tv Focus on Europe PBS January 26, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm PST
>> hello and welcome to "focus on europe." the personal stories behind the headlines. i'm damien mcguinness. great you could join us on the program today. terrorism in france -- the fallout from the attacks . reindeer herding in sweden -- an ancient tradition in peril. and snow white in germany -- who was she really? europe is reeling from shock and sadness following the brutal massacre of 17 people in france by islamist extremists.
the bloodshed started after gunmen attacked the offices of the satirical magazine "charlie hebdo" -- a target for extremists because it had published cartoons mocking the prophet mohammed. as a tribute we've been to meet the well-known political cartoonist ali dilem. he has also drawn cartoons critical of islamism for french media and been a target of threats himself. >> "charlie hebdo" -- they were more than just colleagues. they were friends whom i've known since 1994. back then, i fled to paris because i was being threatened by islamist terrorists in algeria. "charlie hebdo" took me in. they gave me back my desire to draw.
my youth was lost. i started drawing to oppose the islamist terror. i was really scared, of course. but now when people threaten to kill me, i just think, 'go ahead!' it may sound dramatic to say something like that, and idiotic, but i'm not scared anymore. islamist extremists are people who submit themselves to an ideology. they have nothing but condemnation and hatred for others. it's a treacherous logic. i've long since stopped trying to understand them.
with this cartoon, i'm putting myself in the shoes of the ordinary frenchman. he no longer thinks, 'oh, islam stands for peace and love.' he now thinks, 'that's not love.' muslims, prove it! many french now only see a threat. >> the attacks have not only led to deep sadness but also to many questions: when is an offensive cartoon free speech? when is it inciting hatred? and what do the attacks mean for minorities in france? some of the victims of the attacks were jewish, adding to fears of growing anti-semitism in europe, something we've talked about a lot on this program over the past year. and some of those killed by the islamists were themselves muslim. other muslims accuse the extremists of perverting islam. either way, there are also fears of a backlash and even a rise in
right-wing extremism. >> this man refuses to give up his vision of peace, now more than ever, after the attacks in paris. he's khalil merroun, the chairman of the evry mosque. evry is a suburb of paris, colorful and multicultural. but it also has its social tensions: there's a lot of dissatisfaction among the young people. >> i tell parents they need to watch out that their children don't learn about islam from imam google. that's a false imam. young people should turn to a genuine religious scholar. >> merroun spends lots of time with kids, it's a daily ritual. he knows about living life is on the fringes of society, having arrived in france in the 1970s as a guest worker. he says he's always been a friend of mankind, and his franc is a welcoming country. >> the three murdered police
officers represent france. they were a cross-section of the country. one was arab, one was white, and one was a black woman. that's typical for this kind of indiscriminate terrorism. it affects everyone. >> merroun supports the international campaign "not in my name," which young muslims are now supporting in france. they post photos and comments distancing themselves from terrorism and expressing their own principles. >> i don't like "charlie hebdo," because i think the cartoonists often go too far, and hurt people's feelings. so i can't identify with "charlie hebdo." but i'm against any form of violence, and i don't want people to kill in the name of islam. those people aren't muslims. >> the majority of muslims have been horrified by these recent acts of terrorism. yet the muslim community in
france is under pressure. its members face discrimination and prejudice on a daily basis. right-wing extremist groups rant about an alleged islamisation of the country, and characterize all observant muslims as extremists. >> the jews used to be the main target of the right-wing extremists. but now marine le pen is using islamophobia to try to win the next election. but she's a total hypocrite. she's two-faced, acting friendly one minute, then doing the opposite. >> merroun works tirelessly in his fight against fanatics of all camps. he wants to encourage understanding rather than prejudice. and he can be proud. he's been awarded the french medal of honor for his grass-roots work at promoting peace. >> i know how much our muslim fellow citizens are suffering
