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tv   Talk to Al Jazeera  Al Jazeera  January 1, 2015 2:30pm-3:01pm EST

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former commissioner. >> while many objects languish here for years some are sold at auction the sales are raised $12 million for charities and social projects still you have to wonder. >> a lot more on the website, the al today ray like back at 2014. >> i was not a ham. i am ham and cheese serve odds a platter. i was ridiculous. in the last year, you have heard from icons pool is a makers and people creating national debates. the war on drugs has done more than anything we can think of. those at the frontlines for the battle of marriage equality. >> and it was the pop began at
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that filled with lies and misrepresentations of on pure our community. before prop 8 pass. and the people shaping our popular culture. >> who will be the king and determine the poll says. we start the shows with thoughts from a renowned musician. >> i was watching you deliver a ted talk. you talked about an incidents when you were a child and you really you enjoyed trees and bushes and foliage but then you were taken there against your will. >> yeah, i was bullied by a group of kids. i don't know, i can't remember how old i was, probably seven, eight, something like this. and they took all of my clothes off and mucked around and i was -- these were people that i thought were my friends. so it was shocking on a number of ways, you know, it wasn't too bad of a school. it was a school i went to later which was worse. but it was still a dramatic events for me.
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when i try sit with people who have been tortured or watch their loved ones blow up, you know, i don't have anything in my experience, really to compare to that. but i have got just, you know, a little hint of something when the world isn't what you pictures it and it's not going for you. >> and it was a combination of the world not what you expected it to be, and some shame and some sense that people won't maybe believe it. >> yeah. i guess. and i think that was one of the things that astounded me with human rights world when i first encountered it. was that it was for people would horrible experiences to deny burr and i forgotten. those got away with an enormous amount and it seems there was a fantastic opportunity with new technology coming, particularly
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cameras, of getting evidence and making sure some justice was achieved. you were on twitter talking about philip seymour hoffman's death and your perspective of drug laws and his death. >> all i said is if he were alive today would he go jail or rehab. and i said end the war of drugs, the war a strugz has dunmore to detroit the fabric of the black community than anything we can think of . not the effects of jim craw or slavely. it's the war on drugs taking innocent deceased people locking them up and dumped them back in the hood with no hope. that became jail culture for the hood. not for the school. not for the prison, prison has it, you learn, you are educated in how to do things that you never would have done just by
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white and blacks don't they use and sell drugs at the same rate. you can't have the rock fella drug laws, when we were ending those laws, 94% of the people were black and brain incarcerated under the rockefeller drug laws in a state that was not 94% black and brown, we incarcerate more people than anybody in the world you know, that america. responsibilities i believe for locking its own up. and creating criminals and the cycle of criminal natural in our communities because of this process. michael sam, number 52. just came out of the closet right before the draft and it sort of started a little firestorm i think it's fair to say. you have been very focal in game rights. tell me why, and then tell me a bills about what you think about this young guy? >> people are suffering. people are -- people need to wake up consciousness in, and it's always the same thing right? you have a voice, sergeis should get the rights that we all are -- the rights that we want for ourselves and the rights that we could give to others.
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the respect that we demands for ourselves, we should give to others. that's a simple mantra, i try to live by. so i want to be able to get married again . not now. [ laughter ] >> let's hear what news you are making for me. go ahead. >> i want to get married again people should have the right to get married. was there a moment or a series of moments where you realized that you were not just disappointed pimas a lot of people were in california after prop 8. but ready to join the fight, ready to put the bit in our teeth and actually take this to court . >> proposition eight hurt, it hurt before it passed. the propaganda took a shift and the shift was to utilize this idea that children would be harmed.
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that the institution of marriage would be harmed. that heterosexual couples would no longer get married if you were to allow marriage equality. and it was the propaganda that was filled with lies and misrepresentations of our community, who we are, what our love represents that really lit the fire to us before prop eight passed. because we thought this cannot happen in california. but we saw the tactics of it. we saw the attack ads against us. and our community and then prop 8 passes and it was really devastating. and we -- we just stood up. we literally just at one point stood up and said this is enough. we can't go door to door and lobby our neighbors for our rights any longer. we wants knock on the door and say please read the contusion because it applies to me as well. we had to stand up and say the law is black and white. we are going to lean on the law. the abuse in the early years was really striking.
