Amanpour: Jim Sciutto, Steve Hall, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts and Sarah M. Broom
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President trump fires his hawkish each national security adviser John Bolton over foreign policy clashes amid news of a CIA spy extracted from the highest levels of the Kremlin then in my life and death in Aleppo Award winning documentary makers wideout Katiba and Edward Watts take us inside serious loss city and show us hope joy and deep sadness kitten within the ruins plus if something is there the day before and then suddenly seventy not the mind has a really hard time trying to process what happened oldest. Sarah Room tells all Isaacson about lawsuit recovery after Hurricane Katrina. Welcome to the program everyone I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Joan Bolton is out after seventeen months as national security advisor to President trump the president announced on twitter that he asked for Bolton's resignation saying I disagreed strongly eh with many of his suggestions as did others in the administration and he said he'd Announces Replacement next week this major shakeup comes off the public disagreements Ayman's on Iran Afghanistan North Korea among other issues and just often major revelations regarding use national security and Russia new reporting by CNN and backed up by the Times revealing that for decades a spy with extraordinary access to the Russian government has been providing vital information to the CIA a top level asset that was extracted by the US in two thousand seventeen joining me now is the journalist who broke this incredible incredible story Jim shooter in New York. He's also author of the shadow war inside Russias and Chinas secret operations to defeat America and Steve Steve Whole the former chief of Russia operations for the CIA gentlemen welcome to the program and let's start with the breaking news news of the National Security Adviser controversial. John Bolton is out Jim shooter. Why do you think this is the case. The president has made his tweet but bulletin is also also tweet it and send a message to his allies at Fox News that he in fact that I offered his resignation. That's right. This is what we understand. CNN's reporting is it. The proximate cause of this was a disagreement that developed into a heated argument last night over the issue of the president's invitation of Taliban leaders to Camp David David in advance of the nine eleven anniversary that was the proximate cause but in addition to that suspicion from the president and the vice president that Bolton was either creating a false narrative or leading get out that there was disagreement in the White House over that very invitation and that the president and the vice president were uncomfortable with word of that disagreement getting out but bigger picture just the latest issue disagreement between the the president's national security adviser in the president himself on key national security issues this one being a possible deal to end the Afghanistan war for deep disagreement there as you noted disagreements between Bolton and trump on North Korea Bolton more of a Hawk Hawk on North Korea more of a skeptic of president trump's continuing continuing diplomatic outreach to North Korea. Even North Korea has made no discernible steps towards denuclearization their friendship if you could call it that started on the issue of overrun in that the president knew he was hiring in Bolton and Iran hawks someone who would oppose the Iran nuclear deal which the president of course withdrew from but even on that issue in recent weeks months there had been disagreements and really there had been something of a death watch in the White House in recent weeks on Bolton folks inside the administration saying the looked like he was not in a good way that they were having these very public disagreements on these issues and now of course it devolved in an argument last night and Bolton is out so Steve All from your perspective I know you've most concentrated on the Russia desk and we'll get to that in a second but when you view national security security foreign policy of this administration and you see as we've been discussing these very very difficult issues of what to do about North Korea should try to bring Kim Kim Jong UN in from the cold what to do about Iran. Do you bomb as potentially Bolton wanted or do you not as President Obama President trump apparently decided not to do do that a few weeks ago over the Gulf crisis and of course about Afghanistan from your perspective and as a CIA kind of perspective Tiv- what does this say about the current state of National Security Christian you know from my purchase. I WanNa used to work there. We used to watch the National Security Council and of course you know the the the direction that the administration was going in and your characterization of John Bolton as a hawk is of course accurate and that is indeed. I think what president trump was looking for in Iran. The RUB has come though when you get somebody like Bolton who is Hawk across the boards you know somebody who supports strong muscular overseas activities on the part of the United States using being built hard power the military saw-power as well but when you get somebody like that who begins to take the same approach on Russia and on and on North Korea which is at odds with the president then you got a problem obviously in the in the National Security Council. I think it works best when you do have people who are disagreeing with each other so in a good normal healthy administration. You come to some sort of conclusion. The president makes the final decision but there's a fine line between that healthy discussion in chaos and a Guy Kylo Bolton has a long history of being controversial being abrasive and being very very pushy with his own staff and with others so the question is if John Bolton is on Sorta Sorta the out outer ring of of normalcy in terms of just how you behave as a bureaucrat and how you play as a team member and he's not acceptable trump who's next. Where do we go from here is he. GonNa in somebody like Devon Nunez or somebody to this nationals to be the national security adviser. I don't know where you go from Bolton. It'll be very interesting to see what the president