tv America Tonight Al Jazeera November 16, 2015 9:30pm-10:01pm EST
>> what do we want? >> justice. >> when do we want it? >> now. >> explosions going on... we're not quite sure - >> is that an i.e.d.? ♪ >> a city in mourning. avenging the fallen. and, i.s.i.l.'s other war. a cultural genocide. a "america tonight" special report, the paris attacks. thanks for joining us i'm joie chen. already, the world's focus has turned to retaliation, to preventing another horrific attack to putting an end to a force focused on evil and determined to destroy. but on the streets of paris the
sorrow remains. another day of mourning dawns in france and with it a sharper sense of what was lost on paris's darkest night. "america tonight"'s sheila macvicar is there. >> at the 11th hour on monday, paris stood still. outside notre dame, at the place de la republic, where people have gathered every day to pay homage, people knelt and wept and cried some more. a city lost in grief. on the rue de sharon, candles flickered, still today there was disbelief. in the crowd we found eva, 23 years old, pale with shock. >> tell me about your friend who died. >> it was like me, like every
young people in paris, nice and full of life. >> on that warm november night, friday night, the restaurant was crowded. people sat relaxing at tables on the sidewalk. they did not know the attacks had already begun. standing in the window of his kebab shop across the street from the restaurant mustafa m saw the gunmen arrive. >> you were here on friday night. what happened? >> translator: three were shooting everywhere. there was no specific address. they were shooting everywhere. left and right. i ran to the back. and i switched the lights off. i was too frightened to go to the front and pull the shutter down. the. >> there are bullet holes in the window of the hairdresser next door, in the windows of the japanese restaurant and at la
belle equippe. friends gathered to celebrate the birthday of hoda sadi. miriam was here. >> it was a normal evening we were meeting people, we talked, we laughed, we had a drink. and evening just like that. suddenly we heard a strong explosion. boom. and then pop pop pop pop pop, nonstop, the lights went ooff, my husband grabbed my shirt and pulled me onto the floor. gle. >> reporter: floor. >> reporter: they hid underneath a pile of coats. >> people were crying crying crying. there was a terrible noise that did not stop. gun shots, i did not know what. the glass was flying everywhere. there was a terrible noise that did not stop. there was a person who yelled, stay on the ground, stay on the ground. it went on and on and on, it did
not stop. >> reporter: and whether it did stop. >> translator: we were about 20 feet from the door. we saw dead bodies everywhere. everyone was on the ground. i saw blood everywhere. i saw the girl that just a few minutes ago, i met. this picture has never left my mind. a girl lying on the table, her head back, her eyes open. i saw everything. i saw everything. everywhere there was dead. >> reporter: after the gunman left and you were able to come out, what happened next? >> translator: i looked for the girl with the red shoes. i had said to her earlier, you like red? me too. it's my favorite color. and she said, i adore red. so i looked for her because she was wearing red shoes. and i found them. i found them. i couldn't see her face because other bodies were on top of her.
but i saw her shoes. so i knew she was there. >> the woman with the red shoes was halima sadi. it had been her sister's birthday. la belle equippe was the fourth attack of the night. the police took a while to get there so it was the neighbors like mina who helped. cannot get that out of their minds. >> how did you realize there was something going on? >> translator: i heard something like a fire cracker. i thought it was fire crackers. when i came down i saw death and blood in front of the door. >> reporter: you came downstairs onto the street? >> i came downstairs, i saw my friend who cried, everyone is dead, everyone is dead. i said to her it's fire crackers. i said no mina.