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abuse from your family, abuse from some of the nuns in the convents that you were sent too fast a toddler, you remember three years old. did it feel sometimes like everyone that was supposed to be taking care of you was hurting you? >> no. there were certain people that were supposed to be taking care of me that were hurting me. but as a child, i just -- everything was very clear to me. it was confusing at first who is my mother, who is my aunt, why am i here? who are these people with the funny scarfs on their heads? >> the nuns. >> the nuns. you know, but once i started to assess the situation, you know i was like, okay, so there weren't all -- it wasn't a place where everyone that works there, all the none nuns, all the priests, all the counselors were bad and abusive. there were a hounds. of them. but there were some really great wonderful people. so i didn't view life like that.
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plus i still had my aunt in my life and my cuts ends in my life who i thought were my sisters who a call in the book my sus inning cousin sister. i think those three years with my aunt helped me understand that there is good love out there. and i was loved. and i was told i was special. >> and those times with your aunt are the real bright spots in the story of your childhood. >> yes. >> but then there are the times with sister renata. and there was one day where she slams your head repeatedly against a locker. and you call her evil incarnate. >> yes. >> in the book. was she just a prototypical strict nun at a convents or was she really as sadistic as she seems to be? >> i think she was a little bit more sadistic than the standard
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strict nun. she went overboard. >> was there one particular incidents besides the locker incidents that stood out to you that would exceptbly identify tifywhat it was like income that convents. >> one time me and the girl i call crazy cindy we were in trouble so we had to clean the entire bathroom at six years old. what i mean the entire bathroom, it's a bathroom in a home no children . there were six sinks and three bathroom stalls and three to four shower stalls and then the entire floor so we were there for a good part of the day. and cindy had gotten the cough syrup. we found cough syrup and back then it was mostly alcohol and we gotten tipsy and turned on the radio in the bathroom that we weren't supposed to turn on and we were doing -- i was diana ross she was the supremes then i was david ruffin and she was the
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december takes and then i was -- i was the pips and they took gladys knight. and by that time sister renata comes no and starts screaming and yelling at us and tells us to hold out our hands and we did and she proceed today whack them. and then told us to turn them over and whack them again. and to the point where it was cracking and there was blood and the stinging and it was so hard. and terrible the pain. and then she had the goal to say, now go -- goll to say go back and finish cleaning and i said with what, our feet. and it was crack. she just smacked me across the face and backhanded and it was and it was three or four slappings, so it was adding insult to injury. and then we had to go and clean the bathroom. and the girl, crazy cindy, started cursing. and sister renata thought it was me, so i had bloody hands, they
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are stinging, i am trying to not touch the soap because it's burning. and she takes the soap out of my hands and sticks it in to my mouth. tells me i have a potty mouth. >> and you were six? >> i was six. and but was -- part of my personality is i couldn't stop laughing because while she's shoving it in my mouth, i am is noting and there is bubbles coming out of my nose so i couldn't stop laughing so like you know, and i told this woman -- i drove this woman crazy. i drove her craze. >> i everybody at six you always had a comeback? >> right there. i was always. the timing was em impeccable. >> and you were always a ham? >> no, i was not a ham, i was ham and cheese served on a platter. i was ridiculous. you are watching "talk to al jazerra." still ahead on the program she's famous for her trail blazing work with chimpanzees, jane goodall talks about her passion that started decades ago. >> when i was a tiny little girl
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to go and study animals animals in africa because i fell in on love with tarzan and sill iman married the wrong jane. primetime news. >> welcome to al jazeera america. >> stories that impact the world, affect the nation and touch your life. >> i'm back. i'm not going anywhere this time. >> only on al jazeera america.
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al jazeera america gives you the total news experience anytime, anywhere. more on every screen. digital, mobile, social. visit follow @ajam on twitter. and like aljazeera america on facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue. al jazeera america. >> sunday night. >> 140 world leaders will take
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the podium. >> get the full story. >> there is real disunity in the security council. >> about issues that impact your world. >> infectious diseases are a major threat to health. >> "the week ahead". sunday 8:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. i am stephanie sy and irrelevant watching a special edition of "talk to al jazerra" featuring the best of the interviews last year. environmental loyal robert f. kennedy, jr. and celebrated conductor. but first a woman well known for her work with chimpanzees. >> what's the most interesting thing that oven learned about chimpanzees over the years? >> how like us they are, or how like them we are. and i think the most shocking, but very fascinating thing is when i realized that like us they have a dark side. and that made them sadly seem more like us than i had thought before. but they are capable of violence, brutality and, a kind of primitive war.
