tv Amanpour on PBS PBS March 26, 2018 6:00am-6:31am PDT
amanpo welcome to amanpour on pbs. as london marks the first anniversary of the westminster terror attack with a call for unity and love, i meet two people bringing that message to the world. the palestinian doctor who lost three young daughters in the 2009 israeli war in gaza, tonight tells me why he has always refused to hate. and the riveting story from norway of another father's attempt to rescue his daughters from the grips of isis. the investigative journalist and author joins me on their story. ♪ ♪
>> amanpour on pbs was made possible by the generous support of roselyn p. walter. >> good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london. this week they observe silence to remember those who were killed in last year's terror attack on the capital. the wave of violence began march 22nd, 2017, when a driver rammed into westminster bridge near parliament. a few months later the same thing happened on london bridge, and also outside a london mosque. different people committed these crimes, but they all shared the same motivation, hate. my next guest says hate is a disease that needs to be treated as a public health issue. it's contagious, he says. the palestinian doctor is bringing his message to london today with the help of the
british jewish organization. nine years ago he lost three of his daughters when an israeli tank shelled his gaza home during a 22-day war. back then i visited the doctor at his apartment shortly after it was hit, and this is what i saw. >> oh, my god, what a mess. can you tell me what happened? >> when my daughters left the building, their future and their hopes and their dreams, besides our home, all of a sudden everything was destroyed. what they have, educational materials. >> art, culture, entertainment, and shopping.
oh, my god. her blood is still on it. what answer did you get from the israelis when you asked them what happened here, why they did it? >> they admitted their responsibility about shelling my house and killing my daughter. >> these are painful memories after all for my guest, the father who you saw in that clip and who joins me right now on set here to talk about nearly ten years later, doctor, when you see that, how have you processed this? >> not seeing the clips with me, tools with me, my daughters are living a part of me, and i am living for them. >> the three who you lost in that shelling? >> and my niece and even -- i feel the pain of everyone who is killed, in particular, girls and women, innocent people in this world.
and i am fighting to spread their message because they were girls who were born, raised fighting for peace and to send a human message, and i am committed. and that's the promise i gave them. after their deaths, i will continue. i will never give up, i will never rest till i meet them, their holy souls and that their blood didn't waste. it made a difference. >> for the last nine years you have taken this story of peace, of bridge building, and of a refusal to hate, you have taken that story around the world. you wrote your story, i shall not hate. it's been played -- it's been made into plays. you give lectures, you have a fondation. how has that sustained you, just refusal to hate? >> because it's a mission in life and i need to be strong, determined, healthy mentally, spiritually, physically. with hatred, i am broken. with hatred, i am defeated. i will never be defeated or be
broken and the message will continue to be more stronger, more determined and more focused. and is thatthat's the way out, without without anger, without revenge, kind words, courageous and strong deeds. >> so, tell me how your surviving children are doing, your daughters and your son. >> our life is a message of hope in this world. my daughters who were and my children who were traumatized within a short period of time, but they didn't accept to be victims. they are survivors and leaders in this world. in particular, you know who lost the side in her right eye -- >> she is the one i met in the hospital. >> yes. >> you are in canada. that's where you are living. now, canada has laid out the welcome mat for refugees in the last few years, the syrian refugees. but as you know, there is a great deal of fear, hatred,
anger in america and maybe in parts of canada, certainly in europe, about refugees, about muslims. are you worried that your girls who wear the hijab and who are so assimilated, so educated, are you worried at all that this hey de -- hatred can come back at them? >> i'm not worrying about what is happening. we are talking about the definition of hey tret. for me it is acute, chronic destructive disease to the individual, it is contagious and the result of exposure of this bred, fear by political leaders in this world who are using hatred, fear, insightmecitement violence leads to hatred. >> this is interesting because you are a doctor yourself, a researcher and a professor, and you are now researching hatred as a public health issue.
