tv Consider This Al Jazeera December 17, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm EST
>> every monday, join us for exclusive... revealing... and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time... talk to al jazeera, only on al jazeera america >> the world angrily reacts to the pakistani-taliban's massacre of more than 130 schoolchildren. jed bush says he's actively exploring a run for the white house, and a religion persecuted by i.s.i.l., we hear from a woman whose plea for help gained worldwide attention. hello, i'm antonio mora, welcome to "consider this", those stories and more ahead. >> children were slaughtered in their school by the taliban. >> one of the worst attacks in taliban for years.
>> pakistan needs a strategy against all jihadi groups. >> thousands of yazidi trapped in the sinjar mountain in need of urgent humanitarian aid. >> they are cold and hungry, desperate to get off the mountain. >> plunging oil prices and economy. >> russians can't see the bottom. >> jed bush will explore a presidential run. >> people model their lives on their parents. if your parents worked in politics, you know the rest u iment we are called on to decide what we need. that. >> i know what i believe. >> flower-laden memorials by the attack. >> these two heroes were willing to lay down their lives so others might live we begin with the barbaric massacre of 133 children and nine staff members at a public
military school in the city of peshawar. survivors described how seven pakistani gunmen, some strapped with explosives stormed the school aring moving from classroom to classroom. >> they starting desperately anxious parents waited outside the school during the 8-hour onslaught while inside some of the children were forced to watch as the fire. >> when we came out, we saw in the corridors our friends had been shot three or four times, some dead, some injured. the blood had split all over the place. >> worldwide condemnation came swiftly. secretary of state john kerry described them has assassins, saying the u.s. would support the counterterrorism efforts in horror.
>> wherever you live, wherever you are, those are our children. >> 17-year-old pakistani yourself nobel prize winner urged defiance. >> we should stand up and fight against terrorism and make sure every child gets safe and quality education. >> the taliban called it a retaliation for a military offensive in tribal areas in june. the slaughter was so inconceivable the taliban in afghanistan said it went too far. joining us via skype is a former advisor to pakistan's foreign ministry. he advised the united nations, the european union and the world bank on policy issues in pakistan, afghanistan. he is a columnist for one of the
largest newspapers published in pakistan. good to have you with us. i know it's been a horrible 24 hours for you and pakistan. pakistan no stranger to terrorism. this is beyond any comprehension. children, muslim children, massacred by the extremists. i know pakistan launched air strikes against the taliban. do you think the horror will lead the government, the intelligence establishment and the military, who had their kids terrorism? >> i think this morning in islamabad, i know it's night where you are, but, you know, i think we all want to be positive, we all want to express a sense of resolve and, you know, a sense of unity in
pakistan, but we have a track record here. peshawar is not new to barbarity. there was - in september 2013 there were three attacks in one week. one that killed 120 people in the church during a church service, one that killed 40 people in the biggest market in the city, and another that killed about 20 people in a bomb explosion on a bus, taking people to work. there has been other terrorist attacks in peshawar constantly over the last decade, and peshawar has been made unlivable. parts of it, by constant terrorist attacks. there was no, you know - the sort of - i think the military coming together to conduct strikes against the terrorists is one very small part of a larger range of actions that we have to take as a
society. and not just put everything on - obviously the government, as a representative, as a tax collector has to do a bunch of things, and the military is the sharp end of those things. there's a range of other things that need to happen in our society. and we - even in the last 12 whatever it is, 28 hours, we have not seen, i think, the kind of clarity that we do see. >> i wanted to ask you about the pakistani people. i asked you about the institution, the government institution, but the people have given support to the pakistani taliban to the past. do you think then, given what you have seen in the past 24 hours, that this could be a transformative tragedy where the pakistani people reject the extremists or do you think it's too deeply rooted among muslims in what is an islamic public of. >> you call them the pakistani