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>> can you take me back to the beginning. you were secretary an those pollses lewis leaky, that's where your got your start right? >> that's where it started. >> how did that happen? >> when i was a tiny little girl i wanted to study animals in africa because i fell in love with tarzan, and sill iman fell in lover with the wrong jane and i was jealous with her, but i decided i want to go to africa and write books about them and everybody laughed except my amazing mother who said if you want something you have to work hard and take advantage of opportunity and you'll get there in the end. so i got invited by school friend, saved up my money, working as a waitress, got out to african. heard about lewis, went to see him at the museum, i wasn't asking for a job, but he took me around anded and me hundreds of questions and because i had got on learning about africa and animals and spent hours in the
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natural history knew see numb london, i could answer many of his questions. and he just offered me a job as his secretary. you are very passionate about the environment. where does this passion come from? when it did it start? >> i always knew i would be an environmental advocate from when i was very young. in fact, when i was eight years olds i wrote a letter to my uncle, president kennedy who was then in the white house asking him to talk to him about pollution issues. and i always saw pollution as theft. and i always thought, you know why should somebody be able to pollute the air, which belongs to all of us. or destroy a river or a waterway. which is supposed to belong to the whole community. the issues are all i want duaned with democracy. >> reporter: it's still a lock for an eight-year-old to sort of grasp. first of all what did your you
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unclerespond. >> i wrote that because there were streets on k street that were bell wering this very thick smoke when we went to church on sunday it would blacken our shirts. and then a stream that i played in when i was a little boy was called him run a tributary the potomac got buried by developers the animals the cray fish and mud puppies and an owls nest up there and it was all destroyed. so i wrote him a letter and said i wanted to write a book about pollution. he invited me to the white house. and i had a meeting with him in the oval office and i had pictures of myself in my shorty shorts. >> and you were eight years old. >> i was eight and i brought him a solomon der that i caught the night before but it had been killed by chlorine in the without their i brought him. so we spent a lot of
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that meeting talking about the salamander and he said it didn't look well and i said no, he was just sleeping and afterwards we released him in the rose garden fountains. i said i want today do a book on pollution and he arranged for me to meet with second the interior one of the great environmentalists in our nation's history and also rachel carson she launched the modern environmental movement in our country. israeli is also a special i suppose sensitivity because many holocaust survivors recoil at the idea of playing volunteering gner whichwas a fave rift nazis. you tried with good intention to his get the israeli philharmonic to play it, it didn't work out. will you try again? >> we will. but we have to have patience, i hope it happens in my lifetime. i hope.
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but there are still quite a few people with tattooed numbers on their arms. they are revered saints in israel. we have to respect them. and it's not that they hate the music of wagner, but music transports them back to the time of terror and we want to avoid that. >> is there one moment in your career that stands out as being the most awe struck with something that is in front of you or something that you witnessed? >> well, i am a musician as i said. it's the music that makes me awe struck. it's the interpretation of some of my colleagues. but if you talk about an occasion, this orchestra has had many occasions which go down in their history as being very vitally significant. first time we played in berlin after the war. 1971. and germans were really with tears in their eyes, especially
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at the end of the concert when we played the israeli anthem. >> and what was that like for you and for members of the orchestra? >> well, i was, i am neither jewish nor israeli nor german. i was proud and honored to be part of this. daniel was our soloist in that concert and it was location that nobody will forget. another occasion was in 1982, we went across the border in to lebanon in those days there was this war between the southern lebanese army and the north and fatah, et cetera, and the israelis had erected a good fence with doctors were treating wounded lebanese. they are doing it that now with syrians also, israeli doctors are helping out on the boarder and we went across the board never to southern lebanon in to
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a tobacco field with the help of the israeli border police, we erected a stage and a sun shade for the okay that and played a concert with only southern lebanese came to this concerts . and after the concert we rushed to the stage they climbed on the stage and they were hugging the musicians, this is the lebanon and israel i would like to see today. unfortunately, then in 1983, came the israeli invasion of lebanon for which the southern lebanese were very grateful in the beginning. i think the israelis stayed too long. and the same southern lebanese turned to be the first suicide bombers. if you can imagine. this is how history turns. after 9/11 did david recommend anything and you to do a recover? >> when francois and i got back
