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tv   Quadriga - The International Talk Show  LINKTV  April 30, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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♪ during in fear, the end of press freedom? that is the question we want to address today on quadriga. oral press freedom day is just around the corner. would you do your audience risk your lives to tell the truth? journalists and bloggers around the world are doing it on a daily basis. they are information hunters that they are often the hunted in war zones and other authoritarian societies and even in democracies.
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china, turkey, or poland, pressure is rising on those who tell the facts. an alarming downward spiral. that is what we want to talk three guestsith who have been directly affected by declining press freedom. meera jamal is a freelance journalism from -- during list -- journalist from pakistan. and loses contact with reality on the ground. belongs to a bedoon family from kuwait. they are stateless. they fell through the cracks inn quaid became independent 1961. as a blogger, she says journalism under authoritarianism he comes the best tool for resistance. it is a pleasure to welcome andreas kluth. he is a german-american journalist or the economist.
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every country gets the government it deserves and it also gets the press that it deserves. freedom of the press is the first signal of freedom generally. let me start out with you mr. ball and ask you to tell us a bit about your personal story. you found yourself unable to work in your own country, in pakistan. the situation in pakistan is quite different from here. the social pressure, religious pressure, clinical pressure -- as a journalist, if you look at things with a different perspective than the mass perspective, you find yourself in danger. ina woman, i was a person danger and as a person without belief and as a journalist, i was in danger. to bring things into the limelight, i was in danger. melinda: you had been doing some
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wording on women and children and even on prostitutes. none of that was what got you into trouble. what got you into trouble was writing about a koran school. ms. jamal: i was getting e-mails and ha mls as yocall the on my wom's rits issueas we but theoran schoo, it was headg the na on the head. is suchg was that i sensive topifor most pakistanis that you cannot question religion. if they are sending their children to a koran school, then they have the right to do so and you cannot question the method they use to teach there whether it is using the stick, whether it is abusing them in any way, they accept it. that is how it is. i tried to write about it and got myself into trouble. melinda: what kind of trouble? ms. jamal: threats.
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i was encountered by people with knives who threatened to me personally. i was getting phone calls and i did notying if quit, i would get into trouble. melinda: mona kareem, also on your story. what were you reporting on kuwait?? -- in ms. kareem: i was not that controversial for authorities because the media is already well-controlled by the states and even the owners of the media they did not want to pass any criticism. my blogging, especially after twitter and facebook and the arab spring, all of that context brought visibility. i was using my blog and twitter to report on the protests of this stateless community that i
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belong to carry that upset authorities. they did not want that news to come out. they did not want the news on arrests to come out. the reaction was some harassment and hate mail. i was not arrested but i was questioned for speaking up. melinda: the harassment was coming from home? official government -- the harassment was coming from whom? mentioned, as you interrogations, questions, phone calls. and on the other side, you get anonymous people on the internet sending you messages to scare you off. you never know if these people were sent by the government or voluntarily doing it. that youyou mentioned came from a group of people who were considered stateless.
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you had no citizenship or passport. how did you get out of the country? ms. kareem: my community has no documentation going all the way to birth certificates or marriage certificates, access to education. would get a travel document that can be used one time to leave the country and that is what happened in my case. especially that i was a journalist. after you leave, you are not allowed to back. it is a way to exile you. they never allow you again. melinda: perhaps it is worth noting that our two guests were comparing their situation beforehand, neither of them can go back to their home country. have refugee travel documents rather than passports. andreas kluth, you talked about the fact that a country's press
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is essentially also a signal of how much freedom it allows. would you say as a reporter for the economist that you come from countries, you're both german and american, in which press freedom is intact? ms. kareem: -- mr. kluth: i certainly feel lucky, i am german and american and my employer is british, i have three western countries that value freedom of the press. and i have never felt any pressure overtly there although i have passed my first twitter storm. that is an interesting thing to get into. i once covered from hong kong, mainland china, for the never felt ai major threat but it was an open secret that we were assigned translators and drivers and when we went to the mainland, we were followed and our phones were tapped. -- it was almost a
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subject to an use ourselves. melinda: you mentioned something else which is relevant. you briefly touched on self-censorship. it is important to keep in mind that government censorship, authoritarian regimes is the traditional threat that we are all looking out for but there are other forms very self censorship. an example from when i was in hong kong. the big controversy there was not just over hong kong government being part of china, but the hong kong government was not trying to censor any press. some of the press organs were who wanted tons ingratiate themselves with beijing. you can have private sector self-censorship. it is been an issue in britain with the murdoch press.
