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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  June 27, 2017 12:30am-1:01am PDT

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glad you could join us. in a competition where winning is everything, the eurovsion song contest promises winners fame with a hit song and at the very least, a special footnote in history. but for the rest, returning to normal life isn't easy. some years ago, corinna may's star shined brightly. as she competed for germany, the blind singer's name was on everyone's lips here. but after her loss, the fall from the spotlight was hard. i preferred, quite frankly, to go my hotel room and have a good cry. i am only human. more about her experience is coming up later in the program. britain's vote to leave the european union has caused one of the most bitter political
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divides the country has ever seen. for pro-eu campaigners, the upcoming british general election represents a chance to elect candidates who one day might be able to reverse the decision to leave. while british prime minister theresa may pushes for a hard brexit, gina miller and others like her are doing their best to prevent just that. reporter: gina miller won a decision in court that parliament had to approve the motion to initiate brexit, before it was filed with the eu. her aim is to raise funding for candidates from other parties who won't simply rubber stamp the hard brexit favored by the conservatives led by theresa may. gina: we will be able to directly support parliamentary candidates who are committed to keeping all options open.
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and we will work tirelessly to support candidates who want what's best for britain. and keep all options open. reporter: one of these candidates may be brexit opponent kelly-marie blundell. she believes a second referendum could be an option. kelly-marie: hi, good morning. i'm kelly-marie blundell, i'm taking over from norman baker. so i'm your candidate in the general election. reporter: blundell is going from house-to-house. she's the liberal democrat candidate for lewes. to get a seat in parliament, she needs to get the most votes in the constituency. kelly-marie: it's very, very narrow. it's 1000 votes between us and the current mp. and there's every opportunity to take this seat back, which is what we're aiming for, ultimately. and lewes voted remain in the referendum as a majority. reporter: many in lewes want to vote strategically. for example, ian harrison voted
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for labour in 2015, though they had no hope of winning. to avoid a hard brexit, this time he's going to vote for the liberal democrat, blundell. ian: i think my politics are center-left, and i choose the candidate i think has the most chance of representing my beliefs in parliament. reporter: 16,000 people live in lewes in southeastern england. brighton is around the corner. london is an hour away. they enjoy the countryside and talk about the weather -- not politics. but the repercussions of the brexit vote are touching their lives in ways that are hard to ignore. will rogers has been selling hand-painted tableware from poland for 20 years. he buys his inventory in euros. brexit has weakened the pound, and he's feeling the pinch. and there's more pain, even closer to home -- his wife is polish. will: i think the vote against the eu is a vote against migration or foreign residents,
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to a degree. so, yeah, i think that leaves a very bad taste. reporter: britons will be able to choose their future course next week. surveys are forecasting a conservative majority. kelly-marie blundell must fight for every vote, but it will still be close. >> i will never ever, ever, ever vote liberal democrat. reporter: support from gina miller could be what tips the scales for her. kelly-marie: i have been in touch with gina to say this is a remain seat, a seat where we want to stay in the eu, where our mp wants to leave and she wants to leave the hardest brexit possible. will you support me as the pro-european candidate so that we can make a difference here? reporter: but gina miller still has to evaluate the data. in which constituencies is her campaign most likely to have an influence?
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is she gunning for theresa may? gina: i don't know theresa may. i mean, people talk about her. she is a very clever lady to have called this election. i mean, the government's actions so far have been to blot their copybook and try and bypass parliament. and i simply think that's wrong. reporter: many, including gina miller, say this vote is the most important in a generation. michelle: they abandoned all that they knew and risked their lives to get here. hundreds of thousands of refugees from syria, searching for peace and stability, fled their war-torn country and embarked on a treacherous journey to reach germany. some found respite and a new start. others struggled with endless bureaucratic delays, living in cramped and unsafe conditions, and were deeply homesick -- to the point that they decided to go back. our reporters followed the refugees' trail of reverse migration from munich to thessaloniki in greece, and down
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to the turkish border, in their desperate attempt to get home. reporter: on this facebook page in arabic, syrian refugees openly buy and sell german residence permits. we monitored it. as many as eight new passports are offered per day, for an average of some 1600 euros apiece. to find out what's behind this dubious trade, we pretended to be in the market. we arranged to meet a seller in dusseldorf to ask him why he wanted to sell his passport and recorded the encounter on hidden camera. >> i'm doing well here -- i've got a nice apartment -- but my family's in idlib, syria. besides, a few months ago, two of my brothers were killed. i have to go back. here, my passport. reporter: it is, in fact, the blue passport the german authorities issue as a
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provisional document for refugees. >> many of my friends have already gone. some are just waiting for their german documents so they can sell them and go back. it's weird. the trip here was expensive and dangerous, and now i have to trust smugglers again to get back. reporter: but why are syrians who sought refuge in germany returning to the country they endured so much to escape? why are they willing to pay the smugglers again? we decided to follow the same route. we learned from a forum on facebook that many of the return trips are arranged in greece. from munich, we fly to thessaloniki. at the gate, we strike up a conversation with two syrians on the same flight. bilal and youssef are two brothers from aleppo heading back home. youssef: toward the end, we weren't doing well in germany. all the laws were against us. we stayed 16 months, but only
