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CONNECT THE WORLD
Chinese Authorities Begin Raising The Sunken Eastern Star Cruise Ship; UN Asking for $500 million for Life Saving Programs in Iraq; Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner Claims Avalanche of Information Coming. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired June 4, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:10] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, there can be no turning back. That is the warning from a former FIFA executive.
Jack Warner is promising to unleash a tide of evidence against world football's governing body. The very latest for you this hour.
Also ahead, millions in desperate need of help: we speak to a UN official who is warning of an impending humanitarian disaster in Iraq.
And the tail of two soldiers, once enemies, now brothers, unified by the scars of war. Their story this hour.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: And I'm going to get to those stories for you in a moment. I want to begin, though, with the war in Yemen this evening and some of the
first good news that we've heard for the people there since April. A short time ago, the main Houthi rebel faction confirmed that it will attend UN
peace talks in Geneva next weekend.
Now a senior Houthi official says they are going without preconditions. A previous UN attempt, you'll remember, to bring the
Houthis together with the internationally recognized president Abd Rabbuah Mansur Hadi and the Saudi-led coalition support and fell about last week.
Now Saudi Arabia and a group of 10 Arab countries have bombing Houthi rebels since late April. The UN says close to 2,000 people have died in
the fighting between the coalition and the rebels.
I'm going to get you more on this story as we get it in to CNN Center. The teams working on it as we speak.
Well, one can only imagine how many nervous officials there are at FIFA right now. One disgraced former executive has already dished the
dirt, and now a second ex-official is promising to do the same.
Former vice president Jack Warner took to the airwaves earlier and said that he will unleash an avalanche of secrets of FIFA's inner workings.
Sepp Blatter will not be spared, he says.
Well, that promise from Warner came just hours after U.S. prosecutors released a report spelling out the details of what another former official
admitted two years ago. This man, Chuck Blazer, pleaded guilty to 10 felonies and says he and others at FIFA took bribes pertaining to World Cup
Well, Patrick Snell is tracking the latest developments from CNN Center. Where do you want to start with what we've had in what the last 24
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Yeah, where do we start. These are incredibly powerful storylines. AS the fallout
continues in a huge, huge way from this big, big FIFA corruption mess.
There's no other way to put it.
You know, Jack Warner was one of the most powerful men in football, there's no question about that. He was a FIFA vice president. He was the
former president of CONCACAF, which is the governing body for football in North, Central American and of course the Caribbean region, too. And he,
just to remind our viewers Becky, he was one of the 14 charged by the United States Department of Justice. This was last week.
But I do want to say for the record the 72 year old himself is denying the charges. And this is what's really salient here. He says he has
documents linking FIFA officials to the general elections of 2010 general elections in his native Trinidad and Tobago.
This is one ticking time bomb.
As I say, as one of the most powerful men in football, he would have been privileged, for use of a better word, to be dining at FIFA's elite, to
be dining at the top table along with the likes of Chuck Blazer.
And this is what's key for me. In that TV address that went out in Trinidad and Tobago last night, he had a message, one particular message,
for Sepp Blatter himself, who announced his decision to step down from his post as FIFA president on Tuesday of this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK WARNER, FRM. VICE PRESIDENT OF FIFA: You will be a lame duck president. You are the people going to ask you if you are cooking the
books and so on, right. So I said to him, step down. I said to him, Sepp Blatter I empathize with you, because I was in 2011 where you are today.
The only difference is that you caused my demise, I didn't cause yours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNELL: Well, that was part two, if you like, of what broke for us on Wednesday. And this was -- you're seeing there, another former FIFA --
this is the ExCo -- former FIFA ExCo official Chuck Blazer, the larger than life American. He admitted that he and, I think it's fairly poignant to
point out, indeed others is what he said in his testimony on that committee, agreeing to accept bribes in connection with the FIFA 2010 World
Cup in South Africa, and that he facilitated bribes as well in connection with the 1998 World Cup selection. This is all part of that big, big
testimony in that newly released transcript from a 2013 hearing in the U.S. in which, for the record, he does plead guilty to 10 charges.
This, Becky, as I say, is a story that keeps on giving, the gift that keeps on giving. And I suspect somehow we really are -- we're really only
just getting started in many, many ways.
[11:05:25] ANDERSON: Well, that was what was certainly promised by the IRS when they spoke with the FBI and the attorney general of course
last week. They said this is only the beginning. And boy if this is only the beginning, what more is to come.