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there are other elements. can sometimes come from other sources other than the government. melinda: let us take a closer look at that aspect -- the different forms repression can take. i want to take a look at the world press freedom map. world press freedom day is around the corner. putsters without borders out a map where we can see the press freedoms are under threat. what we see there is that more countries where press freedom is under threat then where press freedom is open. places in the world, press freedom is on retreat. reporters without borders says europe has the freest media. ,frica interestingly enough coming in second place surpassing the americas for the first time. ,astern europe, north africa
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middle east, all find themselves towards the bottom of the rating. i would like to stay for a while in the middle east and the islamic world and look at some of the forms of suppression there. let me ask you, meera jamal, you talked about feeling threatened. many of these threats came from individuals but would you say in the end that the government was letting that happen also as a way to suppress you? ms. jamal: the biggest threat of being in pakistan was that i was an atheist. you cannot say that. if i say that in public, i will be murdered. there are many incidents of christians being hacked to death and burned. it is out of control. the state, the islamic law we have all shelters that. like if someone kills a person who has converted out of islam, they are justified to
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do that because the state punishment is also death. melinda: the rise of sectarianism feeding the kinds of results that we see on the map en we lo at the ddle st and africa? ms. kareem: yes, other regimes in the gulf for example have used the sectarian card to further prosecute activists and journalists. as you said, one way to persecute them is to allow and have threaten them no accountability to safeguard these voices. it is not only one method of suppression white jailing them and interrogating them but allowing others to do it and there were are governments that europe companies in and the u.s. to specifically do that -- to defang people and deprived them of their
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legitimacy when talking. melinda: was religion an issue in your case? ms. kareem: no. most of my work has been about the stateless but also immigrants in the gulf and the obstacles that they face and persecution. melinda: essentially, you were the voice of a minority. an ethnic minority. andreas kluth, are we seeing the rise not only in these regions of the world, north africa and the middle east, but even here in eastern europe, something it is majoritarianism -- only the majority's voice that can and should be heard? mr. kluth: not the rise of it that it has always been one of the classic threats to freedom. james madison, one of the founding fathers of america, coined that word --
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majoritarianism. he was thinking back to ancient athens which was pure democracy. he was trying to figure out how to create a free republic. the careful, it does not just mean democracy all of the time. gete vote on everything, we what is happening in some of these cases and the majority will oppress the minority. it is a mixture. that is why they created the republic. there is an internal dance between majoritarianism and a more balanced regime between democracy with checks and balances and a separate judiciary and free press so everyone can be free including free from each other and majorities. melinda: would you subscribe to he same view? how can someone in pakistan who wants to bring the minority perspective into the open -- how can they do it?