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had papers for three months. bilal: my wife and two children are in aleppo. when i learned it's impossible to bring them to germany, i decided to leave. reporter: they wouldn't tell us if they'd already sold their german papers or intended to do so in greece. a couple of hours later, in thessaloniki, we signed onto the facebook forum again, and started chatting with a smuggler. hello, i'm here in thessaloniki with two other refugees. we need to know how to get to the border. the smuggler left a voicemail message. >> this is my cousin's number. call him, tell him habboush sent you, and you want to take the bus to didymoticho. reporter: the next morning, we boarded the bus. it was an eight-hour trip along the evros river -- the frontier between greece and turkey. at many points, the border fencing stops at the river. at least 1500 people are said to
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have lost their lives in the river in recent years. among the dangers are mines and rapids. early that afternoon, we reached the border town of didymoticho. we contacted the smuggler. we're here -- what do we do now? the smuggler told us to take a room in the anesis hotel. he would pick us up at night and take us across the border. so we took a room, and waited. we used the time to do a little research. we made an appointment with a local mayor to ask him what he knows about the money being made off the refugees. he only agreed to an anonymous interview. >> i'm not saying there aren't any networks on our side like over there. of course they work together to smuggle refugees. but the overwhelming majority aren't greeks. besides, where are there no
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shady connections? reporter: both sides of the river are lined with cropland, even though it's a restricted military area. cameras are officially prohibited, but the mayor made an exception for us. he even showed us one of the passages refugees use to get through. back at the hotel -- we contacted the smuggler again. >> my brother, the price is 200 euros from didimotico to istanbul. i'll come and pick you up tonight. reporter: we didn't want to risk any more, and stopped here. just hours later, we heard from the syrians we met on the way. they made it to the border. then a video by the smuggler appeared on facebook. >> now we're off to istanbul, turkey. these boys came from germany. it's reverse immigration.
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i'm putting this online. was it alright, boys? are you satisfied with your smuggler? >> yes, it was a good trip. >> yes, you boys are really nice. and this is the river. michelle: unfortunately for some refugees, europe failed to live up to their dreams of a better life. and yet again, it's the human traffickers who profit from their desperation. for a struggling artist waiting for their big break, the chance to perform in one of the most watched singing shows in the world is too great to pass up. the annual eurovision song contest is huge. since moving to europe, i've been invited to countless eurovision parties where debates over points have at times threatened to end friendships. and while only a handful of winners go on to have long-term success -- like abba and celine
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dion -- the outcome can be devastating for the performers who lose. ♪ reporter: she's back on stage again. corinna may is singing jazz evergreens with her partner. the crowd loves it. she wasn't able to perform for years. her career broke down. the shock was lasting. corrina may is blind. in 2002, she sang for germany in the eurovision song contest, or e.s.c. no one knew her before that. in germany, she became a star. she came in fourth from last place. >> smile! reporter: she can't betray how she really feels. corinna: smile! so you smile.
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you just do it. i'm a pro, so i just do it. i preferred, quite frankly, to go my hotel room and have a good cry. i am only human, after all. reporter: but it took awhile before the laughter really came from her heart. during the grand prix, she was a product -- corinna may. and that stuck with her. after eurovision, no one wanted to know that she had started out as a jazz singer. corinna: i was getting typecast as a pop singer. i had a performance and they were really nasty and critical of me and the promoter, all outraged that they could book that pop singer corinna may for a jazz event. reporter: nevertheless, 15 years ago, the temptation was great.
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when the offer came from pop music circles to get famous in the big time with eurovision, may didn't hesitate for a moment. corinna: you have fun at the location. it's hard work, but fun, too. you get to know lots of people and you see countries you wouldn't ever go to otherwise. reporter: today, she wonders if it was a mistake to put all her eggs in the eurovision basket. it wasn't just being out of the spotlight -- her career seemed to have come to a crashing end overnight. corinna: if i had had a plan b back then, i wouldn't have been so down about it. reporter: here at the stage school hamburg, they're training the next showbiz professionals. they're also trying to warn the young artists against overambitious managers and media hype. anja: as an adult, it's important when working with
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young people to ensure that you maintain their self-esteem and don't destroy it. scars like that take a long, long time to heal. reporter: corinna may is one of many who have been marked by the song contest. nearly all german participants in recent years went in with high hopes and finished at the bottom of the standings. many weren't ready for the disappointment. what bothered corrina may most about eurovision was that it was mainly about commerce and not quality music. corinna: that's also one of the reasons why i don't really think about it so much anymore. for me, music always comes first. of course it's nice if the stage is really smart and the sound system is first class. no question about it. but for me, the music really comes first. reporter: corinna may's got her career under control again.
