tv Writing About War CSPAN July 16, 2016 10:45am-12:01pm EDT
first, at the far, my far right is jeneanety giovani, "newsweek"'s middle east editor and a contributing editor at "vanity fair." at the start of her journalistic career, janine covered the first palestinian intifada in the 1990s. 1980s, i had that, i don't know why i said 1990s. [laughter] in her latest book, "the morning they came for us," she chronicles the war in syria using seven different perspectives. she provides a vivid picture of a ravaged nation as experienced by its citizens. among them, a nun, a doctor, a musician and a student. their stories convey the realities of modern urban warfare from the pervasive smoke to the hunger to the return of such previously-vanquished
diseases as typhus and polio. next is christina lamb with the sunday times. like janine, christina's introduction to conflict reporting also came in the late 1980s, but in pakistan and afghanistan. .. came in the 1980s but in pakistan and afghanistan. her journalism has taken her far and wide including brazil, south africa, zimbabwe and iraq but since the 9/11 attacks she spent quite a bit of time in afghanistan. she cowrote i am melilla and her new book "farewell kabul: from afghanistan to a more dangerous world" highlights the errors and miscalculations made by the united states and its allies in
the war in afghanistan. and argues the world has been left more, not less dangerous since 9/11. our third author is kim barker, whose book "whiskey tango foxtrot (the taliban shuffle mti): strange days in afghanistan and pakista'n served as basis for the recent movie "whiskey tango foxtrot (the taliban shuffle mti): strange days in afghanistan and pakista'n starring tina fey. kim's first reporting job was in washington state. after joining the chicago tribune in 2001 she went abroad and spent 5 years from 2004 to 2009 as south asia bureau chief based in new delhi and islam a bad. she works for the new york times, the times review of her book called at both hilarious and harrowing, two contrasting adjectives that sum up the
frequently mixed experience of war reporting. mary jordan is a self -- a pulitzer prize-winning journalist with the washington post, mary was based abroad for 14 years in tokyo, mexico city and london and currently covering the presidential campaign. you need that for an experience. >> war reporting is easier. >> she told me as we were walking and she just interviewed donald trump today so you might ask her about that. we are getting off track, aren't we? mary's most recent book which she cowrote with her husband, kevin sullivan of the washington
post, is titled hope:a memoir of survival in cleveland, chronicling the kidnapping and torment of two of the women held captive in a home in cleveland by ariel castro. please join me in welcoming our panel. [applause] >> i really feel, three different 5-star restaurants. impossible to do justice to the careers of these three women but we will have fun trying. one of the great newsmen of our times, it is a testament to working, a testament to all the work you have done. i am proud to be here on stage. i want to ask before we get into
other things, how did this happen? others want to run facebook. why did you want to go -- >> i never wanted to be a journalist. i was an academic, in comparative literature, russian and french literature, completely different and wanted to be a professor and literary criticism and i saw a photograph of an israeli soldier burying a palestinian teenager alive in stand. the article was about a human rights lawyer, a jewish holocaust survivor who is one of the few israeli lawyers defending palestinians in military court. it was providence.
i flew to israel, i met her, she took me under her wing. i feel like i went to a door i could never go back again and basically couldn't finish my phd. if you have the ability to give a voice to people who do not have a voice and you have an obligation and i was haunted by injustice and i could as a journalist have an impact by doing this and the war in bosnia came and that was a whole other -- that opened a whole other scenario for my colleagues and i. >> did you grow up knowing what you would end of doing? 28 years in afghanistan. >> i always say never be more fun than i. i loved writing and having
adventures but basically i became -- an invitation to a wedding and what happens, i started after i left the university i worked at the financial times in london. basically going to a lunch with south asian politicians and last minute he couldn't go and he goes why don't you go? i went next to somebody who was inspector general for the pakistan people and he asked if i would like to interview someone who was living in exile at the time. i said yes and the day i went there was the day she announced her engagement so the apartment was full of flowers and we got on very well. particularly men. went back to pakistan. i went to work as a trainee for
british regional tv company, doing flower shows and came home from work and absolutely beautiful gold striped invitation on my doormat and it was to benefit weddings in pakistan. so i went and it was an amazing introduction to pakistan like something out of the arabian nights. if you ever been to a south asian wedding they are very colorful and each evening after the ceremonial event there were discussions about how to take on pakistan's military and colleagues were people who were tortured and imprisoned and the most dangerous thing i ever had to deal with was going home after missing the last train in london. i came back to london and said i would live in pakistan. everybody i went to talk to said
we are not interested in pakistan, nothing is going to change but we are interested in afghanistan because the russians are there so go cover that. being 21 at the time i agreed. last story i ever did for british television with a man who sent his car -- it was going forward and it was going backwards. not a great loss to british tv. >> you went on to many other places but tell us how your story is equally different from these two about how you got in? >> ever since i took a journalism class when i was a sophomore in wyoming and i thought what a great con, the idea that i could get a class and pull my friend out of class and ask questions and write about it it seemed the greatest job in the world so i never
