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Queen Rania of Jordan Discloses Specific Examples of Suffering of Muslim Refugees and Questions Ethnic Cleansing Motives; Allegations of Sex Trafficking in Refugee Camps; Phillip Pullman Discusses His New Book And Fund Raising Effort to Support Grenfell Victims; Zubin Mehta Shares His Successes and Hopes for the Continuance of the Makeup of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired October 27, 2017 - 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, starving and exhausted, the harrowing ordeal of (INAUDIBLE). Just back from a refugee camp, Jordan's
Queen Rania tells me that nothing could have prepared her for what she saw there.
QUEEN RANIA OF JORDAN: To think of the systematic persecution of a group of people is nothing short of ethnic cleansing is what's going on there.
AMANPOUR: Also ahead, our interview with much loved author Phillip Pullman back with "The Book of Dust." Plus we imagine a world without one of its
most illustrious conductors.
Good evening everyone and welcome to our week in review. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. The scenes are devastating. The suffering
unimaginable and worse still there is no end in sight. This week thousands more Rohingya Muslims fled for their lives. Forced from their homes in
Myanmar where they faced military persecution and making a perilous journey to neighboring Bangladesh. Six hundred thousand have crossed the border
since the end of August. The Red Cross says the crisis is unprecedented and the world is failing in its response. This week the U.S. finally
considered slapping some sanctions on Myanmar and the U.K. has now circulated draft resolutions of the United Nations to condemn the violence.
One person who has witnessed the suffering for herself is Jordan's Queen Rania and this week she visited a camp of Rohingyian refugees in
Bangladesh. And she joined me shortly after arriving back in Aman to talk about that harrowing visit.
AMANPOUR: Queen Rania, welcome to the program.
QUEEN RANIA: Thank you Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Can I start by asking you, did anything prepare you for what you saw at that camp, the stories you were told?
QUEEN RANIA: Actually, you know before making the trip, I had braced myself to what those really desperate conditions but I don't think anything
could have prepared me for the heart-wrenching situation I saw there firsthand and the different accounts that I heard from the people I spoke
to. Everywhere you looked around the camp, misery stared right back at you. I mean I saw families who were crammed in flimsy bamboo shelters
sometimes upwards 50 to 60 people in a small shelter. I saw, otherwise they had pitched makeshift tents in mud. Everybody was scrambling for
space for scarce resources, food, and water.
It was really quite horrific what I saw. And about 95 percent don't have access to clean water. Three quarters are not getting enough food. Of
course health services are stretched very, very thin. And everywhere I looked I saw children. There were so many children and very often, most of
them, actually were not accompanied by care givers of their families. When I spoke to them, I heard harrowing stories of how they've seen some things.
How they'd seen their moms or their dads being shot right before their eyes. So nothing could have possibly prepared me for those terrible
conditions that I saw there and the unimaginable acts of violence that had been committed against these people.
AMANPOUR: You even said I've heard of babies being kicked around like
Footballs and we've also heard that there's a huge and flourishing sort of underground, you know, sex trafficking market going on in some of those
QUEEN RANIA: Sadly, that seems to be the case. There has been systematic gang rapes of girls. School girls trapped in schools and raped by
soldiers. I spoke to one AIDS worker who told me of a 16 year old girl who had been raped 20 times. And also when I spoke to some of the health
workers there, they were telling me how very often they saw wounds in the back of people, so they're actually being shot as they were trying to
escape. I've heard accounts of a mother who had witnessed her nephew being cut into pieces and thrown into fire, so this seems to be a systemic
persecution of a group of people. And I think it's is nothing short of ethnic cleansing, what is going on there. And it's just, you know,
unfolding before in the full view of the world's and is just going unabated and being received really with a great deal of indifference.
AMANPOUR: You've also said that if it was Muslims as the perpretrators instead of the victims, perhaps, you know, the tables would have been
turned and there would be a different response.
