tv Focus on Europe PBS November 22, 2014 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
>> welcome to focus on europe. the personal stories behind the headlines. thanks very much for joining us. today we'll meet someone who single handedly help bring down the berlin wall 25 years ago. also on the program, norway's women guarding the border to russia. archeologieses guarding ancient treasures and cat lonia's movement guarding the right to smoke. over the last two weeks dozens of russian fighter jets and bombers have been cited near
nato's european air space and there are concerns in the west that this might be saber rattling from the kremlin particularly since last week's unrecognized elections have deepnd the divisions between the pro russian rebels there and pro european ukrainions. so all along the border to russia europeans are increasingly watchful including in norway where female soldiers are doing their bet to protect their country. >> russian long-range bombers stationed near the norweigian border are causing concern these days. no one knows the purpose of their mission. it's been early quiet for months in the far north on the shores of the barren sea. some say it's like the calm before the storm. the northern most nato observation post is located on a mountain. russia is on the other side. this is the start of a border that ends thousands of
kilometers to the south in turkey. not far away alisa is looking east. she's sitting in a remote watch tower. the private is a norweigian army volunteer. the border runs straight through the lake. and despite the tense situation, occasionally someone strays on to the wrong side especially in summer. >> then there's lots going on here. local fishermen, transporting stuff on the water, boats filled with vacationers. then in winter it freezes and there's a road for snowballs. we have to watch out to no one gets lost. >> she is one of four soldiers who is doing a two-week shift. despite the stress they keep to their routines. men and women have worked side by side for years because norway's army is short of personnel they will be implementing compulsory service for women too next year. >> i've never really heard
stupid macho comments here. and if i did i would have a good combat ready. everyone has to empty the dish washer. everyone has to pitch in. >> they're accustomed to being this close to the border. right now they have no contact with the russian troops on the other side. >> i'm more i want rested in russia now. before it was far awafmente now i can see it. if we don't have any contact i think the culture is exciting. >> it's time to get up here at the barracks of the border battalion. four conscripts and two soldier live together here in one room. it's everyday norweigian army life. the pinups don't seem to bother anyone. it's early in the morning and not everyone is quite awake yet. catrina says it's just fine that there will soon be more women in the barracks. she says mixed gender teams work better even in the army.
>> everyone should do military service. you learn discipline and new routines to get up early and keep your act together. >> catrina is a military police officer. she and her colleagues monitor army vehicles to see whether they have the right documents. she also keeps track of civilians who are moving around in the military security zone on the russian frontier. >> my no problems really. we're respected. we have weeks in town and sometimes the soldiers get drunk. then they tend to say stupid things. but we know what to take seriously and what not. >> the norweigian border troops used to meet regularly with heir russian counterparts, for example, to play soccer. but since the crisis in ukraine they don't have these
get-togethers any more. the military command has ordrd contact kept to a minimum. many soldiers regret that. so the russian town on the other side of the border may as well be hundreds of miles away. even though the norwegians can see commimnis and apartment blocks from their post -- chimneys. >> after guard duty in the tower, she goes on patrol with a group of soldiers. they head to the border to the lake. she says this is the best part of the job. except in winter when they have to do survival training in the ice cold water. >> it's a real kick for me. i like the cold water especially after a sauna. but here it's about survival training. we've got to get out of the water ao dry clothes right away. >> the soldiers start a fire to show the people on the other side of the border that they're in position. but they don't know if anyone
actually sees the flames. nato demonstrates its presence as well. at an altitude of 10 thouks meters when the russians are on the move in international air space nato jets scramble to find out what's going on. >> in bulgaria the fight is on to protect the country's heritage. and bulgaria has ark logical sites to rival greece and rome because they fought for control of the strategically important crossroads between europe and asia. but today the country is struggling with poverty. so local villagers often plunder these sites and sell anything they can find. the criminal gangs are protchting from this illegal trade. to find out more our reporters went out on a dig with an archeologist who is on the trail of too many raiders. -- toom raiders. >> in southeast bulgaria is one
of archeology's most important excavation sites and a favor of pluppeders. countless art facts lie on the soil. arkologists are working with a team of villagers helping with the dig. here on the mountains the excavation season is short but he's also hurrying to beat the illegal competition. >> state controlled excavations are the only way to prevent these unauthorized digs. >> well into the 15th century local residents buried their dead in sar cough guy. the team has just discovered another grave number 158. >> you can see that this was a christian burial because the arms are crossed over the chest. >> a young woman from the 13th century. in another open pit the metal
detector signals another find. this time it's a coin. venetion also from the 13th century. >> this is quality silver. this is hard currency. the way the euro is said. we see a lot of venetion coins. >> these are what the toom raiders are after. >> archeologists have been working for years for the state to take action against illegal digs to no avail. >> sometimes it seems like half of all bulgarians have a metal detector and no one is bothering to keep tabs with what people are doing with them. >> following a tip we head for a site about 1200 kilometers west of the city. this strip is head to the remains of an ancient basillca.
