Frontline World

About the Series


From the producers of FRONTLINE, a series of stories from a new generation of video journalists.


Stories From a Small Planet

ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINE WORLD, three stories from a small planet.

First, a report from the Middle East. As clashes on the West Bank continue, journalists are coming under fire from the Israeli Army.

NAEL SHYOUKI, Reuters: The moment they took positions, they just start firing towards us.

DANNY SEAMAN, Israeli Press Officer: We try to educate them that it’s unacceptable that journalists be beaten, that the journalists be injured in any way.

ANNOUNCER: Next, a rare glimpse of life inside North Korea.

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: And finally, what happens when poor kids in India discover a hole in the wall with a computer inside?

SUGATA MITRA: The hole in the wall gives us a door through which large numbers of children can rush into this new arena. And when that happens, it will have changed our society forever.

Israel/Palestine: In the Line of Fire

Reported by Patricia Naylor

PATRICIA NAYLOR, Reporter: [voice-over] I was working in Jerusalem when the second intifada broke out. I’m a Canadian TV journalist. This is a story that started for me one day in 2001, when I drove into the heart of the West Bank, to Hebron. It’s a city of more than 150,000 Palestinians, with a small enclave of 400 Jewish settlers guarded by Israeli soldiers.

Tensions between the Palestinians and settlers have always made this city extremely volatile. There were frequent clashes between Palestinians, settlers, and the Israeli soldiers stationed here.

As I watched the scenes that would become the images that the world sees on the evening news, I found myself also watching the cameramen who take these pictures. Here many of them are Palestinians working for international news agencies. I’d once worked with one of them, Mazen Dana, who was with the British news agency Reuters, together with his partner, Nael Shyouki.

This time Dana was lucky, just a few cuts from flying glass. After the clash ended, the cameramen told me they weren’t always this lucky. They all had stories of coming under fire from Israeli soldiers, of being hit with rubber bullets and sometimes live ammunition.

PHOTOGRAPHER: All of the Palestinian here, journalists, were injured by the soldiers and by Jewish settlers. [sound of gunfire] Excuse me. Be careful!

PATRICIA NAYLOR: Amer Jabari said he had many rubber bullets to his head. He’s the cameraman for ABC News. More shots to his legs, shot three times in the arm.

Hazem Bader, a cameraman for Associated Press, said he’d had bullets to his leg, shot in his camera hand while filming. And another day, soldiers turned on him, and his front teeth were punched out.

Out of desperation, the cameramen told me, they made a pact. Whenever one of them was being attacked, the others would film. They offered to show me their private video collection, images that rarely make the news.

NAEL SHYOUKI: Watch this.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: On this tape, the cameramen were being harassed by Israeli settlers, some of them children. They tried to stop them from filming.

On another tape, the cameraman for French television defended himself against Israeli settlers. Mazen Dana started filming the attack. Things got worse. Dana turned his camera back on to record the cameraman being loaded into an ambulance. He had been beaten unconscious.

When the current intifada began in the fall of 2000, the cameramen said, the attacks became more frequent. Mazen Dana was shot two days in a row.

But of all the videotaped shootings, the one I found most disturbing was Nael Shyouki’s from 1998, before the current intifada. On this night, Israeli settlers in Hebron marched down Palestinian streets. Soldiers forced them home. When the streets fell quiet, the cameramen stood on the sidewalk, making plans to leave.

NAEL SHYOUKI: This is the moment when the soldier comes to shoot. That’s when I’m shot. First this one. First bullet.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: Lying on the ground, he was shot a second time.

NAEL SHYOUKI: I felt, you know, dizzy. I couldn’t-- the moment I was about to go down, he shot me one more time in my back. And it was very strong one.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: The cameramen were shouting, "We are journalists!" Finally, one cameraman managed to drag him to safety. As they rushed him to hospital, others turned on their cameras to document the soldiers at the scene.

Three years after he was shot, Shyouki took me to the scene to show me where he was standing. He said that night, the soldiers were less than 100 feet away.

NAEL SHYOUKI: And the moment they took positions, they start firing towards us. Everybody hide, and start scream, "We are journalists!" We spoke in Hebrew. We spoke in English. Everybody. We shout a lot. I guess the whole mountain, this mountain, heard our voice, everybody in this area, except these soldiers. They didn’t want to hear. They just kept shooting and shooting and shooting.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: He told me eight journalists were shot that night, including Mazen Dana.

MAZEN DANA: I [unintelligble] my camera. I’m trying to pull Nael. I have bullet here. So I came back here, and I have bullet in my shoulder.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: They had been hit with rubber bullets, which are used for crowd control. But these Israeli-made bullets have a steel core. They can be deadly at close range.

