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UK and France Under Pressure Over Calais; Uganda's "Queen of Katwe" Story Told in New Film; David Bowie: A Man of Sound and Vision
Aired October 24, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:11] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, more than 2,000 refugees and migrants are forced from notorious "Jungle" camp in Calais,
their dreams of making it to the U.K. in ruins. Tied up in Brexit sentiment (ph), this country has taken in less than its fair share. And a
British lawmaker will join me urging a warmer welcome.
And when it comes to the marginalized, few tell their story better than the award-winning director Mira Nair. She joins me with her new film, the true
story of a young African slum dweller, who became a global chess master.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIRA NAIR, AWARD-WINNING DIRECTOR: It shows us that genius is anywhere and everywhere. It has to be seen, it has to be nourished, and then it has to
be harnessed into being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
We're just 150 kilometers away from Calais in France, where French officials are tearing down Europe's most infamous refugee camp the
"Jungle." It's a symbol of a continent's failure to manage the massive migrant crisis. It is packed with thousands of people living in tents.
And it's been a major point of contention between France and the U.K. Neither side, willing to fully open its doors.
Most horrifying is the number of unaccompanied minors. Save the Children said that Syrian kids told them ending up in the "Jungle" was by far the
worst part of their gruelling journey from their war-ravage homeland.
And our Melissa Bell is in Calais and filed this report.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Long before daybreak, the line began to form. Hundreds of migrants, mainly from
Eritrea and Sudan ready for a fresh start.
AOUD, ERITREAN MIGRANT: I hope I see a new life better than the "Jungle."
BELL: Their dream had long been of the U.K. It was a dream they had to leave behind as they left the "Jungle."
WAHID, AFGHAN MIGRANT: If they close their way, we don't have anywhere. We must stay here in France, because the way is closed, and then we'll stay
in the camp. We don't have way.
BELL: Instead, those who lined up today were put on buses to Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine, not what they wanted, but all they felt they were
likely to get.
(on-camera): The resignation of those who have left the camp today is matched only by the defiance of the very many who have decided to stay put.
The "Jungle" looks tonight much as it did before the evacuation began. The difference is the tension in the air. And that is the tone being set this
evening by those who are determined not to give up on their dream of making it to the United Kingdom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going here.
BELL: You don't want to go to France?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't like France.
BELL: The French authorities say there is no choice, and the police presence here has grown more visible everyday. Many of those who decided
to stay inside the "Jungle" and defy that order to evacuate are the Afghan migrants.
Tomorrow, comes the real test of their resolve, when the French authorities move on to the second phase of the evacuation with the dismantling of the
Melissa Bell, CNN, Calais.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, as we said, for the children, the unaccompanied minor, this is an especially fearful time. And a short time ago, the
British home secretary Amber Rudd said that more unaccompanied minors will arrive in the U.K. in the coming days, but she made it very clear that no
new arrivals from Calais will be considered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER RUDD, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: Through this process, it is important we do not encourage more children to head to Calais, risking their lives in
the hands of traffickers.
That's why we will only consider those present in the camps before the start of clearance of the operation today. But it is essential that we
carry out the proper safeguarding, age assessment and security checks, working closely with local authorities and social workers here in the U.K.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And last week, one of her colleagues, the MP David Davies caused an outcry by saying the government should carry out dental checks and bone
density checks to verify the age of minors. Now the British Dental Association said it is, quote, "Inappropriate and unethical do that."
The U.K. has allowed only 17,000 refugees to claim asylum here last year. That's three percent of asylum claims in all of Europe.
Joining me now is Caroline Flint from the opposition labor party, who supported a defeated bill to allow Syrian refugee children to come to the
Welcome to the program.
[14:05:10] CAROLINE FLINT, BRITISH LABOUR MP: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: How much of a set back -- what did it say for Britain, this bill to allow these children in was defeated?
FLINT: I think it all raise a huge debate about how much the U.K. contributes, you know, internationally to both tackling, our effort in
conflict zones but also important playing our part and taking our fair share if that's the right phrase, of those who need a safe harbor when
their countries are torn apart.
And while as I commend the government on the work we've done through our aid program to support Save the Children and other organizations very close
to the center of conflict, it is the case that maybe more should be done, and that's what the bill was about, to take more of these people into our
country, to allow them to be here. Many of whom, Christiane, who would want to go home eventually.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And, of course, several hundred were cleared, youngsters were cleared because they had family here and they met all the
criteria. But all of a sudden, this rather unseemly argument about who is a minor and who is not and how to verify that.