Thank you for the time being. We're going to follow this story throughout the hour a bit later. We'll speak with a former member of
FIFA's independent governance committee about its corruption scandal is putting past World Cups under scrutiny, and future ones in question.
And why Russia says it's not worried about calls for that nation to be stripped of its 2018 World Cup hosting duties.
Moving on to Iraq for you where families near the Ramadi dam are beginning to flee their homes fearing an attack by the militant group ISIS.
ISIS has closed off much of the dam, limiting the water supply to pro- government towns downstream.
Now these are new amateur pictures. And they appear to support witness accounts that the river is now low enough to walk across. The fear
is that ISIS may do just that and attack nearby towns.
Let's bring in Nick Paton Walsh who is in Baghdad for you this evening.
What are the consequences of this move by ISIS, Nick?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the two real ways it will impact that region -- let me first of all, though, break down
a bit of the geography here, Becky, because it's important to understand quite how this river flows.
It begins from north of Ramadi, possibly even suggesting experiencing problems on behalf of ISIS in Syria, flows down to Ramadi. They've cut off
20 through the 26 gates there. We understand a couple are open periodically each day to let some water out for their use, then the river
would flow down to ISIS-held Fallujah.
But on that journey between Ramadi and Fallujah it goes through, as you said, a lot of pro-government-held territory where there's supposed to
be Shia fighting groups, Iraqi army amassing for a counter attack to retake Ramadi. Instead, the story we're hearing today is the river may have
dropped as much as a meter in some places, that would be three feet or so, hard to be completely sure. Those social media pictures you're showing do
suggest that part of the riverbed is now exposed.
Now there are two obvious impacts on that. One, in the months ahead, this is the impressive the heat here in the desert this time of year, it's
going to have an impact on agriculture, obviously the basic daily life for many of those people who are living around there, some are already
displaced, some will be displaced.
We're hearing of at least dozens of families that have moved towards another city to the south of that area fleeing the potential for fighting
and the loss of water.
But of course, too, as you mentioned, if that riverbed is lower and it deprives those pro-government forces defending those settlement areas --
Habbaniyah, Husei (ph), Bahalabiya (ph) over natural defensive moat that may not be there.
We don't know of the river level in all areas, but we do know reports of a significant drop in it in just the last day or so.
Whether that really changes I think on the battlefield we'll know in the days ahead, but without a doubt there is the real fear that ISIS have
harnessed water as a weapon in this particularly parched, oppressively hot, difficult part of the Anbar desert -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick, what lessons can Iraqi security forces draw from these last few days in and around Ramadi, do you think?
WALSH: Well, I think you can probably point out what is being accused of -- what they've been accused of for the past weeks of their strategic
failing to understand the challenge ahead of them, or perhaps a desire not to really want to wrestle with it.
If you look at the capacity for the dam to have been shut down, that could have been something foreseen. As, of course, could the months of
battling for the city itself between ISIS and the limited forces in there that were trying to defend it.
I think people have to look at what's happened in Anbar in a broader sectarian issue, too, because now we are potentially facing a Sunni
population who will have to appeal to ISIS upstream for water, making life pretty much impossible downstream if you with to stay in those government-
held areas. That is really the issue here: the resources, infrastructure seem to be increasingly in ISIS's hands in this Sunni heartland and that
will make it incredibly hard for the well-equipped parts of Iraq, that will be the pro-Shia military in Baghdad, sent by Baghdad and the Shia fighting
group sent, as well, to retake Ramadi, to have anything like a chance of getting the hearts and minds of those Sunnis they would try and liberate,
in their view, from ISIS to actually support them, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is in Baghdad for you this evening.
We're going to get a lot more on what is this humanitarian crisis in Iraq for you this hour. And the UN's emergency appeal for what is nearly
for half a billion dollars to continue what they call life saving aid operations.
We're going to get you a top UN humanitarian coordinator who is urging the world to help prevent a, and I quote, catastrophe in that country.
In China, 77 people are confirmed dead in what is a cruise ship disaster on the Yangtze River. A delicate operation now underway to right
the ship, which capsized in a storm on Monday. More than 360 people, most of them are elderly, and they are still unaccounted for, I'm afraid.
Earlier, rescue workers tried cutting holes in part of the hull, but there were no signs of life.
Well, it's an agonizing wait for passengers' families. Many frustrated of the slow pace of the operation.