thought about being a foreign correspondent. we didn't travel anywhere. i was not the richest person in the world and we never went to canada or mexico, we stayed local in montana and after 9/11 i was at the chicago tribune and other people were volunteering to go and the desks would empty out and this person would try it and i felt not that i wanted to be a war correspondent but wanted to see if i could cover the biggest story in the world. i didn't know i would end up falling in love with it and staying for so long but i did actually volunteer for going overseas when i heard they were going to send more women overseas because we hadn't tried a lot of women. at one point i went out with a female friend, we both wanted to cover everything and counted the number of men sent out and the number of women and it was 17
men and one woman so i wanted to prove a woman could do it. i was trying to figure out how to to sing with myself from other female reporters that might volunteer, working to send women overseas, i don't speak any foreign languages, i hadn't been to europe but i went in with the biggest argument i had which i introduced myself and said i am kim barker, metro reporter, i am single and childless and therefore expendable. i did say that. he laughed. i said i will go anywhere you want to send me. get ready to go to pakistan. i called my parents and that i'm going to pakistan. they said no you are not, why would anybody send you to pakistan? they were wrong. >> when i got posted to tokyo i called my mother and it was a big deal in the 90s, my mom goes
what did you do wrong at work? let me read you something kim wrote in her book and you get a flavor for how she writes. afghanistan felt more like homes than anywhere else in the region. i knew why. afghanistan sounded familiar. it had jagged blue and purple mountains, big skies and bearded men in pickup truck stocks with guns and hate for the government. it was like montana. just on different drugs. let's go back for a second. it is, at one point talking in the book, the phone rings, the taliban always calls at the wrong time, how do you balance beheadings with standup comedy? >> this is on c-span and you
asked me the hardest question i have ever gotten. i think any journalist just like when you are a police officer, and emergency room doctor, anybody who has to go through trauma or grows up in afghanistan and pakistan you'd use dark comedy to deal with horrible things. just because you are in a war zone and people are being killed doesn't mean you stop living your life and people stop having small moment and laughter is a healer and away to bring people together. i guess it is also because my dad brought me up watching mash. we didn't go to church every week. i was like i hate that show. the war only lasted a couple years and the show was lasting like 25. it is also like the first author i read that i really loved was kurt vonnegut and joseph heller,
i absorbed that whole idea of dark comedy being a good way to talk about war and what happened over there. there needs to be a tradition of that until there was no more draft. once the draft stopped, the whole idea that everybody doesn't know somebody who goes to war, you can't make jokes, you can't talk about how people really live over there. the idea of war and everybody is fighting all the time is just not factual. >> through humor, you could picture you there and you were giving us so information which is why the reviews -- congratulations. the movie they just made, what is tina fanlike? >> she is serious. i think i am funnier. i am kidding. kidding. tina is incredibly generous.
i didn't spend time with her before they filmed the movie because there are two kinds of actors, the ones who spend a lot of time with somebody and inhabit them and the ones who take a character and make it their own like you don't want to spend any time with that person. we had a long lunch at i remember complaining about high heels really. we complained a lot about high heels and she told me a story that was really funny and i was proud of myself but couldn't remember what the story was. i told something that made tina fey laugh but don't remember what it was. she was really kind to me and during the whole process every time she was on the late-night show she would mention my name and my book, the original title, by name so i think my publisher was thinking the movie tie-in that has her on the cover would end up eclipsing the taliban
shuffle because of the movie but because she mentioned it so much the talent and shuffle started selling out all the time on amazon. i can't say enough nice things, she has been generous, very much a supporter of women and i benefited from that. >> it used to be there were not that many war correspondents that were female but the washington post has quite a few and other people do too. the pulitzer for the new york times covering afghan women, it is very different. let's talk about how being a woman in a war zone affects reporting. >> 25 years ago there were very few women and the women that were in the field were not very friendly to other women. because it was so competitive, so male, so driven, there was no sense of competition, i think
now it has radically changed but i have been asked this question over and over again, do men and women reporting different ways? it is very individual. i am a human rights reporter, i go into the field, spend a long time with people on a certain story, i am a terrible scoop reporter or sensationalized reporter. i am not good at going and finding the mother of the last bridge in sierra leone. i need to spend a long time and we were talking earlier about the war in bosnia, it was the watershed moment the changed reporting in our generation. it with our generation's vietnam and it was the time when a small group of us were committed to affecting policy and we felt we would not let this genocide happen on our watch. we stuck it out. we lived in sarajevo during the
siege, we were sniped, shelled, starved, we didn't have food or water, but we did something i am very proud of and everyone that was in that war feels it changed their lives forever and their style of reporting and we were very committed. i want to drive syria home, a slow-motion genocide similar to sarajevo, the we were calling out must be stopped. now i live in paris and coming to america for the past two weeks i am really amazed how little attention it is getting, people are being slaughtered, in aleppo, the hospital where i worked the only pediatrician was killed, the first responders, the bravest people in the world, we are not the bravest people in the world, they are.