tell me why you think it's public -- how does it get defined as a public health issue? >> because there is exposure, in epidemiology, the disease is a result of exposure and we study the causal relationship between the harm of the exposure and the result. no one is born with hatred. no one is born with violence, but we can make people's environment in context or what did we suffer in life and what are we exposed to. hatred depends on who you are and where you are. it is the environment, the culture of the context, and every day we hear it in the media. some leaders in this world who are provoking incitement, fear, violence and hatred. it's time to prevent everyone to contain hatred, to count our words. if you don't have a good word, not to say a bad one. >> that's for the political environment and the particularly charged one we live in right now. what about in your homeland,
what is your prescription? because you've talked about what the israelis have to do, but also what the palestinians have to do to get over this hatred. >> it is important because the situation in gaza, many, many have a stake in it. egypt has a stake in it. palestinian authority has a stake. israel, the international community who are watching it, they should intervene. gaza strip is a time bomb, and then if they became violent or even to lose control, we all will suffer. as you said about the refugees, the syrian refugees and the syrian issue, it is not syrian. it is a global issue and the world is suffering as a result of that. so, we need to pro act and to prevent. >> you know we don't know what the trump administration peace process or peace plan will look like. they keep saying they have a plan. do you have hope that at least this president who seems to have a good relationship with the israeli prime minister can actually bring a peace plan that might work? >> we want him to have a good
relation ship to bring justice, freedom and equality for all. and to be with good relations and to think of the palestinians, to put himself in the position of the palestinians. >> has the study of hatred as a public health disease, has it been done before? what are you actually finding? >> hatred, all of the time you know, because of what's happened in my life, as a gynecologist, i shifted to public health specialty to see it as a dise s disease. most of the time we talk about psychological social issue. no, i see, and i say hatred is a disease because it disturbs the homeostasis of the human body. it disturbs the balance of the human body, the chemistry, and there are certain molecules. if i am sitting with someone i really hate, malignant hatred passed in front of me, all of the endocrine and indicators
inside my body will be disturbed. i will see, i will be blind. it's a disease and it is the result of exposure. so, we want to focus, number one, what are the causes and to prevent a public health issue, we focus on a prevention and a time the world is polluted with hatred and violence. >> and so the question is can you really stop it? i mean, can you really negate or rather can you really get rid of this constant exposure? >> we can, of course, by adopting the ecological model of the public health model of preventing it andanaging it to seek the cause, prevent the caus a also immunize the people with resilience, with education, with tolerance, with compassion, and empathy, which is missing in this world and understanding. >> so, you speak with a lot of passion borne of your loss, but also borne of your experience. when i met you, you were either
the only or one of the very rare palestinian doctors who was working, as you were an ob/gyn, in an israeli hospital across the border. that was your place of work. >> yes. >> so, you were raised with good relations. >> and i will continue this -- >> tell me what it was like there. how did they treat you as a palestinian doctor, particularly how did they treat you after their military shelled your apartment and killed your kids? >> medicine and health for me, it's the human equalizer, stabilizer, socializer and harmonizer. when we treat patients inside the hospital, we are all, all of them are equal. the cry of the newborn baby is the cry of hope and new life. can anyone differentiate between the cry of the newborn jewish, muslim, christian, jew, bedoin -- what future are we
planning and preparing for these kids who are born innocent and pure, then the environment poisons them. so i feel it's my home, with my colleagues. why not to take this message and to spread it outside to equalize and to treat all equally with respect, with dignity, with justice, wishing them the good health and the cure. >> and at your moment of maximum need and crisis when this shelling was happening back in 2009, you had the presence of mind to call an israeli reporter, and it went live all over israeli television. you remember that? >> of course, i remember it. it was planned from god at that time to be interviewed live. so, i called my friend whom i admire and he behaved as a human, not as a palestinian, to have the moral courage when he opened the speaker and to