CNN's Ivan Watson is there and spoke with some of those who have been devastated by what is going on.
[11:10:53] IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tempers flare after a deadly river boat disaster family members of some of the
hundreds of missing cruise ship passengers call local Chinese officials liars.
They accuse the government of not doing enough to save their loved ones from the boat that capsized in the Yangtze River on Monday.
"No one is helping him, says Chen Sue Hua (ph), whose 78 year old husband was a cruise ship passenger. "The boat is still upside down," she
says. "And the politicians are just making speeches."
On Wednesday night, dozens of these desperate people suddenly launched an impromptu march.
This is an anguished procession of dozens of relatives of Eastern Star passengers who have taken a long bus drive to this riverside town to learn
something about their missing loved ones. And they're so desperate they've just gotten out of their bus and they've decided to walk in search of the
Why are you walking like this at night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to see our family, yes. But we have no choice. Nobody is helping us.
WATSON: Some locals tie yellow ribbons in a show of support and offer free rides and bottles of water. But that goodwill dries up after an hour
When the procession reaches a wall of uniformed of police, undaunted the relatives push forward and the police line breaks.
A small crowd keeps walking towards the river.
It's almost 2:00 in the morning and people have been hiking for some four hours when they were finally able to hitch a ride. These people
determined to get to the site of the riverboat wreck in defiance of the local authorities.
But soon, we reach the end of the road. Another line of police, and this time the relatives don't have the will to push their way through.
Several women sit on the pavement weeping, their quest for answers stalls at a police checkpoint just a few hundred yards from the river that
swallowed their loved ones.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Jianli, China.
ANDRESON: Still to come tonight, new worries about the reach of ISIS after a terror suspect said to be on a gruesome mission is shot dead in the
And with FIFA in free fall, what does the future hold for the Russia and Qatar World Cup bids? The Qatari foreign minister tells media there is
no way his country will lose its bid. More on that when we return.
[11:16:15] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
To our top story now, two former executives of FIFA appear to be taking the scandal to a new level. As we heard, former vice president Jack
Warner said he'll unleash an avalanche of secrets on FIFA's inner workings, and Sepp Blatter will not be spared, he says.
Well, that promise from Warner came just after U.S. prosecutors released a report containing damaging details of what another former FIFA
official admitted to in court two years ago. Chuck Blazer, seen here, says he and others took bribes related to World Cup bids.
Meanwhile, Qatar's foreign minister says there is, and I quote, no way his country will lose the right to host the World Cup in 2022, seven years
from now. He says racism and prejudice are behind what he calls a bashing campaign against Qatar.
With the FIFA ship adrift, while yet still under Sepp Blatter, what's in store for football's future, and in particular, this hosting of the
World Cup final in 2018 and 2022, specifically the Qatar one, a bid already marred by allegations and outrage over worker deaths.
Well, let's ask Michael Hershman, president and CEO of the Fairfax Group and a former member of FIFA's independent governance committee.
Sir, Qatar has always denied any wrongdoing, but the report that you were involved in producing a couple of years ago, one that FIFA's
reputation rested on resolving outstanding issues, now post that. We've got to see your report, which was into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup
still remains under seal blocking until now at least any push for transparency. Do you expect that report to be made public now? And what
can you tell us about the internal machinations of FIFA and the awarding of these bids given how close you were to this governance committee?
MICHAEL HERSHMAN, FAIRFAX GROUP: I think we need to take a step back from the rhetoric. With regard to Russia and Qatar, there has been
allegations, indeed, but there's no firm evidence to suggest that they have participated in the level of bribery that would have unfairly influenced
Having said that, red flags abound, because it's now clear and evident that prior World Cup were influenced through bribes. And this was a matter
of routine sort of business within FIFA.
And so rather than Russia talking about the United States overreaching on prosecutions, rather than Qatar talking about racial discrimination,
what they should be talking about is how they won the bids. Did they do anything wrong? And if so, what did they do?
Because let's deal in real world events rather than in speculation.
Given the history of FIFA, is it realistic to believe that any host country bid on these contests and won without using some sort of undue
ANDERSON: And the Qataris will say we've been asked, we've talked, none of these allegations have stuck. They're calling this racist.
They're calling this a bashing of a country, the Asian football federation coming out in support of Qatar, a statement reading, "football is the
world's game that should set itself no geographical borders. The Gulf is a true football region with some of the world's most passionate football
lovers, and Qatar is no exception. The AFC and the whole Asian football community stands with Qatar and we all look forward to hosting the World
Cup and welcoming the world."