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ms. jamal: recently, it is going to be made impossible because they are trying to pass ace diver crime bill which has been passed by the lower house of the parliament. due to that law, it ensures that anything against the government, the army, the religion, or a political personality, they will be imprisoned or find up to 10 million rupees. you just put a tape on their mouth and do you expect them to do journalism and it will not hired aecause they have team of i.t. experts and they will control everything that goes online, on air, on any line, telephone and anything. melinda: interesting that they use cyber methods to do it. they see the internet as a major threat. you said in your opening statement, blogging is a best
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way to resist authoritarianism or majoritarianism. why is that? say the iraq war was the context when blogging came to the picture and was really powerful for many years. now, blogging is replaced by twitter on social media. i think people are leaving social media two channels that are more private where you can be less visible, less vulnerable to persecution. blogging is a great alternative to classical media however, it is also being threatened again. good enough that people are creative in trying to resist this oppression. melinda: let us take a closer look. in tunisiabloggers has become the face of their countries resistance. she gave young tunisians a voice. during the heady days of the arab spring, li na blogged about
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-- lena blogged about what was happening in her country. the young activist refused to give into intimidation. as the, dw honored her best of blog awards. the north african country has become a glimmer of hope. bloggers the-- are front line? melinda: would you say bloggers have more freedom and impact than traditional journalists? mr. kluth: certainly not more. but what blogging and now microblogging and leading have -- tweeting is a certain kind of revolution that i have compared to gutenberg. this blogging and the micro tools in effect give each of us
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a printing press. there is a multitude of voices they used to be in audible that are now audible. i said every society gets the press we deserve. we are part of this conversation. if we log cake holdings, we deserve the press we get. that is the atmosphere we create. if we try to inform ourselves, try to think and analyze, that is the press we get. in a very direct way, it has broadened audiences and made them part of the conversation. generally, it is a good thing. melinda: to what degree does up broadening, the multiplier effect, to what degree does that serve to protect the journalist? this young blogger had been given airtime by dw and in that we made more visible. i know that you had won and award from the u.s. state department. and yet, it did not help in the
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end. ms. jamal: what did not help was me coming away from the situation i was in. here are not interested in the problems of the people of pakistan. the laymen's problems. a woman who struggles every day to get out of her house and educate your children or how poverty affects people or the rate of education is so low in our country. these things, i feel that they don't get much more exposure that they need to do. these were the subjects that i was offering and it seems there is no market for it. melinda: you have less material to work with now that you are in exile. young back to the fact that had received public, official recognition from the u.s. state department while you were still in pakistan, and yet it did not protect you. ms. jamal: the problem is i cannot write in pakistan
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anymore. once you apply for an asylum, it has a state of fact and the media are -- is afraid to print my work because that might get them in trouble. this is kind of the mentality that goes by. here, i should find my niche here or just forget about it. i'm no meera jamal says it she regrets the fact she cannot go back and regrets she is based here. would you say the same thing? or do you also feel cut off from your material? offkareem: i do feel cut but at some point i had to decide that this is the context of someone else. it is their struggle. the best possible thing for me to do is to see that i have a
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privilege and item the backup for them. as an mentioned, when arrests happen, people from inside might be watching out for these details but i can do that. in the case of friends being tortured and imprisoned. whenever i can, i fill in but certainly, it becomes the work now for someone else to pick up and keep him. living inou are both the west. i would like to take a brief look at the press in the west. here also it is under attack from populous politicians who often accuse the press of line. >> charges were brought against leaking secrets from
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the secret service. the charges were dropped but journalists fear they could be put under surveillance. many members of the right wing pegida movement view journalists as little more than liars and purveyors of propaganda. at demonstrations, reporters have been insulted and physically attacked. and plurality in the press is also under threat as economic pressure rises. more and more media outlets are now gathered in fewer hands. at the same time, newsrooms are being streamlined and downsized. freedom of the press in germany in danger? hownda: what do you think? would you answer that question? we have seen attacks on journalists here at the rallies of pegida movement. we also have seen the chancellor that an investigation can go -- a comediandia who has been accused of
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insulting the president of turkey. is that freedom? mr. kluth: there is no threat to the press freedom in germany. we have shifted, made a quantum leap -- it is a matter of proportion. this is part of the eternal debate over whether the press is doing its job well, whether it has the trust of the population. this is self-correcting. what you see though is interesting. in germany, i as an outsider, working for a british magazine, coming here from america do feel that the press corps and the politicians are in a cozy relationship with each other than in america where it is much more adversarial and people like it that way especially after some scandals that happened in the run-up to the second gulf war in the press. that has not happened in germany. some of these conspiracy theories that you see it now in --ups like pegida movement
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they are similar to conspiracy theories we have had for many years in america for instance in the demographic that was the tea party. essentially, it comes down to themainstream media or media ism politically correct and self censors. there are studies in germany that journalists over represent andain centerleft parties underrepresented others. they are not a mirror of society. there is a group think. this is self-correcting. otherspress landscape, will come forward and fill the gaps. that is already happening. but i do think at the moment there is a genuine case to be made, it is not the one they are making in pegida movement, but i could make a genuine case that lubbyn journalism is too c
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and does not serve the population well. melinda: the washington post simply bought the whole government line in the run-up to the gulf war. you are now both based in and you in the u.s., what is your sense of the press situation in those countries? compared to where we,, it is totally rosy. theresk that we had back is different then what journalists have here. melinda: what do they have here? ms. jamal: in terms of being attacked by a mob, like in the
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pegida movement rally -- the other agencies can report you missing. no trace. ms. kareem: i think when it comes to u.s. media, it is very much polarizing. there is nothing special about mainstream media in the u.s. trying to beple creative with whatever they offer. for me, as a refugee there, it is not helping me correct the course or bring anyone into the conversation. becoming even more personal. does not get threatened personally. very much tok you all of you for being here with us today and thank you to all of you for tuning in. see you soon.
