what a classic piece of gear.

BAND MEMBER: Oh, it's nice. It's nice.

MARCO WERMAN: About what year is this, '61, '62?

[voice-over] Johann Johannson is kind of the philosopher of the group.

JOHANN JOHANNSON, Apparat: Something that we share, all of Apparat, is this fondness for the fallibility of machines, you know, the idea that the fault or the imperfection can be interesting, you know? That's maybe the unifying thing about Apparat.

MARCO WERMAN: In concert, Apparat's senior member, Hurdur Bragason, shows off his dance moves. On Sundays, he plays to a different crowd. Hurdur is one of Iceland's leading church organists, and here he's playing for Lutheran services at a retirement home.

These guys are pretty weird- in a good way. Johann invites me over to his studio.

JOHANN JOHANNSON: This is the place where I work. Basically, it's my sort of space.

MARCO WERMAN: [on camera] Right.

JOHANN JOHANNSON: It's a mess. [laughter]

MARCO WERMAN: [voice-over] Apparat advocates salvaging and recycling instruments using, every available part, like the way Icelanders treat sheep.

JOHANN JOHANNSON: Icelanders have used every part of the sheep, you know, and when you kill a sheep, you know, you use the fleece, you know, for clothes, and you use the intestines for fuel or whatever. And you know, we even- even eat the head, you know, and the brains.

We're very interested in experimental music, and that's our main interest, electronic and experimental music. But we don't feel that that necessarily has to be a fringe thing. You know, like, for example, the thing we did at the supermarket. We decided to ask the biggest chain, you know, of supermarkets if we could provide the music for their store for one day.

MARCO WERMAN: It's a brilliant concept. With their music blasting over the supermarket loudspeakers, Apparat served drinks to puzzled shoppers and handed out questionnaires. It's the kind of performance art that Johann hopes will keep Icelandic music fresh and unpredictable.

JOHANN JOHANNSON: There's the sense now that anything is possible, you know, and people are very sort of excited about- about trying new things.

MARCO WERMAN: Icelandic musicians have taken American rock and revolutionized it with their own sub-Arctic touch. This experimental sound is adding an invigorating sparkle to pop music that's been missing for far too long.

Suspicious Minds


Ben Anderson


Will Daws


Ryshard Opyrchal

Michael H. Amundson

a BBC production for FRONTLINE/World

The Road North


Alexis Bloom

Cassandra Herrman


Cassandra Herrman


Steve Audette

Amy Young





UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

The Future of Sound


Marco Werman


Peter Pearce


Paul Rusnak


David Ritsher

John MacGibbon


Arni Sveinnson

Elektra Entertainment Group

Filmus Productions Iceland


Apparat Organ Quartet


Sigur Rós

Singapore Sling

Telco Systems





Rachel Raney


Sheraz Sadiq

Jessie Deeter


Suzanne Romaine


Angela Morgenstern


Doug Foster


Fluent Studios


Erin Martin Kane

Chris Kelly

Brian Eley


Brent Quan Hall

Ellen Schneider, Active Voice


Eric Brass

David Moyce


Space Imaging


Supreme Beings

of Leisure


David Porter


Chris Fournelle


Chetin Chabuk


Michael H. Amundson


Steve Audette


John MacGibbon


Robin Parmelee


Tim Mangini


Jim Bracciale


DeAnne Hamilton


Sue Ellen McCann


Sharon Tiller


Stephen Talbot


David Fanning

c 2003


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FRONTLINE/World is a co-production of WGBH Boston and KQED San Francisco, which are solely responsible for its content.

ANNOUNCER: There's more of the world to explore on our Web site, including a virtual tour of Iceland's music scene, the troubled history of the Miss World contest, an interview with Nigeria's Nobel laureate, Wole Solyinka, and interviews with our reporters. Discuss the world and tell us what you think of our Stories From a Small Planet at PBS on line,

Next time on FRONTLINE:

WOMAN: Where'd that Logan girl go?

ANNOUNCER: Logan Marr was taken from her mother three times.

MOTHER: I was never accused of being an abusive or an unfit mother.

ANNOUNCER: Twice by the foster care system.

MOTHER: Logan started screaming, "No, Mommy! Please don't let them take me."

ANNOUNCER: And once for good.

MOTHER: I fell to my knees and I cried, "Dear God, no!."

EXPERT: If the state had not involved itself, Logan Marr would still be alive.

ANNOUNCER: The Taking of Logan Marr next time on FRONTLINE.

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