she saythe two men with a kalas. >> what did you see? >> i saw blood and people on the ground. i crossed the road and i grabbed the woman who called me to save her. i pulled her out from under a body. she was trapped and i pulled her out right up to here. >> translator: we've never seen anything like this. never in my life. it makes no sense to see people go like this. it's senseless, i don't know why. i haven't slept since friday. i saw all the dead people and i can't close my eyes, everyone is still in frond of my eyes. >> reporter: can i ask you, when you were lying on the floor in the restaurant, what went through your mind? what were you thinking? >> translator: i was afraid for my children. my 13-year-old daughter who was waiting at home. and i said, "god protect me and
guard my children." i prayed and prayed and prayed. because i thought of my children. i frayed and praye prayed and p. i said god, with your blood, help us, keep us safe. that is all i thought. that is all i thought. >> reporter: on rue de sharon, that is all they thought. the sign reads, we are paris, we are always paris. in memory of those who fell, in support of those who saw the horror, rue de sharon fights, strong. >> joining us from paris now "america tonight's" sheila macvicar. sheila we saw just the incredible raw pained emotion there in paris. but across europe does this
trigger provoke other feelings, other emotions as well? >> reporter: well, first i have to say there is tremendous grief across this city. and that is very real, and that is very raw. there is of course the political issue, and that's i think where you're turning to. there are people who are trying to make hay with this. the leader of france's right wing party, the front national marine la pen says absolutely what has happened in paris must mean there can be no more syrian refugees accepted into any french village flirp. we havanywhere. we have seen an antirefugee group that has grown in size over months. they are arguing that germany cannot take these people, that these people represent a threat to germany. so all of this is fueling the conversation, obviously, the information that some of these people hid within migrants, hid
within the refugee flow to come to europe as operatives, that's also playing into the political discussion. >> sheila, we've talked also about the other conversation, under way, the notion of a retaliation of trying to prohibit any future strikes from i.s.i.l. france has already staged some very sharp strikes on i.s.i.l. targets. >> reporter: france has very clearly said, we've heard it from the president, we've heard it from the prime minister that france is at war. they have said it, they have said it more than once, they have said it repeatedly in recent days. they have said this is a clash of civilizations and that this is a war that france including its allies must win. france sees that part of the way forward here is to attack and destroy i.s.i.l. or daesh as it's called here, in syria and in iraq. it doesn't necessarily deal with the problems at home which have contributed to rising
radicalization which have made france the number 1 exporter in europe of young men to go and join i.s.i.l. and to fight in syria. so there's a lot of things at play here. there are -- you can understand the desire of the french government to appear to be strong and to reach out immediately and to hit hard at those who have planned and then helped to execute these attacks. what the strategy is going forward, what the political resolve is going forward, are still to be seen. >> "america tonight's" sheila macvicar reporting to us from paris. al jazeera's josh rushing joins us on the set, a veteran particularly of this region. you understand the forces who are on the ground. you know president obama says no boots on the ground here. do we have options? >> the options are limited. particularly with no boots on the ground. when he says no boots on the ground we're talking large scale
forces. we're not going to see a u.s. invasion of northern syria any time soon. required what are going to see a lot more drone attacks there, the nature that we saw last week they took out jihadi john. >> right before the paris attacks. >> got lost in the headlines the day before the paris attacks. for that you need some boots on the ground for intelligence for targeting and then for confirmation, to make sure you got the kill you were going after. >> the united states has certainly funded teamentsd attet training. >> they have. but there's no historic precedent for one country that has so many other countries operating independently of each other. russia, assad's own forces of course that are fighting, then the syrian rebels that the u.s. has tried to back but that's not working out.
the u.s. has a coalition of forces now prominently so france, but the kurdish forces in the northeast that are pursuing their own agenda and the turkish forces that are bombing the kurds that are pursuing their own agenda. >> do you think they are up to the task? >> well the peshmerga in iraq that just recently took sinjar back they are a very well trained force. what they lack is heavy weapons and what they are screaming for u.s. to give them are heavier weapons. the problem with the u.s. is they are trying to strike a balance on how do you win the battle without losing the war? because if you give the kurds the heavy weapons they are asking for you could be ceding a larger problem, they don't want the kurds to be too independent. >> syrian refugees face a less than welcome reception in american cities. cities.
>> the long reach of i.s.i.l. is clearly being felt in this country, beyond the group's threat to attack in the united states, a number of governors have come out to say they want to bar at least temporarily syrian refugees from resettling here, hearing they may be cover for those who intend to do harm to americans. joining me is mohammed, he came to the united states with his young daughter, with us from new york this evening. mohammed i just wanted to talk to you about, our viewers have seen your story in the past. we have told them that you had been held in detention for six months before you were allowed to go freely into the united states. so for all those folks who think that it is somehow easy for
syrians to step into this country, what is the truth of that? why were you afraid to have you here? >> so actually being in that detention center was somehow a nightmare. i mean i was not able to understand why i was there, and my daughter was shocked. of being in such a place like actually they call it a detention center but it is a prison. and for someone who is not a criminal, it's like always, very strange for him to be there. >> you have a lot of history you had been in the united states a number of times already. i think about ten times even before this happened. you had traveled freely in the states before, you obviously speak perfect english. was there some reason to be afraid of you? >> actually, not at all. i don't think that there is any reason. i have visited the united states for ten times. and a few some total period of
me being here in the united states it would be like four years. it was like mostly business trips. and i don't find -- and each time i come here to the united states, they will do like a very long and large security background check for -- about me. and i had -- i don't have any idea why would anyone be afraid of a guy like me. 16 -- >> you have clearly heard that a number of governors over a dozen now have issued statements that they don't want the federal government to resettle more syrians in the united states. what do you think is motivating that? >> well, this is very, very sad fact. i mean people who are trying to close a door for a huge number of syrians who are suffering out of the evidence that is happening in syria.
