tv Focus on Europe PBS December 5, 2015 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
damien: hello and a very warm welcome to "focus on europe." we have some of the best human stories behind the major headlines. thanks for joining us. in a week when europeans are trying to come to terms with the recent paris terror attacks and when many worry another attack could strike. damien: what was particularly shocking about the terror attack in paris earlier this month was that it was a brutal assault on a way of life, a culture, and the city's identity. many people were killed out innocently enjoying themselves with friends in the bars and
restaurants in multicultural eastern paris. despite the fear of more attacks, many parisians refuse to be cowed. they have decided to defy the violent jihadi killjoys by reclaiming the tables that line the pavements and will keep on socializing. others witnessed the carnage and are finding it difficult to cope with the trauma. >> just walking to work is tough now. he was working when the terrorists launched their attack on the restaurant. he is not sure he can ever work there again without being afraid. >> i did not think i would ever be able to come back here at all. it took some time. but i have lit candles, five for the people who died here, and one for a friend who was at the theater. >> today is the first day he set
foot in the restaurant since the november 13 attack. the police cordoned off the premises for a week. he cannot get the horrifying images out of his mind. >> i moved a bit closer and saw someone who was probably dead. his girlfriend was sitting opposite him. i called for her to come, that she must not stay there. i tried to convince her, but she was paralyzed with fear. seeing all the dead people, i felt completely powerless. i could not do anything for them. at least he could try to help the injured. one man had a badly injured leg. >> hundreds of parisians have been traumatized by the attacks. many have lost friends or family
members, or were witnesses to a bloodbath. over 250 families have already taken advantage of the psychological counseling offered by the city of paris. more than after any incident in the past. still, more are on the waiting lists. right after the attacks, his boss hired a psychologist to help his stuff numbers. she advised him not to quit straightaway but instead to slowly readjust to the workplace. >> people are suddenly confronted with the reality of death, which is something we normally try to forget. this has a hugely powerful effect on those who witnessed the attacks. so it is understandable it is going to take longer for them to recover. these young people need to spend time together, more now than ever.
in the mid-to long-term, some may need to see asa colleges, to -- some may need to see a psychologist, too. >> following the attacks, he and his girlfriend went to the country for a few days to find peace and quiet. but he says he will never understand why terrorists target ordinary people like him. >> these terrorists never target the extremists, but ordinary people like you and me. it is always the biggest pacifists who are killed, not those who want to take military action or go to war. they are not the ones who die. it is crazy. >> even though his boss never asked him to, he is pitching in with the cleanup. he and the other waiters are trying to put things back as they were. he likens it to a kind of group therapy. together, the staff hope to
overcome their fear. >> i tell myself that it is better to return here where i have the support of my colleagues in the management -- and the management rather than go somewhere else with a new employer and colleagues who don't know what i have been through. >> it will soon be ready to welcome guests again. and they are sure to come. provisions are not -- parisi ends are not prepared to let others determine their lifestyle. their fighting spirit is helping overcome the trauma. damien: brussels is also a changed city. a friend wanted to throw an engagement party, but it ended up more muted than planned because the dalton capital has been a security lot down. the organizers of the press attacks had links to belgium.
political leaders say there is a serious and imminent threat of terrorist attacks. schools and restaurants are closed. soldiers have been deployed. police have carried out dozens of raids. what impact this is having on local people? our correspondent in brussels has been on the streets finding out. >> every year, students in brussels hold a celebration to commemorate the founding of the free university. it is a full-day event with music and plenty of belgian beer. this year, the party was over before it began. the event was canceled for security reasons. the police took over. everyone was searched. this came after the police threatened to go on strike. the timing seems like it could not be worse. >> not at all. we are asking for money, but not for ourselves. we want it for the security of our citizens. the police are in a permanent
state of high alert and have been for 10 years now. we have been making the same demands over and over again. above all, don't keep squeezing the budget because the day will come when we will face a difficult situation. and that day is now. >> later that night, belgium declared a state of emergency. the city of brussels was placed at the highest terror alert level. the first indications of an imminent attack were apparently directed at the subway system. all entrances were closed immediately. daily life ground to a halt. police and soldiers patrolled the streets, the train stations, and inferences to museums -- entrances to museums which had also closed. tourists who had hoped to visit would disappointed. what now? >> we might go to a museum. that won't work either. i guess we will go for a walk and enjoy this lovely weather.