broadcast it live through the whole world and what satisfied me the second day when the prime minister announced unilateral cease fire, this gave me the relief that the blood and holy souls of my daughters, they didn't go waste. it saved others' lives. but do we need to be killed in order to save? we need to save for the sake of saving and to prevent the causes of the killing. >> you never wanted to sue, even if you'd be able to sue, you never wanted reparations. you just wanted an apology and an acknowledgment from the israeli gofrmt that wh israeli government that what they did was a mistake. >> of course. >> did they give it to you? >> they acknowledged from the beginning and even the officer who gave orders to shell the house, he admitted. but these things, these innocent, beautiful bright daughters, do they deserve the
apology or not? i am fighting now just to get the apology, to say to them they apologized for you and i am bringing you justice. >> do you think you'll ever get it? >> i am determined. i will, i will get it, but at least when i meet my daughters one day, i will say to them, i did my best. and my youngest son abdullah that you know is planning to study law. so, he will carry the torch to bring his daughters justice and to get that apology. >> his sisters. well, that's really very, very power. doctor, you are an example for the world. >> thank you so much. thank you. >> you have just heard him share the devastating story of losing his children. and now we turn to a story of a man suffering a different kind
of parental loss. his two daughters voluntarily left their home in norway for isis, and its hate-filled ideology. the father says he went to syria twice to try to get them back, but he failed both times. the incredible story is dramatically captured by the famous norwegian journalist in her new book, two sisters. and we talked about the kind of hatred that isis is promoting when she joins me here in the studio. welcome back to the program. what led you to these girls in norway who ran off to join isis? >> well, first i got to know the father who wanted the story of his girls to be told. and his girls had fled to syria and he felt he failed as a father, failed as a husband, failed the family. but when the girls left, he felt total shock. what was this? afterwards he realized all the
signs were there, the signs of radicalization. so, he also wanted to tell the story as a warning to other parents. >> so, let's just go back a little bit. you met the father who went to syria a couple of times to get the girls back. first and foremost, what was he doing in norway? he's from somalia, right? >> he was a soldier in somalia. he came to norway at the end of the war in the '90s. he got asylum and got his family over. he and his girls came and they were doing well. they integrated easily. they were a-students, they were doing well in sports, they were swimming, going to the beach. and then something happened when they became teenagers because the mother was not integrated and she was afraid to lose her girls to norway because they were wearing skinny jeans and t-shirts and she wanted them to get back to the somali way of living, to the muslim way of living and she hired a qur'an
teacher, a young beautiful guy, and then the father says that was the start of the nightmare. they didn't realize then, but that was how the girls started their step-by-step radicalization, and then growing into organizations and further up in the ladder of radicalization. >> so they were toddlers when they came, they were teens when they left when they went to syria to join isis. was it a spur of the moment? what did he discover? did they plan it? how did his girls do that without their parents knowing where they were going? >> it started by being a bit more observant, then changing a world view suddenly from being an ordinary teenager to becoming someone who only relates to the fundamentalism of islam. and for these two girls, religion played a role. many of the jihadists who go, young guys, young criminals, they have a criminal record, they are pushed out somehow or they feel pushed out of europe because they don't really feel
they succeed there. these girls had all the possibilities. but they started to think that this world that we live here and now is not the real world. real world is after death and the more you suffer in this life, the better position in paradise. of course -- >> the whole sort of typical sort of narrative we hear. >> yes, for them this was joining utopia and that was definitely a very important factor for them leaving norway. >> and did they join utopia? what did you find out they went to? >> well, they got married, they got children, they settled and they wrote letters and messages to their brother about how happy they were, they got the best villa. they came from norway with money. they had the best places. for a few years they had a quite good life if you can say that in the middle of a war zone and then everything of course deteriorated from 2016. they fled raqqah and now they are, if they are still alive, they are on the last strip of land between syria and iraq kept by isis. >> you just don't know whether
they are, the parent don't know where wl they're alive. >> no, we heard of them a few months ago. >> you mentioned the brother they were in touch with. he said i believe in allah as much as i believe in the spaghetti monster. does he believe it as much as his sisters? >> i'm against all religions. he starts reading christopher and atheist literature. and these three siblings, they had the same qur'an teacher. whereas the girls were drawn into this fundamentalism, he was just disgusted and he warned the mother saying, you know, this teacher supports al qaeda. and she was brushing him off and saying, you must have heard wrong. >> we talked about the father. we have his picture, that's him trying to find the girls. that's when he goes t to syria