Let me play you a little of what David Davies said and then we'll talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DAVIES, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I don't want to vilify anyone. And I would like to see genuine children being brought
in. But I think we've got a right to raise this question. The problem is if we don't raise this question and we allow ourselves to be carried along
on a tide of emotion, you know, Lily Allen-style with tears in our eyes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, that was a rather sarcastic dig at one of Britain's most famous celebrities, a singer, who did go to the "Jungle" and was so moved
by what she saw there, particularly the plight of the children. And that, yes, she was in tears.
I mean, what is your comment to a politician who says something like that? We know what the Dental Association has said.
FLINT: Yes. I think the problem is that, you know, this is a very complicated situation. It's been very hard to get access to the children
and to other adults there to be able to verify the situation.
We know the French didn't want to allow the UK authorities to interview children, because they were worried about it being a pool for more children
to come to the camp. It's very difficult.
And, unfortunately, those comments, whilst we all want to make sure children, it is children that get priority, the comments were unhelpful,
given actually we all know the vulnerability of these children in the camp is, without doubt happening, and therefore, the focus should be on making
sure we can get them processed as quickly as possible and importantly for the government that they're doing as much as they can to make sure that
when those children arrive here, they have a safe place to go and where they can be reunited with their families as soon as possible.
So it was, I think, a bit of a distraction based on a few photos that I don't think helped the debate.
AMANPOUR: It also does speak to a compassion deficit. And you mentioned, you know, the threat to some of these children. Amber Rudd did, too. So
let us play for you a bit of an interview I did with the Save the Children representative about what some of these kids are going through at these
camps and on the way to the camps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA MACKENZIE, DEPUTY HEAD OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, SAVE THE CHILDREN: We've seen an increase in sexual abuse. Quite systemic sexual abuse and
these very vulnerable children are targeted. And actually as they get more and more afraid of what is happening, a lack of information, the camp being
demolished, they're jumping on top of Lorries in the middle of the day. And we've seen children killed, killed being knocked off Lorries. They are
that desperate to get out of there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it is such a dire situation. There aren't that many of them. Why can't a rich country like Great Britain bring them in,
especially since they have family members here and stop quibbling about whether they are minors or not.
FLINT: I think that's a fair question. But I think where children are concern, whether it's children, you know, literally just across the channel
or children on the borders of Turkey, it's very important that the children are documented. And I think most organizations would say one of the worst
things that can happen, particularly for children and for other vulnerable adults is the identity of these documented, and then they become prey to
the people traffickers.
And, so you know, at the heart of all this, it's how did we get to a situation that this "Jungle" in Calais was allowed to become as big as it
is, four times the size of Sangatte, which we had a few years ago. How did we get to this point?
And whatever happens over the next few days and I don't think it's going to be easy, we have to think about how better we do, that the conflicts around
the world and the refugees are a result of that. And how do we make sure that people are dealt with as they come into safe countries, rather than
have another Calais emerge.
AMANPOUR: Obviously, the root of it is the conflict.
AMANPOUR: And whether our government are going to step up to stop those conflicts. But in the interim, you know, we've had for instance many
stories as a young Afghan boy who came over here a couple of years ago. His name was Gulwali Passarlay. And he described, you know, a long
journey, being with smugglers, trying to get from Afghanistan. You know, his mom said goodbye to him and his brother, and he said that when he got
to Britain, the real hell started.
Home office official, quote, "They tried to give me a new date of birth. I was so angry. I felt they were worse than the smugglers -- they had been
heartless, but they hadn't tried to change my identity." He said about the smugglers.
"I was so angry I ripped up the paper the assessors gave me, in front of them."
Now he was 13. They insisted he was 16.
There is some kind of legal area there, right? Because 16, they don't have to be treated as children.
[14:10:17] FLINT: Well, I mean, if that case is true, that is very worrying. And I think it's fair to say that all countries need to verify
that the people are coming here seeking refugee status or asylum are who they say they are.
AMANPOUR: How can they, Caroline? Because they came from war --
FLINT: It is very difficult. It is very difficult.
AMANPOUR: Children have been shoved by their parents into the arms of traffickers, but they're not going to bring their birth certificates even
if they have them.
FLINT: It is very difficult. It's very difficult. And, I think, again, that's the other part of the equation. It's that, once, whether it's
children or adults arrive here and they seek Asylum, how do we deal with them.
And notoriously within the U.K., the process is very, very long. And often, local authorities and other agencies don't often have the resources
to be able to provide the sanction that they need, whether it's the children with foster families, uniting them with family or for that matter,
adults being put in suitable housing.