NAEL SHYOUKI: [pulling up shirt] That’s the metal, this thing.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: At the time of Shyouki’s shooting, Palestinian and Israeli journalists united in protest.

NAEL SHYOUKI: There were many voices asked for investigation. And even the Israeli journalists, they came here in solidarity with us, and they said, "It’s a clear crime that the army targeted a journalist.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: Other Israeli journalists had their own stories to tell. Photographer Avichai Nitzan is still haunted by the words of the doctor.

AVICHAI NITZAN: I’ll never forget that. He said, "You were very lucky." The bullet stopped two millimeters from the main artery to the legs. Had it gone in another two millimeters, I would probably not be talking right now with you.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: Nitzan says the soldier didn’t realize he was Israeli.

AVICHAI NITZAN: I was standing with another five or six Palestinian photographers. And the soldiers hate the Palestinian photographers. For the soldier, I know from later, he told people when they stopped him that he thought it was a Palestinian photographer. And then he saw me being dragged over to his side. And then he understood that I was of his own religion and served in the same army as he did and had a girlfriend and stuff. So I think that’s when it hit him, because as long as it was an Arab, he didn’t really care.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: The army immediately investigated and concluded Nitzan had been reckless. He says the report was completely inaccurate, and he’s now suing the Israeli army.

When I returned to Jerusalem, I wanted to talk about the shootings with foreign reporters. This is the building where international television networks base their correspondents. In the offices of TF-1, France’s public television, I found Bertrand Agierre. He told me he was shot covering a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Agierre had just finished his report and the rally was ending, when a soldier from the border police got out of his Jeep and fired. A live bullet hit Agierre squarely in the chest. He was only saved by his bulletproof vest.

Images of his shooting were broadcast around the world. The Israeli government investigated and concluded there was not enough evidence to act.

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS SPOKESMAN: [news conference] --for abusive and dangerous behavior by soldiers--

PATRICIA NAYLOR: There were so many shootings of journalists that a French group, Reporters Without Borders, came to Israel to hold a news conference. The group documented 40 shootings of journalists in the first months of the intifada. Danny Seaman, the Israeli official in charge of all foreign press, responded to their report.

DANNY SEAMAN, Israeli Press Officer: [news conference] Threats, injury or harm to members of the media, whether intentional or by error, are unacceptable. The state of Israel regrets any injury caused to journalists as a result of actions by our forces or individuals within our forces.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: After the press conference, I met with Danny Seaman.

DANNY SEAMAN: We try to educate soldiers that it’s unacceptable that the journalists be beaten, that the journalists be injured, that they be abused in any way. To prevent every one of these cases, we’re not going to be able to do that.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: Seaman agreed to watch one shooting, one he’d never seen before, Nael Shyouki’s.

DANNY SEAMAN: We don’t see here where he was from, who shot him. A lot of people have-- oh, geez! What hit him, a bullet or a rubber bullet? Does anybody know? A rubber bullet.

I’m sorry. Certainly, I’m sorry, wish he didn’t have to go through this. But this I say personally, not as an official person, because that always has other connotations as a government-- I don’t think anything I say is-- I’m sorry this had to happen to him. I wish it didn’t have to happen. I wish the circumstances weren’t such. I don’t think anything I say is going to make him feel better.

[ Read the interview]

PATRICIA NAYLOR: [on camera] He says even an apology would.

DANNY SEAMAN: Yeah. I don’t think he means my apology. I know what he means. Maybe that will happen.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: [voice-over] That was all a year ago. Since then, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has escalated. Suicide bombers intensified their deadly campaign. The Israeli army invaded most of the West Bank. Since the beginning of the intifada, more than 600 Israelis and more than 1,700 Palestinians have died.

Covering the conflict has become even more dangerous for journalists. While filming a protest near Bethlehem, a BBC crew came under fire.

BBC REPORTER: [voice-over] And then the army turned their guns toward us as we filmed.

BBC CREW: OK. OK! We’re going! We’re going! OK!

BBC REPORTER: More gunfire, even as we scrambled for our car. Then we were pinned down. In the end, they forced us to go on foot.

[ Most dangerous places for journalists]

PATRICIA NAYLOR: An NBC crew was also shot at in Ramallah.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC Anchor: --NBC news vehicles containing correspondent Dana Lewis.

DANA LEWIS, Correspondent: Israeli soldiers stepped out in front of us, opened fire on the front of the vehicle, bullets hitting the windshield, the front grill. We stopped, turned on the light inside so he could see we were journalists, in case he didn’t already know. We put up our hands-- 10, 15 seconds of silence, and then he opened fire again.

