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
KOREAN MAN: You look like an American.
WILL DAWS, Producer: That's not good here, is it.
NORTH KOREAN MAN: Bloody bad imperialist bastard!
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
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
MARCO WERMAN, Reporter: This is going to be really
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
[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
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,
Miss PAK: Of course, he's a human being, but he's high-
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
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
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-
MUSEUM GUIDE: Yeah?
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.
BEN ANDERSON: OK.
[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.
[www.pbs.org: 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
[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.
[www.pbs.org: 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
[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-
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.
BEN ANDERSON: Yeah.
Miss PAK: Mother-in-law and father-in-law and my husband
and one daughter. Her name is Teun [sp?], meaning the pond of
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.
BEN ANDERSON: "E"- Elvis?
Miss PAK: Elvis, yes! I know him.
BEN ANDERSON: Elvis.
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
[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
BEN ANDERSON: Really?
Miss PAK: Yes. Yes.
BEN ANDERSON: Because we read that many, many people
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.
BEN ANDERSON: Beef.
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
Mr. PAK: Lots of, I think, the nuclear beef they have.
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
BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. OK.
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
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
BEN ANDERSON: [on camera] Smiling, waving North
Korean soldiers is very different to how we are told in the
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!
BEN ANDERSON: You sure?
Mr. PAK: Yes [unintelligible]
BEN ANDERSON: I don't believe you.
Who do you think might attack this country?
Mr. PAK: This country?
BEN ANDERSON: Yeah.
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.
WILL DAWS: Sorry?
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.
WILL DAWS: Oh, OK.
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.
WILL DAWS: Ah.
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
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?
BEN ANDERSON: 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!
[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
Mr. PAK: We are happy to toast with the British bourgeoisie.
WILL DAWS: You glad we're going?
Miss PAK: How can you ask in that way? I am so sad.
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.
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
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
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
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: No toes.
PAMPHLET SELLER: No good.
ALEXIS BLOOM: OK. I'll cover up.
PAMPHLET SELLER: Yes. This one no good.
ALEXIS BLOOM: OK.
[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
[voice-over] This is a city divided between Christians
[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
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
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
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
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
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
We wanted to find the man in charge of Amina's case, the attorney
general. Ibrahim Shema has said that others will learn from
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
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
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
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
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?
BAND MEMBER: Yes.
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.
[www.pbs.org: 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
[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
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
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
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.
Michael H. Amundson
a BBC production for FRONTLINE/World
The Road North
PRODUCED AND REPORTED BY
UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
The Future of Sound
Elektra Entertainment Group
Filmus Productions Iceland
Apparat Organ Quartet
Erin Martin Kane
Brent Quan Hall
Ellen Schneider, Active Voice
POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
POST PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Michael H. Amundson
SENIOR VIDEO EDITOR
FRONTLINE COORDINATING PRODUCER
FRONTLINE PRODUCTION MANAGER
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EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE FOR KQED
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All rights reserved
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, pbs.org.
Next time on FRONTLINE:
WOMAN: Where'd that Logan girl go?
ANNOUNCER: Logan Marr was taken from her mother three
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,
EXPERT: If the state had not involved itself, Logan
Marr would still be alive.
ANNOUNCER: The Taking of Logan Marr next time
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