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from ground zero with our daughter in toe. >> you lived around ground zero. >> i lived 10 blocks north. and my daughter had started going to school right in the eye of the storm . we saw the plane go in to the building and went running downtown and managed to extricate our doubter and started walking up the highway just as another tower fell . so as soon as we were back in any kind of phone contact there was a message for francois saying get up here, we are putting out a special issue. at that point i didn't know what to do. after we get settled i began to figure out what a cover might be. somewhere between francois' and me we conjured up that black on black cover in the course of five or six days. the cover was black on black cover that looked pretty much just blank until you saw it in in a certain light then you could see the phantom limb of
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the ghost of the towers that had fallen, the only clue is the pierced part of the lowering will he in the new yorker. that was the cover. >> what doesn't to say with that? >> was there anything that you were trying to say. >> in a moment where most any imagery would be too much, it seemed like pulling back toward minute alism was a good idea. to say what needed to be said which was what i just described as the phantom limb. like i go from my house to my studio which was two blocks further north i heap to keep turning around to make sure the towers were still not there. they seemed like they would still be there. it's not like i had a lot of affection of for them as architecture, i don't especially love my nose but i don't want anybody poeing their fist in to it. so there was that . the only thing that could be said was the not understanding
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the way reality was now reconfigured. always implicit in this thing that would flash in to certain lights being manifest. otherwise it was just a total blackness, so that seemed appropriate to the spirit and mood of what was happening in new york in the week following september 11th. stay with us, next on the show, george r.r. martin who wrote "game of throwns." >> why couldn't i have been five kingdoms, five kingdoms would have been a lot. >> from stage to screen oscar nominated actor ethan hawk >> the theatre has always bee my first love... >> separating art & politics >> if you have an agenda with people... you sometimes don't see the truth >> and the lifelong influence of his mother >> she was worried i was gonna be a spoiled brat and not see how complicated the world was >> 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
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this week we are remembering some of your favorite interviews from 2014.
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and we close the show with a man whose imagination has captivated millions. >> the series takes place in an imaginary world. there is a struggle for control of the kingdom. this war is essential i one of three main plot lines there the the other plot lines involving another superhuman characters and then the exiled doubter who seeks the return of her ancient thrown. why those three main plot lines? >> well, of course the two outlying ones, the things that are going north at the wall and the other can't next with her dragons are of course the ice and fire of the title, "a song of ice and fire." the central stuff, the stuff that's happening in the middle in kings landing, the capital of the seven kingdoms, is much more based on historical events, historical fiction, loosely drawn from the wars of the roses and some of other conflicts
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around the 100 years war, of course with a fantasy twist. you know, one of the dynamics i started with there was the sense of people being so consumed by their petty struggles for power within the seven kingdoms within king's landing who will be king, who will be on the small council, who will determine the policies, that they are blind to the much greater threats happening far way on the periphery of their kingdoms. and, of course, you can see that all through history. it's a common dynamic that takes place in history. you know, the greek city states before the birth of christ, you know, fighting with each other squabbling with each other even as philip of mass down built up his armies to conquer all.
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you see it in modern times, the political struggles in france under the third republic while the nazi threat is rising but the french politicians would almost rather befriend the nazis than each other. maybe there are lessons for modern day too. who knows. we have things going on right now like climate change that's you know, ultimately a threat to the entire world, but people using it as a political football instead of, you know, you think everybody would get together this is something that could wipeout possibly the human race. i want today do an analog not specifically to the modern-day thing but as a general thing with the structure of the book. >> what's so different about your literary work is you started off with nine different sort of characters and point of view, and then you expanded that to 35. how do you do that? >> yeah. there are days that i wonder if i bit of more than i can chew where i sit around and telling myself did it really have to be
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seven kingdoms, why couldn't i have been five kingdoms that would have been a lot. having thrown the ball in the air i feel compelled to keep on juggling them.