tv Amanpour Company PBS February 9, 2019 12:00am-1:01am PST
hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & co." here's what's coming up. yes, it is spike lee, finally the celebrated director is nominated for best director and best picture for "blackkklansman." he'll join me on set. plus an exciting new literary voice, leila slimani on her deep explorations of modern womanhood. and the scottish first minister nicola sturgeon on how her country is being betrayed by brexit and how scotland will go for a second referendum on their own independence.
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everyone. i'm amanpour in london. spike lee is excited about the oscars. now, you might not think that's news, but only three years ago he had joined jada pinkett smith in boycotting the ceremony, protesting the famous oscar so white. now they are not so white and spike lee will be there. [ cheers ] that is spike and his family celebrating as they watch the nominations two weeks ago. he got six nods for his "blackkklansman," including his first for best director and best picture. the movie "do the right thing" widely considered lee's most important work was not nominated in either category. lee's films have all been provocative, especially on the acura of race. and it's very relevant this week as virginia's top three officials are embroiled in a mind-boggling scandal, two of them over the use of blackface. lee knows the issue well because
his 2000 satire bamboozled centered around a tv show with actors wearing blackface. so it is great to have spike lee here in the studio to talk about diversity in hollywood and the racism that still plagues america. welcome to the program. >> such a pleasure, in person this time. >> in person. i feel your joy. >> not new york to london. across the your table. >> there's a significant change, but now you've been nominated for an oscar. that was your reaction. what happened to the cool spike lee? >> well, i would like to state, if i may, that was a culmination of six -- the exuberance. it was building up, one, two, three, four, five, and what you see, that was number six.
and went crazy. >> so you're absolutely thrilled? >> yes, i am. >> i think that's great. >> but also i'm thrilled for my longtime editor barry brown who never got nominated, my longtime music composer, terrence blan charred. adam driver, never nominated before. >> your star in the film. it's taken a long time, spike whether or not lee. you've been doing these movies from the late '80s and you've never been nominated for best director. >> right. >> it's taken a while. do you feel great or it's about time? >> i feel great. i also feel it's about time. i want to state it is april rains campaign, hashtag oscar so white combined with sheryl isaacs, two african-american
women, sheryl boon isaacs. behind hashtag oscars so white, she went to the board and said this is a bad look. we have to diversify the voting membership so everybody person of color who's got a nomination or an oscar can thank the both of them. because that changed everything. >> it is remarkable because when that hashtag campaign started, oscars so white, you obviously didn't go that year. you went to the knicks game. this year you will be going. >> oh, yeah. >> we'll just get that straight. >> yeah. with family. >> which is great. >> yeah. >> sheryl boon isaacs, you credit her then and this campaign with actually moving the ball. this isn't just cosmetic. >> hollywood traditionally considers themselves very liberal. and that hashtag, that was not
good publicity. it was not good for the academy or a good look. they knew it was the right thing to do. they had to open up the voting membership. it had to be more diversity. it had to look like the rest of america. >> again, there is a lot of diversity. if beal street could talk. you have "black panther." >> $1.3 billion. >> it's just remarkable all this talent that is suddenly getting recognized. is it real? >> here's the tricky thing. in order for this to continue and not be a trend, diversity has to go to the upper echelon, you know what i'm talking about, the gatekeepers. they're the people that decide what will make it and what will not make it. >> you mean the heads of studios? >> yes, yes. they decide every quarter, quarterly meetings, what we're
making and what we're not. unless we're in the room, it's going to be iffy. >> look, you've not only been in the room, but you have been leading the discussion around the conference table in the room. and your films have been not just groundbreaking, but they've been way ahead of their time. i mean, even if you go back to "do the right thing" -- >> and now people are looking at bamboozled now because of what's happening. >> i was just going to get there. you beat me to it. >> i should not be doing your job. it's all love. >> i'm going to get to that but let me first ask you about "blackkklansman" because this is a film that's being recognized in this way. it's a crazy proposition, right? you couldn't make this stuff up, but it's true. >> yes. >> so just quickly. >> jordan peel, my brother called me up out of the blue.
