December 19, 2011
This weekend saw the passing of two significant figures in world history: Václav Havel, a former head of state who oversaw the switch from communism to democracy in the Czech Republic; and Kim Jong-il, the dictator and supreme ruler of North Korea until his death on Saturday. In the coming days, your students may hear snippets about these leaders, especially Kim Jong-il, who was considered by many to be an enemy of the United States and of the Western world. To help put their deaths and the issue of communism itself into context, we suggest showing our movies on Communism and the Korean War. In the former, Tim and Moby explain the origins of a controversial economic system as well as why it’s been largely unsuccessful. In the latter, they describe the history behind the ongoing standoff between North Korea and most of the rest of the world. We also recommend our FYI on Kim Jong-il, which delves a bit further into his leadership and legacy.