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tv   Global 3000  PBS  May 24, 2016 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT

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anchor: this week, "global 3000" goes to madagascar, where increasing deforestation is threatening the survival of lemurs. we meet people campaigning for artistic freedom in saudi arabia, one of the most authoritarian countries in the world. but first we go to chernobyl in ukraine, where 30 years since the nuclear disaster there, people are choosing to live in the "dead zone" around the power station. why? on april 26th, 1986, problems arose during a systems test of reactor 4 at chernobyl power station. the shift supervisor attempted an emergency shutdown -- but it went wrong. the result -- a meltdown and the
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reactor exploded. several thousand tons of radioactive material were released into the atmosphere, contaminating 150,000 square kilometers of land around chernobyl. over the following days, a radioactive cloud spread over almost all of europe. it's not clear how many people suffered illness or died as a result of the catastrophe. the world health organization has predicted that 4,000 people will die of radiation exposure and cancer due to the accident. other predictions are far higher, ranging between 60,000 and 1.4 million deaths. the exclusion area around the power station is also known as the "dead zone." but today, there are people who actually want to live there. reporter: it looks like a dilapidated soviet museum with an amusement park. the dormitory town of pripyat was where most chernobyl employees lived.
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more than 3000 people lived right next to the power plant when disaster struck in 1986 and the nuclear reactor exploded. it's been described as the worst nuclear accident the world has ever seen. yet, there still is life in the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the nuclear plant. some call it the "dead zone." yevgen goncharenko is a tour guide here. he always has a geiger counter with him. yevgen goncharenko: it can't detect a thing. not a single particle. no radiation. reporter: there are some areas where no radiation can be detected. other areas are highly radioactive. in ukraine, goncharenko and others like him are called "stalkers." 16 years ago, goncharenko had a good i.t. job in the ukrainian capital kyiv. but he was fascinated by the situation here. the disaster also left behind
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many relics of the former soviet union. yevgen goncharenko: in this region, there are many objects that i would say have historical and cultural value, not only for ukraine but for the entire world. reporter: goncharenko also pays visits to the people who have come back to live in their old homes, people like ivan semenyuk. semenyuk and his family were resettled after the disaster. but they never felt at home in the apartment they had been assigned to in the city. so he returned with his wife, who is ill. they have chickens and grow what they can in the garden. they get firewood from the nearby forest. ivan semenyuk: i got ill in the place we were resettled to. i had a pain in my chest and the feeling there was like a 30 kilo
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weight on me. my chest was swollen from within, and i couldn't breathe. i felt lighter when i came back here to visit. so we decided to move back here. reporter: about 150 other people have returned to the exclusion zone. most are elderly. it's illegal, but the authorities tolerate it. for some people, it's said, the psychological impact of having to leave their homes was worse than the risk of radiation from the water or the ground. but that, too, is debatable. bankwatch is an n.g.o. in kyiv. it monitors projects which are supposed to ensure that the nuclear power plant poses no danger in the future. olexi pasyuk says the returnees are in danger. olexi pasyuk, bankwatch: it is also a big change for the people and big risk to move somewhere and maybe to get even worse
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day-to-day condition which you see. it is very different from living in the radiation impact which you don't see. there also might be some spots where it's actually clean, so maybe they would measure their house and it's ok. but the question is on every day's life. you are still being impacted because you go for the wood, you burn it, and you increase concentration of radioactive materials. reporter: a new sarcophagus made of steel and concrete is being built next to the reactor to prevent a second disaster. the old concrete protective casing has started to decay after 30 years. next year, the 100-meter high colossus will be placed over the old casing. the mammoth project has cost more than two billion euros. but the new sarcophagus will do nothing to alter the existing radioactive contamination.
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and not only in the dead zone itself. radioactive material from here keeps being found elsewhere in ukraine. "radioactive" says the sign. still, the metal fencing was stolen and sold as scrap metal around the country. now smelter companies always check if there is any radiation. yevgen goncharenko knows that water from the region has also spread radioactive contamination to other places. yevgen goncharenko: it all depends on whether water flows or is stagnant. after the accident, some of the highly radioactive particles deposited themselves in the river beds. the water washed away the contaminated ash. some dams were set up in kyiv so radioactive deposits have settled in the river bed.
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reporter: yevgen goncharenko says that's why it makes no difference whether he lives here, or 135 kilometers away in kyiv. but he prefers the isolation of the exclusion zone around chernobyl. reporter in some countries, : artists can feel isolated when they take a stand against religion or politics. what's acceptable when it comes to criticism or humor? how far can art go? where are the boundaries? these are questions that come up time and again. some catholics regarded the 1988 film "the last temptation of christ" as blasphemous. danish artist kurt westergaard's cartoons of mohammed went too far for many muslims, as did the satirical weekly "charlie hebdo"'s critical take on islam. a current example is german comedian jan böhmermann's poem, making fun of the turkish president recep tayyip erdogan.
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freedom of the arts and artistic obedience. there's a fine line between the two, even in the authoritarian state of saudi arabia. reporter every evening, friends : come to abdulnassar gharem's studio in the middle of the saudi capital riyadh. there's plenty of creative space here to work in a way that is unusually free. but one person is missing. ashraf fayadh, a poet who's in jail. he had been sentenced to death on charges of apostasy and blasphemy. abdulnasser gharem: ashraf -- unfortunately, he was the guy who destiny chose, but everybody was moved with him. that's not right, that's wrong -- and it works. they changed it to eight years in jail. and i hope in the future it will , be changed. reporter: gharem makes art with rubber stamps, an allusion to the saudi bureaucracy which governs all aspects of life in
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the kingdom. for him, making his own rubber stamps is a way of wresting back control. for a long time, gharem took orders. he served 23 years in the army and even made it to lieutenant colonel. a typical career path for young men from abha in the south of the country. but two classmates became terrorists and were involved in the 9/11 attacks. abdulnasser gharem: we were shocked when we saw them in the news. reporter what is the right path : preached by islam? why do some people go astray? a bridge, which collapsed shortly after its construction. many people lost their lives. all night long, gharem and his spread the word -- siraat. "the path." >> is it something individual, is it something you need to go through groups. is it something in front of you, or is it something you're going to leave behind you.
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reporter muslims are required to : pray five times a day. is blind obedience what is required? locked up in a cage shaped like a mosque. such a performance would have been impossible just a few years ago. this could be seen as a provocation. are the artists putting themselves in danger? abdulnasser gharem: i am not crossing. i am just pushing the crosslines in a way which will not insult anyone. i am just trying to motivate the others to think. reporter: what about other artists? do they cross the line? in the port city of jeddah, artist khalid zahid has created a headless angel with car doors as wings. khalid zahid: it's called "set me free" basically. reporter: women aren't allowed to drive in saudi arabia. there has been a heated debate over this in recent years, and it's no longer dangerous to make art about the issue. zahid explains that he only wishes to depict saudi arabia
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positively. he shows islamic religious scholars eating ice cream or on fair rides. but zahid says it's not intended as irony. khalid zahid: there is a line, there is a red line for humor. if you go, you pass that red line, you lose your message. it is not an art piece anymore. reporter what does it mean if : something is no longer art? is this not self-censorship? we're heading to northeastern saudi arabia to meet our next artist. but it's not going to be easy. the ministry of culture and information is trying to block us, saying it's too dangerous for a western camera team. finally we're able to obtain permission to go to qatif, where the largest concentration of the shia muslim minority in saudi arabia lives. we meet hussein al-mohasen. he found fame by making prints of tanks on which he wrote words such as "ice cream" or "love" in bright colors.
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hussein al-mohasen: we know that tanks are built for war, the machine war, so i just wanted to change the machine war to something different. reporter he has also broached : taboo subjects such as obligatory prayer times. hussein al-mohasen: we are the only country in the world which closes for prayer. and i am asking a question here, and people can answer my question, just a thought. reporter: in saudi arabia, women in public must be veiled. it is unthinkable that they would be allowed to pose for artists in the nude. even mannequins with heads are banned. so gharem's group of artists smuggled a mannequin into the country after cutting it into over 50 pieces. they put it back together again in riyadh and organized their own take on the european life drawing class.
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abdulnasser gharem: you know what the best thing about the artist? he is telling the options. sometimes the whole society knows that option, but they can not say it because of authorities, or ideologies. the artist will say it. reporter in saudi arabia, : artists are a voice for a society that is changing faster than the clerics and the authorities. anchor: 16 years of the millennium. 16 years of life. "global" is travelling around the globe to meet teens who were born in the year 2000. >> i'm totally crazy about dance. anchor what moves angel from the : seychelles? and what makes buenos aires worth living in for simon? join in our series, "millennium teens." you can find out how on our webpage.
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>> i am a millennial. >> i'm heng seiha. i live in cambodia, in the village of romenh in the province of takeo. ♪ >> in my free time, i play soccer or read -- especially books about cambodian history.
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♪ >> my mother is vice-principal at koh andet high school. my father is a farmer. he's got four cows of his own. >> i've got a better future ahead than my grandparents. they didn't go to school. today, there's so much technology that makes life easier. ♪ >> when it comes to modern music, my favorite are love songs. but i also like traditional
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cambodian music -- like for dancing to. ♪ >> the biggest global problem are illegal drugs. some children don't go to school because of them. drugs destroy society. ♪ >> i'm happy when i get good marks in school. then i can go out late with my friends without my parents getting annoyed.
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♪ anchor and now to our "global : ideas" series. this is when we meet people who are working hard to preserve biodiversity. today we head to the west coast of madagascar, home of the lemurs. this is where the extraordinary baobab trees can be found. they should really be surrounded by dense forest, and there's decreasing amounts of that in madagascar. our reporter, michael wetzel, travelled to kirindy to meet german scientists based there. they've been researching the lemurs for a long time and campaigning to protect their natural habitat. even when this often seems to be in vain. ♪ reporter: autumn in kirindy forest. the rainy season has come to an end and everything is still a
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lush green in this usually dry deciduous forest. the lemurs have enough to eat. lemurs only live in the forests of madagascar. these men are hot on their tracks. they want to get hold of a sifaka, the largest lemur in this forest. bull's eye. now they just have to wait for the stunned animal to fall from the tree. they don't want it to injure itself in the process. a perfect catch. now it all goes very fast. the lemur is measured and weighed and a transmitter is attached to its body. it's not just any animal. peter kappeler is very well acquainted with him. peter kappeler: his name is moritz. he's male.
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we know exactly what he has done since birth. he left his natal group once and we know exactly when that happened, how old he was. that's a benefit of marking these animals individually. we can get very detailed information about them. reporter: peter kappeler is a professor at the german primate center of göttingen university. he has been conducting research into lemurs in kirindy for more than 20 years and runs the primate center's field station in the forest. eight species of lemur live here, including the extremely rare narrow-striped mongoose. how do lemurs interact with other lemur species? how do they live in their environment? the observers here don't seem to bother them. the students here are collecting data for their phd research.
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alessio anania is interested in the noises made by the lemurs. katja rudolph is interested in their social behavior and health. collecting data requires patience and endurance. katja rudolph: i watch three or four hours in the morning, and four hours in the afternoon. four different animals. when they sleep, i just watch them sleeping for an hour and try not to fall asleep myself. reporter: there are still many questions left unanswered about the behavior of lemurs. but how much time is left to find out more? both the forest and its inhabitants are endangered. peter kappeler: it's easily forgotten in this beautiful forest where everything is still intact and natural. but if you go 10 kilometers away in any direction, there's no more forest at all. that's when you realize how endangered all of this is.
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reporter: this is 10 kilometers away. at a fork in the road, the residents of a nearby village sell their produce. mostly corn, some melons. the forest provides them sustenance, even as they slowly contribute to its destruction. peter kappeler can't fathom the speed at which it's all happening. peter kappeler: two years ago, this was all a completely intact forest. groups of sifakas bounced from one tree to the next during the day. there was plenty of shade and life. now all that's left are charred remains. it's mainly corn and peanut plants that have replaced everything. reporter: the forest was burnt down to plant corn and peanuts, but the soil is already depleted after just a few harvests.
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peter kappeler: it's depressing, as depressing as you can imagine it would be. what's frustrating too is that it's not evil corporations here setting up oil plantations. it's the poor rural population, who have to try to make a living somehow. reporter: madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. to survive, some people here must destroy their environment. especially in times of political instability. a nearby village. there are many children here, like everywhere in madagascar. its population is growing. people know that the forest is disappearing. it will be here for another 20 or 30 years perhaps. what then? >> we depend on wood. our houses, the furniture, it's all made of wood.
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if you want to sell something, it's wood. we also cook with wood charcoal. when there's nothing left, people will move on. that's what will happen. reporter: but where to? at the field station in the still intact forest, the researchers are hoping to find a solution. this is where they live and make their initial analyses. they've already figured out a few things about the noises lemurs make. alessio anania: when an individual gets lost, he starts to call all the others with this vocalization. and the group mates usually answer with this one. reporter: the local forestry authority is currently building here. the new boss wants to boost eco-tourism. if this brings jobs for the forest will subside.
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ony rabearivololona: we're trying to work more closely with the villagers and integrate them more in the conservation process. reporter: the researchers also want to help improve living conditions in the local villages. their association is called "friends of kirindy," and today they're celebrating with the british and german ambassadors. harald gehrig: we want to support you, not only with this scientific project that has existed for 30 years, but with other measures. this is one of the reasons why i came here today -- to listen to you and see what we can do together. reporter: this region in western madagascar needs more attention. the researchers have helped set up a nursery where the first seedlings are being planted. the rapidly growing trees will alleviate pressure on the forest. peter kappeler has promised to donate 30 cents for each tree that is still here in a year.
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peter kappeler: this is just a drop in the bucket. there are so many children here, and the only hope is that we can raise awareness among them and make sure that they look after the trees. that they develop a sense of responsibility for nature. otherwise, it won't work. reporter: the researchers will continue their efforts. for moritz, too. he's woken up, set free, and able to return to his group. preserving the kirindy forest is essential. otherwise, the lemurs have no chance of survival. anchor: and that's all from "global 3000" for today. we're back next week when we hope you can join us again. we always enjoy hearing from you, so do write to us at or on
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a8c8c1[rocbilly music]
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(male narrator) memphis, tennessee. it has been written if music were religion that memphis would be jerusalem and sun studio, its most sacred shrine. and you are here with motel mirrors. ♪ when we want to be alone ♪ we have to be discreet ♪ none of my neighbors ever need to see.. ♪ - hi, my name is amy lavere with motel mirrors and we're here at sun studio. on guitar tonight is will sexton and john paul keith. on drums is shawn zorn and i play upright bass. - amy and i wanted to do duets and stuff. with our free time when we're home, she has her own career and i have my own career on the road, you know, making records, whatever.


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