he wanted me to consider doing a film. he did a six-word pitch. black man infiltrates ku klux klan. >> and you said, you're kidding? >> yeah. i said this is a dave chappelle skit? he said no, this is a true story. he wrote a books, we have a discriminate. would you be interested? i said yes >> it's an amazing story and it's so funny because it's so utterly serious. >> yes, and you ended with a an utterly serious message which is what happened at charlottesville. >> yes. >> every film that you make, in fact, has a deep social message. >> no, i mean. >> am i getting too deep? >> there's a very funny commercial a long time ago. it hurts. the thing was, not exactly. >> but bamboozled does.
let's just talk about what it is. >> right. >> there are these scandals about blackface, the use thereof among the top echelon of leaders in virginia, including the governor and the attorney general. >> virginia at one time was the cradle of civilization. isn't it ironic that 400 years ago the first slaves were brought to jamestown, virginia, 1619, 400 years ago. so the irony is perplexing. >> i would like to play a little bit of the news conference that the governor said it wasn't him in blackface in the yearbook, but he did admit to dressing up when he wanted to imitate michael jackson for a competition, i believe. here's the clip. >> i had the shoes, i had a glove, and i used a bit of shoe polish to put on my cheeks.
and the reason i used a little bit because i don't know if anyone has tried that, but you cannot get shoe polish off. but it was a dance contest. i had always liked michael jackson. i actually won the contest because i had learned to moon walk. >> are you stale able to moon walk? my wife says inappropriate circumstances >> inappropriate circumstances. >> he was going to do it. he was going to do the moonwalk. thank god his wife -- i'm telling you. he heard a mouthful if he went back home. >> it's just, again, you reflected on the state of virginia and history but what about your film? you did a film about this all those years ago, 2000, right? >> right. >> is anybody listening? how does this stuff happen today? >> because it never went away.
it never went away. racism, racist imagery, all this stuff is ingrained in the dna of the united states of america. the very flag that betsy ross sewed, that flag -- it's sad because you think that we're moving forward. here's the thing though. i never believed in a post-racial society. when my brother put his hand on abraham lincoln's bible and took the oath, there's supposed to be a magical, mystical moment, boom, racism gone. i did not drink that kool-aid. >> you're talking about your brother, barack obama? >> yes.
all of a sudden racism would evaporate, disappear, and we'll all be holding hands and singing. >> this week as well there's a related crisis with a famous hollywood actor liam neeson who talked about a friend of his -- [ whistling ] >> that's a long whistle. >> and she said black and he had said, i'm going to go and beat the bejesus out of him. and then he's been on the apology tour. i would like to play this clip and get your take. >> i'm not racist. this was nearly 40 years ago. >> would you have the same reaction if your friend said it was a white male. >> she just said irish or scot or a brit or a lith winian, i know i would have had the same effect. i was trying to show honor,
stand up for my dear friend. >> well, it's a very unfortunate situation, but i'll have to say this. i really can't comment overall, but let me say this. there's a history of white women saying a black man, a black savage raped them. it wasn't just emmitt till. there's a history of white women in this country saying that. the ku klux klan was formed to save white southern womanhood. so i think we have to take that in context too. there's a history behind this, and a whole lot of people, black men, have been murdered,
lynched, spent time in jail because a white woman accused them of raping them. and i think -- i hope that liam, knowing about that history. >> would you seek to guide him? he's obviously in your profession >> there's a whole bunch of public publicists around him. it's painful to see that because i see what he's going through, but what would happen if he acted that out? would that person end up in the hospital? would that person have been dead? would any charges be brought against him? that's something to think about too.