right now, and i thank the chairman of the mosque, kalil merroun, for his emphatic words about the attacks. >> on the streets of france, voices are growing louder. the deep shock of the attacks has resulted in france's population closing ranks. hundred of thousand of muslims were among those marching to demonstrate solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks and their families. but that kind of closeness is far from complete - even within the muslim community, traditional and modern theologians are often vehemently opposed to each other. anthropologist malek chebel, himself a muslim, warns that such factional disputes are harmful when it comes to enlightening the west about islam. >> it is high time that we reform everything. we must finally organize democratic elections among muslims, so that we have a single elected grand imam. we have to do things bit like
the jewish community does them. >> khalil merroun, the chairman of the evry mosque, wants to be a role model when it comes to getting involved in social and inter-faith matters. >> we say, muslims, be the eyes of society! you must prevent terrorism from being able to spread. >> the events of last week have shown that, now more than ever, muslims must be vigilant in defending the values of islam, to prevent deep rifts within france. >> france, and the whole of europe, has been shaken by this attack. join the conversation with me on twitter and let me know your thoughts about what's been going on. one of the problems with the
civil war in syria is the huge refugee crisis spilling over into the entire region. it's thought that around ten -- three million people have fled to neighboring countries because of the fighting with around half ending up in turkey. hundreds of thousands of syrians are living in overcrowded refugee camps run by the turkish government. but the vast majority is living outside the camps without work and without schools trying to get by however they can. but with no end to the fighting in sight, there's little chance of returning home. so syrian refugees are having to build up their lives in turkey, and that includes setting up syrian schools. >> it's freezing cold in the classroom, but these first-graders are full of enthusiasm. they eagerly practice spelling. to be able to go to school is the most important thing for them. otherwise their time would be spent on the streets or in a refugee camp.
sana marand is in charge of them. she's a businesswoman from northern syria who also fled the conflict there. single-handedly, she has established three schools for almost one thousand kids. >> in wartime, you sometimes need to do unusual things and take a stand. when i came to turkey, i didn't know where i should send my two children to school. that's how it is for many refugee families. our own school. there are always setbacks but i don't want to give up on this project. >> the school is called "torches of freedom." it's a self-help project located 200 kilometers from the syrian border. refugee teachers teach refugee children. it's financed by private
donations. currently there are over a million syrian refugees living in turkey. they are tolerated by the turkish state but the general rules regarding compulsory education do not apply to them. >> i went to a turkish school, but i did not understand anything there. >> in the geography lesson the tenth-graders are studying the map of their home country. but it's not just about learning facts. learning how to interact with one another peacefully and respectfully is also part of the curriculum. religious education plays just a minor role. when 15-year-old fatih leaves school, the next children are already waiting to come in. even with a shift system, the high demand can't be met. unicef says that of the total three million syrian child refugees, half have been cut off from education.
>> we are lucky. in this city most of the syrian children of our age need to work, in workshops or factories, and can't go to school like us. >> after school, fatih helps out in his family's shop. his father once owned two factories in the syrian city of aleppo, before he had to flee because he had joined the opposition. they didn't want to stay in the reception camp. this small grocery store keeps the family afloat because the turkish states allows refugees to work. >> i depend entirely on syrian customers. only syrians shop with me. turkish people come very rarely. we syrians stick together, and that helps. >> but the son doesn't see a future for himself in turkey. >> if i do well enough in school, i want to go to university in another country.
>> more and more refugees are establishing themselves in cities. the turkish neighbors of masri's shop are not enthusiastic about it. they are worried about crime and competition with jobs. >> when they're in the camps, under the care of the state, everything's fine. but when they're here in the city, problems arise. the camps would be better for them, too. that boy comes from syria. but he doesn't go to school, he runs deliveries for a kebab restaurant. how much do you earn for that? 20 lira. that's about 7 euros a week. >> kahra-man-maras has a population of around a million, 20,000 of which are syrians. they built new lives, opening shops and restaurants. last summer saw the first riots here, syrian shops and cars were vandalized. the tensions are rising. nationalist politicians want to ban arabic writing in public.