they did people out of the rubble, 5 of them were killed. the gynecologist who delivers the babies was killed in aleppo. europe traditionally there is more interest, this was an election year for america and i do understand that but also syria seems so remote but so did bosnia and there was a genocide of 8000 men and boys and we said it would never happen again and it is happening now. >> jenin's book, she spends a lot of time with different people, you can't -- indelible images of horrible things that happened but back to the question if you pick it up, do women bring something to correspondence especially in a war zone you wouldn't get otherwise? there has been lots of talk about women at the peacemaking table?
are they different or do they bring something, the reason we need diversity in war correspondents? >> women and men right differently on war, i think male recruiters focus more on the actual fighting, i covered war for 28 years so i can tell the difference between incoming and outgoing but i can't tell you what kind of weapons are being fired or where. it is on other people behind the lines. when you see war on tv, or places on tv, it looks like everything is frightening. when you actually go to the country there are millions of people still living their lives trying to educate their children, feed them and protect them and those tend to be the women. i spent most of my career in the
middle east. it is impossible for male reporters to go into women's quarters so i am getting access in a way a lot of my male colleagues are not. >> my husband kevin sullivan spent a lot of time in war countries and even the coffee shop only the women are on one side and men on the other and felt cut off. it is in upside to have women reporters there. what are the downsides? are there downsides? >> you get this question all the time. i never reported as a man. it is difficult. >> i feel somehow you could. >> difficult for me to say what is different. it is like there are downsides, with the personal life you are living over there you have to be careful with what you are doing
and there have been books written, noreen wanted me to talk about sex, right? you really couldn't live like that as a woman. you had to be careful. >> the follow-up on c-span. >> don't know what to do, the emergency -- >> nothing to do with anything else. >> nothing happening, don't have to worry about it. what i was saying is you are protective of your reputation, you always have to be careful who you are going out with, you are working with afghans a lot of time, had to make sure they wanted to protect you so you had this obligation to refute the idea of being a western loose woman, that would come up a lot of times, came up in pakistan,
india, afghanistan where you think you are being friendly to people that you get phone calls in the middle of the night and your editors might call, you call on ramadan at 4:00 in the morning and i love you and you are like thanks but i need some sleep and you couldn't turn your phone off. irritations like that, being grabbed in public. i write a lot about the fact that i am tall, 5 foot 10 and i punched out a lot of guys because i got so irritated, that was dangerous. my fixer didn't like that because he would get in trouble for that, in india and pakistan i don't like it -- >> to the punch. >> they didn't like it. >> they just ran away. >> i was like all this stuff was
like it is funny because -- the current prime minister buying me an iphone and the similar experiences, i had a guy on twitter who was like this is really unprofessional because all the hitting on you stuff was probably off the record. don't think you are allowed to be off the record when hitting on somebody, i think that is on the record and also writing about that stuff shows i will pretend to be this very religious man in public but behind the scenes it is okay to behave this way with women. >> everyone says the difference between men and women, i resent it when they say women cover orphanages and hospitals and men
cover war. i have done a lot of frontline stuff. not interested in guns but i have done a lot of military work. the moment the changes for me was when i had a child and the line completely, male colleagues, now you are entering the club where you will read bedtime stories by satellite phone. it is a risk saying this, carried the child, give birth and i will never forget when my son was 6 months old, not the most sensitive paper in the world to women, my editor deliberately sends me back to iraq where i had been living for two years covering saddam, the invasion and the war and i was still breast-feeding and didn't want to go and begged them to send me but they use a clause in the contract to send me and said we have a war reporter the won't
go to war. nowhere says i am a war reporter. i am a correspondent, senior foreign correspondent, not a war reporter, send me to paris or brussels. i went. my -- it was a macho little scene, the guy running the office wanted me to do something incredibly dangerous the first day i got there that would have amounted to two lines in a story sent in from washington and i said no and i heard him on the phone cackling to his friends going she lost her nerve now that she had a baby and it was so awful but i remember getting on the phone calling my husband and crying and he said that is a good thing. isn't it a good thing you lost your nerve and are afraid? you are supposed to be afraid. you can't be in the middle, you have to feel like a human being.