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>> welcome to focus on eope or take an close a persona look at ab across e coinent. i'm michele henry, and you for joining us. chernobyl's heavy cloud still hangs over belarus. attacks on muslim women are on the rise in britain. in france, digging into the past the te chernob has bece a
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byword for nuclear daster. it is, aer all, the name o the town in ukraine, then part of the soviet union, where one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history occurred. millions of people were affected, most particularly those e north thelast. about 70% of the radioactive fallout om the crnobyl dister land in theegion th is todasouthernelarus. despite king pla 30 year ago, theeople the are stl sufferin >> the weather is sunny just like it was thirty years ago. back then, inga vanzonok was a carefree young girl. her father mikhail was a healthy young man. both can clearly remember april 26 1986. >> there was a cloud of dust and sand. it was coming from chernobyl and drifting towards our city. when we saw it, we tried to flee. we hailed a taxi and drove off.
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but it was hopeless. the cloud was huge. we couldn't escape it. >> the radioactive dust cloud changed the vanzonoks' life for ever. first, the doctors discovered that mikhail had stomach cancer. now, 30 years later, his daughter has suddenly developed thyroid cancer. >> i never showed signs of radiation exposure, so i thought i'd be ok after this length of time. now i realize that radioactivity causes a long, slow death. belarus was heavilyxposed to the invisible poison from ukraine. the radioactive cloud didn't just settle on the city of gomel, but also the surrounding villages. 70% of the radioactive fallout from the ukrainian reactor ended up in neighbouring belarus. the soviet authorities hushed up the catastrophe at first. today,
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there are many signs warning of the presence of radioactivity. but for many this information came far too late. particularly for children who were playing outside at the time. in the village of schirokoe almost all of the inhabitants are now suffering from the consequences of the disaster. andrei deikun is one of them. like inga, he's 36. and he's already gone through many of the things that she is currently facing numerous operations and chemotherapy. >> in the first three months after the explosion, neither he nor his family were allowed to leave the area. >> we were constantly monitored. at first everything was fine. but later on my glands started swelling and i was sent to minsk for an operation. it was my birthday. i'd just turned 17. >> i cried a lot. when they sent him to minsk for the operation, they told me he had to have a tooth removed. i only found out the actual
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diagnosis later, that it was cancer. facebok-insert bei 02:43 >> almost half the people living in the contaminated zone have been diagnosed with cancer. inga vanzonok was spared at first. in the city, her family had access to products containing iodine which help protect her thyroid gland. but a month ago, she was informed she had a malignant tumour and had to be operated on immediately. now, inga vanzonok says she's feeling better again. but she has to take thyroid hormone supplements every day, and she runs the risk of developing various complications. >> here is my scar. it's four weeks old. >> every young person here has to be prepared to undergo an operation like that.
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>> but i never thoug it wouldn't happ to me. >> ocourse, we dutiful tried to eat products contning iodine, uit and seafood. but itas all in vain. >> back in schirokoe. andrei deikun spends most of his time in the garage working on his car. he got the money to buy it by selling his cows and horses. he was no longer able to look after them. andrei has been feeling ill for months now. >> our cowshed was over there. now we've only got a few chickens and geese. +++ 04:14-04:28 +++ o-ton tamara deikun, andrei's moer +++ i'm 59. but i hope to live a bit longer. for my son's sake. for his future. who knows how much time we have left.