that's where we see the evidence. alongside the antique columns and broken rocks, these are freshly excavated pits. this is what's e left after illegal raiders have done their work. next there are broken bits of bone and a skull. >> we count about a dozen open pits. some are weeks old, others were dug only hours ago. ancient roman sark gus has been destroyed. with the hidden camera we drive to the nearby village and work with people who took part in the illegal dig. >> toom raiders? no. all i've seen are a few construction workers. >> there people from northern bulgaria and schuman and places like that. >> in reality, though, it's usually local villagers who plunder the sites and sell
their finds to organized gangs. the art facts continue onward to middlemen mainly to auststra and germany. there's little danger of being caught. unlike neighboring greece bulgaria does not have a special unit devoted to cracking down on this trade. >> what we need is a specialized police unit staffed with experts who can do real effective work. >> so far though an unsavory lobby made up of dealers and politicians has prevented the establishment of a force. the small number of art facts that are recovered end up here. >> right now we have about 60,000 objects. most of them have been returned to us from abroad. >> when it comes to priceless art facts bulgaria reliss on
forces instead of battling the problem here at home at its root. but even when art facts do find their way back to bulgaria their context is forever lost. >> even if we recover them we don't know where they were originally found. so our understanding of the history is gone. >> for archeologists, this is a national tragedy. he will still be able to recover some of the secrets but the historicle legacy from hundreds of other sites is probably lost forever. >> but now back here to germany where sunday sees a 25th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. now the wall separates the city between east and west berlin and it divided families
effectively keeping east germans captive. so when the wall became down berlerps were overjoyed but what we forget is how it happened. in fact it was a communist got lawyer with a mind of his own and a badly prepared east german leader who was caught off guard as our reporters have been finding out on unsung heroes who helped bring down the wall. >> the last days of communist east germany. hundreds of thousands of people gathered on east berlin's biggest square, to demonstrate for freedom. in particular, the freedom to travel. the representative of the socialist unity party received cat calls. no one trusted the communists. a few hundred meters away, in this spartan room on the fifth floor, four youngish communist
functionaries met to draft a new law on leaving the country. he was the youngest and he took the lead. >> we were looking for a solution. things were boiling over. everyone knew this had to be expressed. someone has to take the initiative and that was me. >> he had been tasked with writing a new law on travel. the lawyer altered the draft of the new law, removing the restrictive word, temporary, and adding the phrase private trips abroad. voila. the east germany's new travel law. television reporter was on hand when things started happening. >> he fulfilled east german citizens' hopes. they wanted to travel freely. he was supposed to create a minor loophole so they could leave. >> the communist party was
having its convention. east germany had just replaced the head of the party. the new man pushed the law through the central committee then spoke about free elections with the west german politician who was visiting. destiny was knocking. >> he said here's something for the press conference. he went off with it without reading it. he then read it aloud without knowing what was coming. >> private travel outside the country can now be applied for without prerec sits, or relationships. permits will be issued on short notice. >> the hall was in an uproar. an italian asked when does this go into effect? and he looked over the top of his glasses and said what i read here is without delay.
starting now. >> as i understand it it goes into effect immediately without delay. >> west german television sounded the death nale of the berlin wall. >> east germany has announced that its borders are open for everyone. nowhere do east and west germans live clotioner together than berlin. -- closer together than in berlin. >> the police on the eastern side of the wall don't seem to have received instructions or els they don't understand them. they're still sending people away and telling them to come back tomorrow morning. >> the news kicked off an ave launch. east germans trusted the western media and headed for the border. and then the border police let them through. >> she called me up. come here! i want to walk with you across the bridge. our bridge of suffering.