>> after you had your baby what changed? did you stop doing certain things? >> i very much felt -- before that i worked in africa for years, i was very happy to embed militias in sierra leone or the ivory coast. i got afraid in a normal way. >> you have been serious several times. >> it is a conflicting thing because i realized, this sounds very selfish and some might think i'm irresponsible and i cannot argue with you about that. what i do is much more a calling and i believe in what i do and it is hugely important there are
reporters that bear witness to atrocities and human rights violations and without eyes and ears on the ground we don't get a window into what happened. do you know what is happening in aleppo right now? know you don't. i felt in some way i had to make this breach. i can't say it has been easy. >> it happens all the time to all of us, you balance work and life but it is one thing to balance work, life, family when you are an insurance person in pittsburgh but if you're trying to manage risks, going to the world's most dangerous place all of you have been repeatedly. how do you balance? is this story worth it? >> it is very difficult. i obviously want to be responsible, you have to think about that fix.
so i don't go places where i know i am going to be taking a crazy risk. one thing you learn about this job is one of the most dangerous things that ever happened to me, being ambushed or being in suicide bombings, places that were not supposed to be dangerous, very difficult to plan this. we see these days you can be blown up in brussels, in paris, anywhere. it is difficult to balance but since i became a mother, i am much more careful of where i go, you see it differently because you meet mothers who are going through terrible things and you can identify with them much more
than when you were a mother. very hard sometimes to live with that. >> for all the mothers in war zones that are trying to keep their families together because they are so impressive when trying to raise children in the middle of war. >> friends at the state department are skirting dangerous places so miss expendable, how did you feel about danger? >> i didn't need to have a kid to value my life. i love this argument you are supposed to somehow change after your children as if your life is not important before that. >> how important is your life? >> probably the most important thing to me. i have parents and more importantly have a driver, for
me after what happened in afghanistan when his head was cut off, he had his journalist were killed by the taliban and the journalist left him behind, jamaal was killed, we don't need to do those things if you feel they are dangerous. i was not the sort of person who goes out in the middle of the countryside to meet the taliban and those reporters are better reporters than i am. i was happy to go to jail and meet the taliban and who had been arrested. and i was happy to have them come to meet me in hotels. friends of mine meet the taliban and you are going to get kidnapped and it would happen.
>> it is a case-by-case thing we all have to deal with. >> good point and if the story is the same when you talk to somebody it is very different. jenin will talk about this in a minute. >> what is interesting is different things trigger why you went there. then you went there and got hooked. i want to read a passage from christina's book towards the end of her book called war never leaves you. november 2014, in the end i went back, i missed afghanistan with the yearning i could not explain. i had a house in washington with a rocking chair on the porch and a white picket fence where a yellow school bus came to collect my son like in the american movies. i had a great job and wonderful
friends but part of me was somewhere else entirely dreaming of pomegranate, if i drove through rock creek park with my roof down, the scent of pines reminded me of the mountains. in my big american house i had a walk in wardrobe, shelves piled with silk scarves in bright colors like magenta, pink and peacock blue. each one with a memory. you went on from there about how you had to go back because it was always since you missed sitting on the village floor drinking green tea and listening to fantastical stories. i never remembered the bad bits. is it that -- is it like childbirth? you just kind of okay, a lot of bad things happen, you lost friends, colleagues, people you knew but kept going back.