QUEEN RAINA: Well look the persecution against Rohingya did not start in August. It has been going on for decades. And I think, you know, there is
something to this. Over the last couple of decades the terrible actions of minority (inaudible) on the fringes of Islam, in fact we think they're all
together outside of Islam, has led to a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments around the world and of negative stereotypes of Muslims to the point where
many around the world cannot even conceive of Muslims as being victims. And yes, I do wonder sometimes that if it was the Muslims who were
committing these acts of violence, whether the world has reacted with the same apathy and indifference. I really think we need to ask ourselves this
question. Because what we're seeing now is persecution by extremist over another religion. So extremism is extremism and it has to be met with the
same kind of reaction. We have to stop it wherever it exists.
AMANPOUR: What do you make of Aung San Suu Kiy's spectatular fall from grace over this issue?
QUEEN RANIA: Well I find it very sad and disheartening that someone like her who has historically stood for so much good is now being associated
with so much brutality and violence. The Rohingya people are being denied the very things that she fought so hard for and sacrificed so much for.
And so, you know, when we just look at her silence is actually the best thing because not only has she not condemned the acts of violence, she has
yet to recognize these atrocities.
AMANPOUR: What would you ask her to do in this regard especially since this entered into ethnic fighting has been endemic in Myanmar and there is
a very virulent, as you know ARSA Rohyngia group that sparked the latest round in August.
QUEEN RAINA: Well one, one thing that she possesses a lot of is her moral authority. The, she has the power to stand up and speak out against these
atrocities and I hope that she will do that. And regardless of who sparked what I think the reaction of really attacking an entire population and
forcing hundreds of thousands of innocent people to flee their homes is just not the appropriate reaction. I think the root causes of the
suffering of the Rohingya people need to be addressed. And she, herself had once said that wherever suffering is ignored there will be seeds of
conflict. So I think the reaction as a solution to this should be not to aggravate the problem further but to try to deal with it through dialogue
and reconciliation and to really address the reasons why there has been such systematic-a campaign of dehumanization of this minority that has gone
on for so, so long.
AMANPOUR: You know you speak about the roots of future conflict. Obviously Jordan sits right in the middle of a whole refugee crisis that
has sparked and ISIS backlash and et cetera. Do you and does your Government believe that this Rohingya crisis could be a perfect recruiting
ground for whatever it might be, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, or whoever comes thereafter.
QUEEN RANIA: Well, wherever there is this kind of injustice, wherever there is suffering, I think it always provides fertile ground for people
who will try to feed off of the hopelessness of people by recruiting them, by feeding off of the injustice. And that's why the best way to fight this
extremist ideology is to address the root causes of injustice. To give people hope, to make sure that people are not dehumanized but have
The dignity that they deserve. Nobody deserves to be treated that these people have been treated and I saw firsthand the scale of the tragedy and
the horrendous terror and suffering that these pople are going through. And Jordan, we as you mentioned, are dealing with our own refugee crisis
and we have over a million Syrians who have crossed our borders in the last two years and we have seen that, you know, crises unfortunately move much
faster than global compassion. So in trying to deal with our issue here, a lot of times we have faced not only global apathy, but we've faced also
broken (inaudible). So it really is incumbent on the international community to try to come together to address some of this injustice and to
try to alleviate the suffering of people. Wherever there is suffering, it is always fertile ground for raticalization and recruitment.
AMANPOUR: To learn more about the Rohingya crisis, you can turn to our website, cnn.com where you can read the refugee's personal stories and find
out how you can help. And when we come back, we find ourselves transported to a different kind of darkness through the epic imagination of Phillip
Pullman, the author of "The Northern Light" continues his dark materials with a new tale and a new fantasy. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. It has been 17 years but for loyal fans the moment is finally here. This week bestselling author Phillip
Pullman released Volume One of his new trilogy, "The Book of Dust." Again inspired by the spires of his native Oxford. This is Pullman's long-
awaited return after his dark materials and he's tackling subjects like consciousness, mortality, and of course his old foe, the church. As it was
going to print, he joined me from Oxford University's famous Bodleian Library.
AMANPOUR: Phillip Pullman, welcome to the program.
PHILLIP PULLMAN, AUTHOR OF "THE BOOK OF DUST TRILOGY": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So this now 17 years since your last major work. What made you do the new book, why now?
