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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  April 21, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT

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now, right-wing populists are setting the agenda in many european countries. they're anti-migration, anti-islam, and anti-eu. and one of their leaders is viktor orban. the hungarian prime minister has been out on the campaign trail for parliamentary elections, but he's faced more resistance than expected from an opposition that wants to keep hungary in the european union and that accuses orban of corruption, nepotism, and abuse of office. well, one thing is certain -- hungary is a bitterly divided society. and to find out just how divided, our reporter paul tutsek visited the controversial fence along the country's southern border with serbia,
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including two small hungarian villages located there. the two communities are only 30 kilometers away from each other. but, as we find out now, they're worlds apart. reporter: barbed wire as far as the eye can see. this is kubekhaza, on the hungarian-serbian border. mayor robert molnar wants to show us how the so-called anti-migrant fence has affected his community. but the border police don't want us here. >> do you have permission to film? reporter: no, but we do have press freedom. the border guard wants to check our papers. >> don't get too close. it's got an electric current. reporter: finally, they let us film. mayor molnar: i don't want to live in a country that allows
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things like this, and i don't want that for my children. we may end up as refugees ourselves one day. freedom of the press is under attack. the entire system is corrupt. reporter: the 1500 people who live in molnar's village can sense that. most of the residents are farmers or craftsmen. the village gets hardly any financial support from the government. the mayor says that last year, that support amounted to a whopping four euros. still, that hasn't stopped molnar from criticizing the country's far-right, populist government. eu flags fly prominently in the village as a sign of protest. mayor molnar: i think it's essential for hungary to be part of europe. you shouldn't play one side
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against the other. i think it's disgraceful that people are creating negative stereotypes and trying to turn that into political capital. reporter: molnar is referring to a fellow mayor 30 kilometers up the road in the town of morahalom. there are a number of newly-renovated monuments here, and lots of new construction, including the city hall building. but we don't see any eu flags here. mayor zoltan nogradi is a member of prime minister viktor orban's fidesz party. nogradi supports the government, and he and his town have certainly done well because of it. mayor nogradi: communities that don't get government support should take a long, hard look at themselves. it's all about reciprocity. if a mayor gives the government a hard time, the government will do the same to him.
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reporter: here's something that the nationalists in budapest certainly like. it's the mini hungary park, which features architectural highlights from the old austro-hungarian empire, in miniature. mariann: this shows greater hungary. the only buildings that you see here are those that once stood in this historic region. reporter: the town's efforts to glorify hungary's past have brought in a lot of government funding. that includes money for new streetlights. the contract went to a company called elios, which just happens to belong to the prime minister's son-in-law. the european anti-fraud office found a number of irregularities in contracts that were awarded to elios. mayor nogradi: the application
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process was carried out through the proper channels. the contract was awarded to elios. i didn't take a look at the details. reporter: but robert molnar is not at all surprised by the allegations of contract irregularities. mayor molnar: the hungarian government deals with people in three ways. they buy them off, or they smear them, or they shut them up. reporter: that evening, molnar returns to the border. he believes that this fence is not only dividing hungary from europe, it is dividing hungary itself. peter: well, it's an open secret in montenegro -- gender tests on unborn children are widespread in the small balkan republic. the reason is that girls are often unwanted in a society that
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still believes that a man is not a man until he has a son. as a result, many women come under massive pressure to have reporting on this disturbing story. reporter: journalist svetlana slavujevic has spent months searching for this woman. she convinced amela to tell her story publicly, even if it meant not showing her face. it's about a tradition in montenegro they like to keep quiet -- the abortion of female fetuses. svetlana: i see the pressure put on our women every day. i can't tolerate it anymore, and i don't want to. it has to stop. reporter: svetlana is a reporter for montenegrin tv, and has been fighting what's known as female selective abortions for many years. hardly anyone has been willing to speak about it on camera. amela: i was really scared about
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having a girl. because the decision to have another child would only be out of hope for a boy, otherwise i wouldn't want to have another child. reporter: this practice is also common in parts of asia, where male children are valued over female. but montenegro wants to become part of the eu. are these really eu values? the small balkan country lies between croatia and albania, on the adriatic sea. this long-standing tradition has been on the rise again in rural areas. it's a patriarchal society, and a man without a son isn't considered a real man. >> it's a matter of tradition. we montenegrins are a people of warriors, who had to defend themselves against the turks. the families needed a lot of men to protect them.