I mean, through the prism of this region -- we broadcast, as you know, from the UAE, which is a huge football supporting nation as are many of
these Gulf nations and the entire Middle East, and many other countries, Muslim countries around the world.
I think it might -- you might admit why there is this sense of, you know, this is racist. You know, none of these allegations have stuck.
HERSHMAN: But the declaration of racism is counterproductive, and particularly coming from Qatar. If you look at the human rights issues in
Qatar, and the issues of discrimination and racism within their own country, they have their own problems.
So, I'm not advocating reopening the World Cup bidding here, believe me I'm not. What I'm advocating is an honest dialogue, and not to throw
out words like racism and discrimination. But let's look at the evidence to date, the allegations to date. And if Qatar has some problems with what
they did during their bidding process, let's put them on the table, let's talk about them in a mature fashion and then make a decision what needs to
ANDERSON: All right.
Well, look, the increased focus on Qatar has had a rather sizable impact, it has to be said, on the financial front. Just take a look at the
last month on Qatar's stock market.
The unveiling of twin corruption probes against FIFA sees the index plummet. The reelection of Sepp Blatter saw things begin to recover before
another dip after Blatter stood down.
Qatar reported to speaking an estimated $200 billion on its World Cup campaign from stadia across to transportation.
I guess you could look at this two ways. I mean, the damaging of its reputation, if there were some sort of guilt by association if indeed this
bid were to be rerun, would be sizable. On the flip side, I guess, people are saying that a revision of spending plans, perhaps towards more sensible
sort of local infrastructure rather than constructing world class sort of football stadia, they'd actually do the country some good.
But I wonder if you can sort of, you know, flesh out the legalities of all of this, because clearly there will be an enormous impact on the
country if it were to lose the hosting rights at this point, there's no precedent for this.
The litigation would be I mean huge, wouldn't it? Can you give me a sense of just how big?
HERSHMAN: Look, it's a very good issue to discuss. The contracts were negotiated for a lengthy period of time. And these contracts are
binding contracts. They're legally binding contracts.
Trying to breach the contract, trying to rebid and walk away from the existing contract, would be very, very complicated and would lead to years
and years of litigation that could, by the way, in one way or another delay the entire World Cup from being played.
So, before the decision is made as to whether it should be rebid, I think you have to look at the terms and conditions in the contract, and
then make a decision based on economic reality as to whether these games should be held in Qatar or be rebid.
I think what all of these pieces are put together, I think one would recognize that Qatar is the likely place for it to be held.
And by the way, I've been to Qatar recently, the money being spent in preparation for these games is without precedent. I suspect when all is
said and done, over $200 billion in infrastructure projects, not only stadiums, but roads and transportation systems, telecommunications, will be
spent in improving the systems within Qatar.
ANDERSON: With that, sir, we're going to leave it there. We thank you.
I mean, this is something we'll talk about again, this story no doubt continues.
ANDERSON: Britain's cultural secretary today says the UK could step in to host the 2022 World Cup if Qatar were to lose the right. John
Whittingdale told the Host of Commons it's unlikely Britain would be called upon, but that, quote, "obviously if FIFA came forward and asked us to
consider hosting it we have the facilities in this country, and of course we did mount a very impressive if unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World
Wondering if those are helpful comments or not.
Anyway, you're watching CNN live from Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, the UN warns 50 percent of its
critical aid operations in Iraq are at risk because of a funding shortfall. We'll speak with the UN humanitarian coordinator who is heading up what is
an emergency appeal.
First up, though, we're off to Ghana where an African art and furniture business is aiming to expand. Your African Start-up is next.
[11:27:26] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ghana produces an array of hand fashion carvings, masks and furniture with appeal beyond its borders. One of the
players in this market is Tekura, a furniture and decor company based in Accra and in business since the year 2000.
AUDREY FORSON, TEKURA MANAGING DIRECTOR: We've got tables, we've got stools, we've got mirrors, bowls, vases, wall hangings, in our designing we
always ensure that each piece portrays something about our culture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Audrey Forsno is Tekura's managing director.
FORSON: We have a stool called wisdom stool. It stands for power and authority, and that's, in my country, represents chiefs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forson has been at the helm of the company, since her mother Josephine Forson, retired in 2011.