and then, for me, i wonder where that came from when he says he's not racist. but in the moment, your friend tells you this, you're going to do damage to the first black man you see? where's that come from? where does that come from? >> have you thought about what you're going to say on stage? >> not yet. >> we're not going to jinx anything here. >> yeah, yeah. that's unjinxed. >> it's a powerful platform. >> oh, yes, and several people have told me, have pulled my coat tails saying, spike, if things do work out, within the amount of time, i already told you have 90 seconds to make that count because i
will have a platform, and people will be watching around the world. >> talking about watching around the world, people around the world have watched your films since you first started. "do the right thing," you said, and you continue to say, is still relevant today. the issues that you highlighted and zoomed in on there, you know, >> this coming 30th will be 30 years. >> exactly, gentrification of minority neighborhoods. police violence, particularly to the character radio -- >> we were talking about global warming. >> which is incredible when i even think about that. can i just play a clip?mus. hot >> yes. >> let me tell you the story of right hand, left hand. tale of good and evil. hate is what this hand.
love, these five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. the right hand, the hand of love. the story of life is this. static. one hand is always fighting the other hand. and the left hand is kicking my chair. it looks like the right hand love is finished. but hold on, the right hand is coming back. see that? he's got the left hand on the ropes now, that's right. he's down. left hand, ko by love. >> love won 30 years ago in "do the right thing." >> i'm very sad now because that dear friend of mine, bill nun, is no longer with us.
and i didn't write that. that's from a scene from night of the hunter directly charles lawton had love and hate tattooed an his fingers. i saw that in film school. and when i graduated film school it made a big impression on me. at the time, the fashion were those love rings, let me put it in here. only made a few different tweaks. that was written by james agy. i cannot take credit. >> that is remarkable as well. i hadn't realized that in the old, old film. >> yes, black and white. >> but then it was relevant there and it's relevant today. >> yes. >> so does love have a chance still of winning? >> i always believe that. but the president of the united states of america, his comments about charlottesville, supposed to be the leader of the free world. the united states of america is supposedly the cradle of democracy.
the president, i don't call him by his name, had a chance to tell america but also the world that america is still about love. he had an opportunity, commenting on charlottesville, to denounce the klan, to denounce the alt-right, to denounce the neo-nazis. he chose not to. and i find it very strange that in the state of the union speech he had several people, holocaust survivors, individuals who landed in normandy to fight against the nazis. nazis. charlottesville, they had swastikas. they were doing the zeeg hail. they were saying jews, blood, soil, which is a nazi slogan. it does not connect with the
state of the union speech and what he said after charlottesville. i mean, that's my opinion. >> he also had a state of the union, the lady who he had released from jail, the african-american woman. what did that say to you? >> wah wah. that does not, to me, dismiss all this stuff. that was politics. again, i refer to the statement, a very powerful statement to me, deeds, not words. >> i want to ask you one last question because bringing it back a little bit to michael jackson and another entertainer. you throw a michael jackson block party in brooklyn every year. >> for the last nine years. >> he's been dead nearly ten years now. there's a new film "leaving neverland" that highlights the story of two men who say they
were abused by jackson and it premiered at sun dance last month. can you separate the artist from the man, the art from the man? are you still in the mood for throwing michael jackson -- >> first of all, i have not seen the film, so i cannot comment on it. i read those guys have said several times on several occasions that michael did not molest them. so this is a very difficult thing because it's always been dynamic. can you separate an artist from their work? example, leni riefenstahl, great filmmaker, but was she a nazi? i mean, it's difficult. >> we're talking about hitler's favorite filmmaker. >> yes. >> on that note, very serious and profound note, thank you. >> thank you.
