he said the kremlin's actions are creating serious problems after five decades, south carolina prepares to lower the confederate flag on the capitol grounds for the last time. this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. history is about to be made in south carolina. these are live pictures you are looking at from columbia, the state's capitol. in moments the confederate flag will start coming down from that flag pole. it has been there for the last
15 years. the flag had flown over the capitol dome for decades before that. our diane eastabrook is live in columbia this morning. diane, tell us what is happening there right now, and what the mood is. >> reporter: well stephanie there are several thousand people here right now, we estimate maybe between 5 and 7,000 people. everyone is waiting for the honor guard and the governor to come out of the state house and begin the ceremony. we were supposed to start at 10:00, these things sometimes run a little bit behind. we don't know a whole lot about the ceremony. we know the flag is going to be taken down. there will be no music, and then the flag will be transported by an armored vehicle to the south carolina confederate relics room and military museum. many different people here in the crowd. there are people from out of state, people we ran into from north carolina, people from
atlanta. this is an historic event, so everyone here to witness that today. >> we know how contentious the debate was within the south carolina legislature, even there a sense of divide among the 7,000 people you said are around there? are there protests at all. >> we have seen a few people maybe a dozen carrying the confederate flag we saw a ban wearing a bow tie that had the bars and stars on it. and people had their differences but they were respectful of each other's differences. we don't see a lot of heated debate all week. most people are here to witness history, to see the flag come down but we haven't seen a heated debate here in this crowd. >> there was a passionate debate
within the legislator as they debated whether or not to pass the bill. what was the final resolution of that, and does it actually say in law what happens to the flag off it comes down? has that been codified? >> reporter: well according to law, after the governor signed the bill into law yesterday, the flag has to come down within 24 hours. it's going to be taken down within 18 hours after that. then it must be placed in a museum. at this point the museum is going to accept it. they don't have a plan in place on how they are going to display it. they are still form lating that right now. >> we just heard a chant arise around you, and i'm told it is people around you saying it take it down. give us a sense of what the mood is like in general around you. >> reporter: well, i think it's -- i wouldn't say it's a joyous crowd. i think people are anticipating
that this flag is going to be coming down. you hear people cheering. [ cheers and applause ] >> i guess it did just turn joyous within a section of the crowd. >> yes, i did. this has been a contentious issue in the state, but we have talked to a lot of legislators over the past week and they said they have been hearing quietly from constituents for a long time that it is time to take this flag down. we were in abbyville about 100 west of here and that was the first place and the death of the confederacy, and a lot of people have reverence for the symbols of the civil war, but even people there said it's time to take it down. >> we're looking at live pictures of governor nikki haley who yesterday signed the bill
that is effectively meaning the removal of this confederate symbol from state house grounds this morning. and diane this was a reversal of sorts for governor haley who in 2000 when this flag debate was happening, she sided with those that believed it should stay on the state house grounds. >> reporter: that's right, but you know what the mood and the attitude about the flag has really changed a lot in the last few weeks since the shootings at the emanual ame church in charleston, and it was not just the shootings, but it was the attitude that the family members took towards dylann roof the alleged gunmen offering forgiveness to him. and people here realized -- and the governor realized that this has become a very divisive issue that it has become an issue that is hurtful to a lot of people and it is time to appease those
people and bring that flag down the symbol that has become so devise if here. >> we have a couple of details from the newspaper out of columbia, south carolina that says that the flag will be taken down by a state law enforcement honor guard, reportedly the same guard thattest courted senator pinckney's cassette to the state house. diane, we saw a very passionate debate around him and his family, and how this was basically a way to northern him and respect the victims of that shooting. >> reporter: that's right, and, you know, he had a lot to do with the reason that the -- that the legislator -- legislature agreed to take this flag down. we were talking to people thor day, and they said this was a man in the senate who was a democrat but was loved by
everybody. he was loved by republicans and sen -- and there were senates or, and he has a lot to do with the way they voted earlier this week. >> right now we're watching the honor guard approach this flag. the confederate flag flies in front of the state house. let's just listen in and absorb this moment for a few seconds. [ cheers and applause ]
in columbia south carolina. they are beginning to use the pulley system as the flag decenteds from this flag pole. the flag seen as a symbol of hate and racism to a lot of people, a symbol of heritage and pride to some southerners, and you can hear the crowd of about 7,000 people many of them now cheering, as this flag comes down from the state house grounds after 54 years on the grounds of south carolina's state capitol. [ cheers and applause ]
enforcement honor guard carrying away the confederate flag. it will eventually be handed to the director of the south carolina confederate relic room. let's bring in diane eastabrook who is on the ground there. diane, we talked about the mood just taken in isolation that sort of close-up shot of what was happening. i was sort of a solemn moment but wow, contrast that with what sounds sounds like jub -- jubulance in the crowd around you. >> reporter: yes, people were hugging each other, and high fiving each other. it was really a magnificent occasion here on the state house grounds. you felt a lot of unity here.