taliban. we need to take back our name. per not the pakistan taliban, they are the ttp, they are located in pakistan, but there's nothing pakistani about them. they don't represent who we are, what we are about, and god willing, they have no future in the country. they are the ttp. that's what i call it. i love it if everyone sort of made that choice. because we don't want that stain on our identity. there's 200 million of us. you mentioned that, you know, some pakistanis supported the ttp in the past. i don't think that necessarily there has been explicit support. i think there has been confusion in the society, and confusion across the muslim world. since 9/11, we haven't - we haven't created a coherent narrative about the rejection within our faith of this kind of behaviour, and pakistan is one representative of a larger
problem that flakes the muslim world. so, no, we are not where we need to be. i think these kinds of attacks make the lines more clearer and i think that the vast majority of pakistanis are sickened and would like this to end. as i said... >> do you think the group is getting more powerful or is it more horribly daring. you mentioned the attacks last year. they launched a major attack on the karachi airport in june. >> i think they are getting more desperate. over the last couple of years in pakistan the government - you know, there was a whole - about a year worth of at least trying to engage in some kind of a dialogue with the taliban. it was a ridiculous notion. especially in the way that it was pursued, but what those - what that process did was it helped to split up the original
t tp into a number of factions. so i thing there's both disunity in the ranks, and there's desperation, and clearly what happened yesterday was - and we are bracing for more desperation, because the tighter they are squeezed, the more desperate they become. the larger question is how much space we heave in the discourse for that kind of thing, and my mind keeps going back to the fact that one of the major pro-taliban voices in our country, the head of the red mosque in islamabad, was on tv yesterday, merely - i mean, you know, those babies were not - they hadn't been buried, and that man was on television here, and all i have been thinking about since i got up this morning - it's about 7am here, and frankly, all i can think about is what channel he was on, and, you know, i want to find
out what channel he was on and calling the people and asking about what they were thinking. >> for a hot of us, this is about shutting down the oxygen in terms of the discourse. there can't be any more room for confusion for duplicity in our national discourse. >> well, let's hope they unite and figure out a way to fight this. because a tragedy like this is just, again, as i said, inconceivable. good of you to join us. we wish you the best. thanks. >> for more on the changes facing the talibani government and the future, we are joined by former u.s. ambassador to nato, nicholas burns. he is the coeditor of the as pin institute's policy book, america's interests in south asia. ambassador, good to have you on the show.
a reporter with the daly beast -- with the "the daily beast" spoke with a talibani commander who said it was a retaliation for killing children in large operations, launched against extremists in the tribal regions. do you think the massacre will backfire against the terrorists and lead them to combat terrorists more aggressively. >> i think today's horrendous event, the murder of the children by the pakistani taliban will rebound against the taliban, showing them for who they are, to be sin agle and brutal, uncaring for the lives of the kids. there has been shock around the world in every country, continent - from china to australia to the united states of america. i do think this is obviously a direct challenge by the pakistan taliban against the pakistani military, and i do think it's a challenge to the unity of
pakistan itself. it was good to see the prime minister, peshawar, to close ranks against this group. >> you have to hope there's unity against it. this group said the parents, children at the school, mostly military, helped america and the pakistan taliban were ready for what they called a long, long war against the u.s. puppet state of taliban. you hosted the u.s. to pakistan at harvard. have relations improved between pakistan and the u.s. because pakistan had already begun to be more aggressive against the extreme ists? >> i'd like to say the statement by the pakistan taliban is obviously perverted logic. it makes no sense.