we turn next to a small nation caught in the middle of an enormous tug of war. and to the woman leading the defense. she is nicola sturgeon, first minister of scotland, one of a handful of female heads of government around the world. since the u.k. voted for brexit back in 2016, scotland has been caught up in this crisis against its will. it voted overwhelmingly to stay in the eu. nicola sturgeon has been a leading voice for a second referendum and is doing everything to make sure her economy survives brexit and that mission has brought her to the united states where brexit is an ongoing topic of fascination and some confusion. our michel martin caught up with sturgeon in new york. s. >> first minister, thank you so much for joining us. >> you're welcome. it's lovely to be here. >> most americans know that scotland has a long and fruitful, close relationship with the united states both culturally, economically and
lots of over ways -- other ways. i wonder if there's something about the tone of the current administration that concerns you. you probably heard some of the president's state of the union. >> i did. >> he talked about putting america's interests first and i wonder if there's something that concerns you that you need to address while you're here. >> i think it's no secret that i'm not aligned politically with the current president of the united states. we disagree and differ on many things. but as you see, scotland and the u.s. have a very strong and long-standing relationship. and that relationship endures regardless of who occupies the office of president or first minister of scotland. i suppose the timing of my visit has more to do with the developments in the u.k., brexit is an issue that is occupying much of our thinking. and i want to make sure that the
rest of the world knows that withstanding brexit, scotland wants to make sure other countries to know they are open and welcoming and they want to attract stroifrts live and work in our country. >> one reason some americans are interested in brexit, apart from all the obvious, is that they saw this as a precursor to what happened in the united states with the rise of donald trump as president. what is your view about what led to brexit? >> i think some of the factors behind brexit are probably the same factors that perhaps were behind the election of donald trump as president of the u.s. obviously they're different sipg situations, but the brexit vote ironically wasn't entirely to do with the european union and the u.k. membership of the european union. many people who voted to leave
the eu very voting against the status quo because there's understanding concern in the u.k. about rising levels of inequality and poverty, people feeling as of the status quo is not serving they will well. that sometimes manifests itself with immigration. some of those same factors played in the election of donald trump. >> you've been blunt about saying the u.k. isn't ready, the may government is not ready to meet in this deadline. >> the prooifrms should ask european for an extension of the deadline. after two and a half years, she and her government have been completely incapable of coming up with a plan to leave the eu in an orderly, well-managed fashion. so the risk now is that we leave at the end of march with no agreement in place, and that
would have quite catastrophic effects for almost every aspect of life in the u.k. even if an agreement is struck, we're running out of time to do all of the practical things to put that agreement into effect. in my view, how to leave the european union and the u.k., they should put their shoes back to the people in the referendum. >> it's my understanding we've asked whether -- it appears that it's not so much that there's buyer's remorse, that people who were against it are still against it, even more than against it now. so what would another referendum accomplish. >> there's truth in what you just said. the opinion polls would suggest that opinion is still evenly balanced. although they would also suggest if there was another referendum, the outcome probably would be to remain in the eu. and i guess in another referendum young people who by
and large wanted to stay in the eu might be more likely to vote. >> the argument is that people are better educated now than they were before. >> ironically. a bit of both. people are more aware and others are undoubtedly more informed about the downsides. people have seen the mess of brexit since the vote. i don't think there's any room for complacency. you have to make a case and you have to twhwin that case. i ironically people are much more informed now than they were before they voted. >> people may remember that there was a referendum on independence and scotland voted against it. it was a very spirited debate. i don't know if campaign was the
right word. >> unlike the brexit vote, people really got into the issues before the vote. so people voted knowing all the in his and outs and the pros and cons. >> that's my understanding that part of the reason people voted against it was they wanted o stay within the eu. >> ironically, in the independence campaign, one of the arguments made by those who were against independence was if scotland voted to be independent, we would be voted out of the eu and we would have to reply for membership. that did scare some people. here we are four years later because we're not independent, we've been taken out of the european union. that undoubtedly brings the issue of independence back to the fore in many people's minds. we are in this position because we're not independent.
