tv European Journal LINKTV December 12, 2013 7:30am-8:01am PST
>> hello and a very warm welcome to "european journal" coming to you from dw studios in brussels. it's good to have you with us. let's take a look at some of our top stories with us. that putin's mercy -- why the fight continues for greenpeace activists. and under pressure -- how cheese makers are challenging the mafia
. croatia has become a modern and democratic society over the past decade, said european officials in july this year when they welcomed the balkan country is the newest member of the eu. today, the debate in croatia is marked by opened dialogue rather than rigid ideology. take the country's leaders -- croatia is mainly catholic, but the president called himself agnostic, and the prime minister is a declared atheist. that has left the catholic church struggling to maintain its influence. >> every morning, people gather at stonegate in zagreb. the medieval structure survived the great fire in 18th century and today has become a shrine, a magnet or catholics wanting to pray. many pray for healing and later hang up plaques thanking the virgin mary. croatia is a deeply catholic country, and the church plays a key role in society.
90% of the population describe themselves as catholic, but the church's political influence has waned in recent times. after a series of corruption scandals, croatian now has a central left government that has pledged to modernize croatian society. >> for me, they are traitors. at this point, i can openly say they are against the people. i do not hide that anymore. >> he is passionately opposed to same-sex marriage. last sunday, a referendum initiated by catholic groups showed 65% of voters in favor of having the christian definition of marriage anchored in the constitution, a clear result, although the turnout was only 38%. click marriage for us is the union of one man and one woman. this is already in the law. all we want to do is take existing law and put it in the constitution. why?
because we have noticed in other countries around the world -- 15 to be exact out of 206 -- that have legalized so-called gay marriage. they did it without the will of the people. they did it with raw power. >> like many croatians, he also supports the country's general, a controversial figure abroad. >> the day he was released last year, i cried for joy. i personally would like to see him get involved. i think he has to realize that the war is still on. it's just a different war. >> a war over conservative values. he was later acquitted by an appeals panel going to lack of evidence. and thanks to the legal support of the catholic church. many peace activists and human rights campaigners believe it is a dangerous alliance.
they have launched a counter campaign seeking to mimic the influence of the church, which they fear could help rye grass and the european union's newest member. the nation is divided. >> catholic church is very strong in croatia, and as we could see before they endorsed this organization and this referendum, and i think that we can expect that they will do similar things in the future to reinforce their position. >> it affects many issues in the society -- the church has campaigned actively against sex education in schools, for example. many believe more referendums could now follow on issues such as abortion and the role of women. working through social networks, campaign groups are seeking to put across their alternative agenda. this woman believes the dispute over values has only just begun. for weeks now, she has been
following the debate on the internet. she is a single parent mother with two children. it is 7:00 a.m., and her son is just leaving for school. >> the church here promotes a complete family, but that often does not reflect reality. divorce is common, but there is not adequate legislation in croatia regulating divorce cases . >> that, too, is partly as a result of church influence. she believes the war between the two camps could escalate. the one side wants a secular, open society while the church and its supporters promote traditional values. that becomes clearer talking to people on the street. >> i have two children and four grandchildren. a marriage, a family involves a mother and a father. >> it is an opinion not only common among the older generation. every week, this father gives a
talk at his church. several hundred young people come to mix -- listen to a mix of christian teaching and political rhetoric. he lambastes his critics who are campaigning for a secular croatia. they call every little thing discrimination, he says. the message goes down well with his supporters. six months after croatia joined the european union, the split in croatian society appears to be growing. >> the greenpeace activists who were arrested by russia in september have been released from prison, but they are not yet free. they still face charges of hooliganism in russia. what started off as a peaceful protest against oil drilling activities in the arctic has now turned into a fight for justice and human rights.
>> andre is back home at last. for two months, his friends in moscow worried about him. alec is one of three greenpeace activists arrested -- arrested by the russian coast guard. the russian authorities charged them with piracy. >> that was a shock. we did not expect it. it was extremely unpleasant. it all happened very quickly. at first we did not understand what was happening to us. >> the environmentalists had tried to attach a protest sign to a russian oil rig. greenpeace put these images on the internet. russian border guards intervened and put a stop to the action at one point.