>> when you keep going to the same place over and over it is not a story, you don't think of it as an issue. you think of all the people you know and what is happening and you want people to know about it. i feel very angry at the moment about the way, from our politicians the war in afghanistan is over. because we declared it over a couple years ago. more people were killed in afghanistan than in any year of the war. remember when the taliban and was toppled, the discussion was now we make women free and laura bush and sherry blair and we talked about it. we encouraged women in
afghanistan to run for office, become security guards doing things which are good. now we left those people behind and are not protecting them and they sit up and have done things that are not traditional in their culture and are being targeted and we are not there to help them and we have a moral responsibility to do something about that so i feel passionately that -- >> once you feel deep in a store you feel a response ability to let the world know. jenin's book, these images of things touched by one passage, when my son was born after the american occupation of iraq i was unable to cut his nails. it was visceral rather than rational reaction. i would pick up a tiny baby scissors and look at his translucent fingers, clean and pink as seashells and feel as
though i would wretch. i had a vision of an iraqi man i knew who had no fingernails. then it goes on at length about this man who used to coming to your office in iraq who had been tortured and all his fingernails taken off and every time you saw your baby, it is incredible. like you started saying you met these people, stayed close to them and wrote horrific things so what draws you, syria is the most dangerous place on earth. we all lost friends there. are you going to go back? >> i feel very committed to it and i also feel last week after the hospital was bombed the attacks on medical workers i find absolutely horrific and so i feel the need, it is not a
pool, i do have friends who are addicted to war and they are clearly addicted, they like the adrenaline, they like the fact they are taken out of the ordinary boring day-to-day lives where we pay bills and drive kids to school and they go to a war zone where you live in the moment because you are trying to stay alive but i don't think i was ever like that. for me it was much more about something martha gil horn said which was you have one more you fall in love with, the rest is responsibility. bosnia did that to me and now syria, i have fallen in love again and i do feel very committed to it in the way that people i spent so much time with and a lot of what i do is i write about human rights violations, rape and torture which is hard to report and the only way to do it is by spending huge amounts of time with people and gaining their trust. you can't get a quick story and
get out. you need to sit on the floor with them for weeks. i spent months in coast of the working with one village that had been raped. i worked with human rights, we did a quantitative research and gathering data, it is heartbreaking. island in the first aid class if someone gets hit by shrapnel, you can't pool the piece of whatever it is out of their body because they will bleed to death. you have to stanch it and sustain it. when i'm interviewing someone who has been deeply traumatized you can't pull things out of them. you have to sit and wait and listen and gradually the story emerges, they might not want to talk to you. >> the story you wrote about in cleveland held in the basement for ten years, the youngest one
will start talking. going to the audience for questions, we have a mic out there if anybody -- someone here in the front? >> good evening. you mentioned earlier, reaction to your stories and the change that it could affect or not, it forced the world to act. it takes a huge incident like that, just ignored until that moment occurs? >> let's talk about the consequences intended or not of reporting, either intended or not. >> we -- bosnia and rwanda,
humanitarian intervention, much more timeless empathy, we have a different administration right now, most of us to write to affect policy in some way and that is our role, to shine the light in the darkest corners and whether we can reach policymakers is beyond us. international law and transitional justice to happen. that is the main thing, don't want these guys who rape and torture and kill and murder, i want them to pay. i want them to end up getting justice served to them. >> in vietnam it was geared towards telling the public what was happening on the ground, the
enormous role, policymakers listening, the public is. >> one of the problems is we had so many wars over the last few years, afghanistan, syria, libya and all this, people are tired of it and wish it would all go away, afghanistan and the uk gets no coverage, because there are so many wars going on and it becomes much more dangerous to cover them, two big changes, the technology made it a lot easier to file from stories from the top of the mountain, did not
even have a telephone system, coming into afghanistan for weeks and called back stories to pakistan and there was no direct diving, i was dictating in london which is a difficult thing to do dictating a long story saying to you is there not more of this? that has become a lot easier. the other side has become much harder, more dangerous, we have become targets. it is frustrating there are places we can't go to it has become so dangerous, something i never thought i would say 20 years ago.
>> the nature of the news business changed in the last 15 or 20 years, and there is so much information out there. not like they can read the entire washington post or new york times or sunday times, they choose what they want to read. a lot of times there are stories out there. there was a controversy over bombings in europe and pakistan and people complaining no one was covering pakistani bombings the same way they did the ones in europe. it turns out readership of the stories that were done, nobody read the stories that were done about the bombings of pakistan because people don't care. that is the biggest challenge we face, everybody only once to read stories that reinforce their own political beliefs and cover areas that interest them. the way newspapers used to be, we will never go back there, you