62% of people in scotland voted to stay in the eu. so that democratic deficit that scotland faces has been part of the u.k. undoubtedly makes many people want to look again at the issue of scotland becoming an independent country. >> what about you? are you looking again at the prospect of another referendum on scottish independents? >> i think there will be another independence referendum to be d. obviously there's a lot of concern about the brexit process. as first minister of scotland, i said i would set out my view once we see how this plays out. >> i'm pressing the question because it sounds to me you're saying scotland has had enough.
so no matter what britain decides to do, scotland wants to be independent now because you've seen the most negative consequences. >> sure. >> even potential consequences is enough for people to say enough is enough. >> i think there will be another -- i think there should be another independence referendum. i'm not yet certain of exactly what that should happen. because right now a few weeks from brexit we don't know whether the u.k. will leave with a deal or without a deal or not at all. there could be another general elections in the u.k. because of this chaos. so i think we need to just wait and see a little bit what's going to happen before i come for a view on independence. >> do you think in three years, five, that scotland will be applying to the eu as an independent nation? >> i would love to think so, and
i think it will. i'm not going to put a particular time frame on it, but in the not-too-distant future scotland will be an independent country and will look to join the eu as an independent country and take a seat from the united nations. >> i just want to ask about you. you belonged to that small club of women, heads of government, the legislative body in the united states elected the largest number of women serving for the first time. still a tiny minority, nowhere near half. gender equality has been an issue for you. you'll be amplifying this issue on the world stage. i wanted to know if you have some sort of core principles for how you pursue this question as a head of state. >> what i would say and how i come at this issue is shifting people's mind-set on it. instead of seeing efforts to
support women into leadership positions across all section of society, the we should actually look at it from the other way around. unless you take the view, hopefully not many people do, that women are somehow less capable of being in senior positions, then any organization, whether it's government or a company or public organization that doesn't have gender diversity and equal representation is obviously doing something wrong because there must be bad ears to women progressing and i'm a great believer we should all lead by example. as you see, two female heads of government, i have a gender-balanced cabinet and we encourage all organizations across scotland to take action. and the other thing that we really need to, i think, encourage understanding, this is
not something to do just because it's good for women and it's fair for women. all of the evidence now says that companies, organizations, governments that have greater diversity and greater representation of women in their decision making perform better. so there's a really hard reason to want gender equality as well. >> there are those who has it as social engineering. i know there's a lot of resistance in this country. >> surely to have a society where women are so underrepresented, that's social engineering going on for generations. we want to utilize the talent of all our population, not half. women are as capable of being government leaders, heads of the fact that we have this inequality between the genders, that's a sign that something is wrong, it's not efforts to
address that that are social engineering, that's about what women face. >> this is a sensitive subject and weir not going to litigate it here. your predecessor as first minister was accused of very serious misconduct when it comes to his relationships with women. but your role in this has been criticized. i know you had meetings with him while this matter was being investigated. is that leading by example? >> i can't go into detail because it's a criminal proceeding. but what i've always sought to act on as well as talk about is the fact that nobody should be given special treatment because of the seniority of the position. we're sitting here talking about this in itself as evidence that it wasn't simply brushed under the carpet because of the identity of the person involved. and that's what i think is important. i can't go into the detail of
any of this because of the circumstance, but nobody should be above accountability for these issuanes. when complaints come forward, they must be treated and investigated properly. that's an important principle i advocate and always will. >> do you feel as a woman leader yourself, and one of the very few that you have some special responsibility? what is your special responsibility when it comes to that? >> i think to say speak up and ensure that women are taken seriously and that women are not automatically disbelieved and that we have systems in place that allow concerns to be dealt with. if we fall short on those, to address that and make sure we get it right in the future. as a woman i feel strongly about these issues, and i feel a responsibility on these issues. but it can't just be the responsibility of women. often we talk about the behavior
and the conduct of men, and men have to take ownership and responsibility for that as well. that's something that i think we shouldn't forget >> thank you so much for speaking to us. how right she is. anyone can and should help lift up women everywhere. it's an issue close to the heart of my next guest, the french moroccan author ala slimani, she's a card-carrying feminist. the perfect nanny, loan as lullaby in the u.k. and adele. biting looks into the lot of women today. slimani is one of 12 female writers to win france's prestigious prize. she writes about female identity as well as racial and class tensions that ton playing the west. >> welcome to the program.