a helicopter arrives bringing heavily armed special forces who stormed the greenpeace ship arctic sunrise. it is as if they were chasing hardened criminals. the activists wanted to warn of the threat of an oil spill on rigs like this one. they say the risk of an ax event is just too great. >> the company is known for poor safety standards. now, these two reckless oil companies are teaming up. it is a disaster waiting to happen. instead of seeing this as a huge threat to mankind and the planet . >> the 30 environmentalists and their ship were brought to russia's largest ice-freeport above the arctic circle. here, they were held for six weeks. the court rejected an initial
request to release them despite international protest. they were then taken to st. petersburg where the piracy charges were dropped, but they are still accused of hooliganism, which can mean seven years in jail. an absurd trial, especially for the 26 foreigners and the crew. radio operator colin russell is one of them. >> i have done nothing wrong. >> meanwhile, all 30 are free again for the time being, but the foreign activists must remain in st. petersburg. the time behind bars was terrible, they say. aggressive risen guards, scary cellmates who did not speak english, and being allowed out only once a day. >> i remember being brought to
this dark, dirty, covert exercise yard, and there i did have the opportunity to speak of some of the other women of the arctic 30. it was quite difficult to communicate with them because we were all in separate, dark rocks is, but we were able to shout over the walls, and that was the main point of contact where we could check if everybody was ok. >> andre, one of four russians on the arctic sunrise, is back at work. in the greenpeace office in moscow, they are celebrating his return. >> ahoy there, pirate. shiver me timbers. >> hey, buddy, you buccaneer. >> they plan to keep up the fight for the arctic. >> there will definitely be more protests. we will have to see what exactly. and not just in russia.
we are not against russia. we are opposed to any drilling in the arctic. >> but he has little hope for himself and his fellow activists. he fears russia still intends to put them behind bars. >> on december 10, the nobel peace prize will be awarded to the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. modern chemical warfare began in world war i, and next year mark's 100 years since that terrible conflict began. preparations for the anniversary are in full swing in europe. today, young people can hardly imagine that there great grandfathers once fought each other in trenches, but it's just a short drive from our studio to the mass grave in northern france.
>> can a simple object change the course of history? marcus is on his way to the french custody side -- countryside, which looks peaceful enough, but signs point the way to the battlefield. it's only due to the object in his bed that he is able to be here at all. it is an object which illustrates the madness of war. >> i'm here because of my family history. in particular, my grandfather's bible, which he carried with him in world war i. he was a soldier stationed near here. this bible saved his life. >> for marcus, the cemetery is a chilling, yet impressive site. >> look at the senselessness of this war -- rows upon rows of crosses.
>> his own grandfather would likely have parish here, too, were it not for this bible. the pages have shredded, the letter is torn. >> this is the holy scripture. >> each night, his grandfather slept with his head on the bible, including the night all his comrades were killed when a grenade hit their dugout. >> a piece of shrapnel flew under his head and was stopped by the bible. if he had not been lying on it, the shrapnel would have struck his head, and he would have been killed. >> was it a miracle? >> it is a miracle -- an absolute miracle, and incredibly symbolic. without this bible, i would not be standing here today because i would never have existed. >> letters, photos, journals --
world history is often made from little things like marcus' bible. to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the start of world war i, france is calling on people to submit war memorabilia to create a huge online archive. this man and his son have come as well. he's interested in his great grandfather and his belongings, but he's not the only one. historians are just as curious when people bring in old photos and journals. this archivist asks to see what they brought. it is items like these which bring to life the reality of war . documents are scanned and data collected to help get the big picture of the great war.
>> what is interesting is that the letters describe the same things. no matter which side the soldiers fought on -- the same wounds, the same fears, the same worried families. our databank shows that this human drama was transnational. >> objects have been collected in 100 locations across france from the atlantic to the alps, from paris to corsica. flipping through auto albums and finding places on maps. in france, a movement is afoot to revisit the first world war. the french call it the great war. this conflict occupies an even more prominent place in the collective consciousness than the second world war. >> today, we have 15 appointments with people who want to donate something. we are both up for the coming days, too. even i am surprised by the
response. -- we are booked up for the coming days, too. >> marcus knows it's the little things that bring history to life. that is especially true when you are standing here in the battle scarred fields, here, where his grandfather witnessed so much suffering. >> history and my family history have come full circle. back in 1918 after the armistice , when my grandfather left with his bible, no one could have foreseen that it would return here one day. >> his grandfather's bible can now be seen on the internet. marcus could imagine donating it to a museum, though it would be hard to part with his precious possession, which has influenced his family's history so profoundly.
