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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  April 9, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT

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♪ michelle: hello and welcome to i'm michelle hennery. today, we give special attention to the terror rocking the continent from the victims picking up the pieces to the terrorists trying to reach new recruits. on the programme today, life in belgium after the bombings. turkey's fearless journalists. and the walls between catholics and protestants in northern ireland. after the terror attacks in belgium, people there and across europe are unsurprisingly afraid of it happening again. i lived in brussels before moving to germany, and friends there say that even though fear
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now accompanies them where ever they go, they refuse to give in to the terrorists. through the grief in the aftermath of the attacks, the capital of a country long known for the divide between its french and flemish speaking communities, has become more united. for laurent duhaut, maalbeek subway station will be hallowed ground for the rest of his life. among the 13 people killed by the suicide bombing of this metro station last tuesday was his best friend. >> as soon as i heard about the the attacks i tried to contact , my friends and family. but i had no idea anyone i knew could be in the metro. i still can't believe someone could go to work and not come back.
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>> the bomb ripped through the station about 9:00 in the morning. the train and platform were crowded. many people were headed for the nearby european union headquarters. an hour earlier, brussels' zaventem airport had been hit by two other suicide bombers. at least 35 people were killed in the attacks. >> i still remember the images from september 11, of people running away, down the street in new york. and when i saw the images from the airport i thought, oh no, not again! >> but the nightmare scenario was reality. every day since the attacks people have gathered outside the stock exchange to lay flowers, candles and personal notes. , belgians and immigrants standing shoulder to shoulder, in defiance of the terrorists.
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among the immigrant community, many also fear the rise of animosity and prejudice in the wake of the attacks. >> i'm worried about my children's future. how are people going to look at them? i hope people know that these terrorists were not true muslims. >> it's almost impossible to protect ourselves from terrorists. cowards, that's all they are. cowards. >> the government has stepped up security on the streets, in hopes of ensuring safety and reassuring the public. meanwhile life in brussels has , carried on. the subway line hit by the one attacker is up and running again. but the climate of fear is inescapable. many here are angry at the authorities, too. >> the government waited too long.
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they'd known since november that there were terrorists in the city, but did nothing. they should have intensified surveillance of the suspects, and monitored their personal lives more closely. that would have been possible, after all. >> indeed, the belgian police had unknowingly already been to the building where the attackers lived. in february, residents in the schaerbeek district reported that a window pane had fallen onto a parked car. one of their neighbors was ibrahim el bakraoui, who blew himself up at the airport. only after the attacks did the police discover the makeshift bomb-making factory on the fifth floor. this was just one of a litany of errors on the part of the security services. >> more personnel and more money are part of the solution, but they must also act in a more flexible legal frame. for instance, belgian intelligence had the authorization to tap the phones,
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just in 2012 or 2013. that means 11 years after september 11. which is crazy. >> many questions remain unanswered. what is clear is that life has changed in the belgian capital. laurent duhaut and his best friend of 20 years used to meet regularly at this cafe. >> we belgians are optimists. so we will carry on somehow, and , pull through these difficult times. but the pain and sorrow have been a big blow, and that feeling will stay forever. >> that pain has brought the country together. people in belgium are determined not to let terror and fear rule their lives. >> while the belgians are determined to persevere, it
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seems so are the terrorists. there is a lot of concern that some islamic state fighters are sneaking across borders, hiding among the thousands of refugees coming into the continent. however, many of them are home grown. there is even a growing community of german-speaking jihadists who are using the internet to find new recruits to carry out attacks. >> in the past few years, around 800 germans left to join the so-called islamic state. around a third have returned and many of them are now considered a terrorist threat. intelligence services attempt to monitor them, but it's impossible to know for sure what's going on inside their minds. is released their first propaganda video in german last year. the film is presumed to have come from syria. among the fighters is a well-known jihadist named mohamed mahmoud.
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in the video, he shouts threats while standing behind two captives at the ruins of palmyra. [indiscernible] then the two prisoners are shot dead on camera. mahmoud began attracting attention in his early twenties. in 2006, he founded an islamic youth organization in his
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home city of vienna, and gave his first interview on the banks of the river danube. [indiscernible] mahmoud then took his work underground. he founded the global islamic media front a jihadist website with connections to al qaeda. the video shows attacks on american soldiers. their goal was to recruit fighters against the us and their allies. mahmoud was already being watched by international intelligence services. agents placed a small camera in the entrance to his apartment building, getting them one step closer to uncovering the network. mohamed mahmoud was the leader behind the organization. german journalists made contact
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through the terrorists' pr team , and the interview was arranged in secret. a hooded man turned up. he didn't want to be recognized and demanded that his voice be disguised. as it later transpired, the man was mohamed mahmoud. [indiscernible] intelligence services widened their surveillance. mahmoud's fourth-floor house was bugged. these are extracts from operation target it reads m.m demands full equipment, in the form of a kalashnikov, cartridges, bombs etc. investigators gained access shortly after. a special unit stormed mahmoud's home to discover more proof of links to al qaeda. the extremists were arrested. court proceedings began in 2007 in vienna.
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mohamed mahmoud was sentenced to four years in prison for establishing and promoting a terrorist association. [indiscernible] after his release, mahmoud eventually endedp in erbach in southern germany, where he established contact with the german jihadist scene. he also gave german reporters another interview. [indiscernible] mahmoud's propaganda videos were a clear call to violence. for him, the enemy are the non-believers, the infidels, or kafir. [indiscernible]
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two years ago, mahmoud left for turkey. he destroys his passport as a final farewell. [indiscernible] no one knows for sure how many people have followed mahmoud's propaganda. for those who have nothing to lose, the idea of martyrdom can hold an appeal, whether that's in syria or europe. >> working as a journalist in
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the u.s., or here in germany, i often take for granted that we are able to freely express opinions or seek out stories critical of the government. the same can't be said for turkey, where a number of opposition news outlets have been closed and journalists arrested. nowhere in the country is this more apparent than in the kurdish region in the southeast. our correspondent ventured there to speak with a reporter who puts his life in danger to make sure the stories there don't go unheard. >> faruk balikci, getting ready to go live on-air. the police and army have sealed off an area in the city of diyarbakir. shots are then heard. reports emerge that a few dozen armed fighters from the banned kurdish workers party or pkk , have holed up in the neighborhood. suddenly tear gas canisters are , launched towards the reporter. balikci has to stop the shoot. his employer, news broadcaster
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imc, is the only station in the country that reports regularly on the fighting here in the kurdish-majority southeast of the country. >> we get tear-gassed for doing our job. i am constantly being prevented from reporting on events here. >> shortly afterwards, balikci asks people on the street what they know about the gunfire, and whether there have been civilian casualties. frustration and resignation are increasingly widespread here. >> where are we supposed to go? the fighting moves from one neighborhood to the next, with us in the middle. all we can do is leave, or put up with the curfews. ♪ >> diyarbakir is the unofficial capital of turkey's kurdish heartland. for months now, many parts of
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the region have returned to conditions resembling civilwar. peace talks between the pkk and the turkish government broke down last summer. the subsequent violence has seen tens of thousands of civilians displaced. kurdish journalists are also coming under fire between the fronts. faruk balikci has been reporting from his native diyarbakir for 25 years. it's been a long time since he can remember things being this bad for journalists. >> stations are routinely closed down, and colleagues jailed. the government threw us off the turkish satellite network. we've managed to find an alternative, but we don't know what awaits us tomorrow. >> on the latest press freedom index published by reporters without borders, turkey ranks at 149 out of 180 nations. president recep tayyip erdogan personally leads a campaign of intimidation and incitement against non-compliant
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journalists. in the speech he says critics of , his policy on the kurds are likewise terrorists. with shocking consequences for reporters. today balikci is visiting his imc colleague refik tekin, who's been off work sick since being shot two months ago. >> the cameraman was accompanying a delegation of kurdish politicians in the war-torn city of cizre. although they waved white flags, they were targeted without warning. tekin kept his camera running. >> in that city, there was no violence between the two sides back then. so, it wasn't as if we were caught in crossfire. the police deliberately shot at us, because we are journalists. that's what you get when kurdish
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journalists are depicted in the pro-government media as enemies of the state. so why not kill them? ,>> faruk balikci's next stop is a press conference for the pro-kurdish hdp party as always subject to plainclothes police surveillance. >> imc is eager not to incur resentment from the other side of the conflict a side they have sympathies with. the kurdish nationalists are currently calling on kurdish journalists to show solidarity with what they call the fight for liberation. criticism of the pkk's armed struggle is not welcome. >> there are no direct threats. but we do sometimes have to justify ourselves for our reports. >> turkish jails are currently home to several dozen journalists. many are awaiting trial. faruk balikci's employer, news channel imc, is under massive pressure from the government.
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but the reporter will not yield, and will continue to cover the violence and human rights abuses in the kurdish part of turkey. especially now, as the world begins to turn its attention elsewhere. ♪ michelle: in the final part of our series on the walls that either unite or divide us, we go to northern ireland. there, in belfast we find the , so-called peace walls. these are the walls that separate the catholic and protestant communities, which endured decades of violent and bloody clashes. almost twenty years ago, when the conflict officially ended, the walls were supposed to come down, but they remain. >> these walls have seen decades of bloodshed. i've come to belfast in northern
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ireland and booked a tour of the so-called peace walls. my driver, peter grew up in the , shadow of these structures, that are designed to keep catholics and protestants segregated, so he knows his way around. >> they say because they are a temporary structure, that they did not map them, but its 46-years-old. if you pull up your google map today and look where we are standing, there is no wall there, because it does not exist. >> but for many in belfast the walls are a sad reality. teena patrick, who lives in a protestant neighborhood tells me, it is still too early to bring the walls down. the gate she lives right next to is only open during the day. and there are good reasons for that. >> the last murder that was done here was done on a motor bike. so that's on people minds as , well. there is a lot of work that needs to be done on the minds of people rather than the physical
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thing itself. >> almost 20 years after the good friday peace agreement between catholic nationalists and protestant unionists, she still gets golf balls and -- she still gets stones and bottles thrown at her house. she was involved in the petition to get what is today belfast's longest peace wall. >> i feel that if the wall had not went up our community would have suffered a domino effect. as one row of houses became vacant the fell and that continued up the street. they were racked and burned. so, the wall then was erected and that saved our community. it was like a barrier of strength around our community. >> the concept proved so popular for both protestant and catholic communities alike that the number of permanent walls actually increased after the peace agreement in 1998. but my cab driver peter, a catholic, tells me there's still hope. at a memorial site for fighters of the ira terror group in west belfast, he explains that some residents decided to get rid of
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the cages protecting their back yard. >> can you see the line on the wall where it existed? >> i do. >> so 14 weeks ago they took it , down. so againthat is the perception of your normality and my normality. my normality was this cages, fences and protection. and your normality is without that. so for me these two houses, taking them down is a big step forward. a big, big step forward. >> so that is the kind of progress we are looking at? by these standards events on , crumlin road my next stop are something akin to a revolution. this is where the first peace wall fell to be replaced by railings. i continue my cap tour. a new gate opened, a wall down, but 98 walls to go. belfast is living proof of how
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difficult it is to overcome the invisible dividing lines. on the protestant side of the fence, the community worker who helped bring down the first wall in belfast is ian mclachlan. he believes the remaining walls will only come down if there is a prospect of a better life for local people. >> a better future for the society. in many cases, that promise has yet to be fulfilled. so, we still have areas of multiple deprivation, high poverty levels and those areas , today replicate the areas in which the worst parts of the conflict took place in this country. >> cab driver peter says a berlin wall moment is still a distant dream for belfast. in in the meantime, the city can at least profit from tourists coming to visit the walls. michelle: can peace only be
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achieved by more walls and barbed wire? or is something more needed? please let us know what you think about that or any of today's stories by getting in touch on facebook, e-mail, or twitter. in this modern age, everywhere you look, a new social network is popping up. despite their amazing ability to bring us closer together after all without them we here at , "focus on europe" wouldn't be able to connect with you the viewers from around the world so easily, they also make many of us feel disconnected from the people who are right in front of us. answer this honestly, do you know your neighbors? that's where a new kind of social network has come in. in italy, the network, social street, in which entire neighourhoods make an effort to get to know each other, is thriving. and it's all happening offline. ♪ >> the via fondazza in central bologna is a community in itself. luigi nardacchione knows all of his neighbors, and they all know each other.
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even in italy it's the kind of , atmosphere you now only see in small towns. >> before, people were used to staying in the square after the office, speaking to people as in the villas when i was a child, for instance. now, the people are running here and there, and closed into the apartment. >> nardacchione helped to reverse that trend. in 2013, he and a friend founded the first social street on the via fondazza. nardacchione and his family were new in town, and didn't have any friends. so, he started a facebook group where residents could chat. more importantly, however, they were urged to pack away their laptops, go out and meet each other in person. >> the real-world street now ps host to music concerts, workshops and street parties.
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the friendly-neighborhood concept has caught on in style. there are now over 200 social streets in italy, and over 400 worldwide. >> now, after three years with social street on via fondazza, my life has changed. i am very happy. you ask, why? well you feel part of something, , you feel part of the community. you know you are not alone. when you have a problem, you know you can share with your neighbor. >> that requires mutual trust, one of the foundations of social street. this group of young people from across bologna are meeting to set up their own version of federico's idea. here, a virtual facebook group is becoming a neighborhood in the real world. >> it really looks like a party where everybody knows each other but actually it's not like this. , many of the people here see
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each other for the first time in person. >> they've already taken it a step further on the via fondazza. when budding musician mathilde practices on the piano, her home is turned into an impromptu concert hall on a truly social street where neighbors share their lives with each other. [applause] michelle: that makes me want to get out and knock on a few doors. well, that's it for today. thank you for watching. in the meantime it's goodbye , from me and the whole team. see you next time. ♪ çñññññññññññññññññññññ
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