Colwood class project aims to counter North Korean propoganda machine

Brookes Westshore School collecting USB drives, filling with facts

Rick Stiebel

News staff

Exploring a classic tale of propaganda gone wrong is the flash point for a project aimed at providing North Koreans with a look at the world beyond their border.

The initiative started when students at Brookes Westshore School began studying Animal Farm, the acclaimed book by George Orwell published in 1917 that reflected on events that led up to the Russian Revolution and into the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union.

ALSO READ: Royal Roads brings together students from around the world (video)

The book’s examination, part of the curriculum for middle years students in the International baccalaureate program, is to empower students to make connections with the real world, said Bradley Myrholm, an English teacher at the Colwood-based school.“I had students look at fake news to get a better understanding of how it works.” Studies included discussion of excerpts from the book, Escape From Camp 14, by Blaine Harden, one of the few people born in one of North Korea’s notorious political prisons to manage to escape and survive.

“His account of the horrific conditions inspired the students,” Myrholm said. “We learned about the education process and how propaganda works in that country works. That led to five individuals in my class getting involved in Flash Drives For Freedom.”

Those students organized a fundraising project to collect new, old and used USB drives and cash for Flash Drives For Freedom.

The drives are loaded with data collected from e-books, news sources, the internet and television that is smuggled into North Korea to counter the intense indoctrination, isolation and propaganda that is the norm for people in that country, explained Divya Rajpal, one of the students spearheading the project.

“People there have been completely cut off from the outside world and led to believe the rest of the world is awful. They have been brainwashed and taught to respect their leader, Kim Jong-Un as a god and not question any of his lies,”Rajpal added.

READ ALSO: Students schooled on West Shore RCMP

People charged with wavering from the party line, real or perceived, are prosecuted and sent to work camps or executed, noted Thaiss Petit, another student organizing the project. “They will go after three generations of a family. There’s also guilt by association for even just knowing someone who broke the rules. It really opened our eyes to what the conditions are like there. North Korea is in the news, but people don’t fully understand what a horrible dictatorship it is. The rest of the world only sees what (North Korea) wants us to see.”

Anyone who would like to donate cash or new, old or used USB drives can drop them off at Brookes Westshore at 1939 Sooke Rd. between 1 and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday until Feb. 15.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Central Saanich council calls for higher speeding fines

Motion approved Monday could end up before UBMC delegates in Victoria later this fall

Saanich mayor signs up for mason bee rental service

Fred Haynes rents mason bee colony from Oyster River beekeeper for his Prospect Lake home

Occupancy rates remain above capacity in Greater Victoria hospitals

Region’s hospitals have more patients than acute care beds

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Father to B.C.’s first MLB hall-of-famer is one proud dad

Larry Walker Sr. talks baseball background and son’s base running gaffe

Most Read