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she's performing with her partner in europe's smaller venues and can live well from what she's earning. a rerun of her eurovision experience is something that she won't risk again. michelle: krzysztof charamsa rocked the foundations of his life's work by coming out as a gay man. the suspended priest, who once worked in the vatican, says that despite ending his career, revealing his sexuality was in which he hopes will help to reform the catholic church. reporter: a polish theologian from the congregation of the doctrine of the faith and a professor at two papal universities made global headlines when he came out with his spanish partner in a restaurant in rome. the carefully timed announcement was on the eve of a vatican synod about the family and sexuality. it also cost the priest his job. krzysztof: i always say that my
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husband took away my remaining anxieties and converted them into strength, energy, and love. i am free and happy. reporter: but it took krysztof charamsa a long time to admit that. he loved his years at the vatican. in terms of his personal needs, it was a time of lonely, silent withdrawal. he studied and published. he didn't speak about his sexuality, especially not at the vatican. it was always clear that being gay wasn't allowed. krzysztof: i was a proper young man of faith -- certain that homosexuals were bad people, pathological, sick, that they couldn't be with us all together in the community. that they wouldn't go to heaven,
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that they were dangerous and dirty. reporter: charamsa's dream was to work at the congregation of the doctrine of the faith. he was there for 12 years, and a major follower of cardinal josef ratzinger, who led the institution for years. but he couldn't deal with how homosexuality was dealt with and the jokes made about gays. yet he didn't have the confidence to protest. krzysztof: when pope benedict signed a decree, and that decree said that no homosexual man could become a priest because a homosexual man is like someone
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who is mentally ill -- that decree truly discriminated against a group of people. i believe that i began to understand then, for the first time, how my church spoke of me. reporter: then, a ray of hope. when pope francis was asked about the possibility of homosexuals in the vatican, the pontiff answered -- pope francis: if someone gay nevertheless seeks god, who gives me the right to judge him? reporter: charamsa remembers the pope's words well. he doesn't know for sure, but estimates that half of the men in the vatican are gay.
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krzysztof: my hope was, that with pope francis -- but pope francis is alone, he doesn't have the people around him, the right people, the right team that would think and initiate the process that the protestants and anglicans have already started. reporter: but it was disappointing. pope francis didn't pursue the opening, on the contrary. charamsa's vocation remains. and he's still a devout catholic. but his career is over. the vatican has suspended him. his family in poland supports him. they accept that he's gay, and that makes him happy. in a few days he'll be travelling to his conservative homeland. is he afraid? krzysztof: i'm not afraid of poland.
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maybe -- no, today i'm not afraid. not after my coming out. reporter: conservative christians have vilified him. and many who have experienced what he has for years have sought his help. he regrets nothing and lives with his partner in barcelona, hoping that others find the courage to come out. michelle: what do you like to do in your spare time? read? exercise? pursue a favorite hobby? some people like to volunteer. a few women in poland say that spending a couple of hours a wethem as much as it gives thean abanbaby vital affection. reporter: these babies are in the care of the tuli luli foundation in lodz. tuli luli is polish for cuddle-cradle. and cuddling is what takes
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priority -- and playing, and laughing, and chatting in baby talk. they got off to a rough start in life, but now they have a chance to bounce back. among the volunteers here is katarzyna koprycka. she comes once a week and donates her time and love. with two teenage daughters of her own, now she can apply her mothering skills here. katarzyna: i don't know if you could call it a passion. it's just a great love for children. we have so much time to give -- we can always find a couple of hours a week to take care of the children. reporter: the idea for tuli luli came from its director, jolanta kaluzna. the babies here are mostly newborns, whose parents couldn't or wouldn't take care of them. normally, they would've gone to
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a children's home, but kaluzna realized they wouldn't get the tender, loving care that's so essential in their first year. jolanta: as a young psychologist, i worked with underage youngsters in a home for drug users. many of these kids had been adopted, and they got hooked on drugs. by then, it was pretty much too late. it was extremely hard to help them. so i realized it would be much easier to help when they're infants -- to start with babies. reporter: the staff ratio is almost one to one -- hardly possible in a normal children's home, but here, there's no shortage of volunteers, even if not everyone is accepted. they have to pass psychological tests and training courses, and show they're fundamentally healthy. more importantly, they have to be able to give warmth and care.
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jolanta: when the children here cry, that's a good sign. it's very different to the children's homes i know. the children there are always quiet, because they might cry once or twice, but get no reaction. so they withdraw. in tuli luli, you always hear the children cry -- they're calling for attention. the moment you pick them up, they smile. reporter: the babies are here for almost a year before they find adoptive parents, or their biological parents come to take them back. it can be hard for the volunteers to part with their little charges. katarzyna koprycka can't hold back her tears. but her sadness is mixed with happiness. katarzyna: she's going to a new family. she's getting new parents. i come here once a week, so next
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time, i won't see her any more. reporter: tuli luli is gaining support. the local administration is providing funds, and donations are brisk. in the interest of transparency, the accounts are listed on its website -- 215 kilos of disposable diapers a month, over 3220 bottles of milk, and millions of kisses and cuddles. michelle: that's it for today. thank you for watching. see you next time. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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