TOM BROKAW, NBC Anchor: [Committee to Protect Journalists ceremony] The personal perils of this calling are profound.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: In the United States, the Committee to Protect Journalists warns of "a growing animosity in Israel toward the media" and has protested the shootings. At their 20th anniversary ceremony in New York, they honored Mazen Dana with the Press Freedom Award, recognizing that he kept powerful images in the public eye despite great physical risk to himself.

Several months later, I went back to Hebron to see Mazen Dana. He was still working for Reuters, and he told me that while filming Israeli bulldozers from inside this apartment building, he was almost killed.

MAZEN DANA: I moved from here, going up to the stair there, and they start shooting. The soldier in front of us, they saw us clearly. Just I turn a little bit, I found the bullet coming from here and entered the camera in between.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: The bullet struck his camera, just missing his head.

MAZEN DANA: Really, I thought that God give me a new life.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: Troubled by what Dana told me, I went to see his boss in Jerusalem. Tim Heritage is the Reuters bureau chief.

TIM HERITAGE, Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Reuters: We have an incident a week, probably, where someone gets shot at. We routinely protest, don’t really hear anything back from the army. We demand investigations, don’t really get very much.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: I ask him why he thinks this is happening.

TIM HERITAGE: Why are we being shot at? Because they don’t want us going places. They don’t want us doing things. They don’t like us. They don’t want-- there’s obviously a lot of things they don’t want happening. They don’t want us getting into the war zone or whatever [unintelligible] I’m not sure it’s a deliberate policy or anything. I don’t know if other people suggest this to you, but I think it’s just more haphazard, and there’s a lack of control. There’s a lack of-- there’s a lack of sense of being punished if you do it. And we regard it at Reuters as, you know, a gross violation of media freedoms. I mean, these are journalists going about their job and being prevented doing so.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: During all the time I reported this story, I made numerous attempts to interview the Israeli army. They refused to discuss the shootings. So I went back to talk to Danny Seaman, the head of the Israeli press office. After all the violence of the past year, I found his attitude had hardened.

DANNY SEAMAN: I’m not worried about the press, freedom of the press. If there’s any limitations to it, it’ll be restored. Any freedom can be restored. The lives of Israelis cannot be restored.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: In times of war, Seaman says, press freedom cannot be the top priority.

DANNY SEAMAN: There’s a war against the state of Israel. There’s a war on the survival of the state of Israel by the Palestinians. There’s no comparison between the Palestinian uprising or violence of 12 years ago and what’s been going on in the past two years. The past two years has been an assault against the state of Israel. It’s combat.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: It has always been hard to report the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hard to tell both sides of this bitter struggle. Now it’s going to be harder still, and the toll on journalists has been profound.

Nael Shyouki has moved away from Hebron, to Bethlehem, where there are no Israeli settlers and few clashes. He never did get his apology.

Danny Seaman took away his press card, along with all the other Palestinian journalists working in the West Bank.

NAEL SHYOUKI: I’m stuck in Bethlehem, nowhere to go. I’m wasn’t-- not free, like before. I used to work in Jerusalem and one day in Tel Aviv, and go to Ramallah. But that’s not anymore. You’re stuck in one place 24 hours, all the time. You can only work in this place. You cannot cover any other story outside.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: But for Mazen Dana, the loss is even greater. He is no longer a cameraman. His bosses at Reuters decided the only way to keep him safe was to take him off the street. He’ll be retrained as an editor.

MAZEN DANA: My family happy about this, but really, I’m not happy because I like camera and I like it here. When I want to leave camera, I want to leave it by myself, not to be forced to leave it.

PATRICIA NAYLOR: The group that recognized Dana’s bravery, the Committee to Protect Journalists, says this battle is only becoming more difficult to cover because the soldiers are sometimes violent, and the Israeli government restricts the media. Mazen Dana had no choice but to get out of the line of fire.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up later: India, a story of children enchanted by a strange new machine. But first, North Korea, a surprising journey across the DMZ.


North Korea: Suspicious Minds

Reported by Ben Anderson

BEN ANDERSON, BBC Television: [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."

You 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 singlehandedly 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 see 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?

BEN ANDERSON: [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 of 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 7 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 family?

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.

BEN ANDERSON: "E"-- Elvis?

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. [laughs]

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 didn’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 was 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: [voice-over] 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: [on camera] 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: Finally tonight, Indian children discover cyberspace.


India: The Hole in the Wall

Reported by Rory O’Connor


RORY O’CONNOR, Reporter: [voice-over] I first visited India two years ago while directing a film about global poverty. A billion people live here, one of every six on the planet. Only a quarter of them have access to clean water, and half are illiterate.