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>> but the deikuns want to stay here in their village in the middle of the contamination zone. thirty years on, the nuclear disaster at chernobyl still dominates the lives of the people who lived through it. 4.44 inga is hoping that things will different for her son danila . >> what could we do to help these people? are there ways we might alleviate their suffering? let me know what you think about that or any other of today's stories. you can get in touch on facebook, email or twitter. more than two years ago, demonstrators took to the streets of ukraine to protest the government's decision to postpone signing an agreement with the european union. the protests were concentrated in the maidan, the central square in kiev, the country's capital. the confrontation turned violent anshots we fired bthe state curity fces. ter several days oclashes, the esident ed but bthen dozens of demonstrators had been killed.
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members of an elite police unit called the berkut were blamed for the killings. but despite a change in regime, there has been little progress in the investigation and victims' families are skeptical they will ever see justice. >> a place of hopes and dreams and of death. ulitsa institutskaya in downtown kyiv, the street where the revolution against the pro-russian government erupted two years ago. >> it was here in the government district that government forces opened fire on the people. 106 demonstrators died in the uprising, 48 of them on one single day, february 20, 2014. among them was volodymyr chaplinsky, anelectrician from obukhiv, just south of the capital. his family considers him a national hero. they've collected old photos, and mementos from his involvement in the euromaidan protests. they also managed to recover the
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shield he took along. >> this shield used to be a lid on a washing machine. >> chaplinsky was among the very first protesters on maidan, calling for a pro-eu ukraine, and a break from russian influence. >> volodya had no fear. he faced the government sniper'' bullets with this thin little shield. how brave is that? he never took cover. he stayed until the very end. >> 18 minutes before he died, volodymyr chaplinsky made what would be his last phone call home, he sounded nervous. his son vladimir has edited together a range of videos from the internet to recreate his father's fil moment >> this is the first time you see him you can recognise him
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from the shield. he he'asking aut a woued comre. >> it's a scene that he's viewed hundreds of times. >> look. my father has just crossed the street, and sat down next to a tree. this is the exact moment the bullet hit him. in slow motion you can clearly see his shield bending from the impact. and then, despite being fally wounded, my father gets up and takes a few steps. but it was already over. the projectile probably went straight through him; it was never found. the images of a dying volodymyr chaplinsky are more than storic testimony. they could also helphe state prosecutor determine the exact trajectory of the lethal bullet. >> 18 months later, an anonymous phone caller claimed the guns
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used by the snipers had been hidden on the banks of a stream in a suburb of kyiv. this was the first time investigators showed the previously secret location to a tv crew. 3.20-03:39 o-ton vadim tymoshenko, kraine prosecutor's office+++ m2 x this is absolutely crucial to our investigation. this place will help us clear up the case. without this location, and the evidence, it would have been far more difficult. >> and indeed, after a long search, last august divers eventually discovered carefully sawn off guns.
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>> they were traced to a unit of the berkut riot police. its members are known colloquially as the black company. >> a special commission has reconstructed the horrors inflicted by the kalashnikov assault rifles on that day in february 2014. the head of the investigation shows us around the offices used by his 60-strong team. >> this shelf contains the files for the criminal proceedings about events on february 20 on ulitsa institutskaja. we have 48 counts of murder, and also 80 people wounded by gunfire. the prosecutors' principal task is to identify the culprits. that has meant analyzing several thousand hours of video material
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over the last two years. with the help of it specialists and special software, they recreated the movements of each individual member of the berkut unit in action that day. >> what we are seeing in this case, is one of the commanders, marked on both the satellite photo and film. his identification was verified with the use of geographical information from mobile phones, plus footage taken by the surveillance cameras of a bank. >> ocourse a successful identification requires distinguishing features, especially when the gunmen are masked. fortunately the berkut commander has only one hand, making it easy to identifiy him. we still need more time to work out the other fighters.