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>> in montenegro, the greatest joy is having a son, so he can carry on the name and be an heir to his father. reporter: more sons equal more prestige. amela's village is mainly muslim, but the practice is just as common in christian orthodox areas. there's enormous pressure on women. it's considered normal. amela would rather not say whether she has had an abortion. amela: i know dozens of women who test the sex of the embryo at the start of their pregnancy. and if the third or fourth child is another girl, they have an abortion, sometimes up to five times. reporter: a few years ago, amela underwent an invasive procedure in which cells were extracted to determine the sex of the fetus, but it caused damage. her son, now nine years old, has health problems, another reason we aren't allowed to film him.
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amela: it was only after the birth that i found out many children of mothers who have this test are born with a pretty severe abnormality. reporter: abortion is completely legal up to the twelfth week in montenegro, just like in most western european countries. but the decision to abort embryos based on their sex is considered an abuse of medical information. svetlana takes us to the hospital in berane, a small town in eastern montenegro. gynecologist ceca balac is often confronted with women who only want boys. dr. balac: i had a patient recently who already had four girls. she was in tears telling me her husband had given her an ultimatum. either she has a boy now, or he'd leave her. reporter: officially, there are 1500 abortions per year in montenegro. but dr. balac says the real
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figure is much higher. her guess is closer to 20,000. many of them happen illegally in private clinics, and often because the parents are desperate for a boy. reliable figures don't exist. svetlana: it's now common for women to go these private clinics. they have a simple, pain-free test and then decide whether or not to abort, just like they're at the market choosing whether to buy apples or pears, almost completely without emotion. reporter: over time, these abortions cause shifts in the population structure. in some villages in montenegro there's a surplus of men, and the trend is likely to continue. as a tv journalist with a daughter of her own, svetlana carries out educational work. and there has been some success. a congress of the ministry of health aims to better inform the country's rural doctors.
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svetlana: the affected women can't address this problem in public, because they would expose their families. and that's why i have to do this. reporter: svetlana faces strong opposition. doctors, laboratories and private clinics earn good money testing the sex of embryos. one test costs up to 600 euros. but even poor families scrape it together, says amela. after all, men are considered the only ones who can continue the family line. peter: and i should add that women's organizations in montenegro have been stepping up the pressure on the government in their campaign against illegal prenatal gender tests and sex-selective abortions. well, on a very different note, it's less than a year away now -- brexit, the official exit of the united kingdom from the european union. some people, though, still believe that the withdrawal can be avoided. but support for brexit is largely holding up, and it looks as if nothing less than a
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superhuman effort would be required to persuade the great british public to change course. and that is where a pro-european superhero comes in. meet eu supergirl. ♪ reporter: self-proclaimed eu supergirl madeleina kay is here to make some noise outside the houses of parliament in london. her arch enemy is brexit. madeleina: brexit was a non-issue for me. i didn't think it was going to happen. so when i woke up on the 24th of june, and i was like, whoa, how come so many people think that this is a good idea? reporter: the shock was so great, she decided to give up her studies. now she's a full-time activist for europe. madeleina: the eu is about love, and peace, and tolerance, and these are values that we should celebrate. reporter: even a sporting injury won't deter supergirl. she thinks the future of her country is in danger.