it is never justifiable under any circumstances to kill innocent people, in this case 141 children and teachers in the the school. i think pack sedan and the united states have difficult years. my sense is that the relation-is improving, that it's strengthening on two issues. one is the need to combat the pakistan, and also, i think, that the united states wants to work closely with pakistan to consolidate the future of afghanistan. as the new government takes power in kabul. i think you might say that the worst is over in america's relationship with pakistan, and there's sympathy here in the united states for what happened today. sympathy for the civilians of pakistan, and the parents of
those kids who were brutally murdered, and obviously americans want to do what we can to help pakistan overcome the challenge of terrorism. >> even the afghan taliban condemned the attack. going back to the u.n. relations, they resumed drone strikes near the border of pakistan. back in 2011 we had the raid on osama bin laden's compound. that didn't help u.s.-pakistan relation,s. the bow bergal exchange, they apparently didn't help enough to help us free bergdahl. we here about the elements in the i.s.i. pakistani intelligence, in the government, secretly supporting terrorists who serve its interests, specially in afghanistan. do you think we are on our way to get
past the problems? >> well, one would think that today's event are a wake up call to the pakistani military in this respect. they need to fight the pakistan taliban with the same degree of determination that the afghan government has been trying to combat the taliban in afghanistan. and there's of course, as you know, a difficult conversation with the pakistanis for well over a decade. 13 years, going back to september 2001, about the frustration that the obama and bush administrations have had about the inconsistent approach by the pakistani government against terrorist groups. one would hope that the pakistani government would consolidate its efforts, based on today's event, and understand that the groups are a cancer for the people of pakistan. and you see - i have been following on twitter the debate in pakistan, you see the support of the pakistani people for
something to be done to combat this evil group that conducted today's terrorist operation. and you contrast what happened today, the actions of the pakistani taliban with the heroism and courage of malalley who received the nobel peace prize and she made a statement condemning what happened. there are millions of pakistanis who understand their country must do the right thing by combatting the >> you wrote about pakistan's historic enemy, india. do you think pakistan will see the pakistani taliban as the cancer, as the evil, as the internal enemy that it is, as the government's main foe. >> well, for too long the pakistani government tolerated the existence on its own national territory of terrorist groups that have been shooting american soldiers in afghanistan. and the afghan national army,
and, of course, we commemorated the sad anniversary of the mumbai attacks, and its lashkar-e-taiba, currently operating within pakistan itself, which has conducted cross-border attacks against the indian people. the governor of pakistan needs a more consistent and resolute policy of condemning and acting against terrorist groups of soil. >> let's hope some good comes out of this horrible day. >> good to have you with us. thank you. >> and now for more stories from around the world. we begin in london where u.s. secretary of state john kerry med with the head palestinian negotiators, and palestinian foreign affairs ministers, a day after meeting with israeli prime minister binyamin netanyahu. after what were described as
difficult talks, john kerry said the u.s. has not made a decision on the proposed u.n. security council resolutions that would set deadlines for full israeli withdrawal from the west bank in about two years. both france and jordan signalled their intent to ask the u.n. to mandate a time line for withdrawal. this comes as the european union votes wednesday on a non-binding resolution to recognise palestinian statehood. next to the suburbs of philadelphia, where the manhunt for shooting suspect bradley william stone ended. his body found in woods next to his home, appearing to have died of self-inflicted knife wounds. he is suspected of killing relatives on monday, killing six, including his ex wife next we head to australia where thousands stood in line for hours to lay flowers and leave messages at a memorial for victims of the
hostage tragedy, 38-year-old katrina dawson, and 34-year-old lindt cafe manager tori johnson was killed. >> katrina dawson was the sit terse of a prominent barristers who works for channel 7, a mother of three children... ..i'm just finding that out witnesses say katrina dawson died while shielding a pregnant friend from gun fire. >> we end to germany where 15,000 marched. it is the largest in a policy of welcoming immigrants. it is the top destination for asylum seekers who come in large afghanistan. the protest was organised from a far rite group whose names
translates against the islamisation against the west. german chancellor angela merkel condemned the marches. jed bush announces he'll explore a run for the white house. does he have the fire in the belly. a g.o.p. insider has her doubts and joins us next. russia's economy takes a turn for the worst. will it rein in vladimir putin's aggression. social media producer harmeli aregawi is in washington d.c. helping out on "the stream", but is tracking the top stories on the web. what is trending. >> a professional athlete is praised for the way he eloquently defended a decision to protest on the field. whether or not you are watching, let us know what you think. join the conversation:
the united states of the we are two years away from the presidential election, why making the move so early, and how does it shake up the race republican strategist lesley joins us. we are joined from l.a. by al jazeera political correspondent michael shure. good to have you with us. lesley, a few months ago you told us you didn't think jed bush had the fire in the belly he needed to be president. have you changed your mind? >> i think that jed bush clarified that he does have the fire, he's excited. this is not a small task. mounting a national presidential campaign is a mammoth job requiring significant resources and time, and significant energy. not only to motivate yourself, family, base, donors, and it's not something to be taken lightly. this is the first step. what noah bushnegovernor bush will s
what the support level is like, will voters be excited. can he establish him. moving forward - that's a money gain. >> it's a mammoth endeavour. we are two years from the election. clearly he felt he needed to make an announce. >> is it a move to stop the draft mitt campaign, and secure the money talked about, to get the g.o.p. donors lining up behind him? >> you make a good point. he would be getting money from the same people. the bush organization is one of the things that is appealing to people who are large donors to political campaigns on the g.o.p. side. yes, he is doing that. listen, when his brother announced his candidacy in 2000. it thinned the ranks of people. john mccain was the only viable
position, and it eliminated dan quayle who was going to use the bush money, it's putting a big foot down in the middle of a primary that has not begun by starting the exploratory committee. he'll make it difficult for people like chris christy to go out and raise money. candidate. >> from your size, as a republican, how does he shake up the republican field. chris christie would have been another establishment. a fellow and marco rubio lives a few miles from him. does that push him out? >> in a game i would say bush trumps rubio, when you talk about political prowess, ability to raise money, this would speak trouble to a less ebb known candidate from the same state. that being said, there's two things to keep in mind this
extraordinarily early, we'll have a strong slate of republican candidates economic, conservative, constitutional conservative, throwing their hat in. more moderate voices like with jed bush and governor christy, it will shake out. you may see the dark horse candidate. it will make it a vibrant race. the point of this part of the primary, this used to be invisible primary was about money and grassroots, is to see who was the lasts power to be prepared and tested to go forward against the democratic nominee. that's what it's about. it puts a big foot imprint on the race. >> michael lesley brings up the issue of the conservatives and democratic party. jed bush said to win the general election, the nominee will have to be willing to lose the
primary, implying that a republican can't win, pandering to the conservative base. a lot of republicans think he's too moderate because of his support of common core and reform. >> if chris christie runs, i think you'll see chris christie paint jed bush as more conservative than, you know, the fact that he is moderate on immigration for that party. i do think that they are going to start painting him within the party as moderate. the departments will find that they are going to paint him as conservative. it becomes a little complicated. we said the same things about mitt romney, when he was running. there's no way to make it through the conservative primaries in south carolina, gormia in the south. he did. republicans seem to have come around a little bit to say let's pick the guy that can win and the woman that can win, rather than the person that is with us in the primaries, south carolina
is a challenge for jed bush, he will be there this weekend, let's see what's. >> bush was a populist governor of a purple state, strong latino support, something that the g.o.p. lacked in the last two presidential elections, he speaks spanish, his wife is mexican american - will that help to take away latino votes from the democrats in the general election, how big a deal with will that be. >> what is interesting about 2016 is latino vote will be front and center. not only in terms of the candidate's appeal. george w. bush is an example. it's a diversified state. culturally and demographically and economically. it's an important state in the south-east kind of quadrant. there's a lot of interesting things happening when you come from florida. jed bush can use those to his advantage. regardless of that, you'll see and hear a lot about susanna
martinez, the governor of new mexico. ted cruz, his second, george pae bush, land commissioner in texas that can help to mobilize, with his uncle george w. bush texas, which is a red state. a lot of interesting dynamics. ethnicity and spanish and latino vote will be front and center. >> what about the democrats and the reaction to bush running, given he was a popular governor in a state where if the republicans don't win, they election. >> he was a popular governor. calling him a centerist government is something that people have to be cautious about it. his record will come out probably as being something more conservative. compared to some running it is centerist. it's not typically centerist. what it is doing, what could happen in the primary, if his record of immigration is a
problem, the democrats will be able to capitalize on that. there'll be a lot of fighting and republicans saying that he's too loose on immigration. if that's how the republican is painted. it will be difficult for the party. it helps hillary clinton, if there was client fatigue as there was in 2008, if the people wanted something different and got president obama, this time there's bush fatigue, fatigue v fatigue. that helps clinton should he get the nomination. >> another bush-clinton race is not inconceivable the russian economy is imploding with fore bad day for the russian ruble. despite a move for the bank to defend its currency by hugery raising interest rates from 10.5 to 17%, it continued its free fall. it left 50% of its value. with oil prices plummeting the
