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Italian Premier Speaks Out; Bearing Witness to History; Imagine a World
Aired January 2, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight: a special edition of our program as we look back at some of the highlights of our year.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
Matteo Renzi stormed onto Italy's political scene with a passion, energy and a roll-up-your-sleeves can-do attitude, all of which are in dire
need, because the 39-year-old Italian prime minister has faced an enormous task, to drag his nation out of an economic slowdown that's been likened to
the Great Depression.
But progress isn't happening as quickly as Renzi or the European Union would like. Italy has slid back into its third recession in six years.
Unemployment is over 12 percent. Youth unemployment is at a staggering 44 percent. And that is causing a massive brain drain.
Even with the ailing economy, Italy is still a destination for thousands of African migrants, desperate for a better life. I asked Renzi
about this matter of life and death as well as the ongoing chaos in Libya, just across the Mediterranean.
Despite all of this, he was brimming with optimism and confidence when we met at the Italian embassy here in London just after his meeting with
the British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Renzi, welcome to the program.
MATTEO RENZI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You have an incredibly tough job. It seems that Italy changes its prime ministers too often.
Are you daunted?
How do you -- how do you see your job ahead?
RENZI: The problem of Italy is we change a few times -- we change a lot of times the prime minister. But we don't change our country. And our
country is an incredible country, very beautiful, with an incredible past, an incredible present, but we need a future.
And now, for the first time, after 58 years, the consensus in Italy is more than 40 percent. So this is the time in which finally we can change.
AMANPOUR: When it comes to youth unemployment, it's a massive 44 percent. And there are hundreds of thousands of young Italians who have
decided to make their way in the world outside of Italy.
AMANPOUR: A brain drain.
RENZI: I don't know if this is a problem. Let me be very frank. Let me be very frank. Obviously, it's a big problem, unemployment, this is
clear. And in the last year, we have more than 80,000 new jobs.
But I'm confident because I think, if finally we solve the problem of bureaucracy justice, lack of courage in labor market, if finally we solve
this problem, unemployment naturally decrease in the next years. Why I said it's not a problem if a part of Italian people left Italy, because I
think around the world, there are a lot of Italians very able, very intelligent, very smart, who change the world.
I don't ask them, come back to my country. I ask, give me a hand to bring Italy in the future. It's not important if you stay in Silicon
Valley. For me it's absolutely important if you help my country to come back to be Italy.
AMANPOUR: You've worked on this labor situation, the labor laws, for about a year now, or at least since you were prime minister.
Have you achieved anything in trying to make them more flexible?
RENZI: Absolutely yes. We must give the possibility of entrepreneurs to have freedom in the hire and fire, but in the same time, create a
welfare state to give an opportunity for everybody.
AMANPOUR: Some might say that's a little bit of a conflicting goal.
But can I ask you, because we've already seen, as we're speaking, mass demonstrations in Naples outside the ECB meeting. People are angry about
inequality, injustice, high unemployment.
You have also said that you agree with the French president, who says he will not stick to the E.U. mandated 3 percent deficit to GDP law.
RENZI: There is a problem for my position, because I'm absolutely convinced that the 3 percent is a parameter of the past. But they have the
problem. Italy is a country in which we lost credibility because we don't respect parameters in the past.
So the position of Italy is clear. We respect 3 percent.
Obviously, if French president decide for France important avoid the respect of 2 percent, nobody could answer to Mr. Hollande or Mr. Valls, ah,
this is not correct, and believe Europe has a school in which there are a teacher and young students. Europe is a community of destiny. It's a
community of values.
AMANPOUR: You're here; you'll be meeting Prime Minister Cameron.
He said that, for him, Scotland staying in the U.K. was a thousand times more important than the U.K. staying in the E.U.
Do you think it's important for U.K. to stay within the E.U.?
And will you agree, as the Italian prime minister, to the kind of reforms that he says he needs in order to hold a referendum and win?
RENZI: Now, obviously, I agree. We must absolutely change Europe, because it's correct, because it's right, before the referendum of 2017 in
the U.K. And not only because there is a referendum, but because it's absolutely correct.
The problem is the direction. I believe important reduce the power of bureaucracy in Europe. I believe absolutely important reduce the level of
technocrats' power in Brussels.
For me, Europe is not simply a community of money. It's a community of soul, a community of the future.
For this reason, I think our friend was very important. For me, it's important U.K. stay inside the European Union. But it's absolutely
important European Union stay in the hearts of the citizens. This is a moment very dangerous. We must change Europe.
AMANPOUR: Europe, to an extent, has been changed. All these upheavals that are going on in the world, Italy has been the focus of a lot
of heartbreak and heartache around Lampedusa, all these migrants coming from North Africa, many dying -- 2,500 have died trying to get there over
the last year or so.
Is there not a more humane way for the Italian government to deal with these people?
RENZI: The Italian government decide a very important initiative called Operacion Mare Nostro. And this operation saved, in the last year,
more than 80,000 people.