decides on that you're right and certainly everybody overseas is waiting and watching to see what comes next and who they who who who speaks for US foreign policy. You're absolutely right. It's going to be fascinating to watch coach who is nicknamed and what this actually means on these key issues. I'm Jim let us now talk about this story that you broke which is the extraction of aw this asset for want of intelligence inside word who for decades has been cultivated apparently by the CIA as he apparently apparently moved up the ranks of policy and I inside Russia what did this person bring to the US that was so valuable enormous insight into the inner workings of the Kremlin but crucially into the plans and thinking of the Russian President my my reporting is that as you noted this is someone who had been providing information to the US for more than a decade during that time period had risen to the top of Russia's national security security infrastructure it has its own sort of National Security Council as well and with that position this person had access directly to the Russian president including I'm told by former trump administration official the remarkable ability to take photographs of presidential documents now that intelligence bore more fruit for the intelligence community because it was partly based on Intel from this asset or source or spy that the intelligence community assessed that it was Putin Putin himself who ordered the interference by Russia in the two thousand sixteen presidential election and crucially specifically in order to advantage trump over Clinton so the loss of those eyes and ears inside the Kremlin is enormous is an enormous one for the US at a time of growing tensions between these two countries as you well know. Intel agencies consistently place Russia and China together at the top of the prime threats to US national security yeah and we have now lost a vision inside one of those threats. I mean I it's very interesting when you put it that way to lost vision inside so let me ask before the details. Let me ask Stephen Hall Steve. Whole who's you were in charge of the Russia desk. I know you can't address this particular issue but in general what does this mean gene elaborate on losing vision inside such a crucial I mean it's being described as a hostile power. Russia is a hostile power. According to America's intelligence operation sure that there's no doubt that Russia's is adversarial is hostile and uh-huh Lottery Putin sees things in a zero sum game. You know Russia wins the American the Americans lose. That's the way he see things he sees things you know not to sound like the CIA spokesperson I can of course confirm or deny anything that Jim has been has been reporting on but it from a broader perspective. I think it's troubling when you have a president who sees is the the collection of intelligence which is done for the entire. US government by the US government as his own personal bank account of information to US however he wants wants to it's going to have an impact downstream with entities that want to cooperate. I want to pass sensitive information to to the to the US government in the future I I you know most egregiously I recently when you had the president tweeting out pictures of Iranian launch sites and the destruction of a launch. I should've vehicle there and then subsequently tweeting very quickly. You know hey I can. I can release this information if I want to because legally I can declassify whatever he wants to me if if you're a either a foreign intelligence service or another entity that wants to pass information to the US government you can look at that and you're going to say well if I pass really sensitive stuff a a can the US government protect itself against its own president to tweet out those secrets that you know is a servicer or another entity has chosen to share and that's going to be a real downside but the president apparently doesn't care very much about that. Cnn I think reported also earlier about the president's reported disdain for human intelligence and how he doesn't think it's particularly useful for to begin with so perhaps he just doesn't care well. Let me ask you Jim then because this is the very controversial part of it not just the safety and the security of this operative what it means for extracting and knowing what's going on in the center of the Kremlin but also what does it say about President Trump and the White House has pushed back very firmly firmly against the notion that this is -struction happened because intelligence was worried that perhaps president trump might advertently or inadvertently Salihi reveal too much about this set. What evidence is there for that though well. I'll tell you I spoke to a former trump administration official who was involved directly in the discussions when the decision was made to bring out this Russian spy and this official told me that the president and his administration's repeated mishandling of intelligence factored into that decision the timing is indicative as well because I'm told that a phone call took place soon after a may twenty seventeen meeting in the Oval Office office in which you'll remember president trump discussed and shared highly classified intelligence with Russian officials. There's a picture there Sergei Lavrov the foreign minister the former Russian ambassador or to the US Sergei Kislyak and when when the president did that although the information he shared was not source to the Russian spy came from Israel it it caused pause within the intelligence agencies about what risk that might pose in future conversations with the president that had already shown himself else undisciplined in the way that he handles classified intelligence. I'll tell you that there was another incident that followed just two months after that which again alarm the intelligence and agencies you'll remember this Christiane July two thousand seventeen. The President meets with Ladimir Putin at the g twenty in Hamburg Germany. It was a private meeting. He took the unusual step of confiscating skating his own interpreters notes afterwards. I'm told by an intelligence source that after this meeting as well the intelligence community was concerned that the president again improperly early discussed classified information so it was a series