russian economy is in a tail spin. the white house announced the president would sign a bipartisan bill authorising new sanctions on russia and support to the ukraine. it's a bad week for vladimir putin, and it's tuesday. we are joined here, by a fellow at the new school, a member of the council on foreign relations, her latest book is: nina, good to see you, the "new york times" put it somewhat poetically, saying a sense of economic chaos has settled or had settled over the russian capital by tuesday afternoon. we have a collapsing currency, high interest rates by an economy that it needs to balance out of. are we nearing a panic in russia? >> we are not nearing
aic, it makes people panic who are not russians. russians do not necessarily panic. vladimir putin has been preparing them, that the west is out to get us, it's the west's fault. they are not panicking. they are not trusting anything. they've been seeing stories, and it remind me of the 1998 when russia had economic collapse na that is the same thing. rubble was devaluing. you will not by anything down the line, you may i'm vest in
something more tangible. post of it is plummeting oil prices. one analyst says russia doesn't so much have an economy as an oil exporting business that subsidizes everything else. could we be seeing history repeat itself, because the soviet union fell greatly because its economy imploded to some extent because of oil prices in the 1880s. >> it's been an oil link for a long time and vladimir putin has been warned that he needs to diversify the economy, and doesn't need to steel anything, and gaol them and have the oil fields run by the kremlin: he doesn't listen. there's a conversation that they diversify, and russia becomes the producer of its own soft kind of leisure goods. vladimir putin is in big trouble. it's something that we talked about.
the sanctions are not working, but they are working. and the question, of course, is what is vladimir putin going to go next: whether he goes with bonds or valla. >> they are extremes. you said the times could make vladimir putin more inclined to deal with ballet and make him more appliable or could it make him more aggressive? >> it could go either way. that is what diplomacy is about. the other sides need to be crafty and careful. they probably can make it work for vladimir putin. if president obama picks up the phone, picks up the phone and says "look, we have to figure it out. you are not - you are not in a viable situation right now. he may be able to listen. >> are the sanctions coming at a bad time. is it a bad move to sign new sanctions when you kick him
while he's done? >> i think it is a good move. i'm all for sanctions. but it is also, in some ways a diplomatic or political tool. sanctions are needed when they are - they can do most good, but now i think they are going to be a little overkill. when you overkill a russian, or overkill a former kgb as vladimir putin, it can go badly, and we have ukraine, moldova in valuable places. >> when you bring up bombs, sergey lavrov, the foreign minister said they may put nuclear weapons into crimea. >> exactly. that's a warning. that crimea is no longe denuclearized zone. it could be a nuclear power. do we want nuclear weapons right there in the backyard of ukraine, of europe, but also
close to the black sea. there are other products. people should take that - politicians should take it into consideration. >> it's a significant economy. if it does collapse, and russia gults. there could be international consequences. an important story. we'll keep watching it. thanks for coming in. >> time to see what is trending on al jazeera's website. let's go back to washington d.c. aregawi. >> a cleveland browns player is getting love for the way he defended his decision to protest on the field. andrew hawkins wore a t-shirt that said "justice for tamir rice and eric garner" both ohio residents killed by police, crawford was 22, rice 12. the president responded to the move saying "it's pathetic when athletes think they know the law. the browns organization defended it.
they are getting support online. >> a call for justice shouldn't offend or disrespect anybody. a call for justice shouldn't warrant an apology. my wearing the t-shirt wasn't a staps against every -- stance against every police officer or police department. my wearing the shirt is against wrong individuals doing the people. >> the 28-year-old got emotional when he explained why his 2-year-old son was a big silent. >> the number one reason for me wearing the t-shirt was the thought of what happened to tamir rice happening to my little austin. me. >> you can listen to the nearly 6 minute speech on cleveland.com
and let us know what you think. hawkins says it's okay if people don't agree with him, but he do. >> he's passionate about his message. ahead - congress tackles a threat posed by i.s.i.l. in other religions. the iraqi parliament representative from the yazidi community joins us. we head to sacred places to see how pilgrimages look at faith. >> and we say a lot about how much america has in common with the rest of the world. we explain in the data dive. >> a deal went against they're own government >> egypt mismanaged it's gas industry >> taking the country to the brink of economic ruin >> this is because of a corrupt deal to an assigned to basically support two dodgy businessmen an israeli one, and an egyptian one... >> al jazeera exposes those who made a fortune betraying an entire nation
>> television icon norman lear >> we hoped we were delivering real characters... >> creator of "all in the family" "the jeffersons" and "good times" talks race, comedy and american culture today... >> you're taking me to a place in this interview, i haven't been before... >> i told you this would be your best interview >> ...and it is... it's the current one... >> every monday, join us for exclusive... revealing... and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time... talk to al jazeera, only on al jazeera america iraq's government says it's taking the fight to i.s.i.s., and captured a town north of baghdad. whatever success iraq has had has not touched the yazidi, an ancient group persecuted by i.s.i.l.