FORSON: I was inspired by the artisans, you know, using your hands to do something creative, and so I decided to go into that business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The company has come a long way since starting with one carver and a painter. Today, Tekura has five employees and can
contract as many as 140 artisans on a temporary basis depending on the number of orders.
FORSON: He's going to do a table leg. It's called a crazy leg. So it's a bit (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The company reports annual sales of nearly $100,000, with 80 percent of that coming from exports to North America and
Europe. But maintaining or growing these numbers is not easy.
FORSON: It's a challenge when you have rains coming in, in April, June, July. We work with wood and we need it to be as dry as possible.
We use the gas ovens to dry the wood, and the gas is also expensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tekura says it's overcoming its challenges and managing to turn a 15 percent profit each year, though that can fluctuate.
FORSON: These are going to Holland.
UNIDENITIFED MALE: Forson says she promotes their products through international trade fairs and online using social media to meet potential
buyers abroad and at home.
FORSON: I recently traveled to U.S. and I found out there were lots of stalls looking for suppliers of small furniture items like the tables, the
coffee tables, the side tables, and other decorated items.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2009, Tekura opened a gallery in Accra to help expand its clientele and have big plans for its future growth.
FORSON: We're looking at having a center where everything, design everything. You can come and drink, you can come and relax, you can come
shopping, you can come and spend a weekend or two just to create an environment who love art, African art.
[11:32:41] ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. This is CNN just after half past 7:00 in the UAE. The top
stories for you this hour.
Two former officials at FIFA are adding more fuel to what is a scandal surrounding football's governing body.
Jack Warner seen here on the right says he'll soon unleash, quote, an avalanche of secrets. And Chuck Blazer is quoted in a newly released
report from U.S. prosecutors as saying he and other FIFA officials took bribes related to the World Cup bidding process.
Crews in China preparing to raise a cruise ship that capsized on the Yangtze River late on Monday. Only 14 of the more than 450 people on board
the Eastern Star have been rescued. 77 bodies have been recovered so far and hundreds of people remain missing.
At least 76 people were killed in an explosion at a gas station in the capital of Ghana. Some reports put that number as high as 90 people dead.
The station was packed with people seeking shelter from torrential rains. Investigations believe the explosion was forced by a fire that spread from
a nearby building.
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will stand trial again on charges he played a role in the killing of hundreds of Arab Spring
protesters. A lower court cleared him of those charges in November, but Eygpt's high court overturned that decision.
In the fatal shooting of a terror suspect in the U.S. city of Boston is raising new concerns about the reach of ISIS. Usama Rahim, a high
school graduate, was shot dead by police after they said he came at them with a knife. But Rahim had been watched by authorities for some time and
was said to have been heard talking on a bugged phone about a plot to attack police.
Authorities say at least two other people were in on that plot, including a relative who is now under arrest.
Well, from concerns about ISIS in the United States to a country so ravaged by the militants the United Nations warns it is on the brink of a
humanitarian, and I use this word from the United States -- from the United Nations -- catastrophe.
The UN is making an urgent appeal for Iraq, saying more than 8 million people there need immediate life saving support. It says 50 percent of
critical aid operations are at risk because of a funding shortfall. And the UN is asking donors to contribute half a billion dollars to keep these
programs afloat immediately.
Well, we're joined now by the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande. She is in Brussels where she addressed the European
parliament earlier today. And I suspect the news that ISIS is limiting the flow of water to loyalist towns downstream of Ramadi only heightening your
concerns about those people displaced or affected by this violence between Iraqi government forces and ISIS. And no one will be surprised to hear
that things are bad for so many people affected, but how bad?
LISE GRANDE, UN HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR IRAQ: Right now there are more than 8 million people in Iraq who are in terrible need of
humanitarian assistance. Their conditions are awful. And we, the United Nations and humanitarian partners, are asking the international community
to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and provide assistance right now so that we can help to meet their needs.
The conditions that they're facing are some of the worst in the world.
ANDERSON: Well, UN and NGOs looking for half a billion dollars. For what?
GRANDE: We're looking for funding to support live saving assistance for people who are the victims of ISIL, that includes food, that includes
emergency kits, that includes health support, that includes education support, that includes important psychosocial support for the victims of
sexual and gender-based violence.
Some of the violations that we've seen in areas that are controlled by ISIL are literally the worst in the world. And the people who are the
victims, you know, they really suffered. They need specialized support in order to deal with the consequences of what's happened to them.
ANDERSON: What was the response from European parliamentarians today?