of events over time that that has worn away the intelligence community's confidence in the way. The president handles handles this material. I should also note though that leading up the decision to extract the source there were other concerns the length of service by this Russian spy and also the fact that intelligence from this Russian spy had been included in the public assessment of Russia's interference in the election in two thousand sixteen so that the at the end of the Obama Administration the Obama Administration actually offered this source the ability to be extracted at that time the source refused. It was only months into the trump administration when the extraction took place. Let let me ask you both slightly the flip side of this coin that you seem to be describing you write in your report that in part they were concerned concerned about the president and his handling of intelligence and classified information but we've also noted and we've reported and so is every other news organization that the president it seems to have a warm public relationship with President Putin so some could suggest that perhaps perhaps he's he's doing that in public precisely so that he doesn't compromise the fact that they have somebody right in there who can get to the president's desk and take pictures in the Kremlin for heaven's sake. Maybe he has to be pleasant to in about Putin to throw him off the send many Steve that and then you. Jim sure sure well Christianity Vladimir Putin a former intelligence officer himself so regardless of whether he has pleasant Nice conversations nations with Donald Trump or they're more pointed and more difficult. Putin is going to assume that the United States is attempting to collect clandestinely Salihi information against Russia so I I'm not I'm not sure I'm buying into that but I do want to add to to Jim's comments earlier about about how this president handles information and intelligence poorly in my assessment and I can tell you that if I were a you know a a foreign intelligence service I'd be really scared to share information with the US government over my right now but that's particularly important as we think back this week on the nine eleven attacks because the bulk of the information that we get from our foreign partners is counterterrorism information in short short. This president's handling or mishandling of intelligence is making the country more vulnerable because it will result in others not wanting to share information with us. It's just it's just the way the the game works and kin to two point on that another story out today and again speaking to officials who served this president and we're in the room when he made comments disparaging foreign intelligence sources including intelligence sources inside countries hostile hostile to the US. I spoke to a former trump administration official who said that the president quote believes. We shouldn't be doing that to each other. I spoke to a former senior intelligence official who told me that trump's trump's believes quote there are people who are selling out their country therefore he doesn't believe that information but but crucially and this gets to. Steve's point earlier that the president views is those sources though essential to the intelligence communities work as somehow damaging his personal relationships with those leaders Putin included but we have a public comment it from the president to this effect in June this year when there was a report out that the CIA had used Kim Jong UN's half brother as an informant for some time the President Said said publicly that under his leadership he's communicated to the North Koreans that would not happen that hobbles US intelligence collection for a sitting US president to say he he doesn't want that kind of information even from countries hostile to the US. We're such sources are essential to protecting US national security. We have a soundbite soundbites that assay within a player. I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother or half brother and I would tell him that would not happen under my under my auspices. That's for sure okay so you both have weighed in on about that. Steven whole all I can see you shaking your head but the one thing I do want to ask you is this and that is reporting that this asset in the Kremlin was also compromised by intelligence officials revealing the severity of Russia's election interferes with unusual detail the news media picking up on all of this. I mean doesn't there's also a problem there right. We had extraordinary information a to the to the extent that the intelligence believed that Kremlin sorry Putin himself was responsible for this interference with with trying to swing the election and all of that this came from intelligence officials. Steve Yeah again without coming into commenting directly on on this particular case I can. I can say that you know. Oh you when you have in from especially with this administration. It's got to be an extremely difficult position to be in if you collect information as part of the intelligence process whether it's CIA NSA or whoever it is collecting sensitive information. You've got to wonder as an intelligence professional working in this administration. What do you do when you collect that piece of information formation that you know it. The president is going to have issues with and then you've got a president. Who is you were just saying says? I'm not interested really in I guess naively at best saying I'm not interested in you know gentlemen reading others gentleman's male as you know of an old famous quote about how intelligence works but yes yes when you're successful it collecting really good intelligence and then you give it to the administration who might not disagree with it might not agree with it and furthermore might actually put it out out there then you've got a serious problem with the messages that you're sending to our former allies into others that might be willing to cooperate and margins on China Russia Iran all opposition issues and very importantly. I mean you both know about this. But what is the fate of this asset who's been extracted. Where is he kenny ever high. From the long arm of of Kremlin revenge look at Paul the Novi Chalk that was used against him others who've been caught and killed in