So, you know, these are big questions for the governments over the next few days and few weeks. And probably for many months and years ahead. It's
actually once we accept people, and we've accepted I think 200 children, actually now the complication start. Where are those children going to be
housed? How do we reunite them with their families? How do we make sure that their experience isn't the same as the young man you just described?
AMANPOUR: Well, apparently, there are those kinds of families here in the UK for some 200-plus children. But, obviously, one of the things
certainly, the tabloids and, you know, politicians can rile people up to think that even children coming over are going to be potential Jihadi
terrorists, you know, strapping a bomb on each child's body.
But all law enforcement and U.N. experts basically are saying there is no evidence that migration leads to increase terrorist activities. Migration
policies that are restrictive or that violate human rights may in fact create conditions conducive to terrorism. So shouldn't we be listening to
FLINT: I think it's fair to look at why people become attracted to, you know, Daesh or whatever, or any other form of terrorism, where there is
isolation, where they feel that nobody cares about them. I do think it's important, though, Christiane, that we do recognize that amongst huge
numbers of children at Calais, there are a lot of adults as well
Some of whom may have already come into our country and been deported, and we have to be mindful of that. And I think the heart of this is -- look, I
think, you know, the British people are compassionate.
I mean, whenever we run programs in the U.K. around raising money for support abroad, actually, you know, people put their hands in their pocket.
I'm talking about people with not a lot of people.
The thing is they have to have confidence in the system. And the more, I think, our government can explain what is going on and how they're doing
things, that can help. And some of the stories last week didn't help the bigger picture of what we're trying do here, which is protect vulnerable
AMANPOUR: And isn't that the issue? It is responsible government who should be telling the story. But so tell me, how much is it complicated by
this sort of Brexit feeling that we're in. This sort of era of anti- foreigner if you have all over Europe?
FLINT: I think part of the discussion is immature discussion about breaking, if you like, immigration down. There is clearly as a result of
our vote to leave the European concern about the freedom of movement. That is EU. People coming in particularly into our low-wage, low-skills sector.
But I actually do believe that whilst there may be British people concerns about that, when it comes to people who are fleeing conflict and seeking
asylum, the British heart is large and welcoming.
AMANPOUR: Caroline Flint, MP for the Labour Party, thank you very much for joining us.
FLINT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, a tale of survival and success against all odds. The new film, "Queen of Katwe," tells a story of a young Ugandan
girl who's life was transformed by her beautiful mind. I speak to the film's director, Mira Nair next.
[14:15:45] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
From the slums of Kampala to the silver screen, the amazing real life tale of young chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi, which inspired Disney's new film,
"Queen of Katwe," starring the Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o and the "Selma" star, David Oyelowo.
And it is brought to us by Mira Nair, the queen of global cinema. She's one of the most prolific and successful female directors working today.
Her vibrant stories like "Monsoon Wedding," "Mississippi Masala," "Salaam Bombay," have brought a whole new world into focus for western audiences
and many more. After all, she told me, "If we won't tell our stories, no one else will."
AMANPOUR: Mira Nair, welcome to the program.
NAIR: Thank you so much. Lovely to be here, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: You have just said that you've been around Africa with the premiere. What did African audiences make of this?
NAIR: The "Queen of Katwe" is a true story. It is a story from Katwe which is the worst slum of Kampala, where I also happened to live for
several years. But the fact is that really -- it shows us that genius is anywhere and everywhere. It has to be seen, it has to be nourished and
then it has to be harnessed into being.
And that is the story of Phiona Mutesi. This ten year old girl who sold corn for a living and one day she follows her brother, because she sees
that her brother is always satisfied in the belly. And says why, and he gets porridge in a program, which teaches chess by a remarkable man, about
ten years older than they are, Robert Katende, who teaches chess to the kids in the slum. And she joins this program really for porridge and then
becomes -- proves herself to be a kind of protege at chess.
AMANPOUR: That is incredible. That it was the hunger that led her to this. How good was she or is she actually as a global chess player?
NAIR: Well, Phiona Mutesi is now the -- was already about six years ago the first candidate master in Uganda. In her teams, like at the age of 13.
Now she is 18, 19. She has played her, I think, third chess Olympics, and she's playing world competitive chess. She recently played Magnus Carlsen.
The remarkable thing about Phiona is that she became a candidate master completely illiterate. She could not read or write. And that was what
really riveted me about her story.
Often times, Africa is like a dark continent background for someone else's story or a story typically of violence and despair, that has nothing to do
with the everyday life even I live around.
And so -- but ironically, this story, even though I'm surrounded by local fare, came to me from Disney. From Tendo Nagenda, this --
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, I was going to ask you, because you're not exactly Disney fair, right? I mean, you're gritty, you're -- as you say,
in Africa, in all around, how did that marriage work? Did Disney try to sanitize it in anyway?