would read everything. except for the woman in the front row who reads everything. >> syria in 2009-2011, my question isn't particular to you but i am interested in that. i repeat what i was saying. i am a writer and editor and lived in syria in 2009-2011 and i was interested, i visited bosnia as well, interested if you could talk a little more about the public's reaction to bosnia at the time. the reaction more as the product of latent orientalism or latent racism or if this was a matter more of geographic distance or that kind of separation and equally what syria can learn
from postwar bosnia. looking ahead to a transition state what lessons can we learn from that? >> two really good questions. the first one, when i was reporting sarajevo i worked for the sunday times which at that point i was battling against princess diana and prince charles to get in the paper and had this horrible foreigner, he said people are bored by this. it came to one point where remember romeo and juliet in bosnia, a muslim and serb who ran away to get married and were killed on a bridge, and he wasn't interested because princess diana had done something and didn't run the story and became the icon of sarajevo. it was a struggle and it was frustrating but we felt we are going to keep going, keep pushing it. they would send me from london
and say you are going to go six weeks and i wouldn't come home and in those days there were no cell phone so they couldn't find me and i would just disappear and investigate, it was hugely frustrating. your question about racism is interesting because while bosnia was happening we felt we were being ignored even though sarajevo is 3 hours from london by plane, the one the genocide was breaking out in 1994. by the time i was sent there it was may, started in april, and the reason it was not only covered properly but the genocide was allowed, there were so few journalists who could get there. had they been there i don't think 1 million people would have been killed. lessons learned, we should talk
after the event, i wrote a thesis about lessons learned from bosnia, let's hope and pray they don't partition syria because you see what a disaster bosnia is 25 years after dayton. it stopped the killing but contributed to the rise of nationalism, sectarianism that never existed before and i don't want to see that happen to syria. >> how do you see what you want to see? there are a bunch of reporters in syria on a government tour, it wasn't dangerous for them at all but how do you get to see both sides in a war without subjecting yourself to huge personal risk? >> you were only ever seeing a
fragment of what was going on, afghanistan years ago, when you came back you were pretty well informed. these days you are expected to write immediately. you can only genuinely report on where you are at that particular time, you don't know what is going on elsewhere, i was in southern iraq and went to baghdad and felt i missed some of the war by being there because everyone who watched it at home and seen these things on tv and talking about this stuff, it was dangerous with germany on the spot, actually they can't say much more than they are seeing. there is a big debate about
embedding with troops, whether that is the right thing to do. i used to be against it and thought you should go as an independent. i was there, you weren't attached to anybody. not reporting on your country's troops and what they do, the important thing is to get both sides. same with syria if you go with the regime, you can also go independently into rebel held areas or other areas, then you are getting a much more balanced picture. difficult to do that when countries don't let you go in if they know you reported. >> what do you think about embedding? >> i am bedded. i feel the same way christina does. i hadn't done the unilateral stuff and didn't go on many beds. i went on 6 to 8, something like
that over the 5 years i lived there. a week or two. i found, i realized pretty quickly when i went out on one embed and this guy said to be at night be sure to take your photographer with you. photographers love it when they say your photographer because it implies they are like your pet. they say take your photographer with you when you go to the bathroom at night because there are only three women on the base. you are not going to send me anywhere if you think i will face an issue in the base going to the bathroom at night. i found a lot of times, i talked to a lot of folks in the military about this when i would hang around longer, do you send women out on the more dangerous missions? would you send me to corn doll which was the most dangerous
area at that point? they said we might send you there but wouldn't send you on the more dangerous patrols because we worry it is largely men in the military, will want to protect you as opposed to the male reporters or photographers who feel it is up to them if they are going to go. i could see the point. when i went out on embeds i got stories of guys who told me about broken marriages, the fact they haven't seen their kids in so long, what it was like to have these constant deployments and i wrote a story after the story were guys telling me they were not locked and loaded, they ended up getting moved to a more dangerous place because of what they told me and the main guy in my story ended up getting blown up in an explosion and losing his leg. i didn't find that out until after i came back but if i had known about that when i was over there it would have made me pull
my punches because that is a danger, you are doing stories that you want troops to like because you are with them, the story i see here, i can't deny when i found out, i felt really horrible obviously. >> what do you do? the consequences of reporting. how do you deal with that? >> particularly about syria, damascus, to the regime side, to be honest, initially in the beginning of the war i got 5 or 6 it is paranoidmaking, not dangerous to go on the other side through turkey or lebanon with the opposition but incredibly paranoid, especially syria, when you work in a
regime, i was just in iran, egypt last week, there is a different kind of danger that you're going to be taken away and put in prison or killed where they have no qualms, the italian student killed in egypt and killing you, you do, you are not in danger of bombs and sniping, the most spooked i have been in a long time in damascus. it is very unnerving. >> a clever part of the book when she talks about a $100 taxi ride from beirut to damascus, it is pretty close across the border and everything changes. it is in the center.
i think all three of these books it is amazing where christina talks about all these people in the news as all you guys have and they have this wonderful personal touch. the way you describe things and put yourself in, kim is talking about boyfriends calling, i would rather go to afghanistan and i was wondering, you didn't name that guy. did you name him? >> i didn't put his last name. >> we are still friends. >> everyone in the book, got what -- i was supposed to be the foil for america going into this country, supposed to come off as
naïve and arrogant. farouk is supposed to be afghanistan, gets the sense that i'm going to leave, get as much money as he can. who can blame him? >> you brought up justice heller. and a long life as the other one asks why and what else is there? i imagine the three of you know full well what else is there as there is no guarantee. for that risk or the apathy of your readers or editors. have you thought about this isn't worth it anymore or something else to do or do you keep going? >> i stopped, i might go back
and every day i make a choice to stay here. it is a difficult choice to make because i miss being in afghanistan because i miss being in pakistan, and the future of countries. and feeling you see a country change and seeing democracy get bills, i miss that feeling but i decided to see if i could live normal as normal as any journalist is. i am a metro reporter in new york. that is what i do and we will see how long that lasts and right now it is working. >> >> one of the argument in my book is we don't have to and wores anymore. i wish afghanistan would end so i could go there on holiday with my son and libya and iraq, you asked if i would stop -- when i
had my son in 1999, stop doing what i would doing, books as well as this, and so i thought i would stop by taking six month off to research a book and in portuguese in portugal the day before september 11th start writing this book so i started writing september 11th, and often wonder if it hadn't been afghanistan where osama bin laden was, would i have gone back, if it is in iraq, where i don't have the same background, afghanistan, it was my third story and i heard so much about it. there was no way i wasn't going to go back and people had
forgotten about it. there was no thought of not doing it. >> every day, what else i could do. one thing i did do is in 2014 i went to work for the un because i spent my entire career criticizing and going after the un and taking them to pieces and i thought i want to work for the un refugee agency which is of all of them the best of the lot on the syria crisis. i wanted to see from that perspective and gain more insight into going deeper with research and the year after that i was given a fellowship to do it a degree in international law because if i'm going to spend my life researching human rights i need a basis in law in which i gained from the field but needed to go deeper.
i graduated in march, and i think all the time can i work for a bank now? can i work for morgan stanley or the british government, the french government, the state department. in no way addicted to being in the field but we have skills we have gained over the years that are important and vital. i think we have something we need to contribute. at the same time we need to stay alive. i was in grozny when it fell to russian forces, it was the closest i have ever come to dine. my husband at the time said to me the best journalist is the one who gets out alive to tell the story. it is true. we are with absolutely nothing if we get killed so it is that constant -- we are not insane, we are not crazy.
we have a role and i think we do it well and martha did it well into her 90s. i don't want to be in my 90s doing it but there is something we do that is quite noble. >> actually you have fun and that is what kim describes but you wouldn't keep going to these places if it was relentless misery. a week ago i was at the most wonderful kurdish wedding on the border between turkey and syria. all the people who fled syria had terrible stories, didn't know when they would see their homes again but they had fun that night. they made a lot of effort to enjoy the wedding, show their children kurdish dancing and music. you could forget for a few hours
the misery of what was happening to their home in less then an hour's drive away. one of the weirdest things that ever happened to me, being killed in pakistan, a good friend of mine, how is pakistan going to survive riots in her home and people talk about pakistan breaking up. i arrived and got taxidriver in germany and the taxidriver, and he said it is very grim and everything is very bad and he said to me know, we have no disco and i said what? he said to me we don't have any discos in pakistan. >> it is true what they say.
it is all about high highs and low lows and when you come back after these you forget the low lows and even myself we lost colleagues who have gotten killed. the lows are low but the highs are high and at some point you come back and you are happy to be the middle. but it is never like it is when you are high. >> speak to the value of, rotary -- rotary -- camera battery. >> you two exemplify that,
rotary and sisters in arms and tell you that exists when one works overseas. >> very few women in the field doing this kind of work so it is important we stick up for each other and there is solidarity between us. jenin said at the beginning she didn't find that because i always found other women and i think the most upsetting thing as a mother is when other women attack you for what you do. >> mentoring young women all the time, i wasn't mentoring, there were not older women, now i have young women, i tried to make
them -- i would never say to -- young people say is it worth becoming a journalist? absolutely. it is the greatest job in the world. i think there is solidarity. >> friends of mine saying is that based on me? i said no because you are not that pretty. also, you are nice. we had a group of people, some of them in the audience, make sure everybody is taken care of. talk about the stories. i would have done anything and still do anything to help female reporters i work with over there and what is nice is when you have that you are -- you can call it whatever but you are in
the zone where you will be friends for life and we barely met each other over there and got similar sort of answers. that is what i usually say and between different news organizations in dangerous places people bond together and it is a great question about solidarity, in a way normally especially in this town there is a lot of competition the disappears. >> she really wanted -- >> one last question. >> i want to follow up on a couple points you made. why are we not paying attention to what is going on in aleppo. we are inured to so much of this conflict that it rolls off of us
and it does. one reason we were looking forward i figure collectively your experiences are amazing and they are but for those of us that are trying to keep up there are so many players and conflict and the external players, russia, saudi arabia, it seems pretty hopeless so i am curious, the highs and highs and lows and lows where is there hope for all of this to get sorted out? what is your sense of this? >> it is incredibly complicated. don't feel ignorant because i literally have to. i studied the middle east for 25 years, put markers and put things on maps and identify who is fighting who, 1000 militias on the opposition on the syrian opposition and that is not even taking it to the international
players, russia, qatar, saudi, iran, turkey, egypt, wars do end, they eventually do end when the players on the battlefield becoming exhausted and at this stage it is gearing up. i don't think syria will go into a 7-year war like lebanon. it will eventually come to a head in one way or the other. i wish it would be sooner rather than later. don't think it has to be 400,000 people dead. in 1992 we started calling out for it and had to wait until the end of 1995 when 8000 men and boys were killed. don't think we want to wait until there is a genocide. president obama made a tactical decision in 2013, he did not want to get engaged in a third
middle eastern war because he was elected on a platform to get out of wars. there was a great cost, the rise of isis. they didn't come out of nowhere. the result of the failure in iraq and the result of our own policy of not paying enough attention. if i thought isis on the ground in 2012, why was the world so surprised when mosul finally fell. we have to have accountability because we allowed our compassion to become fatigued and that is a very dangerous thing for us to become complacent. i want people to be upset, shook up, it is the truth and i think it is important that we digest it. >> the short-term decisions we
care about, what is happening now so you can track i suspected the jihadi in afghanistan against the russians, beating the russians in the cold war and didn't care how we did it, brought people from arab companies who were criminals or gangsters and encouraged them to come and fight because our only interest was defeating the russians and that is one of the things i find hardest in the job. we see the same mistakes made over and over again and do we ever learn? afghanistan, iraq, libya, every single one, the easy thing is removing the regime. that is not difficult with our military but what do you do then? in each one we haven't had a plan for what to do afterwords but to go back to your question it is really complicated and being on the same side as other
countries. the reason i keep doing this is the way you find hope is in the people. i am endlessly amazed how people in the midst of these difficult situations still keep focused on educating their children. i was lucky enough to risk her life to go to school for the sake of the children to go to school and when you meet people like that and you can tell the story it makes it all worth it. >> i don't think i could do this job if i didn't feel hope even for afghanistan. i give an entire speech how
things are going horribly in afghanistan and somebody says what should we, should we pull everybody home? no. you got the wrong point. what you were saying is the same thing. we have a chance and there have been improvements, having cell phone coverage in afghanistan, having the internet there, having tv stations that do reality tv shows where afghan women feel so empowered that they will -- this one woman on international women's day, i watched her performance, the bravest feminist i have ever seen, there are positive things happening, you try to hold onto those and if we just walk away now and don't give the country stability enough for the next generation to take over would be the biggest mistake. it is today, looking around saying the world is falling apart, look at 30 years ago, you can go back through generations, world war ii was no picnic. we know more about it now because of the internet and all
the news. there is hope everyplace you are looking at. >> it is a long, important, complicated discussion where america and britain and the western world goes with syria, what their obligations are in afghanistan and pakistan but tonight was a special night to talk to 3 women, kind of a look behind the news and the people, you guys have done an amazing job, janine di giovanni's book shakes things up, the stories, i am grateful that tonight you helped us to know who you are a little bit and why you do what you do and thank you. [applause]
>> you are watching the tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here is a look at what on prime time tonight. we kick off the evening at 7:00 eastern with a look at the influence on the lives of four civil war generals. at 8:15 a review of the election of africa's first woman president. at 9:00 eastern, former head of the defense intelligence agency, michael flynn, on fighting terrorism. at 10:00 pm on afterwords, congressman darrell liza talks about his book watchdog, the real stories behind the headlines of the congressmen who expose washington's biggest scandal and we finish a prime time programming at 11:00 with daniel hatcher's report on misuse of federal funds by state and local government and
earmarks for the poor. it all happens tonight on booktv. >> presidential candidates hillary clinton and donald trump everett in several books which outline their worldview and political philosophy. democratic candidate hillary clinton has written 5 books. in her most recent title, hard choices, she remembers her 2008 presidential campaign and her time as secretary of state in the obama administration. in 2014 booktv spoke with secretary clinton about the book and you can find that interview on our website. published in 2003, living history, secretary clinton's account of her time as first lady, in the white house she released her children's book about letters written to her family pets. and a coffee table book on her life as first lady. it takes a village, she argues
society shares responsibly with parents for raising children. republican presidential candidate donald trump has written many books, several titles released in the 1980s and 90s our count of the business transactions and real estate companies. in the early 2000s, there were financial self-help books. in the most recent book time to get tough and crippled america, writes about politics and outlines his vision for american prosperity. several of these books were discussed on booktv. ..