the syrians feel unwanted. even on the school's playground wall you can see anti-syrian graffiti. because of this, many refugees want to move on with their children to europe or the usa. even the school director, sanabel marandi, ideally wanted to go to europe with her husband , but she decided to stay for the sake of the school children. >> we need to stand together, and establish ourselves in turkey over a long period of time. i no longer have any hope that we can return home soon. >> without schools there's no future for syria, marandi says. one day, these children will need to rebuild their country which has been destroyed by war. >> but now to scandinavia -- the home of one of europe's last indigenous people, the sami. for thousands of years these
semi-nomadic tribes roamed the arctic region, herding reindeer, a key part of sami culture. today tens of thousands of sami still live in sweden with some of them still herding reindeer. but the future of this ancient people is now under threat. >> the power of more than two thousand reindeer is impressive. this is the time when breeders gather their herds to count, mark, and capture the animals that are ready for market. this season is one of the highpoints of the year for piere bergkvist and others. >> this is my life, and it's really heartwarming. >> like most everything in sami culture, it's centered on reindeer. but fewer and fewer sami can earn a living breeding the animals. that's why many people here say their traditions no longer have
a future. most sami are waiting in vain for the government in stockholm to step in. it makes piere and others feel helpless and angry. >> we struggle with so many problems. wild animals that we're not allowed to hunt, and then all these new wind energy parks everywhere. >> it's seems hard to believe, but even in sparsely populated parts of sweden, there isn't enough room for reindeer. there's a study showing that desperation has driven one in three breeders to consider suicide. why is there so much despair? margret fjellström's sister did actually kill herself. margaret visits the grave regularly. seven years have passed since karolina took her own life. she was 22. margret realized much too late how severely her sister was suffering from depression.
she says many sami are afflicted, and reindeer breeders in particular. >> every year, the wound gets torn open again when i hear that another reindeer breeder has killed themselves. i'm furious and frustrated that it keeps happening again and again. >> margret doesn't know how many suicides have taken place, but says the sami suicide rate is twice as high as the rest of sweden. piere bergkvist was also so desperate that he saw no way out. it all started when he went into debt twelve years ago to buy feed for his reindeer. >> lynx came onto the winter grazing areas. each day that i went out, i found bodies of reindeer killed
by them. it's horrible for a breeder to find their animals killed in this way -- after all, our lives are based on them. >> at one point, he was about to shoot himself. and he didn't go through with it. at the local health center, no one could help him. piere says the doctors there don't understand the sami. >> when i told the doctor i was having a really difficult time and wanted to kill myself, he didn't take me seriously. he said, if it didn't get better in a month, then i should come back again. >> but piere rediscovered the will to live at a special clinic for sami in norway. sweden says it's proud that all its citizens are treated equally.
but many people here complain that there's little consideration for the cultural needs of a minority. magret fjellström is keeping her reindeer penned in. they're not allowed to roam freely because there are too many lynx around. she must give them additional feed to make up for the lack of grazing. she doesn't know if she'll get a good price for her animals. >> because the government is short of money, they're pressuring us to carry on with our way of life until we die out. but that takes away our joy of living. >> in the end, margaret also says that she's recently been diagnosed with depression. but her doctor says it's not time yet to prescribe psychological counseling. >> and finally back here in germany -- where many of the world's most famous fairy tales originally come from -- including snow white and the seven dwarves. now according to the authorities
in one small town near frankfurt, snow white was in fact a real person. the daughter of a local nobleman. they say there was apparently a wicked stepmother, who tried to do away with her. her magic mirror even still exists supposedly. and rather than dwarves, some rather diminutive miners helped her escape into the forest. intrigued, our reporter has been to snow white's alleged hometown. and what he came across was not quite what he expected. >> once upon a time our reporter oliver glasenapp had a record that told the story of snow white. he listened to it hundreds of times. the fairytale images are etched in his brain. he read this is the birthplace of snow white.
lately he's read that lohr am main is the birthplace of snow white. is it a marketing gimmick or is there something more to this claim? he has uncovered evidence that suggests the brothers grimm were inspired by a family that lived in this castle. he's a pharmacist by trade but his passion lies in fairy tales. >> snow white's father was a very high-ranking official, almost king-like in stature. there was a stepmother who evidently favored her own children. >> this is reputedly the stepmother's famous mirror. it doesn't talk, but it does have these inscriptions. "she is as beautiful as the light," on one side, and "love yourself," on the other. this intricate object was made by the local glass company. >> we always say if she existed, she was born here. >> and that's how this town declared itself to be the birthplace of a fairytale figure. a new sculpture is intended to underline this claim.
and that's another draw to the town, to look at a new snow white stature, as hundreds of tourists are likely to do in the future. it was designed by sculptor peter wittstadt, who was eager to give us a preview of the plaster figure in his garden. it's not a traditional rendition. it is almost too much for all of her. -- for all of her. at first one may think of medusa -- the figure from greek mythology whose head was covered in snakes. it bears no resemblance to the image most people have of a girl of delicate beauty. >> i didn't set out to go against the grain or to be deliberately provocative, despite what people say. i think that i've developed my own style. and i want to remain true to that. and that's the reason for this figure.