>> even in the situation in paris underway as the investigation continues to unfold, the french authorities say that at least one of the individuals involved they believe came through a migrant path. is there a way to make sure that the right people come in and not the wrong ones? is there some legitimacy to that? >> well, i think security issues is something very -- that we need to take these in very serious way of course. but i mean, on the other hand, we need the make sure that what we are doing is not asking people just t to sink in the sea or prevent them to not have a chance to live in a normal way. >> mohammed, i ask you, now that you were held in detention and you were allowed to establish yourself in the united states,
do you have a sense that people in the community are accepting of you or do you sense some sense of prejudice or distrust of you? >> well, having my daughter with me, who wear the scarf, it's a sign that some people find it, that do not accept it easily but i would say generally i feel that especially when you come to know a person, when you speak to him, that i feel that there are actually friendly people to talk to. >> well, we hope that continues to be the case for you mohammed. thank you very much for speaking with us. next here, attacks across the ages. the victims of a cultural genocide.
>> the fingerprint of i.s.i.l. has become easy to identify. barbaric spectacles, made even more barbaric, in beirut, over the skies of egypt, yet i.s.i.l.'s brutal reach also extends deep into our shared history as it seeks to destroy the future of some communities and the past of others. for nearly 3,000 years they stood watch. sentinels of one of the world's first great empires. >> he's enormous. he's 16 feet tall. he weighs 40 tons, four zero
tons carved out of gypsum rock. >> the lamasu, guardians of ancient syria. >> it combines the power of the bull and the soaring eagle and the wisdom of man all in one. >> a mystical powerful protector. >> in the palaces of the kings of syria every gateway would be flanked by two of these magnificent magical beings who would protect everyone entering that palace from any kind of evil. >> gil stein is director of the oriental institute. what is today moder iraq and syria. >> the oriental institute excavated the whole palace in the 1930s. we have these pupi beautiful pis
that the iraqi government loud us to bring back. and the remainder is at the site. >> or was. >> or was. >> until i.s.i.l. for more than a year. i.s.i.l. has systematically destroyed and posted videos of the destruction of antiquities. as it takes control of areas that are the home to the world's most valued archaeological sites. nineva, palmyra. >> big stretch of the tie tigre. and they have destroyed nineva and nimrud. >> is it a form of terrorism? >> absolutely. these sites have stood for
millennia. >> evan ryan leads a campaign tracking these issues. in the syrian city, dayr azur. a stunning cache of antiquities, a reminder how valuable they are to i.s.i.l. >> we actually came to be aware of how serious it was after the coalition raided anu said's sais compound. he was in charge ever this area. >> in some areas they were actually taxing. >> they are, there was a real structure in place. >> satellite images of more than 700 sites in i.s.i.l.-held areas. >> it is very dramatic when you look side by side from a couple of years ago to today. and you can see the pockets that
have developed where they've actually completely excavated sites. >> experts monitor the destruction and looting of relics, trafficked along the same paths as refugees. sold on the black market even on ebay. a blossoming trade on what are called blood antiquities. >> blood antiquities because they are actually financing i.s.i.l.'s terror. as they are selling these items and making money the money then goes to i.s.i.l. to perpetual theito perpetuatetheir work. we want you to know, you are financing terror. >> no one understands that better than curators in the region who work to hide relics. one the director of the palmyra ruins refused to reveal the hiding place of his treasures. >> it cost him his life.
he felt this is worth protecting. the heritage is like that, that it defines who we are. and when they kill heritage they are also killing people. >> by some estimates the world's stolen antiquities market is worth more than 2 billion. even more disturbing though is who's buying. >> the biggest markets for illicit smuggled looted antiquities, the united states and the u.k. so we are part of the problem, because there are many people who are willing to buy illicit antiquities. >> just to play devil's advocate about it, if this stuff is being looted and destroyed anyway, am i not doing a good thing by purchasing it? >> it's a very slippery and complicated matter. people can say, i am saving them. on the other hand, it's very clear that looting is driven by
market demand. and as long as there are people who really are willing to buy these things, no matter what, they will have enormous market value, the people who buy it are driving the demand, and that demand is driving the looters. >> forces have always looted and plundered but the scale of i.s.i.l.'s campaign is u unprecedented. >> i.s.i.l. was not the first. >> the taliban were the ones in the modern era who pioneered the idea of political destruction. when they looted the boou butte. >> when they have nothing to do with worship. >> these monuments in syria and
iraq were under the control of the muslim caliphate for one and a half thousand years and they were never destroyed. it's only now it's being done to terrify people to win supporters from the more radical fringes of the islamic world. we have to recognize that it's a political struggle and that i.s.i.l. is cloaking political ends in religious terms. let's face it, it's being done to polarize the world. they want to provoke the west, it's very difficult to know what's the right way to react to it. >> a precious history lost to time. that's "america tonight." tell us what you think at aljazeera.com/americatonight. talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back. we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow.