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tonight on nightline, tom hanks plays the scene on screen, but how do they prepare for being boarded by pirates? tonight nightline takes you into the hidden war between american mercenaries and somali sailors of fortune. >> they called malala the bravest girl in the world. but what about the other unsung brave girls? diane sawyer takes you to meet them. and 8 million stories in this city and this photog gone viral wants to tell everyone. ♪
>> announcer: from new york city, this is "nightline" with bill weir. >> happy friday to you. thank you for being with us. as you watch tom hanks fighting pirates this weekend from the climate controlled safety of your local multiplex it could be easy to forget there's a real life war going on right now on the open seas between actual pirates and the american mercenaries making big bucks to fight them off. "nightline" newest anchor dan harris explains. >> reporter: tonight in multiplexs across america, movie goers are taking in the story of captain phillips. >> we have been boarded by four armed pirates. >> reporter: tom hanks doing his best new england accent as he
plays the man from vermont whose commercial ship was attacked by somali pirates in the middle of the indian ocean. but some are seething at this portrayal. they're suing the shipping line arguing that phillips ignored warnings to stay at least 600 miles away from the coast of somalia. the maersk alabama was only 250 miles away. in court documents members of the crew claim they were knowingly, intentionally and willfully sent into an area with pirates because the routes saved the company money. >> the movie tells a highly fictionalized version of what happened on the boat. to make him into a hero for driving this boat and men into pirate infested water is the real injustice here. >> reporter: the company called it meritless and here's how
captain phillips defended himself. >> it really didn't matter. it is where ever the pirates were was the problem. if you don't want to deal with pirates, get another job. >> reporter: the movie doesn't address this controversy but what is not controversial is somalia is a place of famine, poverty and lawlessness. a perfect breeding ground for piracy as i saw firsthand. >> all you need is 30 seconds on the ground here to see how inhospitable this terrain is to any sort of life. >> reporter: this is the home base of the terror group that carried out the recent mall massacre in kenya. if you look around, the poverty is grinding, it's epic and the job opportunities nonexistent. that's why young men here turn to piracy. you get a fascinating look at what it's like when pirates take over a commercial ship. >> money.
>> reporter: as they await their ransom money they settle in cooking in the gally and sleeping in the crew's beds but they're not able this peaceful. in 2011 pirates seized a yacht piloted by four americans and murdered them. to defend themselves, shipping companies are now spending close to $1 billion on private guards waging a hidden mercenary war against pirates. all of this corporate cash is attracting security firms from all over the world with varying levels of discipline. check out this music video allegedly made by russian marines. they blow it up and then do target practice on it. >> just stand by. >> reporter: some of the controversy involved american firms. look at this video of a small
boat heading toward this american shipping vessel. the team leader orders a warning shot. >> go ahead, warning shot. >> reporter: but look at what happens instead, a massive blast of gunfire. the pirate ship, it's driver perhaps hit or killed, crashes into the side of the ship. >> so as you watch this you believe your guys did the right thing at every step. >> absolutely. >> reporter: the ceo of trident security says what you can't see on this now infamous video tape is as soon as his men fired warning shots, the pirates fired back. >> if somebody was to look at that and make a blind statement of this is indiscriminate killing, they don't know what's going on. >> reporter: he can see some security companies may need to be reigned in. >> it's a 556 weapon. that's what we use for all teams out there. >> reporter: but he points out and the state department confirms there have been no
successful pirate attacks on ships protected by armed guards. something he says may have prevented the attack on the maersk alabama where there are no such guards. >> we have been boarded by armed pirates. >> reporter: for nightline, this is dan harris in new york. thank you and congrats on this taking this chair. more on that later. but first, the other malalas. the other bravest girls in the world. >> announcer: abc news "nightline" brought to you by macy's.
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after surviving taliban bullets malala is known in many quarters as the bravest girl in the world but she wants you to know she is not alone. tonight diane sawyer takes us to meet the other malalas, risking everything for the right to speak and learn. >> earlier tonight we introduced you to a young woman named malala. she spoke out for the education of girls. >> i will get my education if it is at home, school or any place. >> reporter: and enraged the taliban that decided to try to stop her. they climbed aboard her school bus. she was shot in the head at point blank range. miraculously she survived. >> they thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed. >> reporter: and she is still fighting. but malala is not alone.
[ speaking foreign language ] >> pakistan has an incredible amount of women risking their lives every day to better their community. >> reporter: their secret weapon not guns but their voices, insistent. stubborn. >> i think we have to be stubborn. i don't think we have any other choice. >> reporter: she won an oscar for telling their stories. >> and to all the women in pakistan working for change, don't give up on your dreams. this is for you. >> we never hear about the women on the front lines that are fighting and winning every single day, tiny battles but winning and that is the story that should get out. >> reporter: stories like hers. >> her entire fight is to rescue
bonded laborers. >> reporter: all over pakistan entire families forced by poverty into slavery. >> she is educating people on a weekly basis about the rights that the constitution provides them. >> reporter: and she risks her life going one-on-one with the men holding them in bondage. [ speaking foreign language ] >> women don't speak to men like that in those areas and she has done that at a pretty high price. her brother has been shot at. she herself was shot at. >> reporter: but like malala, a bullet could not silence her. when her words are not enough, she takes action. she returns to the factory and frees one family.
>> she is what a hero is. she know what is the risks are, yet she continues to rescue people. >> reporter: she believes that more than ever little girls in her country, like her own daughter are in need of real life heros. >> you hear of young girls being blown up simply because they want the right to get an education. so i really feel pakistan has taken ten steps backwards. >> reporter: so every day 24-year-old tamera fights to get a little of the ground back going door to door trying to convince fathers to let their daughters go to school. not an easy task.
>> reporter: but she believes girl versus to take responsibility and stand up for themselves. and tamera knows. >> reporter: she did make it to class that day and the next going on to graduate. she even founded her own school. the only one in her community. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: these women are the voices of a generation which refuses to be silent. >> there are many bright shining lights that are being dimmed in pakistan but if enough bright lights start standing up and asking for change, you'll
eventually find that change will come. >> reporter: and one of the brightest lights, malala. >> i think life is always dangerous. some people get afraid of it. some people don't go forward but some people, if they want to achieve their goals, they have to go. >> amazing strength. our thanks to diane sawyer. coming up next, if you're among the millions that love humans of new york, then the power of one man with a camera and a kind willingness to listen. we'll meet him, next. ah! lily.. she pretty much lives in her favorite princess dress. and she's not exactly tidy. even if she gets a stain she'll wear it for a week straight. so i use tide to get out those week old stains and downy to get it fresh and soft. since i'm the one who has to do the laundry. i do what any expert dad would do. i let her play sheriff. i got 20 minutes to life. you are free to go. [ dad ] tide and downy. great on their own, even better together.
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every waking moment it seems we are fire hosed with pixels, tweets, texts, likes, posts. so many, so fast. it's easy to forget there's real people behind them. it's a rare artist that can put a stranger into your facebook feed that makes you stop and feel and empathize. humans of new york is a popular photo blog that does just that with such grace i just had to meet the creator. >> reporter: it's other people and some days in new york city
it's hard to disagree. when the huddled masses make it impossible to breathe free. when it feels like you versus 8 million themes. but if you can break the crowd into pieces and the armor until the honesty spills out, the city softens. when you learn that he wishes he had gone to college or that she is still reeling from a broken engagement and that his prostate cancer makes him sad and afraid, the mean streets don't seem so mean. when you learn that she is mad because he didn't call her after the game or she is happy because he dressed up and carried the picnic basket or that his dad is a strong fireman that once saved 11 people. 11. how can you not love this town? how can you not love the humans of new york? a photographic melting pot, joy, pain, wisdom, beauty, pure
cuteness and they are brought to you by this human of new york, a lovable guy named brandon stanton. >> excuse me, i was wondering if there's anyway i can take a photo of you just like this? i'm an artist. >> reporter: he approached over 10,000 strangers this way. and what they give him gets shared on facebook millions of times a day. he has a limited knowledge of camera settings and photo shop software his first book is about to land adopt the best seller list and although he never posts pictures of himself. >> i'm a huge fan. >> reporter: somehow people know this is the guy that moved them. a guy that connects them one honest portrait at a time. >> thank you. >> have a great day. >> reporter: it's like being with the mayor, are you kidding me? pretty incredible considering three and a half years ago he was a stressed out bond trader
in chicago. two events changed his life. first he got a real camera and then he got fired. >> i lost my job and i woke up. now have all of this thought energy to put into any direction i want. >> reporter: what he wanted was to take pictures of interesting strangers. >> my mom basically thought this was my glorified way of not working. i'm serious. just like, oh, brandon is in new york taking pictures of people on the street and putting them on facebook, you know what i mean? >> we're so proud of him. >> exactly. so here i am doing this all day long with absolutely nothing to show for it. so this went on for six months i photographed every single day. i photographed on christmas eve and christmas, new years eve, new years day, all day long. >> reporter: he built a modest following but then he started actually talking to his subjects and much to his surprise he learned people are more willing to open up to a stranger with a
camera than to even their best friends. >> she said when my husband was dying, i said how am i supposed to live without you? and he said take the love you have for me and spread it around. and her voice was kind of quivering and the rain is coming down and i said thank you very much. i turned the corner and just started crying. >> reporter: he started posting these along with the photos and the following exploded. >> if i follow you on my facebook feed, there's a completely different feel i get from what you put up as opposed to even some of my best friends. >> yeah, because everything on social media and facebook is so stage managed. you get everybody's highlight reels. social media is secondary when i'm having the conversations on the street. you get the full spectrum. you get the tragedy. >> the uncut humanity. >> exactly. >> reporter: overtime he learned it's not what you say to a
stranger but how you say it. >> it's all about the energy you give off. for me, that's about making yourself as nonthreatening, genuine, natural as possible. i like this guy. i'm going to ask him. i was wondering if there was anyway i could take your photograph just like that. >> reporter: two out of every three say yes and he knows just how popular that yes will be. >> over 30,000 likes. >> over 30,000 likes. i can tell after a minute where it's going to be after a day. >> all right. here we go. 14 seconds, 60 likes. 24 seconds, 164. >> that's incredible. >> reporter: and this community gives more than likes. case and point, the time he met a little boy selling a blanket full of cowboy supplies so he could buy a horse. >> i pulled his mom aside and said if we could get a horse, is this something you would want.
and she started crying and said we live in a small new york apartment. what he needs is a dog. >> reporter: so he asked his followers to kick in a few bucks to send him to a dude ranch and in less than an hour had $30,000 in donations. >> you look great. >> reporter: it's easy to mock the old cultures that believe a camera can steal the soul but humans of new york is a kind of photography that makes you wonder if they're right. and if it makes you feel differently about that passing stranger if your big city or small town. >> no smile. you told me a sad story. >> reporter: well, that makes brandon stanton one happy guy. i'm bill weir for "nightline," new york city. one little tip, if you see brandon, ask him to shoot you on the street, he will refuse. you just have to be naturally interesting which is why i was