>> his snow white has sparked controversy in the town. one poll shows that 90 percent of the town's inhabitants don't like the sculpture. they say that the artwork isn't fitting for lohr. and they can't understand why the town has shelled out more than 100,000 euros for it. people even feel so strongly about it that they've set up a discussion group -- or a task force intended to stop municipal art being chosen without any public consultation. >> a work of art should give me pleasure and not repel me. i shouldn't have to think about it for hours. the feel-good factor is very important. >> i understand that artists don't necessarily always want to conform to beauty ideals. but flying in the face of them like that is being far more provocative than art needs to be, even if it should perhaps provide food for thought.
>> mayor mario paul is the man who has to deal with the poisoned apple -- left behind by his successor. he needs to find a way to smooth ruffled feathers, but he feels has no choice but to keep the expensive statue. a contract is a contract. >> snow white is a blessing and a curse. on the one hand, she's a well-loved figure. on the other hand, it's not always easy to deal with this legacy. people keep on saying that they don't want a disney town. we don't want any snow white kitsch. >> but isn't kitsch what fairytales are all about -- about fulfilling hidden desires? but more importantly, what would the brothers grimm think of the
modern sculpture? even though the sculpture is largely unpopular, not everyone dislikes it. >> you can develop your taste to get used to a certain kind of aesthetic. and the more often that i see the thing, the more i like it. and if i see it in bronze one day, then it has a very different effect than just seeing the picture in the newspaper that i know. >> the statue in lohr has nothing in common with oliver's idea of snow white. so he may have to rethink his childhood perception. most would agree that the real snow white didn't have such a mischievous smile. >> not quite the beauty i remember from the disney version. that's all for today. thanks very much for watching. do feel free to get in touch with any comments. always good to hear from you. but for now it's goodbye from me, and see you next time.
>> garrison keillor: toi derricotte grew up outside detroit. with the poet cornelius eady, she cofounded cave canem, an organization committed to cultivating and supporting the work of african american poets. she says, "truth telling in my art is also a way to separate myself from what i have been taught to believe about myself-- the degrading stereotypes about black women." >> blackbottom. when relatives came from out of town, we would drive down to
blackbottom. drive slowly down the congested main streets-- beaubien and hastings-- trapped in the mesh of saturday night. we were freshly escaped, black middle class. we snickered and were proud; the louder the streets, the prouder. we laughed at the bright clothes of a prostitute; a man sitting on a curb with a bottle in his hand. we smelled barbecue cooking in dented washtubs and our mouths watered. as much as we wanted it, we couldn't take the chance. rhythm and blues came from the windows, the throaty voice of a woman lost in the bass, in the drums, in the dirty down and out-- the grind. ♪"i love to see a funeral, then
i know it ain't mine." ♪ we rolled our windows down so that the waves rolled over us like blood. we hoped to pass invisibly, knowing on monday we would return safely to our jobs, the post office, and classroom. we wanted our sufferings to be offered up as tender meat, and our triumphs to be belted out in raucous song. we had lost our voice in the suburbs, in conant gardens, where each brick house delineated a fence of silence; we had lost the right to sing in the street and damn creation. we returned to wash our hands of them; to smell them whose very existence tore us down to the
♪ glad to have you with us on this edition of "newsline." it's tuesday january 27th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. japanese government officials are dealing with a new stage in the hostage crisis. they're trying to secure the release of the remaining at that pointive under terms dictated by extremists purported to be with the group islamic state. and those terms now involve another country. a message posted online saturday contains an audio recording of a man claiming to be freelance journalist kenji goto. and there's a still shot of him holding a photo of what appears to be the