>> what happened that night altered western preconception, too. >> westerners thought everyone who left east germany would want to stay in the west. that's how it had been for 27 years. the people coming from east berlin all wanted to finally see and stroll down west berlin's big boulevard. maybe drink a beer. but then go back. they all had to work. >> the children were in bed. they had a furnished apartment. their refrigerator was full. what did they want in the west? they had no place to stay. they had visited the west and whatever. >> tears of joy flowed copiously. no one, not even lauter had expected to see this. but he did know that his formulation would not please his bosses. >> it was a dangerous time for anyone in a position of
leadership. someone had realized what i had written there. that wasn't what i'd been assigned to do. they would have thought i would delusions of grandeur. i would have been fired and never could have entered the building again. there would have been disciplinary proceedings and i would have been thrown out of the party. >> he didn't lose his job. on the contrary, he remained and helped formulate the unification contract between the two german states. >> 2-1/2 decades on it seems amazing things stayed peaceful. but now to spain where a row has been heating up. calt lonians want to press ahead and they have long seen itself as culturally different
from spain including when it comes to smoking can bass. >> this is an intoxicating spot. literally. a private club in barcelona, it's legal to smoke joints. spain allows the consumption of marijuana in private spaces. procuring the highly coveted materials for its members. >> before i became a member, i had to meet outdoors with black market dealers in public space selling and buying are both illegal. >> it was founded several years ago when there were only a few such can bass clubs in spain's autonomous region. now, the region has more than 400 of them and the number is growing. cat lonia's approach to many things is more liberal than in the rest of spain. to meet the club's demands, can
bass is now cultivated on a large scale. it's grown on planttations on this one. but the plantations are illegal. so people grow marijuana in secret. the growers were too afraid of being arrested to let us film. someone sent us this footage surreptitiously. the farmers want to take their business out of the gray zone. they formed official associations in a bid for respectability. >> even if the associations are not exactly persecuted we're working to have the possession and cultivation of can business legalized. >> but in the last two years the number of overdose deaths from hard drugs has increased from 44% of spain and the government thinks the proper response is to impose harsher penalties for soft drugs. that would be a heavy blow for
this nationalist who until recently was the mayor. he wanted to develop a large cab bist plantation to supply the clubs in bars lobea with the additional aim of helping his village out of economic crisis and of creating a symbol of their desire for independence. >> cat lonia has always been a trail blazer for individual rights in spain. it has also been a pioneer in areas like abortion, divorce, and youth nashea. can bist is no exception. >> but the spanish authorities gave a rude and abrupt awakening to their dream of plantations like this one. the members of barsa's clubs
are worried. they had expected cat lonia's approach to spread to the rest of spain and beyond. >> it would be good not only for cat lonia but for all of spain. for everybody. and if can bist were legal all over the world that would be positive for everyone. >> cat lonia is pushing ever hardor for freedom from spain. for some people the right to intoxicate themselves is an important part of that freedom. >> legalizing can bist. it's a controversial question. what do you think should selling can bast be made legal? italy is one of europe's top holiday destinations but it's also popular from people all over the world looking to buy real estate. thousands of properties are sold to nonitalians.
the 2008 crisis hit italy hard so that means that many areas are not only beautiful but also good value. now the truly wealthy are not only snapping up old farm houses but also entire villages. >> the village here is in tuscany. south african max has every reason to be proud of it. he doesn't just own a house here. he owns the whole village including a castle. he discovered the place 18 years ago. >> it was a sleeping beauty. the castle was covered in ivy but you would see how beautiful it was. and what one could do with this ruin. >> it was decrepped. everything was overgrown. many of the buildings no longer had roofs and only one family was living there.
then he had everything renovated. the millionaire isn't saying how much it cost. he says this is about living a dream, not money. >> when we're looking for italy we wanted something with a history and we found this place which has all the history you want to know about italy coming from the middle of the 11th century. >> what happens to a village when there aren't any wealthy foreigners interested in it is all too familiar to the mayor and his colleagues, in another tusken town. part of it has been around since the middle ages. it's located on the peek of a hill but no one lives here any more and the people who still own property here want to sell. a house costs $100,000 you're ost. renovating one would cost another 400,000. so buying one would be a risky investment. >> it has been abandoned since
the 1960s when industrial development began in neighboring cities like pizza. one of the biggest employers was the factory. they're the ones who built the vespa, the symbol. so many families left the area. >> among the people fighting to save the town is this man. a professor of architecture. he says there are abandoned villages all over italy. and all too frequently, italian bureaucracy is threatening to stymie a rest ration. >> even if you're planning a really great project it's got to be approved by five institutions in italy before you can get started. there's the preservation authorities, the town, the county, the community and the environmental authority.
they all have to check the plans. you need lots of time and patience. >> villages for sale. but are they a good investment. he does get some money when tourists come but he says his meager earnings are not what it's all about. >> there's no profit involved here. it was enjoyable. it was worth it there's no profit featured here at all. >> there are many abandoned villages in italy that have historical value. max was lucky enough to find the right village and have the means to buy it. >> that's it for today. so it's good-bye for me. thanks for watching and see it next week.