couple of times to try to find them. he also works alongside a documentary unit who had an interview with the father about one of his trips there. let's just play this. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, he mentions his daughters. you've given them pseudonyms. he recounts to you not only he was not able to bring them back, but basically arrested and tortured by isis people in the
vicinity. what happened to him? >> so, he actually got to -- he found the girls in syria, and then the story he tells, we are meeting the youngest sister has been injured by a bullet. he meets the oldest daughter. daddy, i can't go, i'm married now. he becomes physical and wants to get her back. he's arrested by the guards and taken to prison and tortured and it's hell in an islamic state prison until -- >> what makes you believe this story? you didn't talk to the girls, right? >> no. >> you don't have their permission to tell the story. obviously there has been a lot of controversy over that. what is your answer to that first, doing it without the permission? >> yes. well, when i started out doing the book, i was thinking that they would come back. so, i was thinking i'll do quickly the research to get, you know, the radicalization i could
see it from norway before they got back. i thought they would come home to norway, i would get the full story. they never came back, and then comes the story, the moment, can i tell the story without their consent? and then i felt this is also a story of the father, of the mother, of the brother, and when they wrote their accounts to the brother during three years, it's his property somehow, and the fact that they -- i just believe -- >> you got the permission from the brother? >> definitely. and i also do believe that this story is so important because it really gives an inside as to the motivation, but also what they end up -- how they end up in isis territory. i think that they have had many opportunities to leave syria with all the rescue attempts by the father. they had an opportunity to go, but they did not want to go because they seemed to be, you know, still into their --
>> you say they're not brain washed. >> no, i don't believe in brain washing and i think they are in line with most researchers. that is apparent with -- they are not to blame. our girls were brain washed. i think they tend to look at the female jihadists as less culpable -- >> less an agent of their own choice. >> yes, someone lured them or brain washed them into this. they're going of their own will. that is the most interesting part of their radicalization, how they -- they even call themselves feminists, like it's their right to dress up because norway forces them to undress. >> so, how big a problem is this for norway in terms of, you know, citizens going and being recruited and joining the jihad? >> the part of europe, we are on the average of the european, a small country. but there's about 100 people who
left and some of them are still there, some are coming back. of course, it's -- it's dangerous and it's also dangerous that with the extremist trends now happening in europe, both with islamic trend, the right wing extremists that are feeding on each other and who need each other. it's interesting how the oldest sister, when she's talking about norway, the norwegians and how we look at islam, she uses the example of the massacre in 2011. that's how norwegians are. here we're talking about muslims, he would talk about extremists like these girls and others, that's how they are. that's islamization of europe. so, it's like the fight now is to widen the space in the middle and counter these two tenets going on. >> thank you so much indeed for joining me. such important insight into the vulnerability of young minds there. and both fathers tonight
refusing to succumb to hatred. and just before we go, my new series exploring love and intimacy around the world continues this weekend. in the second episode, i travel to india to find out how women there can find love and sexual happiness when they don't always have the power to say yes or no. here's a sneak peek. >> certain men in india have a bad reputation. >> it isn't necessarily an indian thing. it happens in america. you wouldn't say frat boys, happening over there. while rape by itself is endemic, there is a lot of media focus on it. women like me are looking at their watch, it's dark, i need to go home. >> it's too dangerous to walk home in the dark. >> and no amount of privilege can really help you because it's essentially in the fiber of how
schools teach men how to be men. parents, you know, inculcate little boys with how to be, you know, how to be little boys. >> when you're a child in most of india you're not allowed to talk to a boy until your parents deem you fit to get married. don't talk to boys, don't talk to boys, [ bleep ] get married and have babies. >> indian men don't know what to do in a relationship. >> sex and love around the world continues this saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on cnn. and that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching amanpour on pbs and join us again next time. >> amanpour on pbs was made possible by the generous support of roselyn p. walter.
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