hundreds of thousands suffer in iraqi kurdistan. there's no chance they can return to the home i.s.i.s. took over, killing men and selling girls and women as slaves. my next guest gained international attention when she made a moving plea for help as the terrible events unfolded. >> translation: we are being slaughtered under the banner of there is no god but allah. 500 yazidi men have been slaughtered. our women have been taken as slaves and sold into slavery. please, brothers. >> for more i am joined by the only yazidi member of iraq's parliament. she sustained injuries when an aid helicopter crashed last august whilst delivering supplies to yazidi refugees besieged by i.s.i.l. she's in the u.s. to try to get congress and the white house to do more to help the yazidi.
it's good to have you with us. i know you are struggling from your accident with the helicopter. you are walking with a cane. >> yes. >> it's a terrible accident, i know you were there to help many people, and now you are here in the united states to try and also get help for your people. >> yes. >> you met with u.s. ambassador to the united nations, samantha power today. >> yes. >> what help do you hope to get? >> thank you for this interview. yes. i was meeting with samantha power today, morning, and we are speaking about many things, especially how can we unite to help the iraqi people, specially the yazidi people. i think it's a good news to maybe samantha or the united
people. now? >> we need two kinds of help now - humanitarian aid, and more military support. >> how bad is the situation for the yazidi women - i know you have spoken to some who are still left behind. the reports are horrible of how they've been treated by i.s.i.l. >> yes. actually, there are 5,000 girls, women, kidnapped by i.s.i.s. even now nobody do anything for those girls. and there - the situation - it's a very, very bad with those women and girls and children. >> and there are thousands more
yazidi who are still stuck on mount sinjar. >> yes. nearly 1,200 families, about 6,000, 7,000 people. >> how are they living there in the winter time? >> i don't know, really because it's the winter, cold weather without food, tent, blanket, without anything. only 20 person of that, aid needed before now. >> it's incredible that anyone is surviving. we have half a million yazidi living as refugees, how are they doing? >> when we spoke about the situation of the
refugee now in the kurdistan situation, we have a camp, it's a bad camp. not fireproof or waterproof. the tents - it's on the mud. and maybe can i show you some pictures today or tonight, the situation of those refugees. in the camps, it is very, very bad. this is one thing. another thing, the foods and waters and other its, very little. it's not enough for those. another thing, it's important. health care. they have known about health care for children, women. >> terrible conditions.
>> do you feel like after the rescue on mt sinjar, that the world has forgotten the yazidi? >> i think maybe not all the people hearing about the yazidi before this issue. i think a little people hearing about what the yazidi or where they are living. after this i.s.i.s. attack most of the people in the world. hear about the yazidi. i think when we go back to the home, it's a complex issue, because our problem is not only
with i.s.i.s., that group of i.s.i.s. are coming from outside iraq. it is a small group. 200 or 300. the big problem or issue is that those villages, arab villages. arab sunni villages sounding the sin ya is helping i.s.i.s. to attack. the problem is with the neighbour and our friend. this is the big prop. how can we go back to live in sinjar with the neighbours. because you used to live in towns, and those sunnis helped i.s.i.l., that's a problem and you have that in the future as to where yazidi lie, and i wish you the best in your efforts. it's a horrible trend that has fawn upon your people, and i hope that something is done to help you. >> thank you. >> thank you.