revenge for this is Jim. Well listen. We have deliberately not delved into any speculation about the name or location of this particular. I individual Joel. I do know that that in the agency there is concerned with scrip all in mind that already the Kremlin was looking for people like this and and to have this discussed publicly embarrassing to them and that they will look even harder the fact is this was an extraction traction took place two years ago it I was told it's my understanding that soon after this asset disappeared that the Russian government became wise to to why this person had disappeared so it really depends on the ability to protect these people when it takes them out of the country. It's something that's how to do for a number are a number of years and listen. I it's something that we were certainly sympathetic to it. It's why initially with the story we withheld a whole host of details that we knew and we continue to withhold details that we know so as to not contribute to his or her identification. It's really tricky one Jim shooter and Steve Hole. Thank you so so much for joining us and of course all of this in the backdrop with Putin's United Russia party having lost a huge amount at the elections this this weekend for the Russian parliament in the city of Moscow so that was a big political a blow to Putin as well but as for reaction to the story on his spokesman when Cole's it pulp fiction. Martha Stewart wants to give you three meals for your own in-home taste test. That's right Martha's meal Kit Delivery Service. Martha and Marley spoon is giving away three full size meals to be part of Martha's free atom taste test visit Marley spoon dot com slash rush. CNN forget about awful frozen food and unhealthy fast food. Martha wants you to enjoy three of her best thirty minute meals for free go to Marley SPOON DOT dot com slash. CNN that's Marley spoon dot com slash C. N. N. Guys are terrible at taking care of their health. 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Russia certainly has the upper hand though over the United States in Syria without a crucial support from Moscow and Tehran President Assad would not have survived even won the civil war there one of the hardest conflicts to cover the best storytelling storytelling and reporting came from Syrian journalists. Women like the award winning film make a wide Al Qatif who picked up a camera in twenty eleven at the peaceful all star of the Arab spring when it came to Syria but then turned into a brutal civil war for years. She provided a window into her war-ravaged city of Aleppo. Now she's made her first feature documentary with filmmaker Edward Watts. It's called for summer a letter to her infant daughter and it's already won best documentary mentioned prize at Cannes where wide her doctor husband and what made this powerful protest against regime attacks on hospitals. The film film has been praised for showing that amid the horrors of war. There was also huma love and life. Here's a clip from the trailer. Some some Janik jacket nominee attention semi Nevada scenic procedure sure I share non completely at the philosophy actually what White Alkatiri Edward Watts welcome to the program. Thank you so that is a just such a strong trailer and it speaks to the real strength of the Phil you call this four Somma. So how did that come about. Why did you decide to take this format for your daughter. Does something we've we. I knew from the beginning but we were discovering. This is through the process that we did for two years. We felt that all the conversations through the material was telling everything the this is for some there was like a natural conversation as anyone around the world everyone speaks with our chart even if we to just bring it on and was just like kind of the conversation natural one one which it was through the material and Twas my daughter. Twas something you've seen it so it was really like breathing through the footage that was that the footage was about heart was the relationship between widened sample but did you make a decision to make that and to keep going back and forth because if you look at the trailer and obviously we've seen your report is through the war. It is relentlessly really dark. It's terrible terrible war. The siege of Aleppo is a terrible terrible thing. The bodies piled up. What did you think when you had to take all her footage and make it palatable well. The thing that was so incredible about what this woman achieved and what she managed to film was the fact that her footage route huge archive when I saw it for the first time I so the full spectrum of human human life in this conflict situation so the horror was there the human suffering as you talked about but also so much joy so much about the spirit of people in these kind of situations so it was more just trying to say like there was so much. How can we squeeze all of this life that was in the footage in the archive archive and container in a manageable form for the cinema so in the opening opening narration of yours. You say I made this film feel. You're dressing your daughter. I need you to understand why your father made the choices that we did what we were fighting for. What were you fighting for you then later on in the film you say we don't forgive me. Forgive me for staying saying and in fact leaving yeah twelve we have fears are Syrian. All the time about our story will not be told our voices we were all like against the under the the says you on the Russian were trying to just destroy the dream that we have a freedom of dignity and like we W- ah every parents in Syria and everyone who lived through the first year and two years of the peaceful demonstration we have that's that maybe this could be really reached the next generation so in one part of this. I really wanted to tell her about like what we went through how we started this erosion android and and it's not just for some for some for all the other children of Syria for all tied directly to understand like what we went through as Syrian people dame of freedom them let let's take a few of the elements that we just saw in the trailer because again. I think the world is familiar with the barrel bombs and the chlorine gas and the chemical could weapons and the and the slaughter in the hospitals but they're not familiar