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madeleina: we didn't know what brexit means. you know, there wasn't a manifesto. and until we get the final brexit deal and we see what the reality of brexit is and how that matches up to what was promised, people still don't know what they voted for. can i give you a poster about the eu? we want to stop brexit. there are a lot of people that just don't care. we've got to make them care. so, i might go and try and grab some more. reporter: there are currently more eu supporters than opponents, but it's a narrow lead. natalie: a slight change, but not a big one, because people haven't really been thinking about this. but i think as we get closer, when we get through the summer, get to october, people will be thinking about it, seeing the risks. reporter: the country is divided. most of the pro-brexiters are of the older generation. >> we can survive without the eu. it's been a very expensive
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project, and a failed one at that. reporter: so you think a second referendum is not really worth it. >> no. it's like football. result -- you didn't like the result? well, tough. >> i think the people have made their vote, and that's it, they should stick to it. reporter: but a supergirl doesn't give up so easily. her message is well-received by young people. madeleina: have they told you about the march in leeds? >> if we can make movement big enough, it would be worth stopping it if we can. madeleina: we want to stop brexit. we think that it's going to be terrible. hey guys, can i give you a poster about the eu? reporter: madeleina wants a second referendum on britain's eu membership. but even her fellow brexit opponents aren't sure. >> if we just say we are overturning brexit, these people who voted for brexit already have a genuine distrust in the system, they don't believe it's working for them. madeleina: they are going to be angry anyway, even if brexit happens and they don't see an improvement in the quality of life. i think there is going to be
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anger and resentment whatever. reporter: exhausted, but happy. with 70 signatures, it's been a success. madeleina: ♪ dear europe, these are our letters to you ♪ a lot of people, particularly on social media, will say to me, like, i give them hope and inspiration through my art and my music, and sort of give them the drive that they need to carry on as well. reporter: in a country that's so divided over brexit, madeleina kay might really need some kind of superpower to make her dream of staying in the eu a reality. ♪ peter: now, moscow generates mountains of urban waste. and much of it, some 300 truckloads every day, ends up in a giant landfill some two hour's drive south of the russian
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capital in the small town of kolomna. locals say it's having a devastating impact on their environment and their health, and they've decided to fight back in what's being called a trash uprising. among the activists is a young mother called irina, who's risking a prison sentence in her battle for fresh air. reporter: from dawn till dusk. since last autumn, up to 300 trucks a day arrive at this garbage dump in the city of kolomna, about 100 kilometers southeast of moscow. the snow-covered piles of refuse contain street tar, batteries, paint cans, and car tires. a lot of local residents say the situation is out of control, and they're worried. irina zhemerkina has put together a group that's trying to limit the environmental damage.
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irina: [translated in german] reporter: the residents don't get much help from local politicians. the garbage dump is a major source of pollution, and poses a serious health threat. but russians know that it's difficult to try to fight the authorities. irina and her family live in this two-room apartment. she hasn't had much time for her family recently because she's been working with her protest group. irina's mother helps out. irina: i'm doing all this for my family, and especially for my daughter. we bought this apartment because there's a nice view of the
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fields, and the air is clean. but now, they're trying to take that away from us. reporter: irina is concerned that the garbage dump will keep growing. it's easier for moscow to dump its refuse here than to deal with it there. these are the offices of the local officials. the people of kolomna are not allowed to choose their mayor. the current administrator was appointed in 2016 by the regional governor. denis: the garbage disposal issue has been exaggerated and politicized by a local group. they're trying to influence the opinions of local residents in a negative way, and we simply can't allow that. in fact, we won't allow it. reporter: a few days later, more than 1000 people protested the
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expansion of the garbage dump. dmitry: the authorities in moscow make the decisions. we try to tell them about this mess, but they won't listen. it's like you're sitting at home, and one of your neighbors drops off a load of garbage and there's nothing you can do about it. irina: you have to complain and write to them and say that we're not going to put up with this. here are the e-mail addresses of all the city officials. >> we don't want moscow's garbage here. >> what's the dump going to be like in the summer? it's just three kilometers away. the garbage trucks come and go all day. it's awful. reporter: the demonstration breaks up after about three hours. a number of people had addressed the crowd. some residents brought friends and family members, including children. afterward, the protest organizers meet, relieved that
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the police didn't turn up to arrest the demonstrators. irina: there were a lot of people. we collected signatures on a petition aimed at blocking the expansion of the garbage dump. the police even supported us. i thought it all went quite well. reporter: the mayor has now agreed to meet with irina and other members of the group, but the activists promise they will continue their fight. peter: the fact is, though, the trash conflict in kolomna is far from resolved. on the contrary, our moscow correspondent told me that tensions are on the rise there and, indeed, all over russia. now, i'm sure you know the feeling -- you're looking for someone to mend your dripping tap, to walk your dog, or perhaps to clean your windows. well, in the french capital paris, help might be near at hand. and it's not so much about turning a profit, as creating a sense of community, giving work to people in the neighborhood, and getting problems solved in