>> large stores and shopping malls closed. films, theater performances, and soccer matches were all canceled. the authorities wanted everyone to stay home and off the streets. by then, thousands of soldiers were patrolling the belgian capital. >> the soldiers are helping us in three ways. they are accompanying the police patrols. they have to follow the instructions of the police. they need to protect buildings and show visible presence and call in the police if anything happens. and the military can also support us in special tasks such as mine clearing, for example. >> brussels residents are used to a military presence, although not on this scale. soldiers have been assigned to guard e.u. institutions since
the attack on the jewish museum in brussels in 2014. belgium is being increasingly called upon to answer to its e.u. partners. three of those responsible for the paris attacks are said to have come from brussels. does belgium have a security problem? well, brussels has a long-standing administrative problem. just a canal separates the city's glossy tourist area from the troubled district. of the 130 belgians who have returned from fighting in syria, 85 live here. the district has a high crime rate, and the local police are struggling to cope. there are jurisdictional disputes with the federal police that acts nationwide also in combating terror. although the city's wealthy, the brussels police are starved for cash. thanks to privately held assets, the small nation of belgium has the world's fourth highest per capita wealth. but the state is deeply in debt, and there is no wealth tax.
large corporations enjoy tax benefits, as do the eurocrats. it is said the e.u. does not pay enough for its own security needs. >> if i remember correctly, we get about 12 million euros for the summits. there has not been an increase for 10 years. that some reflects the number of summits we had back then. now there are three times as many. the number of participants has rocketed. that requires more police. 12 million euros is not nearly enough. >> the city of brussels paralyzed and the threat of terror high. this winter promises to be a tough one in europe. damien: it is so difficult to know how to cope with the threat of terrorism. some people i know in europe are wondering whether they should avoid big events altogether,
which could be targets such as football matches were christmas markets. would you change your lifestyle to avoid a terror threat? maybe you have already done so in the past. let me know your experiences and thoughts by getting in touch on twitter, e-mail, or facebook. the other big issue facing europe right now is how to cope with the huge numbers of refugees and migrants. some are fleeing war. others are trying to escape grinding poverty. many are so desperate they are willing to undertake perilous journeys in unsafe boats across the mediterranean to southern europe, including to italy. the problem is once they get there, italy with its struggling economy is in many cases not the promised land they had hoped for. in theory, all european countries have a duty to help. but in reality, many people fall between the cracks. either they are not eligible for asylum but stuck here with nowhere else to go or they are allowed to stay but are
struggling to earn enough money to survive. which is why some italian doctors are using a charity originally set up to help people in war-torn regions increasingly to help the new arrivals in their own home country. >> every afternoon, the doctors from the aid organization emergency make their rounds driving over bumpy roads and passed tired laborers. we are in the southern italian province just 10 kilometers from its capital. the doctors are a lifeline for the african laborers. hundreds live here in the middle of the fields in makeshift shelters. >> we provide basic health care and guaranteed rudimentary rights. the people here are entitled to that. >> he and his team of doctors first came here for years ago.
since then, the relief organization has become a permanent fixture. the migrant laborers are not just here for the harvest. they live here the year round. >> they work all day long for a pittance in order to make ends meet. in the summer and autumn, they picked tomatoes. now they are harvesting olives. it is no wonder most suffer from chronic muscle and joint pains. >> the mission of the italian organization is to provide free medical help. in southern italy and in many other parts of the world. sometimes the doctors just provide advice. this man is plagued by back pain. for months, he picked tomatoes. 25 creates a day for a meager six euros a day. unscrupulous farmers employ the
refugees and migrants from africa as cheap labor without any form of social security. the tomatoes they pick are destined for supermarkets across europe. a whole ghetto has sprung up. thousands live here without electricity or running water. that angers the doctors from emergency. >> we can only point to their predicament. we don't have the means or power to fundamentally change anything. >> it is not just doctors here who face this dilemma. he also coordinates aid teams in collaborative and sicily -- c alabria and sicily. he and his team care for people rescued from the mediterranean off the coast of libya. more than 300,000 migrants have arrived in southern italy in less than two years in this way.
