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(CNN Student News) -- Set your VCR to record the CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Undercover in the Secret State when it airs commercial-free on Monday, October 16, 2006, from 4:00 -- 5:00 a.m. ET on CNN. (A short feature begins at 4:00 a.m. and precedes the program.)
CNN Presents: Undercover in the Secret State follows Korean-American journalist Jung Eun Kim as she tracks down a new breed of dissident in North Korea. These dissidents are using small digital cameras and cell phones to show the world the brutal life inside North Korea.
Warning to Educators: This report includes scenes of violence and images that might be objectionable for your classroom. Please preview before showing to students.
Grade Level: 11-12, college
Subject Areas: U.S. History, World History, Current Events, Political Science, Government
Objectives: The CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Undercover in the Secret State and its corresponding discussion questions and activities challenge students to:
United States History
Standard 27. Understands how the Cold War and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics Level IV [Grade 9-12]
Standard 44. Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world Level IV [Grade 9-12]
Standard 22. Understands how the world is organized politically into nation-states, how nation-states interact with one another, and issues surrounding U.S. foreign policy Level IV [Grade 9-12]
Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education (Copyright 2000 McREL) is published online by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) (http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks), 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, CO 80014; Telephone: 303/337-0990.
1. Where is North Korea located? Based on what you saw in this report, how would you describe life in North Korea? Historically, why has it been so difficult to know what life is like inside this country? What aspects of life inside North Korea did "Mr. Park" and "Mr. Lee" document? What impact, if any, do you think that the publicity of these images might have on the future of North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Il? Explain.
2. What is a dissident? What underground system was established to aid dissidents from North Korea? How does this system compare with other underground movements throughout history? Who is Jung Eun Kim? As a journalist, what stories does she hope to tell? What do you think motivates people like Jung Eun Kim, activists like "Mr. Park" and "Mr. Lee" and those who assist them to risk their lives to tell the outside world about life inside North Korea? Do you consider their efforts to be heroic? Explain.
3. What does CNN reporter Frank Sesno mean when he says that, "North Korea is the last Stalinist regime, a closed one-party state founded on a personality cult"? According to the report, how does Kim Jong Il maintain his regime? Why do you think that the executions of political dissidents are public events? Why are foreign movies, such as South Korean soap operas, a threat to Kim Jong Il's rule? Why do you think that Kim Jong Il would want to curtail information from leaving or entering his country?
4. What types of technologies did North Korean dissidents use to document life in North Korea? To what extent have technologies such as videos, cell phones and digital cameras become "powerful new weapons of the dissidents"? How might these technologies help to "crack the walls of secrecy" in North Korea? Are there any drawbacks to the emergence of these technologies? How might the same technologies used by political activists be used by repressive regimes? Explain.
5. What methods or tools can activists use to bring about political, economic or social change? How does the use of video and technologies presented in this report compare with other resistance methods in terms of process and potential impact?
6. What role, if any, do you think that the international community should play in North Korea's internal affairs? What options, if any, do the U.S., the U.N., human rights organizations and individuals have to address reports of human rights violations in North Korea? How do you think that the U.N. or the U.S. should address North Korean dissidents like "Mr. Park"? State your rationale.
"The Weapon at Hand"
Discuss the meaning of the word "dissident." Based on the students' understanding of the term, have them list famous political dissidents in recent history. For example, students may consider those who fought against repressive regimes in the 20th century, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov and Vaclav Havel in the Soviet-bloc during the Cold War, Harry Wu or Wei Jingsheng in China, Mahatma Ghandi in India or Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
Working as individuals or in pairs, have students choose one dissident from the list and explore his or her goals and methods for bringing about change. As students conduct research on their chosen subjects, have them address the following questions:
As students share their findings with the class, have them compare the goals, objectives and methods of their subjects with those who were featured in Undercover in the Secret State. Ask: What are some of the ways that dissidents can bring about change? What tools do dissidents have today that did not exist for the dissidents referred to in the presentations? To what extent, if at all, has political activism changed as a result of the emergence of technologies such as digital cameras, DVDs, cell phones and the Internet? How do methods that use technology to bring about change compare with those used by dissidents during the Cold War? How effective do you think that technology, as the "weapon at hand," may be at "breaking down walls" in the 21st century?
As a wrap-up to the activity, list the technologies used by the North Korean dissidents featured in the CNN report, and have the students brainstorm as many uses as they can for how each technology (such as a cell phone) can be used as a "weapon." Discuss to what extent emerging technologies may impact future political movements around the globe.
Human Rights and Foreign Policy
Have students discuss what they know about North Korea. Ask: What words, images, historical events or people do you associate with North Korea? Based on what you saw in the report, what questions do you have about North Korea? List students' questions and then categorize them into the following broad categories:
Organize students into small groups and assign each group one of the topics above to research.
After the groups present their findings on North Korea, have students assume the role of U.S. policy makers who must decide on a course of action with respect to North Korea. Explain that, according to U.S. think tanks and policy analysts, there are four ways of dealing with the nuclear deadlock:
(Source: CNN.com: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/east/08/28/nkorea.options/index.html)
As a class, discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Applying what they learned about North Korea, have students propose which option(s) they would recommend.
Then, based on what they learned in Undercover in the Secret State, ask the students to consider what role, if any, the internal affairs of North Korea should play in U.S. foreign policy decisions. Ask: Should the U.S. and the international community address the human rights violations in North Korea within the context of the nuclear negotiations? If so, how? If not, what, if anything, should the U.S. or the international community do to address reports of human rights violations in North Korea or in any other totalitarian regime? State your rationale.
North Korea, Kim Jong Il, Stalinist, regime, one-party state, personality cult, rogue, dictatorship, famine, dissident, Jung Eun Kim, totalitarian, technology, defector, Freedom Youth League, United Nations, World Food Program, concentration camp, Great Famine, UNHCR
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