When I spoke with the General Assembly of United Nations, I start with this statement.
I'm here with 60 million of Italians and with 80,000 people who don't -- was -- saved the life in Mediterranean, because we think we must
absolutely avoid the Mediterranean will become a cemetery. Is a sea, not a cemetery.
Also because 97 percent of these people who come from Africa to Italy, is come from Libya. And Libya is a place in which, after the strikes of
the past, nobody solved the problem of democracy and of integrity and of coalition in the country.
Italy now is the only country with the embassy open. This is the reason for which I underline and I stress the importance for the
organization of United Nations to stay in Libya, with the cooperation with Egypt, Tunisia, all the countries surrounded Libya, and build spaces for
refugees to avoid the risk of that in the sea.
AMANPOUR: So you describe the situation that causes all these people to come, desperate for economic and other help, to Europe. One of the
places that we're seeing right now, obviously, is Syria, Turkey, Iraq, all of that. You were, as you said, in Erbil and Baghdad.
Do you support the war against ISIS?
RENZI: Absolutely, yes. We stay in the international coalition. For the moment we don't participate to the airstrikes, but we participate to
support logistics. We are available to work with the coalition in every -- in every field.
And we are absolutely available to work with all the countries in Libya and obviously if there is the necessity, we are ready also in Iraqi
and in the international coalition against ISIS.
Also because when you -- when you watch -- you see, in your TV, in your mobile, the pictures of children killed -- not children killed, sorry;
children executed, this is not simply a terrible moment. This is the negation of values of a human being. So I'm absolutely on the side of
President Obama and the international coalition.
AMANPOUR: About a year ago, I interviewed your predecessor, Prime Minister Latta, in this very room, and I asked him what gives him
nightmares, what keeps him up at night. And he told me youth unemployment.
So what keeps you up at night in your new role as prime minister?
RENZI: The lack of confidence, because everything is possible for Italy. I know a lot of people in Italy believe I'm too ambitious. But I'm
absolutely confident Italy could be, in the next 10 years, the leader of Europe, despite the difficulties of this moment.
I'm absolutely convinced because I see the eyes of entrepreneurs who invest in the future despite the problem of bureaucracy, of civil justice,
of labor market. I see the eyes of young women in Italy. I am the first president with half presence in my cabinet of women. I see, there is in my
country, the possibility to create the future.
But after 20 years of polemics, discussions, ideological crisis, we lost a lot of opportunities. Now I think for a politician, it's absolutely
important, this message. We can lose the elections, but we cannot lose this opportunity.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Prime Minister Renzi, thank you very much for joining me.
RENZI: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: When we come back, footage that gathered dust for decades in the bowels of the Imperial War Museum, shelved because of politics, is
now being brought to life and into cinemas, a vital historic document. The incredible journey of "Night Will Fall," when we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Bearing witness to crimes against humanity is one of the most important jobs of the journalist and the filmmaker. And there are few
crimes in history that are more extreme than the Holocaust. But one of the most comprehensive cinematic records of the Nazi death machine was never
shown in full until now.
It was recorded by a specially commissioned Allied film unit, entering the camps for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Through a loudspeaker in different languages, they said, "Be calm, be calm, be calm, stay where you are, be
calm. Help is on the way. We are the British soldiers. Help is on the way." And people went just crazy.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): That survivor, kissing the hand of the British soldier who liberated the camp there in April 1945. And this compelling
testimony is part of "Night Will Fall," Andre Singer's documentary, on how this footage was filmed and why it was shelved.
He joined me in London earlier this week along with a historian, Professor Rainer Schultze, who also worked on the project.
AMANPOUR: Gentlemen, welcome.
Let us go back to beginning. This is such an extraordinary subject and such an extraordinary piece of work. Now we think of combat
photographers as ordinary, being embedded as ordinary.
What was the mission of this particular group of cinematographers?
ANDRE SINGER, FILMMAKER: They were filming battles as the troops went through toward Berlin, as you said. And then they came across the camps
and suddenly there was a different, different ballgame played there. They suddenly had thousands of corpses, death, destruction like nothing they had
seen during the war.
And so they were told to stay.
So this was -- particularly in Bergen-Belsen, where they were told, don't go on with the troops; stay there, record what you see.
So they suddenly had something different to look at. Instead of distant military shots of battles going on, they suddenly had piles of dead
bodies and things that they'd never, ever -- they just couldn't countenance and were all pretty traumatized as a result.
AMANPOUR: So Rainer, as a historian, this was perhaps the first firsthand evidence of the disaster of the Nazi experiment.
RAINER SCHULTZE, HISTORIAN: Absolutely. And that's exactly how they understood their task, to collect evidence of what the Nazis had actually
Obviously, the camps had been liberated so they saw the results of the crimes, but it was important to record and document the results as closely
and as detailed as possible, so that the evidence was actually there and no one could come and say it didn't happen.
AMANPOUR: And yet the idea was to broadcast it fairly quickly to show the German people at the time what had happened on their doorstep.