with the individual stories of the family your neighbors who profiled the little boy on the on on the balcony who had his hand his head in his hand and he was afraid that he would be taken away from Aleppo this city under siege age as thrilling so complicated to understand like how they would outside could be act for something. It's more about like unfortunately not just like the bombing was familiar also like bombing hospitals killing children. All this started to be as numbers on the news or for people watching like their news at home after dinner and all these things were coming through the mind of the of the people and then just like move onto their normal life. I felt that maybe the story in the best. One way could attorney affect every parent's every mother every human being around the world to start thinking about one step forward to do something for this people. An Ed Wood wide came out eventually after Aleppo fell and she had she you managed to bring out hard drives an hours and hours. How many hundreds of hours of footage were you looking over five hundred hours without the whole story of the his holy jeter and she'd been filming filming little bits and bobs every day pretty much through five years so is beyond the age it was right the way back to the very first days of the peaceful protests and incredible huge huge expanse and I mean we start going through it together. I think we narrowed it down to three hundred hours. Go directly relevant. That was still a huge amount of footage because you had to get it down two to ninety five minutes which was quite a task. What did you think I mean you have been a documentary producer editor for a long long time and here you are partnered up with wide now's out of Syria and has handed you her life's work until now and you've got to help edited and make it a story that may may not have exactly been what you thought it might be or how it should unfold Gimme. The creative process will actually that opportunity to collaborate in that way a was it was an honor for to begin with but it was also made the film I think strong is because both of us were coming with their own perspectives. I was trying to think about like what does say your average person in London or New York who's coming off the streets living a completely different life and then you're taking them to the heart of Aleppo into the heart of its life. How can you bring that person. In how can you keep them with you on this very tough story and had was looking from the point of the inside a point of view and so we had a lot of very robust conversation some creative green test the first really the main things was how we were so honest each other and we were like whatever his so-so all my thoughts we were really so honest and like we trust each other we try to work on this for two years and the end of the thing was like of our sources on the story itself and the things that happened so it was also like my bath we have that has received rapturous. Welcome all over you on the best documentary and can and from what I have read. It got a six minute standing ovation shen. Did you even expect that the first screening before we go to the first public screening out we were extinct. They're thinking about how how many people will leave before the finished because us what they would get tired of it or it'll be too tough too much to take care. We did a screening for friends and family earlier and they were just like overwhelmed with our earlier version which was tougher even than this overwhelming otherwise they couldn't. They will hand in front of their face and it's more about like we've been told a lot and we knew this may be that people around the world are so tired from this from the blood from the stories. They want something as people really don't care anymore about like their stories from like so far places and we were just like shock people really care and people really like they were amazing in connection. I wonder if that forced you to bring out some unusual images and stories from the war because you have this beautiful picture of the kids playing in a bombed armed out bus and I mean I guess not everybody can relate to that. Buchanan relate to kids climbing up a jungle gym climbing frame pretending to drive the bus having refund painting the bus and then you have this great story about a persimmon of fruit now. Tell me that one. This is like some movie like not uh not a lot of the moment but it's few minutes gives you a lot of flack hope and field okay I will stay alive. I will survive like Saddam after gets. It's many people in your friends who you profile and there's like the hospital staff and many of this like moments when you feel that we really together in this whatever happened and all the horror that we lived through but there's like part of the whole band happiness we still like can feel it whatever the situation where basically from somewhere her husband discovered a fresh fruit and brought it to yeah yeah. I mean it's beautiful moment because she so zoe delighted with this simple piece of small piece of fruit. He's like Oh my God. It's like I bought you a rose or something. That's like the greatest romantic gesture but that is the joy of this film my thing I mean you've covered a lot of conflict zones and I think and I've been to some as well and what the truth is is that the people tell jokes and they do these actions support each other and to sustain each other but we often don't hear about that you know you don't see enough of them exactly as the humanity which leads to the resistance of population so I I want to play a little clip which was really dramatic and it's it starts very sadly and then we'll we'll see it unfold which is a baby being born at the hospital and it came out looking like it was dead and here the doctors resuscitating and trying to give it so the baby. ABC and you just don't know tell me about tell me about this incident. It was just like normal day when we heard that there's shelling around the hospital and an injury or is coming to the hospital and take my camera and get down to see what's going on and we've found that there's a big unto men who like almost to give birth and there's like an she wasn't uses the moment yeah. This is the moment that all that work is successful in this child is alive and like you. You