By Chow Wing Man Mari
In the school on the model Chongsan-ri Cooperative Farm outside of Pyongyang, colourful paintings cover the walls. If you look a little closer, you’ll notice that many of them are cartoon children killings soldiers with cartoon guns.
Children in North Korea are by law supposed to receive 12 years of free education in a structure similar to many developed countries. The school on this model farm, where Kim Il-sung supposedly invented the collective farming method, is open to tourists to showcase what North Korea sees as an ideal.
Outside, children, who look to be under 5, dance and sing for their visitors. The performance continues in a classroom upstairs. In another room, children chant lessons from Kim Jong-il.
The war murals depict children killing US and Japanese soldiers.. “A country which forgets history will never succeed,” one of the North Korean guides said.
Children aged as young as 3 learn that the US. started the Korean War and that the Japanese killed millions of Koreans.
The moral of the lessons is to hate and beat the enemies.
Behind the school, children play hide-and-seek on a tank in the school playground. A boy points a tree branch like a gun at another boy.
“We have to learn who are the ones stopping us from improving, and children have to learn the history at an early age to make themselves better,” the guide said.