GRANDE: When we addressed the members of the European parliament today, what we were saying to them is that already we've had to cut back on
food rations, already they are more than 70 health facilities that are shutting down. The emergency kits that we provide to families when they're
running, we're stalking out of those kits.
What we've said to the members of the European parliament, what we're saying to the international community is that right now the Iraqis have
their back against the wall, this is when we need to step forward, and this is when we need to help them.
There is so much at stake. This is not when you want to turn your back, this is when you want to lean in and provide the assistance that they
We've asked the international community to step forward and we hope that they do.
ANDERSON: Which countries are stumping up the most in aid, out of interest?
GRANDE: I'm sorry.
ANDERSON: Sorry, I think you possibly didn't hear the question. I'm interested to know which countries are actually stumping up the most in aid
at this point?
GRANDE: Last year, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave $500 million to the operation. They were the single most generous donor. There were other
donors that also provided assistance, but the contribution that came from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was absolutely exceptional.
This year, we're hoping that donors in Europe, we're hoping that the U.S. government, we're hoping that many donors around the world, and
including in the region, step forward and provide assistance. That's what we're hoping for.
ANDERSON: You're looking for half a billion dollars now. You likely to get anything close to that, do you think?
GRANDE: This is the most highly prioritized, pared to the bone, humanitarian appeal that we've ever issued in the United Nations for this
region. What we're asking for is the absolute minimum that's needed. We're not asking for a lot, we're asking for absolutely the minimum.
We've prioritized down to the minimum package. And we're asking donors -- we're saying, look, this really matters. This is a country that
counts. We need help. And we're hoping that donors step forward.
If they don't step forward, the implications are catastrophic. This is a very sensitive region at a very sensitive time. And if the funding
doesn't come through, it's hard to think, it's hard to imagine, what the consequences are going to be.
Things are already terrible. And they're going to get worse over the summer. We expect that in addition to the 8 million people now, there
could be more people that need help.
ANDERSON: And I'll remind our viewers the UN describing this as a country on the brink of disaster and the humanitarian catastrophe in the
Well, unfortunately for many Iraqis, war and conflict has been a fact of life for many decades, but in tonight's Parting Shots we wanted to bring
you a story that proves humanity exists even in the midst of death and destruction.
A new documentary tells the tale of two men on opposite sides during the Iran-Iraq war, brought together decades later after a chance meeting in
Canada. Have a look at this.
ANN SHIN, DIRECTOR, MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER: The documentary web series "My Enemy, My Brother" follows two men who were war vets from the Iran-Iraq
war. They were young. They were teenagers. One was actually a child soldier during that war. And he risked his own life to save the enemy
ZAHED, IRANIAN SOLDIER: My duty at that time was check all the bunkers. I'm a find the one Iraqian soldier. He was full of blood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see the face, not our people. Now I know I am in the enemy hand.
ZAHED: I am going to make a decision to save him.
SHIN: I was inspired to follow Zahed and Najed (ph) becuase their story, first of just the incredible bravery that Zahed exhibited on the
battlefield when he was 13 years old and (inaudible) enemy soldier. That in itself is just inspirational and moving and I thought, you know, this is
a wonderful story to share with the world.
But then they meet again two decades later. And they're in each other's lives as blood brothers, as close friends. And they're an example
of just two regular people from Iran and Iraq.
ZAHED: We know each other 32 years. We are a part of my life. You are my brother.
SHIN: There are quite a few risks and concerns we had going forward in this doc, namely going back to Iraq to shoot. Najed(ph) is really
intent on going back to look for his wife and son, but his family are dead set against it, understandably. They were saying, you know, Najed (ph) we
thought you were dead for 17 years. We just got you back. We don't want you going back into a territory where, you know, ISIS is taking over cities
and they're really concerned for his heatlh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have kid. Why? Why? Why I miss it. Until I'm dead, or I catch her again. I need to go there.
SHIN: We will be traveling to find Najed's (ph) missing wife and son. And the fact that they weren't actually married is creating a big
To be a woman in Iraq with a child that's not legitimate, it's an untenable position. And so how he goes about searching for her will be a
really delicate and complicated journey.
There's a lot of fear surrounding how people perceive Iraq and the Middle East. And the thing that really drew me to the story is that it's a
positive story about two people from the Middle East overcoming political and religious differences. And it just puts a human face on the average
citizen in Iran and Iraq.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World.