>> you will find a link to the french online archives on our facebook page. look for dw european journals. economies of many regions in europe have changed significantly over the past entry. coal mines once provided jobs to many. when the mines closed, car manufacturers took over as major employers, but now, they are also under pressure from china. this year, for the first time, more cars could be produced in china than in europe. the automobile industry in belgium is one of the worst affected. ford is now closing its belgian plant. >> a year ago, autoworkers were outraged when ordinary it would close its plant. the car factory, which was once the largest in europe, is to shut down at the end of 2014. we meet with this former worker.
last year, he was in despair, but today, he has just signed a new contract, but he is an exception. only a few hundred 40 employees have down a new job. >> from the start, i knew it would be very difficult. i have been at ford for 27 years . i knew the work and the people. it was my life. but then you look ahead, find a new job, and a secure income. now i know i will be able to send my daughter to college. as have gone well for me. i'm glad that chapter of my life is over. >> he faces a really big problem next year -- it's not just ford and its suppliers that are closing. it is also the bars, the restaurants, the little shops and specialty stores. there will be fewer of them because people will hold onto the money they still possess. >> ford money even helped
renovate the city hall, but the mayor says the coffers are now already empty. >> we have launched a claim of 61 million euros. the financial damage we will have from today up until 2020 because we were planning that they would stay here up until 2020. >> many workers here are assumed their jobs were secure and bought homes. they went into debt to do it and now feel betrayed. some are desperate and have sought medical help, but others have not. four of this practice's patients have committed suicide. this family doctor is worried. >> after 40 years in practice, i know what this will do to people
and their families. right now, they are still working. they have social contact. there is still a community. but in a year, they will be isolated. >> ford has already cut production. unions have negotiated generous severance packages for workers. still, most of them want to keep working until the bitter end, to fight for their jobs. >> to tell you the truth, i'm glad to be gone. when i see the people leaving the plant, i know the day they've had. i remember the pressure and all the discussions. i'm glad that it is over. >> soon, it will be over for these people, too, but for now, they are clinging to their jobs and the little work left at the ford plant. >> what comes to mind when you think of the italian mafia? honor killings, a code of
silence, strong family ties? that is the hollywood version. the mafia is above all italy's most important economic player. the big mafia clans make billions with casinos, illegal construction activities, and racketeering. italians know they cannot stand up to the mafia on their own, but it's to friend when you are part of a group. >> until recently, massimo lived in rome where he worked in the film industry, but now, everything has changed. he moved back to the countryside where he grew up and became a master cheese maker. since may 2012, he has been producing the finest buffalo mozzarella north of naples. his work begins at four clock in the morning. rarely is he done before noon. it's a tough job, and it's a bit like a steam bath, but he is on a mission. >> i would not have started as a cheese maker at any other company.
the cooperative is the first cheese factory around to use confiscated mafia assets. we make mozzarella for political reasons. >> in addition to running the cheese factory, the cooperative also farms orchards and fields. it's named after a priest shot dead by the camorra crime syndicate. its message is simple -- game over. a risky thing to say in an area still in the hands of the camorra. the killings have not ceased. a massacre nearby took the lives of seven people nearby in 2008. but this mozzarella takes a stand against the violence. it's not just a matter of state -- a taste, but also of justice. >> there were once stables for resources -- resources here. they belong to a notorious boss from naples. he was responsible for cigarette
smuggling all across italy in the 1970's and 1980's. >> if a mafia boss lands behind bars in italy, the state confiscates his property and leases it to charitable organizations. that's how this cooperative came to be on former camorra land. >> we all have to work together to ensure there is finally hope again in this region, which has long suffered under these criminal structures. >> he knows what he's talking about. the lack of hope is what drove him from his home. the fear is still great here north of naples. that causes problems for the cooperative, although it produces mozzarella, it does not own any buffalo, and only two dairies in the area were prepared to supply the anti- mafia cheese maker with buffalo milk. the cooperative is part of a nationwide network of anti-mafia
project. in the summer, the network arranges for hundreds of teenagers to volunteer here. a love of the countryside and a desire for political commitment are what bring them here, despite the danger of the camorra. >> of course you have to worry. there is no other way. >> why should i be afraid? >> because they shoot you. >> if you are afraid, you die every day. if you are not, you die only once. >> work camps last one week. during the week, the young people work in the field. in the afternoon, they meet to learn more about the power of the camorra. today, a businessman is visiting the cooperative, who, along with others, filed extortion charges against the camorra in 2010. the response came promptly. >> one night, they shot up our bar. you feel brave, but you are also responsible for your family -- your parents, your siblings,
your children. if something happens to your brother, you are responsible. >> the cooperative has experienced hostility and intimidation. a few weeks ago, the orchard water supply was destroyed. that does not scare him, but it does worry his family. >> from the start, my mother could only think about the danger i faced by working here. she things i should not be messing with the people on the other side. >> but he and his supporters are already planning their next project. the former camorra boss' villa is set to be turned into a guesthouse next year. where did he deals were once made, new plans are being drawn up to fight the camorra. >> that report wraps up this edition of "european journal." do join us again next week if you can. from all of us here in brussels, from allhanks for watching.sels, until next time, auf wiedersehen
12/12/13 12/12/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we want to confirm that he is really gone and no longer with us. >> as thousands way for hours to pay their last respects to nelson mandela, we go to johannesburg, south africa to speak with longtime anti- apartheid activist ronnie kasrils who helped found