can't feel I was filming this just because this is my disposability to film every patient who's coming to the hospital and I've never expect that he will be alive so it was like I've just like keep filming doing this because this is important these people and their spe specialty is not terrorist as the world outside like these are human and being out terrorists and his his who was killed and suddenly you've seen like as as you've seen it. I've seen it in my own is that that's just this baby is alive now and his painting he's crying and the hospital is also a character in this movie not just the city of Aleppo under siege but the hospital in the city of Aleppo under siege and your husband plays a huge role in that Hamza is the doctor who creates this hospital brings all these other doctors and provides foulland's and thousands of hours of care and saves patients and saves lives. Tell me about how important that hospital was to the story of the war. the house at the beginning was one of nine hospitals who've been giving. Florida the People Inside Aleppo and there was like a great stuff foe from doctors and nurses and people who they've never been in this situation before but there's just taught how to do this and at the end of two thousand and extent in November the hospital's Hospital in the city after the Russian the Assad regime targeted are nine hospitals and they've been completely out of service and that time other some of the other doctors from other hospital count came to the applesauce and they were all like doing all this work together and just like the last hope for people they could have been treatment if anything cupping to them and it was just like place where you can feel that this is a place. Can I come in survive here and unfortunately like that all of the you your husband I come in the narration you say ah they target hospitals because that breaks people's spirits yeah it's happened before in eastern golden at also an old city of homes and there are and on this is just like the technique that Russian and Assad regime doing from the beginning from two thousand and twelve the first hospital was been like completely destroyed an Suppo- at all because they won't be afraid that there's no one here for them so let's go back to the title four summer. It's for your lovely daughter. WHO's now three years sold and was brought into the world in that siege and most of life under siege and you know this scenes there where you you trying to find the milk for her. You one thing we saw in the trailer where everything goes dark and you very comedy saying who's got some. Ah Y'all had to go down to the basement and every mother's nightmare to lose a child in the middle of this kind of this kind of crisis but of course she was fine and there's one another another really amazing scene that we can we can play and I'm going to play it and then I'm GonNa. Have you talked about it at would deem route. There should digital Dick having my MMJ. I wonder when you saw those five hundred hours of tape. You were amazed by how much she was also recording own side thoughts whenever something like this happened and this of course when a bomb damage to your home and you obviously you really afraid for your lives and yeah I mean one of the things he said to me was that the camera was kind of her confidante so luckily for all of us and for the film she recorded a lot of those personal moments that she didn't even talk to answer about I think and that was again one of the things that fell back extraordinarily really to be allowed into someone's personal world in that way that she her best friend was the camera in some of those circumstances. There's some of the worst circumstances and again we saw those beautiful pictures of you and getting married again under siege small party but absolutely beautiful. It's it's a life affirming scene and you filmed it phenomenally from almost all angles. I don't know how you manage it but it was pretty amazing French. Okay great friends. I'm but as as I said did hums a no has when he saw the finished product. Did he know all the things you told your camera without him being being around the said cigarettes messages. I was telling the camera he wasn't new aborted Patino that I was filming everything and he was the first I like that he was so annoyed by having all around all the time and he told me this directly many times like like I wanna live with you. I don't want to leave you with. Is it coming up and the fact that the first time I felt that he really recognized how this is really important was when we lost one of our vistaprint's yeah he was in the hospital before and at that moment not just everyone around. I felt that they've seen in their own is that this is really important for all all of us so. I guess one last question this is incredible storytelling which has taken everybody who seen it by storm and will probably go on on to win a huge number of awards and put Syria in everybody's face again in a very different way but aside as one. This is one of the things I'm sorry for this. I wish like I would love when someone said like Assad doin like he will never ever one like if he won Tom. This is Syria now. It's all destroyed. Thousands of people are being killed thousands of people in there in this and his brother presents the now six hundred Fiji Reggie around the world like if doin this people all should be back and unfortunately they lost area out of his control still being targeted and certain to be totally destroyed by the Russian on by his forces and now Syria. It's not like really Syria as like husband law forces Iranian forces. It's Russian forces and he's he's not in control anymore. It's more about really how we can start thinking about the first step of accountability T- of what happened in Syria and all this crimes thinking about how we can continue our life out of Syria until one they will be all back and hopefully in free any Sandia that we want and that's the message of your film which essentially is a letter for Somma your daughter. Thank you so much. Keep Edwards. Thank you very much thank you and you can catch this extraordinary film for some on PBS later this fall wide and Edward also hoped to play the film for the UN Security Council. So now we turn to hurricanes and the destruction they wreak Dorian has caused