i counted maybe five confederate flags in the crowd, but there was no hostility, a lot of unity here at the state house in south carolina this afternoon. >> diane, hold tight there for a second. i want to bring in our guest who is a professor of african american history at queens college, but perhaps more importantly at this moment you are a south carolinian. what does this moment mean to you? >> it is a long time coming. there are a mix of emotions for me happiness that that flag is finally gone. i remember my senior year in south carolina in 1990, senator patternson came and gave inspiring words, but part of his mission to us was to eradicate racism, and he mentioned trying to remove the confederate battle flag from at top the state
house. but also i'm reminded of those nine lives tragically lost and that they didn't live to see this moment. >> this is really the culmination of a more than decade's long struggle to get the flag taken off of the grounds of the south carolina state house. why has it been such a devisive issue in that state? >> you know, i think because there is a history, a tradition of half truths that have been told around the flag. so the kind of mantra of those who believe the confederate flag is one of southern heritage a way of life has left out of the voices of other south carolinians. so i always use myself as an example in these kinds of conversations. my family has ties to south carolina when it was a colony even been it was a state, my ancestors were brought there in the 18th century, they were not consulted about the flag and their voices have been left out.
native americans who lived there, they were not consulted. recent immigrants who moved to the state were not consulted, so it's really been a kind of mono mono-salabic conversation. instead of one that is poly-syllabic poly-syllabic. so i think the debate has the raged on has really heard more voices. >> this is the confederate solders monument. i have lived in the south. there are so many monuments to the confederacy, and there is so much pride among southerners about their ancestors who were soldiers in the confederate army. how do you grapple with these similar bomb -- symbols and not
erase history. >> right. i taught at ole miss for five years, and these were parts of the conversations that we had. so i would often share with them once again, that, you know, this -- this is not simply about your ancestors, but we have to be inclusive of all ancestors memories who consider themselves southerners. i don't want to do away with the historic legacy and importance of the civil war, and its icons. i think they have a place, but i don't think outside of a national park or battlefield or museum that it should be left to kind of wave in the wind triumphant
triumphantly, when this was the sill bomb of a rebellious nation that essentially tore itself apart from the united states of america. >> yeah. >> and so there's is a primacy of privileging only white southerners in this conversation. so i think that is really the kind of divisive issue. >> i want to bring in our correspondent on the ground again, diane eastabrook, because diane, i know you have been in south carolina for a couple of days and talking to all sorts of issue. we have seen plenty of white people in south carolina that also agreed that this flag needed to come down to heal the divisions. >> reporter: absolutely. we heard this in charleston a couple of weeks ago, we heard it here in columbia, in abbyville earlier this week and a lot of these people -- and these are people that are white -- said i have relatives who fought in the
civil war, i'm the ground ground grand child of a civil war veteran, but it is a relic of the past it's divisive and it's time to bring it down. i interviewed an legislator, and she's african american and i said are you afraid that there is going to be blowback because of the way you voted? and she said that's a real possibility, but i had to vote my conscious and believe in my heart what i think is best for the state, and i'm hoping that my constituents will respect that. she said it remains to be seen how people will vote in the next collection. >> the state newspaper again called this is a whirlwind of change that we have seen in the last couple of days and one of the highlights of that diane, was comments made by south carolina representative jenny horn who made an impassioned
speech about the flag. let's take a listen. >> if we amend this bill we are telling the people of charleston we don't care about you! we do not care that someone used this symbol of hate to slay eight innocent people who are worshipping their god! i'm sorry. i have heard enough about heritage. i have a heritage. i'm a lifelong south carolinian. i am a descendant of jefferson davis, okay? but that does not matter. it's not about jenny horn! it's about the people of south carolina who have demanded that this symbol of hate come off of the state house grounds! >> jenny horn we should say was
at the funeral of senator pinckney, and you could see that she felt very strongly obviously. i was not -- i was a reporting in 2000 when the flag was taken down from the state house dome there in south carolina and it was pretty much a republican-democrat divide at that point. did it take this tragedy to change minds? >> yes, i did. and sadly so. it took the murder of nine people, and it really put a face on the symbols from the 19th century that have essentially transformed to the mascots, almost of groups like the white citizens council, and the kkk. >> when did that happen? >> you know, that happened in -- so the kind of monument situation we're talking about earlier, started to happen in southern announce the 1920s,