he was called out to deal with that emergency. an egyptian injured his arm trying to escape the detention center. people with no chance of asylum are prepared to take desperate measures. >> some slit their wrists or jump into the sea. crazy things happen here. >> the aid workers know that not all of the migrants are political refugees with the right to asylum in europe. but almost all of them need medical assistance of some kind. the greatest cause of concern are unaccompanied minors and women with young children. >> i have met a lot of courageous women who have lost children and their partners on the journey here. the moviconsciously taken the rf
losing children or being separated from family members when they set out for europe. >> working here on a daily basis really gets you down, but you also get the feeling you are doing some good. at least, i hope that is the case. >> at the end of the visit, each patient is given a document listing their personal data, medications they are taking, or if they have chronic illnesses. the doctors encounter many from the reception camps. this is how their dream of europe ends, working as pitifully paid day laborers. he is shocked by the plight of migrants in italy. >> even if they ultimately get a residence permit, far too many people live in inhumane circumstances. that is in a country like italy
which has a commitment to protecting human rights. >> the international medical organization has no shortage of work, even on its doorstep. and nobody could have imagined that when it was founded 20 years ago. damien: just one of the many europeans doing his bit to help refugees. at the moment, global leaders are preparing for the next big challenge -- a meeting in paris in december of the u.n. climate summit. the mainstream consensus is the earth's climate is warming and it is man-made. but some country remain skeptical, including russia. president vladimir putin has repeatedly expressed doubt human activity is the cause for warming. but ironically, it appears it is in russia that climate change is starting to be felt. in northern siberia, there are signs the frozen tundra is starting to thaw for the first time in thousands of years. this could speed up global warming by releasing even more
greenhouse gases. for one family -- one family of russian scientists is trying to fight climate change in the arctic. that is the ice age that is their inspiration. >> it is sunrise in the siberian tundra. light changes every few minutes. in december when the polar night begins, the sun will not rise at all. scientists -- the scientist grew up here, the coldest inhabited region in the world. he wants to show us how much and how quickly his home is changing. there are small signs everywhere. the ruts in the road and more snow than is usual for this time of year. >> the world's oceans have become warmer, so more water evaporates. and that is why there is more precipitation here.
all of this snow is warmer than the arctic permafrost. that is causing it to thaw. >> permafrost is permanently frozen subsoil. the effects of permafrost thaw are clearly visible in the lakes here. under here, there are billions of tons of frozen plants and for tile earth trapped in ice. he compares it to broccoli in the freezer. when the ground faults and the plant matter rots, it bubbles and ferments. >> we burn oil and coal. there is global warming. the permafrost is thawing causing nothing to be released. this greenhouse gas is driving up the temperature. two effects that promote one another. the permafrost is thawing causing methane to be released. >> two days later, he returns to
the ice hole. heat is produced by the fermentation process. >> methane heats up the atmosphere 23 times as much as co2. >> the research station run by him and his father is located next to a former soviet tv facilitate -- facility. for years, the men have been infighting u.s. and european -- have been inviting u.s. and european climate researchers to come here. he asks us to accompany him to one experiment he is conducting. researchers are trying to put together data like pieces of a puzzle to get a better understanding of climate change. on one site, he has removed the permafrost layer with the help of bulldozers. the ice has melted leaving behind mounds of earth.
>> if global warming continues, this region will be turned into a wretched wasteland -- wasteland. all the ecosystems will be destroyed. the roads and communities will be destroyed. millions of tons of mud will flow into the rivers. many fish will disappear. >> they show us pictures from last summer from an area by the river that empties into the east siberian sea, part of the arctic ocean. the banks are eroding, the ground collapsing. one body of water is merging into the next. this land used to be flat, but it is changing. there are now mounds of earth and huge pits were the ground has subsided.
>> 10 bones already? >> bones are appearing everywhere. the bones of animals that lived here tens of thousands of years ago. bison and mammoths. he explains to us more biomass is being exposed here than in all the world's jungles. when that biomass is broken down by bacteria, a huge amount of greenhouse gases are released. >> the roots of grass. organic pieces. this is excrement of animals, this is fresh soil. it was frozen 30,000 years. when it melts, the grass starts to grow.
microbes immediately wake up. >> almost 470 square kilometers of russian territory are affected each year. >> he believes the big melt cannot be stopped. he says it will only take another 20 or 25 years until the permafrost has thought -- thawed completely. suddenly in the midst of this white wasteland, elk, bison, horses appear. they brought them here from thousands of kilometers away. an incredible feat the father and son accomplished alone. >> the first humans came here 20 or 30,000 years ago.
standing on top of a hill on a day like this, they would have seen 2000 or 3000 animals around them. it might sound strange, but these animals could be part of the solution. >> they want to build a new ecosystem here, an ice age ecosystem, a grassy steppe devoid of trees. they have discovered the ground freezes again in areas where animals graze. >> it is because they flatten the snow. they travel the snow flat. as a result, the ground is not as well insulated. the permafrost will stay frozen until spring. the ground temperature will be lower than it is where there are no animals. >>'s dream is siberia thronging
with millions of animals. in a few hundred years, they could save the permafrost and help to stop global warming. damien: some woolly, wild mammals saving the planet. that is it for today. thanks for watching. get in touch anytime with your thoughts and comments. i can be reached on twitter, facebook, and e-mail. we love hearing from you. goodbye for me and the team. we look forward to seeing you next week. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]