In a New Delhi slum, I came across an unusual scene, a computer embedded in a wall. It was surrounded by children. Turns out the computer was put here by the company next door, NIIT. While India suffers extreme poverty, it is also home to some of the world’s most advanced high-technology firms.

Dr. Sugata Mitra is head of research and development here. For years, his passion has been educating poor children.

SUGATA MITRA: Removing what is increasingly being called the "digital divide" is an important issue, which means that everyone must have access.

RORY O’CONNOR: In 1999, Mitra launched an experiment that came to be known as "the hole in the wall." He connected a high-speed computer to the Internet and placed it in the wall that separates his firm’s headquarters from the adjacent slum. Then he watched who began to use it. Curious kids were immediately drawn to the computer.

SUGATA MITRA: So when they said, "Can we touch it?" I said, "It’s on your side of the wall." So the rules say whatever is on their side of the wall, they can touch, so they touched it.

RORY O’CONNOR: Within minutes, the children figured out how to point and click. By the end of the day, they were browsing. Given access and opportunity, the children quickly taught themselves the rudiments of computer literacy.

CHILD: [subtitles] I learned it on my own. Some kids used to play with it, and I would watch them, so I learned it, too.

RORY O’CONNOR: A young boy named Rajinder was the first to teach himself how to use the computer.

RAJINDER: [subtitles] I play games. I try to use different tools, like the paint tool. And I connect to the Internet. Mainly, I go to the Disney site. I visited a news site a couple days ago. I read about the Taliban and bin Laden. I read that there was a war going on between America and the Taliban. There was bombing, too. I’ve seen it on the TV, and I saw the bombing pictures on the computer.

SUGATA MITRA: He didn’t know what a computer was. He was the first guy to have made the jump across what I guess you could describe as maybe 3,000 or 4,000 years of history-- in minutes, actually.

RORY O’CONNOR: Rajinder’s self-confidence soared after he taught himself how to use a computer.

TEACHER: Now I’ve seen a lot of change in him, and he has become quite bold, and let me say expressive, also. And I’ve got great hopes on this child.

SUGATA MITRA: [to Rajinder] [subtitles] What is your definition of the Internet?

[in English] He says, "That with which you can do anything."

RORY O’CONNOR: By the time I returned to India this year, Mitra had already replicated his experiment in several other settings. Each time the results were similar: Within hours, and without instruction, children began browsing the Internet. Now Mitra was about to place new computers in another poor community.

NIIT REPRESENTATIVE: [subtitles] We have set up five computers here. And please, everyone, send your kids before or after school. If you have girls in your house, you can send them, also.

GIRLS AT COMPUTER: [subtitles] Move it towards the side to make it a hand. Move it a bit. When it becomes a hand, press the green button. Green! Green! Green! Oh, here it comes!

RORY O’CONNOR: In a society where only one in three females can read, Mitra’s experiment is a way for girls to overcome barriers. One schoolgirl named Anjana seemed especially enthusiastic.

ANJANA: [subtitles] Today is just my first day. I want to learn more.

INTERVIEWER: [subtitles] How do you feel about all this?

ANJANA: [subtitles] I feel great.

INTERVIEWER: [subtitles] How great?

ANJANA: [subtitles] Really, really great!

SUGATA MITRA: They reinvent even the terms because nobody taught them the words. So they don’t call a cursor a cursor, they call it a "suhi," which is Hindi for "needle." And they don’t call the hourglass symbol the hourglass symbol because they’ve never seen an hourglass before. They call it the "domru," which is Shiva’s drum. And it does look a bit like that!

RORY O’CONNOR: Before leaving India, I traveled south with Mitra to the rural state of Maharashtra, where he was installing still more computers.

SUGATA MITRA: These computers are going to be powerful, they’re going to be connected, and they’re going to be free, entirely free, without any restrictions on their usage.

INTERVIEWER: [subtitles] How many of you have heard of the Internet? What is the Internet?

GIRL: [subtitles] It is used to send messages. You can send letters. You can type on your computer and it reaches the other person’s computer.

[ More on this experiment]

SUGATA MITRA: I don’t even want to guess at what computer literacy might do to children, except to say that if cyberspace is considered a place, then there are people who are already in it and people who are not in it. And there seems to be general consensus of opinion that such segregation among cyber people versus non-cyber people is detrimental, and it will cause a divide.

If that is the case, then I think the hole in the wall gives us a method to create a door, if you like, through which large numbers of children can rush into this new arena. And when that happens, it will have changed our society forever.




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