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5.49 although not in the case of one particular member of the berkut unit, who remained unmasked for the entire operation. x a biometric analysis suggested it was in all likelihood pavel abroskin. he's since been charged with 8 counts of murder. but he and another officer arrested deny any responsibility. >> we defe the government elted by t people. if yanukovich is elected president, we defend yanukovich. if poroshenko is our president, we will defend him, too. so none of our commands were illegal, and we didn't shoot anybody. we just did our job. we defended the ukrainian people. >> what i want to know is why nothing is said about the armed demonstrators. i know from a reliable source that well-trained groups were
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there on the square. and those armed demonstrators did their job perfectly. but no one wants to talk about that. >> 13 policemen were indeed killed during the protests. one man has since admitted to having shot at them. except, pro-eu snipers have been granted amnesty. meanwhile, prosecutors have identified 26 berkut shooters. most of them, however, have already left the country. >> no other place in europe prides itself more on it's multicultural society than britain. particularly the capital - london. and it's true. i lived there for almost $10 -- 10 years, and it's common to seepeople of different races and ethnicities mingling with ease both professionally and personally. but like that other supposed melting pot, the usa - where
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there have been increasing instances of people being kicked off planes because of their appearance, there is a growing unease. in the wake of the attacks in paris last november, many muslim women are being singled out because of their headscarves and made to feel unwelcome in their own home. >> the newcastle metro on a saturday afternoon. >> this man just appeared and he looked at me and my sister, he was quite close to us and he said, get off the seat now. >> 23-year-old ruhi rahman was on the train with her sister, headed for a suburb. >> this is my country, i'm an englishman. we didn't get off our seats, we sat down. afterwards, he came behind us and he was saying, do we want these people to bomb this place? >> the insults, the accusations ruhi says they have become ever-more commonplace over the past weeks and months.
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she was born and raised in england. she lives here in the northeastern english city of newcastle. >> i feel like this isn't my country. it makes me feel like i'm an outsider when i'm not. it just makes me feel really sad feeling like i'm not welcomed in my own country. it does, it hurts a lot. >> they are young, female and proudly adhere to the dress code of observant muslims. the head scarf has long been an accepted sight on the streets of the uk, especially in london. but now muslim women are increasingly becoming targets of verbal and physical attacks, sometimes brutal in nature. the organization 'tell mama' is providing assistance, dispensing advice via telephone and the internet to those who are affected. it says it has abundant evidence of this abuse.
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>> y come tongland a you ha no -- manners. go back to your -- where they're bombing every day. don't come here where we're free. >> on a weekly basis we'll be getting between 20 to 30 cases reported. in november 2014 it was already on a monthly basis. comparing it to november 2015 when the attacks in paris took place we had 115 cases per week. so we're talking about an almost 300% increase within a week's period of time and we're still sure that this is under-reported. >> that's because many people are either afraid to speak up, or are ashamed to tell their stories. joynoor is one of them. the london banker was riding the undeground one evening with his girlfriend. she was wearing a headscarf. and he tried to remain calm as she was verbally taunted. but the situation quickly
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escalated. >> i was looking downwards and he was standing up. i'm still looking downwards and i stood up and he just punched me on the left hand side of my face unexpectedly. >> and why? >> i've got no idea he just wanted a fight. because i refused, he wanted a fight. >> racism is evident in every country and britain is no exception. at the moment, the vast majority of reported incidents are directed at the country's three million muslims. those sentiments are further stirred by the negative headlines in britain's tabloid newspapers. a recent article in 'the sun' claimed that as many as one in five british muslims support violent jihad. some have accused prime minister david cameron of stoking anti-muslim sentiment with his comments about extremism and islam. but britain's top counter terrorism official rejects criticism that such remarks make the problem worse.