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the nicest possible way. reporter: saint-paul is one of the oldest and liveliest districts in paris. here, in the middle of the aristocratic marais quarter, a new business concept was born. it's a coordination center for odd jobs, and you can make a booking at this kiosk. the company is called lulu dans ma rue, or lulu on my street, and the odd-jobbers are called lulus. lucile: most people need help with renovation work, domestic chores, moving, transport. anything that requires manual labor. reporter: serge is one of the lulus. he usually brings his wheelie suitcase, and always has his tools. he makes a quick stop at the kiosk so he can discuss his appointments with the concierge, lucile, who works here six days a week. serge: i often drop by the kiosk between jobs if i have a bit of
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time, which doesn't happen often. i come to say hello to the concierge. reporter: this is serge's sixth job today. he's actually a computer scientist, but he can also do a lot more -- skilled handiwork, electrical work, drilling, and carpentry. being a lulu means he's an independent contractor, and he makes good money. serge: martine? martine, how are you? it's the first floor, right? okay. reporter: it's not his first time here. he's worked for martine before. martine: i was looking for someone who could help me do renovation work, someone quick, inexpensive, and efficient. reporter: she's had good experiences with serge. martine is retired, and has to watch her pennies. she wants to rent out this room, and serge is the one to fix it up. serge: who did the electrical
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work here? martine: an electrician from this neighborhood. serge: an electrician? are you sure? something's definitely wrong here. reporter: serge gets to work, but martine is worried. she's thinking about how much this will cost. she pays serge 30 euros an hour, reasonable by paris standards. but serge quickly solves the problem and finishes the electrical work. martine: bravo! serge: i live well off this. it earns me a good living. the kiosk organizes the assignments and billing, so i can just concentrate on doing the job. reporter: everyone seems to benefit from this concept. students, the unemployed, the fully-employed. lulus who wash windows are in
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demand in the quarter, as are lulus who walk dogs. the kiosk gets a 21% cut of what the lulus earn. for that, the concierges manage and coordinate the jobs, and are always available to take care of the situation if something goes wrong. charlotte: well, that does happen. but we're there if things don't work out. we try to make things right. people trust us. reporter: everyone's invited to drop by the kiosk this chilly evening for drinks and snacks. people meet and get to know each other. >> i know this place well. i'm a lulu and have been from the start.
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>> i just became a lulu. it didn't take long. reporter: soon, the area starts to fill up. >> you're surrounded by good people. lulu is like a family for us. reporter: this is how they celebrate together once a month. the company now has 350 lulus in the city. the business concept is continuing to grow, and not just here in the heart of paris. peter: and all of that reminds me of my malfunctioning toaster. oh, how i wish we had something like lulu in my street in berlin. thanks very much for joining us. until next time, it's bye-bye, and tschuss. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. steves: while dedicating a month of your life to walk the camino may be admirable, it doesn't work for everyone. but any traveler can use this route as a sightseeing spine and as an opportunity to appreciate some of the joys and lessons
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that come with being a pilgrim. just 5 miles before the spanish border stands the french basque town of st. jean-pied-de-port. traditionally, santiago-bound pilgrims would gather here to cross the pyrenees and continue their march through spain. visitors to this popular town are a mix of tourists and pilgrims. at the camino office, pilgrims check in before their long journey to santiago. they pick up a kind of pilgrim's passport. they'll get it stamped at each stop to prove they walked the whole way and earned their compostela certificate. walking the entire 500-mile-long route takes about five weeks. that's about 15 miles a day, with an occasional day of rest. the route is well-marked with yellow arrows and scallop shells. the scallop shell is the symbol of both st. james and the camino. common on the galician coast, the shells were worn by medieval pilgrims as a badge of honor to prove they made it.
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the traditional gear has barely changed -- a gourd for drinking water, just the right walking stick, and a scallop shell dangling from each backpack. the slow pace and need for frequent rest breaks provide plenty of opportunity for reflection, religious and otherwise. for some, leaving behind a stone symbolizes unloading a personal burden. the first person to make this journey was st. james himself. after the death and resurrection of christ, the apostles traveled far and wide to spread the christian message. supposedly, st. james went on a missionary trip from the holy land all the way to this remote corner of northwest spain. according to legend, in the year 813, st. james' remains were discovered in the town that would soon bear his name. people began walking there to pay homage to his relics.
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after a 12th-century pope decreed that the pilgrimage could earn forgiveness for your sins, the popularity of the camino de santiago soared. the camino also served a political purpose. it's no coincidence that the discovery of st. james' remains happened when muslim moors controlled most of spain. the whole phenomenon of the camino helped fuel the european passion to retake spain and push the moors back into africa. but by about 1500, with the dawn of the renaissance and the reformation, interest in the camino died almost completely. then, in the 1960s, a handful of priests re-established the tradition. the route has since enjoyed a huge resurgence, with 100,000 pilgrims trekking the santiago each year.
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