NAIR: You know, it is -- and I don't sugar-coat my own work or my own speech, but it was the most positive, extraordinary embrace with Disney.
Firstly, it was because the vice-president of Disney is a Ugandan born, wonderful, worldly person --
AMANPOUR: And he brought you the story.
NAIR: Yes. Tendo Nagenda brought me the story in my garden in Kampala, a little ESPN sports journal article on Phiona Mutesi, this slum-dwelling kid
who becomes a chess protege. And I always -- immediately, you know, was riveted by it, because I'm always drawn to stories of those who are
considered marginal to any society and I always question who decide who is marginal. But here is a story that will finally give me that insight into
the sort of incredible joy, what I call the lifest (ph) quality in living in Kampala.
You know, you may have half an inch of water in your basin, but you will wash your hair, you will look smart. You will really do anything to go to
school. That is the Kampala I live around. And that is the Kampala I never see.
AMANPOUR: I hear that Phiona's part is not played by a professional actress.
[14:20:00] NAIR: Well, the film, as much as it is with two legendry Bolly -- you know, I'm sorry -- legendary bona fide Hollywood legends like Lupita
Nyong'o and David Oyelowo --
AMANPOUR: Of course, she played in "12 Years a Slave". He played in "Selma," who is Dr. Martin Luther King --
NAIR: That's right. That's right. And both have sons and daughters of this great continent. And that is very important for me, because, really,
"Queen of Katwe" is an African story and is very specifically Ugandan story that I want it viewed with all the layers of gravitas and tradition that we
can bring to it.
There are about 17 kids in the film. And all the kids were cast in the streets of Katwe and Kibuli. The lead is played by Madina Nalwanga, who is
like a 13-year-old dancer that I saw in a traditional dance troop in a hotel for tourist on Sunday nights, you know, in Kampala.
AMANPOUR: I read that she said something to you that sort of opened your eyes. She said as a chess player, you always have to look at the other
side of the table.
AMANPOUR: Of the board.
AMANPOUR: What did that say to you relevant for you today?
NAIR: You know, Phiona Mutesi taught me how to play chess for three months before I started shooting the "Queen of Katwe." And I was this reckless
player. And every time I would make a move, she would kind of laugh and say Mira, you must consider the other side of the board. And instead of,
you know, I just used to write down those lines, because they are so -- they are prophetic and they are fantastic metaphor for life. And for the
world today, for the politics of today, you know, you must consider the other side of the board.
I mean, I think that is really a mantra for opening one's eyes and one's hearts today. You know, because so much of the world is being divided into
these schisms, into these what I call them myopia and a desperate ignorance of what really is the other side. Or who is the other, right from -- you
know, after 9/11, with -- that's why I made the "Reluctant Fundamentalist," I mean, because no one will know what it is to be a brown man in post 9/11
world, who comes from Pakistan or India and tries to make his way in a Wall Street of America.
And is perfectly qualified, but suddenly, he is Muslim. And then you know, you will never belong, you know, in this current world. And one has to,
you know, raise the mirror to that. And ask those questions. You know, who is the real human being, or who are we that we consider that we are
other from you and me.
AMANPOUR: Mira Nair, thank you very much indeed.
NAIR: Thank you so much, Christiane. It is lovely to be with you.
AMANPOUR: And talking of female chess champions, Georgian-American chess grand master, Nazi Nodarovna, says that she'll boycott a tournament to be
held in Iran because of having to wear the hijab, which is mandatory there. But in Iran, some female masters worry that will just set back their
efforts to enter the competitive arena.
When we come back, the man always five moves ahead of the rest of us. Imagining the genius of David Bowie, releasing new music months after his
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine David Bowie still impacting our culture from beyond the grave and making us smile. Any manner -- number of
artists and fans continue to pay tribute, such as the artist, Ten Hundred, who decided to paint this huge mural of Ziggy Stardust on the bottom of a
pool in the U.S. State of Washington.
While that's being revealed, so too is his new music. Three new David Bowie songs posthumously released, but written and sung by Bowie, and now
available on the album for "Lazarus," the musical with the collaborated on before his death.
He attended the opening in New York, in December 2015. It was his last public appearance. He died a month later. And now, the play is opening in
london on November 8th, including this song, which is called "New Plan."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC VIDEO PLAYING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Just more proof of Bowie's enduring legacy and critics are hailing the music as another symbol of his last creative burst. But will
it be Bowie's last word?
That is it for our program tonight. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Twitter. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.