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>> i don't recognise that description. are there challenges? of course there are. but we're working hand in glove with the muslim community, indeed with all our faith communities to ensure that we target those who seek to divide us with a clear, unequivocal message that we will stand together and unite to defeat you. >> numerous public meetings are held to discuss and determine ways to combat islamophobia. all of them take place under police protection. ruhi rahman wants to contribute to the discussion by telling her story. it's her way of encouraging others to step forward. because her story has an encouraging twist. fellow passengers confronted the abusive man. and it was he who ended up leaving the train. >> i felt like god sent some angels. it felt really amazing because i've never seen that before and you never hear it. you always hear about people getting abused and you never
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hear when people are there to support these people, but i heard it this time. >> and rather than be cowed by fear, ruhi is clinging on to the hope that there are more guardian angels in newcastle. >> in our final report today we take you to france. in 1942, hitler ordered the construction of chain of fortresses along the atlantic coast as a defense against an expected allied invasion. dubbed the atlantic wall, the fortification, as we know, failed to hold back american and british forces - leaving it destined to become a mere footnote in history. that is until jean-paul lescorce, from the seaside resort of soulac-sur-mer, started digging into his past. the frenchman whose father was forced by the nazis to help build the wall, has made it his life's work to excavate those concrete structures and preserve them. >> armed with a shovel and
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buckets, jean-paul lescorce heads to the beach nearly everyday no matter what the weather. for the past sixteen years he's been clearing out world war two bunkers that were built in the dunes of soulac-sur-mer, a coastal town not far from bordeaux. he's dug out 22 so far, all part of the atlantic wall, a coastal defense system built by the nazis. >> along with the sand, i found a lot of glass shards and other trash. i cleared it all out and sorted it over here. >> after the war the bunkers were forgotten about and eventually the were covered in sand. a few were used by teenagers as a place to hang out. now they are accessible to the general public. lescorce immersed himself in the history of the atlantic wall and knows the bunkers inside out. he's now passing his knowledge
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onto fabrice, a local youth, who will eventually guide tours. >> watch your head. so what would happens if the enemy notices smoke and throws a granade down the chimney? >> it falls into a concrete box inside the wall. a concrete box outside the wall, to be precise. >> lescorce's own family history is closely tied to the bunkers. his father was forced by the nazis to work on the construction of fortifications in the area. and just after the war ended, lescorce's sister was accidently killed by a german grenade. >> the grenade was lying on grandmother's mantelpiece. nobody knows who put it there. maybe my sister thought it was a perfume bottle. she didn't realize what it was when she picked it up. i was standing behind her when the granade exploded. nothing happened to me, i was shielded by her body. but my sister was torn apart.
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>> for years lescorce couldn't talk about it. he failed at school and he became a problem child. >> it took me 40 years to come to terms with my past. i finally feel at peace. >> so do you find working on the bunkers therapeutic? >> yes, it helps. >> but some locals are uncomfortable with the project. they'd prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. lescorce's parents ran a cafe that was frequented by nazi generals. they like many locals at the time had collaborated with the germans. >> when i was a child, i considered the germans friends. not terrorists or murderers. they were very civil, very polite. 3.05
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for retired german history teacher ulrich marwedel, who now lives in soulac, this friendly coexistence during the war is at the heart of the problem. >> you mustn't forget that a lot of the french got along reasonably well with the germans during the nazi occupation. unlike like in other areas, there was no resistance in the region around soulac. it's no wonder people aren't keen to think about it. >> jean-paul lescorce is convinced that history should be told as it truly happened. even one zone. >> i want to give young people a sense of what life is like during times of war and occupation. i want to keep the memory alive. so that nothing like this will ever happen again. it's a way of working for peace.
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the defense system, which took years to construct, was overcome within a matter hours here in soulac in april 1945. from a military standpoint, the bunkers proved useless. but perhaps they have now found a purpose, 70 years on, as memorials, reminders of history. >> that's it for today. but before we go, we would like to thank those of you who reached out to us on twitter in response to our story about northern irelands peace walls. when we asked whether more walls were needed to help the people of belfast feel safer, rixmarqholdings and dickie from texas both hope that the walls come down soon. while jrtvfan wondered why the two communities couldnt look past their religion and come together. please do get in touch. we love to hear your thoughts. until next time, it's goodbye from me and the whole focus on europe team. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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