PULLMAN: Well, it's been quite a long time in the writing. I began writing this one 10 or so years ago and it's taken me quite a long time to
get this far with it. When I finished his dark materials with the book called, "The Amber Spyglass," I had a sense that that wasn't the last I
was going to know about Lyra the heroine. I felt that she was going to have some more adventures but I didn't know what they were or where they
would take her. This book sets in place the beginning of the story that is going to come into full fruition 20 years later.
AMANPOUR: But also, I mentioned the church, which in your book you call the magistrium. You once said, "I'm religious. I'm an atheist." Aren't
those two in conflict. What did you mean by that?
PULLMAN: I think what I meant by saying that was that the questions that religion asks, questions such as why are we here? Why does the world exist
at all? What we do to be good? Why do we feel not at ease in the world? A lot of it is if we don't belong here? What's the origin of those
questions? Those questions are part of being a human being. The answers that the church has been giving traditionally, are not
Answers that I can believe in or accept. So like many people I have a, I sort lit outside the church. So I'm sort of cultural Christian. That
phrase is quite a helpful one-a cultural Christian but not a believing one.
AMANPOUR: Your philosophy in this regard caused some controversy in America at least. What specifically do you think caused the controversy
and do you expect that again?
PULLMAN: The problem with organized religion as I see it is not that it is religion, not that it believes in a God, not that it, not of that side; the
belief is not the problem. The belief, the problem comes when it acquires political power. If people in the name of religion wield power over other
people, you must behave like this. You must not believe that. You must not say those things, you must dress the way I tell you to. That's when it
AMANPOUR: You spoke just earlier about adolescence, about puberty, about your audience and about your characters. And it's very, very important to
you, that right? You talked sort of about a bit of an epiphany when you were going through that period yourself.
PULLMAN: The period of adolescence is a very important one in the lives of all of us because apart from the changing things we feel in our body, new
hormones, new feelings, new fears and desires and hopes and all that sort of thing, we begin to acquire an intellectual curiosity as well--an
interest in the things around us, the way the world is run. These big questions of life and death and meaning and importance and so on come into
our consciousness for the first time. It's a thrilling time. It's a frightening time. It's a very exciting time and a very meaningful time in
the lives of, of all of us really and that is a period I remember very vividly from my own adolescence and it's the period I've been writing about
in this book and these Dark materials.
AMANPOUR: And you must be aware of the whole debate over safe spaces and what students should be exposed to, and oh, don't offend me the philosophy
that's sort of gallivanting across academia, what is your view on that controversy?
PULLMAN: I don't think we have the right not to be offended. We don't have the right to live in a safe space. The world is not a safe space. A
safe space, apart from anything else, is not an interesting space. If you're never challenged, if your ideas are never challenged and argued
with, how are you going to develop your ideas? A safe space to me sounds like somewhere shut away from the free air and the winds of excitement and
understanding and curiosity. I wouldn't want to live in a safe space. I would want to live in a place where argument can flourish and different
ideas can sweep through and bring the fresh air of life with them. That's a much more interesting place than a safe space which seems to me like a
place where you would eventually die of not being able to breathe.
AMANPOUR: Do you recognize also this kind of yearning and nostalgia for empire, or for the past? You know right now here in England there's a very
successful film called, "Goodbye Christopher Robin," it's about Winnie the Pooh, you know about the life of the author A. A. Milne and his son. What
do you make of that kind of writing for children and that kind of nostalgia today?
PULLMAN: It's a very strong stream in children's literature-English children's literature, British children's literature, this nostalgia for
childhood. I don't think it's a thing children feel. Children don't feel they want to be children. Children want to be grown up. They want to be
doing big things, important things out there in the world. It's a feeling that was felt by people such as A. A. Milne, Kenneth Grahame who wrote "The
Wind in the Willows." Other writers of that so called, "Golden Age of Children's Literature" expressed this feeling which seems to me is sickly
and unhealthy. It's not something I share at all. I would much rather see children grow up than see them remain as children. There's something wrong
with the idea of Peter Pan. There's something wrong with the idea of the little boy and his teddy bear playing at the edge of the forest forever and
ever and ever. No, no, no away with that. That's wrong.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, is there something wrong with the age and the era of smart phones. Do you think as a writer who lives, you know, in the
printed word and on paper, do you feel that your craft is under threat?