>> thank you. >> you wrote two books that have grabbed attention. there's very, very much -- how can i say. you push your characters to the extreme. you push the story to the extreme. but they're also based on kind of bits of autobiographies. let's take lullaby, which i think in america was called the perfect nanny. >> exactly. >> it is every mother's nightmare or every mother who can afford child care that wants to go to work. what made you want to tackle that particular subject? >> i think i wanted to write about my nightmares. i want to write about what's frightening me the most. maybe if i write about it, it's not going to happen to me. i'm able to control it. and can be, like any mother or parent, afraid of something happening to my child and my children could die. in my first book, aldele is
afraid of addiction. i have this feeling if i write about it, it's not going to happen. >> that's extraordinary. let's take lullaby first, the perfect nanny. it did happen. these things didn't happen to you, but you took stories that were raw. i remember it happened a few blocks from my house in new york, a working couple entrusted their children to a central american nanny, and they came home to find two of their kids stabbed to death. and you begin your book, lully, with this horrendous, horrendous scene. i'm going to read a bit of it. this is when they found the little girl who was still alive when the ambulances came. she seems to be gasping for air. her throat was filled with blood, her head smashed violently against the blue chest of drawers. it's very violent beginning to a
book. do you do that on purpose. >> yeah. i think i was not aware how violent it was, but i needed to begin with something very violent for the reward to be very attentive, every detail i was going to describe after because my story is very trivial. this is the story of a nanny and two parents and children. and the life of a nanny is very repetitive. every day she does the same thing. how could i as a writer give to the reward the appetite to read such a book that is going to be very repetitive? so i needed to begin be something very strong so frightening my reward so the reward goes deep into the book and try to understand the why the nanny did such a thing >> i'm interested that you chose that particular episode. it happened far away from your own experience in new york. it happened a few years ago. a few blocks away from from where i live. so i remember the area being
cobeing cordoned off. as a nanny, she was terrified like you were. it was really shocking. but are you saying also something about women? are you talking about mothers who need to go back to work or who want to go back to work? and the risks or tradeoffs or -- are you saying something more than just that physical danger? >> no. what i'm trying to say is that when we have it all as a woman when we are a wife, a mother, journalist, lawyer, in my book it's very difficult actually to have it all. and you always have to sacrifice something. if you sacrifice time for your children or your job and you always feel incomplete. and i wanted also to show, to express that when you are away from your children and you go to work and you smile and you try
to be perfect and to do your job as perfectly as you can, the truth is that you have so much anxiety and you feel so worried about your children, do they miss me? are they okay? and you would like to be with them. and at the same time, when you are with them, sometimes you would like to be somewhere else. so it's very difficult to be a woman today and to have it all >> honestly, it is perpetually dilemma. the character in your book is of moroccan heritage. the nanny is white, a flip to what happened in the united states. merriam was wary of women who could be so cruel. she wanted to strangle the ones who pretended to admire her or envy her. the strangers who asked what she did for a living and looked away when she said she was a stay-at-home mother. so many women will recognize
that no matter what country they come from. >> yeah. i think that we can be very cruel to the woman who doesn't work, who prefers to stay with their children. we decembspise her. i'm a feminist, but at the same time i think women should have the choice and we should not judge someone who decides to stay with their children. >> this all comes out at a time when we're right in the middle of me too, right in the middle of just as big social struggles for women to have equal opportunity in the workplace, and ctaly to get equal pay for equal pay, equal jobs. so, again, it's really a shock to the system this kind of story at this time. >> yeah. that's why i wanted to build a story that take place only in the apartment. i think the domestic place is very important. and we don't speak about it a lot or enough, i think. i think that domestic place is a
political place, the place of domination, of power between parent and children, between men and women, between domestic and employees. and we have to talk about that because there is no equality between men and women if we don't share the task inside the house, if we don't share the parenthood with the children. so it's important to speak about that in a political way >> i never heard it put that way, but you are right. the domestic space is a political space. >> and very often a violent space. when you look at the domestic violence towards women, it take place in the home. it's not only a place of tenderness. it's also a -- [ no audio ]
very often a woman who wants more are punished for wanting more. and this woman, she wants more, she wants excitement, she wants desire, she wants passion. but at the same time, she knows that society has given her very much because she's married to a doctor or she has a child. she's supposed to be satisfied, so she feels guilty for not being satisfied and she's looking to fill this void with sex, but it could be with drugs
or alcohol or gambling >> it's not just that she wants more and she wants passion and excitement and all that. she goes and has sex with anybody she says. people she picks up from the metro in the subway, anyone. >> yeah, exactly. that's why i was very interested in the mechanism of addiction. you want something and at the same time you know this thing is going to destroy you and you can't help it, so you take this thing and then you hate yourself for taking it. it never ends and it's a lot of self-hatred and i wanted to describe that. >> and yet you would think it might disrupt her marriage, her husband would walk out, but he doesn't. how does he react, the husband. >> that's the interesting part for me, the love story.