dozens of deaths in parts of the Bahamas but our next guest reminds us that the thousand remain long after the storm has caused back in August two thousand five Hurricane Katrina wreck the home of New Orleans writer Sarah Broom and tore up her city her debut memoir. The Yellow House is an intimate look at a family that scattered across America but felt the gravitational pull of home and she sat down with Isaac sent to tell him about healing and what remains after all seems to have gone Sarah Welcome to the show. Oh and this is such a joy for me somebody from New Orleans my hometown and you grew up and what we call the East which was one thousand nine hundred sixties development men and for our viewers who quite know the distinction talk about New Orleans East and what's called the lower ninth ward sure so new Orleans east part of the Ninth Ward and so oh the Lord ninth is in the Ninth Ward. Both of those areas are essentially bifurcated from the city by a navigation channel called the industrial canal which connects the Mississippi River and Lake pontchartrain and so New Orleans East. It's a huge area of of the city that is composed of many different neighborhoods the lower nine is closer to the Mississippi sort of right against in a way the canal and is one specific neighborhood and so the East I always think of as a much larger section of the city and the book the the Yellow House is very much a part of trying to own the city after the hurricane and you feeling like okay. It's my city to sure and for me. This is a very old feeling the feeling of what does it mean to belong to a place. What does it mean for instance instance to be a new ORLEAN and I was actually contending with this question long before Katrina. I was thinking about this the day after I left the a yellow house for College. I was thinking what does it mean that I grew up in this house where the ground outside was always soft so I was obsessing over that and then I think what ended up happening was after Katrina came and then in two thousand six when the house was demolished suddenly as a writer later I was contending with laws and you know I say in the work that I feel absence more strongly than presents and I think the fact of that led me to try to interrogate. Would it meant would it all match and that was an enormous voyage. Oy itch that I couldn't have predicted. What did it mean for your family in nineteen sixty one for your mom to say we're going to have a yellow house or awesome big deal you know my mother bought the house at when she was nineteen years old and it was her piece of land. It was her spot in the world. She made it incredibly beautiful. She sewed all the curtains for this house. It was a place I think she instantly felt tethered to and that part heart fascinates me because the house is the most perfect metaphor I think for who we all are in the world for or would it means to have a kind of interior already and to have a physical place that we're connected to so so from my mom I meant all of those things and then of course she raised her twelve children in that house and so we were in a way you know the little houses walking around the house wasn't wasn't there and it was my mother who had the insight about the ways in which people become houses and become places until you trace back one hundred years. I think your family to think rose Louisiana and then to the Yellow House in New Orleans East and it sort of culminates for you with this sense of place you get from the house. What was it like back when all of a sudden the hurricane heads so it's interesting because I had been having very conflicted feelings about the house in the years leading up to Katrina in two thousand and five and so I think the moment when the house was battered which was really Would it was was shocking for me. That doesn't quite say say it college shocking but the moment I always think about was going there with my siblings. We were there quite early back in New Orleans after the storm store. My grandmother had in fact died a month to the day of the storm the day after her funeral we drove to to New Orleans east and went to see the house my mother refused to get our car but all of us children's sort of ran to it and notice that by force of water there was another entrance made by nature essentially in the side of the House and so we all stood off from the outside peering in through this crack and seeing the detritus of lives lived my brothers dry cleaning and all the lampshades and the dressers from my childhood and that moment the feeling that something had been broken that it would never be see the same again is something that haunts me still tell me about Karl. Tell me what happened to him the hurricane and how he becomes a sentinel this book so Carl is one of my older brothers and probably for me. Just when I think of New Orleans I think of Carl he's that person from me and so he stayed in New Orleans during Katrina in fact he was acting like it was a really ordinary day. I I think many people do were and still do to this day. he drove home. He was aware that a storm was possibly coming and he fell asleep. He woke up and there was water in the house so the water kept rising and rising and of course this is after Katrina has already hit right right. What's happening now is that the levees have been breached and water is coming in and Curl essentially escapes the house by cutting through the roof with an axe he then stays on the roof for quite a long time and becomes a stranger in his own city and then shortly after the house was damaged. Njit was going there and checking on it and seeing how the house was doing is if the house was you know infirm like as if it were a person really or things that show painful painful in the book and I feel so sorry about too is that the house then get demolished by the authorities because there's nobody there array of the foundations and you never get notified. How tell me the pain of that well that that is a kind of existential feeling of loss for me and what I mean by that is it's sort of it's something is there the day before and then suddenly not the mind has a really hard time trying to process what happened and so because my brother Carl who is for me. The kind of sentinel of the book was showing up every day and sitting on this lot where you know where