PULLMAN: It's a very good question and very shrewdly asked. Yes, well I've chosen to write books set in the universe where that smart phone has
not been invented. If you're in any danger, you just call up help and away it comes with a smart phone. It's not very hard to make a story work of
the sort of story I like to write in the era of the smart phone. So I would rather do away with it. But then, then forgetting in most children's
literature you have to do away with the parents before the children can have an adventure. So doing away with things is faster than writing
AMANPOUR: And I would like to ask you just one last rather poignant question. You were a teacher once yourself and you have come to the rescue
A certain, you know, very, very sad and tragic group of people who were killed in the Grenfell fire which was last June here. Tell me about what
motivated you, what moved you, to weigh in on behalf of this young girl?
PULLMAN: I was shocked like everyone in the country who saw that terrible fire that extraordinary night full of fire and destruction and death. And
when the chance arose to do something a little thing, to raise some money on behalf of the Grenfell victims, I thought that I must join in, I must do
what I can do to help. So they auctioned the rights to naming a character in the book I am writing now. And I'm very pleased to find that it was,
that the auction was won by someone who likely to name the character Nur Huda el-Wahabi who's one of the girls who very tragically died in that
fire. I'm very happy to do that and Nur Huda will have a part in my, in the second part of "The Book of Dust" which I'm writing now.
AMANPOUR: It really is a remarkable gift for all of her family. She will live on forever in your, in the covers of your book.
PULLMAN: I hope her relatives and friends like the character that I'm writing about who because it won't be the real one whom I never knew. But I
hope if you will, I do justice to her name.
AMANPOUR: Phillip Pullman, thank you so much for joining us.
PULLMAN: It's been a pleasure, thank you.
AMANPOUR: And from a literary giant to a musical maestro. Up next, we imagine the world of famous conductors Zubin Mehta as he prepares to take
his final bow.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine a world where a musical maestro prepares for his swan song. For more than half a century the legendry
conductor, Zubin Mehta, has delighted audiences all over the world. Now at eighty, he has decided to hang up his baton as musical director of the
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. This precious little good news for peace coming out of Israel but Mehta believes that music has always played its
own important role there.
ZUBIN MEHTA, MUSICAL DIRECTOR OF THE ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA: I'm conducting the third generation of this orchestra. The composition of the
orchestra when I started, which was mostly Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
They retired, and thank God, we had the Russian immigration in the `70's. Now the third generation again are Israelis and each of these facets have
left a dent.
In fifty years now we have built up a tremendous repertoire. We travel all over the world. Israel is not the flavor of the month. Most of the places
we go to, but the audiences react with all their hearts. It was very important, egotistically speaking, that I take this orchestra to my country
because for many years after the Six-Day War, India broke off relations with Israel. And in 1994, I was very proud to take the orchestra to India
for the same year relations started with China. So we went to China also. I mean we played for half the world suddenly.
Well I have been adopted by these Isralis people right from the beginning. The fact that I came here during the wars, India met with them also. But
I'm also critical today of what the Government's policies are. I'm not the only one. I think half of Israel think that way too. My ambition is to
have an Isralis-Arab play in the orchestra. And I'm running a foundation and we have over 100 young Arab-Isralis kids. One of these days, our
auditions which are held behind a curtain will open up. Surprise, there will be an Arab girl or a boy standing there having won the audition. So
I'm waiting for that day.
The orchestra really represents a cross section, some are left wing, some are ultra right wing. We get together and play a symphony by (rounds), all
that disappears. The same thing with our public. We don't know who's sitting there or what political philosophies they have but we hope at the
end of our two and half hour concert, that they go away with some spiritual message coming from the stage and from the great composers that we
ARMANPOUR: And on that note, that is it for our week in review. And remember you can always listen to our podcast, you can see us online at
amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.