i was asking myself the question, can you forgive something like that? is it possible to forgive someone who lied to you for so many years and cheated on you? and i think that the husband is fascinated go by his wife. he knows it's impossible to control her that's why he wants to keep her and tells her you have a disease. i'm a doctor, i'm going to cure this disease and i'm going to help you. you're going to heal. but the truth is, it's not the disease. it's something else >> spoiler alert, do they stay together? >> you have to read it. >> how much of it is autobiographic cal? you yourself are french and moroccan extraction. like miriam in lullaby, you yourself are a journalist or were like the character in adele
>> it's very difficult for a writer to say what was autobiographic or not. you say i and you really express the truth about yourself. if you decide to write fiction, everything is fiction. >> i want to ask you because i'm really interested. you were covering the arab spring in tunisia, and you got arrested there. how did that inform your life experience, your experience as a writer then? >> i have to say i was a mother of a young child at that time, traveling a lot and coming home and looking at my child who i was missing very very much, and it was hard. that's a hard job to be a reporter and to travel a lot. sometimes you feel very frustrated because you put so much work and so much energy. one week after, you have to write another article and you have the feeling that everybody forgot about the previous one. so i was maybe too frustrated
disappointed write books because books stay. >> why did you get arrested? >> you know, it was very common at that time to be arrested when you were a journalist a woman, and a muslim in the street, especially when you were taking photographs. >> so when you were covering the to a kneesian arab spring, which is where it started, what did you feel? you're a woman from a muslim country. what did you feel about the changing face of womanhood, particularly in that country? tunisia has tried to really fulfill the promises of the arab spring >> even now i think it's a very, very important country for us arabs who are liberals. >> secular, you mean. >> exactly. it's an extraordinary country and i felt at that time so much joy, and i felt proud for the first time in my life. i felt proud of being a young arab woman because they make us proud to go in the street. i was so brave. it was a wonderful moment to live.
>> i'm really interested in hearing you call yourself a young arab woman. you obviously really embrace and own all sides of your heritage. >> yeah. i'm arab, i'm french, i'm from the west, i'm from africa. >> what do you make of what's going on in our society still to this day with the racism, whether it's black and white in america, whether it's arab and white in france, or whatever it might be here. you can see what's going on all over europe. do you see a positive part or do you see things as tense without as much resolution as maybe we would have hoped in 2019? >> yeah, i see the tension, i see the violence, but if i'm really honest with you, i have to say that i live in a groove where there is no racism, where people are very open-minded. i belong to the group who takes advantage of globalization. i'm not a victim of globalization. i travel all the time. i speak many languages.
i go to nice restaurants in nice cities. i read books. the truth is i could tell you that i'm worried that i see this tension, that i'm a victim of this or that, but that's not true. the truth is my life is very nice because i live in a bubble. that's the truth. >> but others in france don't live in a bubble and many people of your origin don't feel as you do. what can this president macron do? he's under so much pressure from the zeal zahn. >> well, the problem is this gap i was telling you about, this gap between a part of the country who has the feeling they are taking advantage of globalization, want more europe and open borders. and the rest of the population who are a victim of this globalization and finds their life is getting worse and worse.