SCHULTZE: That was one of the tasks that the film teams were set. The other task was actually to record it for any criminal proceedings.
AMANPOUR: And yet, Andre, this film was never shown.
SINGER: Basically, it missed its time. Sidney Bernstein, who went on to found Granada Television, who was then in charge of propaganda filming
for the Allies, was commissioned to make a film to show the German people, as you said, the crimes that had been committed.
He gathered material from the Americans, the Soviets, the British, put it together, and that film was meant to be sent to Germany.
That was commissioned in April. May, the war ends. By June, the enemy, who had been Germany, became an ally; the ally who was working with
the British, the Soviets, suddenly became the enemy.
The whole political climate changed, and the British government in Germany and in London were saying, well, hang on a minute. This perhaps is
the wrong moment to show this film because we need the German people to be on side; they're suffering. We need to help them now rather than rub their
noses in what had happened before.
So the film was quietly shelved.
AMANPOUR: Until now.
SINGER: Until now.
AMANPOUR: Let us play a clip and then we can discuss, of the eyewitness of then-young British reporter Richard Dimbleby.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD DIMBLEBY, BRITISH REPROTER: I find it hard to describe adequately the horrible things that I have seen and heard. But here,
unadorned, are the facts.
I passed through the barrier and found myself in the world of a nightmare. Dead bodies, some of them in decay, lay strewn about the road
and along the rutted tracks.
On each side of the road were brown wooden huts. There were faces at the windows, the bony, emaciated faces of starving women, too weak to come
outside, propping themselves against the glass to see the daylight before they died.
And they were dying, every hour and every minute.
DAVID DIMBLEBY, SON OF RICHARD DIMBLEBY: It was so horrific that the BBC initially waited before they broadcast it, because they had doubts
whether my father had actually accurately described what he'd seen. And they checked and then put it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: All those people sitting around that radio listening got a full and vivid picture of what it was all about.
Rainer, do you think that, in 1945, had this film been shown in Germany, it would have made a difference, it would have had an effect?
SCHULTZE: It's of course almost impossible to say, but my guess is that it probably would not have had much of an impact.
You have to realize the German --
SCHULTZE: I --
AMANPOUR: Something that horrific?
SCHULTZE: -- the reason being -- and I was born in a city which was part of the American zone of the occupation right after the end of the war.
So the American film about the camps was shown there.
So my mother was actually sent in to see this film, and she said, years later, to me, that actually when we got out, we were horrified,
obviously. But we didn't really think it had much to do with us. We didn't know about it.
This was something that they just simply shut out and didn't really want to get too close to.
AMANPOUR: Didn't want to get too close, because many knew that this might have been going on.
AMANPOUR: So they didn't want to know what was being done in their name.
And one of the quotes from the original film is, "Unless the world learns the lesson these pictures teach, night will fall" -- the title of
"But by God's grace, we who live will learn."
Have we learned?
Or has night fallen?
SINGER: I think the tragedy of the story, the tragedy of the film, is that -- I think in 1945 it was expected that we would learn.
And it was hoped, optimistically, by Richard Crossman, who wrote that script, that by seeing these images, by understanding what had happened,
this would never, ever happen again. It's that message we all hoped to pass down to our children and our children's children.
And now we look at the last 70 years and you can count a whole host of genocides that are equally horrific that have gone on in other parts of the
world, and so on. And I suppose we have to admit that we haven't learned. We'd hoped to learn and we hoped it would never happen again in that
context, but sadly I think the lesson hasn't been learned.
AMANPOUR: And Rainer?
SCHULTZE: I wouldn't be quite as pessimistic. We haven't learned in a way that this didn't happen again, but I think very important things have
And the U.N. Genocide Convention is one of these things. It is now an international crime, and those who perpetrate genocide know that they will
be prosecuted. And I think --
AMANPOUR: Indeed, as we speak now, at The Hague, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs is about to hear the verdict after the massacre of Muslims at
Srebrenica and other parts of Bosnia.
SCHULTZE: So I think that has actually changed. The impunity that was still almost.
AMANPOUR: Taken for granted.
SCHULTZE: Yes, that is gone.
And, yes, a lot of genocides have happened and they were as horrific or similarly -- similar to the Holocaust, but I think we have a different
kind of attitude as an international community to these kinds.
That might be a very, very small step, but I would argue it is actually an important step.
AMANPOUR: Andre Singer, Rainer Schultze, thank you so much for joining me.
SINGER: Thank you.
SCHULTZE: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: When we come back, another important visual record for the ages, this time a disappearing world. Stunning images of some of the last
surviving indigenous tribes. Find out more when we come back.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where some of the oldest cultures on Earth disappeared forever. Before they passed, an
astonishing exhibit by the photographer, Jimmy Nelson, is currently on display here at London's Atlas Gallery. It's a fleeting glimpse of the
world's last surviving indigenous tribes from South America to Siberia.
Take a look.