1930s, primarily by white southern women of means. middle class, upper class white women, and then all of a sudden as there started to be much more pushback for civil rights and racial equality by african americans throughout the south, you started to see an embrace of these kind of iconic symbols of the confederacy, and they become the face of these groups that terrorized black people throughout the south, so for me it seems very disingenuous when you have confederate sympathizers who say this is a racially neutral symbol. they aren't saying that to the kkk and all of the other groups that came out and used in symbol, right? they are saying that this is racially neutral to black critics primarily. and so once again, that's a kind of -- for me you know, this
disingenuous moment where the -- the kind of pushback by those sympathizers have been directed towards black people and so at the heart of it here you have this kind of racism that is inherent and the world saw that. and when you saw the bloody massacre of, you know those men and woman worshipping, and being so welcoming to dylann roof this was the moment for people to say, dylann roof took flags of apartheid era, white majority -- white minority ruled regimes in southern africa and he took three different it rations of the confederate flag and put that on a license plate and he went in emboldened by the sense of what those symbols meant to white superists and white nationalists, and killed
people. >> dylann roof of course charged with the murders of those nine church goers in charleston, and the world is watching. i believe the nation is watching south carolina, because it has become such a symbol of the race issue of this country in recent weeks. president obama tweeted this moments ago, quote: i want to go back and just check in with diane eastabrook, our reporter on the ground. dieian what is going on there right-hand you? >> reporter: some people of the crowd are starting to disperse a little bit but we're still seeing a lot of people hanging around the capitol steps, around the confederate monument, so i think people are going to stay around for a while, and sort of relish the moment. this was history that they
witnessed, and obviously, a very important day in the history of south carolina. >> when we talk about this flag some have said it has really become ascape goat. that this is a symbol but what about the other policy issues that should be addressed to perhaps bring african americans more into the fold throughout the country, economically socially, and all of the other ways that are important. >> yeah, i mean to that -- and i have heard, this is a distraction. you know, i think most human beings are multifaceted. we have the ability to care about multiple issues and symbols matter. clearly they mattered to dylann roof. that's typically a one-layered
response to those critics. but beyond that will poverty be erased in south carolina with the abysmal education in many of the countries populated by african americans be improved? no, it won't. but what can happen is that people have a sense of pride. that they aren't faced with this ugly symbol that has been used to terrorize them. and also what can happen on the grassroots level, and it's happening with several legislatures black and white throughout the state, is that we can now say the symbol issue has been put forward, and let's move on and talk about bringing industries to counties like lee county and williamsburg county. but they are still fighting for that, but i think the symbol took primacy to be able to have people focus on the critical issue of racism and tied with
racism, economic inequality in the state. >> assist important professor of african american history at queens college. thank you for your incites this morning. >> you are welcome. the mayor, by the way of charleston said this yesterday, our state's response to a horrific act of racial hatred has been a clear and decisive act of unity and healing for all of our citizens. the debate has made it all the way to the nation's capitol. house speaker john boehner called for an adult conversation on the flag and he canceled a vote on a bill involving using federal funds to fund the flaying of the confederate flag. we'll be right back with the rest of the day's news right after this.
he said the kremlin's actions are creating serious problems for the u.s. and its allies. >> in russia, we have a nuclear power. we have one that not only has the capability to vital the sovereignty of our allies and to do things that are inconsistent this doctor deliberately gave chemo therapy to healthy patients so he could collect medicare. lisa you met some of these patients what are they saying about today's sentencing? >> the patients have been living with the consequences for a number of years now. as you say, some of them were healthy, and he treated them. some were ill but he mistreated them giving them too much chemo therapy, and other drugs they should haven't had. the patients have told me they would like to see this man go away for life.
one of them said she wishes he could get the death penalty. they are eager to see this man be locked up and never get out of prison again. >> he has not been sentenced yesterday from what we understand, but he is in the courtroom, has he shown any remorse? >> 22 victims testified this week in the hearing and as far as we know he was fairly stoic. today he did in fact break down in the courtroom. he began crying when his attorney was appealing to the judge, saying he has not seen his family for a number of years, and asking for leniency because he did plead guilty essentially and admitted to his wrongdoing as soon as he was caught. the attorney said dr. fattah did not want to put his family through a long trial.