is problem is this gap. how do we live snogt how is it possible to rebuild our society and to find goals that are the goals of everyone, and not only of a few. >> on the me too issue, you remember when it all started. and then there was a letter, an open letter by, among other people, the famous actress catherine did he nerve and others. we should have the right to be looked at, stared at, to be wanted, desired, all of this me too is going too far. and you wrote a rebuttal, an open-letter rebuttal where you said -- >> we should have the right not to be bullied, harassed, et cetera. i said you should look a little bit out of france and look at the situation of women in egypt, in peru, kong go, pakistan. the life of women there is not like the life in paris where you want known look at you and to tell you you're pretty.
that's a problem there. >> do you think they get it now, this older generation of women? >> yes, i think, i think, i think at the beginning it was difficult because they were afraid that france was going to lose something in terms of liberty and philosophy of gallantry. now they understand the difference between defending this culture and defending women and the right of women to be safe. >> i want to ask you also about race. you don't overtly discuss race or write about it, but it's still a subtext in a lot of what you write. james baldwin, the great american writer, black, came to paris because he couldn't get the space that he needed in the united states. and he is still so relevant today. one of the last books he wrote, if beal street could talk, a major movie, oscar nominated, all sorts of awards. are you surprised that he and
that kind of writing remains so relevant today still? so raw? >> no. i'm not surprised. unfortunately i'm not surprised. especially in the u.s. i'm very interested in the questions of race issue in the u.s. for french-moroccan am wo, iwom surprised. a few days ago i was watching a documentary with my son about the situation of black people in the '60s and segregation. it's hard to explain that black people couldn't sit in the bus. i don't understand why, can you tell me why? no, i can't. i can't tell you why. it's impossible to explain to a child. this violence remains not only there but remains also in europe. if you see the situation in
hunker and italy, the racism now. and in the south of spain now, the extreme right. that's very, very -- i'm very pessimistic, actually >> you are very pessimistic? >> yeah, because all the worst things happened. >> keep happening. >> exactly. >> talking about baldwin, a recent article in the "financial times" called him, quote, a soldier, a comrade. he's a brother in arms in a war that doesn't end. do you feel this is a war that doesn't end? >> yes, it's a war that doesn't end, but at the same time, what makes me optimistic is that today we talk of james baldwin and today this kind of intellectual matters are important in the debate. i was working a few months ago with a group of people from different universities in europe about colonialism, about race, and about feminism. it's very interesting because
now we are talking about topics that were not relevant 50 years ago, so it's going to change. what makes me optimistic about that now, people from the south like me, but people coming from africa are very important in the debate and we can speak of other topics skand give other points view and i think it's important. >> amazing time. leila slimani, thank you. >> thank you very much. we hope you enjoyed those conversations to end this week. that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour & co." on pbs and join us again next time. uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bea tollman's 60-year culinary career began, she didn't know the recipes from her
cook book would make their way to her river cruise line, uniworld. bea's locally inspired cuisine is served while cruising through europe, asia, india, and egypt because, according to bea, to travel is to eat. bookings available through your travel adviser. for more information, visit uniworld.com. >> additional support has been provided by rosalind p. walter, bernard and irene schwartz, sue and edgar wachenheim iii, the cheryl and philip milstein family, seton melvin, judy and josh weston, the jpb foundation, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you are watching pbs.
tonight on kqed newsroom, house democrats are pursuing investigations into russian interference, and president trump's finances despite his call to end the probes in the state of the union speech. we will check in with the man leading many of those investigations, the california congressman adam schiff. >> oakland teachers vote to authorize a strike. what it means for public education in california. >> and a new exhibit shines a light on a bay area disaster that killed hundreds and led to desegregation in the military. we begin with the escalating battle over investigations of president trump and his associates. on thursday, president trump lashed out on house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff who had