the house was and then he actually fell ill and was in the hospital hospital during the time when the notice was delivered in the house was ultimately demolished he showed up one day after getting out of the hospital and it was simply gone and then after the house was gone he went there every single day after work and sat watch and at some point he brought a very gorgeous ornate would table to the scene where our house used to be and he set up chairs around it and all of his friends would come and they'd hang out there. I would go there and we'd hang out there. He made it a place and in that way Carl is my mother through and through because that's the thing that she taught us whatever you have you make it beautiful you take care of it you see to it and curl did that all the way until the moment when the land was no longer hours when the Hurricane Katrina hit you are actually if I'm right up here in New York look city right. You're successful well known editor with Oprah's magazine but also journalists bride or had done many things at first you don't go home. I think you run into Samantha power the UN ambassador and your Barath and she gives is you one word on a map that you may not have even known much about right right. She says go to Burundi. It was the strangest thing I was sent in a kind kinda tailspin in the days after the storm you know where I just felt as if someone or something had died and those of us who've ever known grief no the feeling and the experience of that and I remember being at dinner with Samantha Power who then was you know had just written a problem from hell saying I giving her some very complicated idea about how I wanted to go elsewhere and think about the Global South and displacement this placement and she said you should go to Burundi and I said whereas Burundi and that sort of set off this journey that that I ended up taking aching Samantha Power had said you know you don't need a railing you know meaning you just show up and I don't know why I thought to take her at her word word. I somehow did but it was interesting to be in Burundi because I was completely stripped of any story ahead of myself or any story I had been and telling myself because in Burundi. No one knew idiot these things I was talking about the people I I was around barely knew where New Orleans was as none of this had any significance for them. It could not speak for me. I had to somehow be composed and be the person who who I was without any of the narratives I had or the stories I was telling about myself and Barundi was great for that for that reason wooded wooded you learn about home and community in your own connection to home and community by being in Burundi. Well you know it was interesting because the thing I learned about myself is that I go around essentially trying to find siblings and Bruni also reminded me that it was time to go back home that these people were home that Burundians had found their place and they were they're wrestling with it and interrogating it and being in it and it was time for me on some level to go back to the place I was essentially running from and that's New Orleans Not New York there from New York but when you say home you're referring to New Orleans after six months is suddenly moved back to New Orleans why you so after a year actually in Burundi a decided to go back. I felt the gaps were becoming very apparent to me in in terms of what I knew you know. I didn't know anything about my simply because it was really hard to talk to them. You know there was no what's APP at the time. My mother was writing these varies sort of scarce letters that didn't have a lot of information so I felt the distance and I come from a family that is very close and very connected so that that felt untenable for me and then also I got a random random call from a woman working in City Hall and Mayor Ray Nagin sort of embattled embattled at the time and and and it came about that I was searching for a job and a friend said I have the perfect person and then this woman calls me from City Hall and says we've read some of your writing eating about New Orleans. We think you would be you know really good and perfect to help us talk about the recovery and so I talked to her on the phone and it was a communication job. I decided it would be my way back into New Orleans. One of the interesting things about the hurricane is that it brought people like yourself back would left New Orleans a long time ago including me. I came back and moved back to New Orleans but on the flip side of that we lost a lot of people that haven't come back to the storm. How has that affected New Orleans and and to some extent your sense of the place well that's an important part of what happened and for me in my own family so many of my siblings have and yet to return you know they found better jobs elsewhere or they just financially haven't been able to come back. I think that has essentially essentially changed in a way the nature of the city itself I remember right after you know in two thousand eight when it came back to work for the Mayor Living on Kimbro street in the Carrollton area and realizing that the rent that I was paying was eight hundred dollars higher than the rent you know before the storm and it made me really think about how it was possible for people all to return and so I am hyper aware I think of of how the fabric has changed. I know that many New Orleans have and yet to return even now and you moved back. Do you think for good you know. I have a little yellow house. I never thought thought I wanted a yellow house but I fell in love with this yellow house in the Marigny neighborhood and you know I'm there in New Orleans at least once a month to be with my mom and my siblings and so it's where I live part of the time if I'm not in Harlem. I'm generally in my little house in the Marigny. Arnie is nice to have a yellow house that sort of inbetween the French quarter back in New Orleans East. I hope you make it home. Thank you so much. Thank you thank you even off to tragedy. The lucky. Ones can go home again but that's it for now. Remember you can listen to a podcast see. US Online landed on for Dot Com and follow me on instagram and twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London. 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