next. we goo google said today's data dive look at the top searches. robin williams was first, world cup second, ebola third, and malaysia airlines fourth because of two tragedies, the top four search terms were the same in the u.s. and around the world. flappy bird, a highly addictive game was fifth of the the ice bucket challenge, i.s.i.s. and ferguson followed. and then it was this. song
[ singing ] "frozen" became popular, and the song made it the ninth most search term, "let it go." eight of which are identical, almost in the same order. >> the only difference, america was more concerned in fighting in ukraine and the world in sochi olympics, and a unique talent. [ singing ] >> that's conchita, a bearded transgender winner of the euro vision contest. the most searched for living celebrity - jennifer lawrence. coming up, holiest sites in the world and their pilgrims.
journeys to nigeria, india and japan. it follows american wounded warriors on an annual pilgrimage to the catholic shrine in france. there, staff sergeant who had peace. >> the post beautiful experience that i had while here was when we went to the grotto. every year more than 350,000 pilgrims take part in this ritual of bathing and renewal. >> they put me inside the water. as soon as they placed that water over my head, i felt a sense of relief. i don't know how to explain that, but it's incredible. that changed me completely. >> for more on the remarkable journeys, i'll joined by pbs director bruce. his documentary "sacred journey"
was shown online. >> you said organised religion was threatened at the statement we are seeing all these people. a greater number, 200 million every year. why that is a contradiction? >> i think it is a correlation for many centuries, our religion was handed to us. where we lived and married was handed to us. now there's a role. religious identity is more fluid. half of americans will change faith in the course of their lives, four in 10 are interfaith marriage. you get up off the sofa and go on a journey and decide for believe. >> what were the americans whom you followed to these places doing. were they going there to express their faith or going to find it? >> the answer is yes. they are doing all sorts of things. i wept on six pilgrims.
india, mecca, and you see in general. people in moments of transition. graduating from school. losing a parent, a job. you see people going through divorce and retiring and it's in those moments of transition that people open themselves up to something higher. some people are going to walk in the footsteps and have that sort of experience. others were not. we have a couple whom we met who graduated from medical school and japan, and the 750 mile buddhist track. they say we are people of science, of faith. >> moth heard from jerusalem, and mecca. we went to japan, nigeria and india. the biggest of all, 100 million in 50 days. >> that is a spectacular event. to me the one in nigeria was the most eye opening. >> that's the one i had never heard of. >> most of the slaves that came to the united states were taken from the one part of west
africa, and a lot of traditions lied under the conditions. now you have african-americans going back to reclaim their cultural identity. as one priest says to us, we us. >> if you go back history, were it not for the faint of heart. you had to go as rough. people had to beg for food on the way to get these places. that changed and there are those that complained there has been a disney efficacious, and we know that the mecca has some hotels, and most expensive in the world. has that changed the experience for pilgrims. >> if you saw the night before the big festival. you wouldn't have thought the food was that good. suffering is part of this. in mecca, you may be buying your way into a fancy hotel room, it's rigorous and demanding.
some by foot. combinations are not always great, people are not always generous. that's part of it. if you looking at the tradition in all of them, it's in moments of dislocation that the breakthrough come. that's why people in dislocation times in their lives want to go. when we are fat and happy and comfortable. who needs this. it's when we need it that we are lives. >> you made a 10,000 mile pilgrimage of your open. this is for the best seller walking the bible. going to biblical sites. it became a pbs series. you travelled for a long time, and wrote na at one point in your journey: now, you are jewish, this time that you went to all the other sites, did you - for other religions, did you feel any
moment? >> in my life as a traveller i thought of myself as a bungee, i would pop out and come back. being in the middle east, the first time it caught i realised that these places were connected to me. what i had seen, is that there are special places. right, somehow the universe opens in some way, and we are attracted to that. what i have taken from the pilgrims is a sense that we don't have to sit back and accept what the institution or those people on the high mountain tell us, we each, in a way decide for ourselves what we believe. there's only one way to do do. >> i am sure your series will lead to a better understanding. "sacred journeys"ing can be seen at pbs or online. >> that's all. we are on facebook, twitter, you
can tweet me @amoratv. see you next time. hello, everybody, and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm david. for the last 15 years the u.s. has had a policy of isolation towards cuba, today the president will announce a major change. and talk about the release of alan gross who has been held prisoner in cuba for the past five years. let's start with mike viqueira. >> this is extraordinary even