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Gun Violence in Philadelphia; Philadelphia Gunman with Bottomless Supply of Ammunition; How To Act on Gun Safety Legislation; Scott Jennings, Republican Public Relations Consultant, is Interviewed About Gun Safety; Conquering Prejudice in Europe and the Middle East; Jaafar Abdul Karim, Host, "JaafarTalk," is Interviewed About Europe; Conquering Prejudice in Europe and the Middle East; Blinded by the Light; Being A Pakistani Growing Up in 80's London. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired August 15, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR JIM KENNEY (D-PHILADELPHIA, PA): Our officers deserve to be protected and they don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an
unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Another burst of gun violence, this time in Philadelphia. But is Congress any closer to some meaningful action? I asked Scott Jennings,
a close confidant of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAAFAR ABDUL KARIM, HOST, "JAAFARTALK": When someone tells you you're not welcome, then how should integration work?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Amid sometimes violent reactions to migrants in Germany, TV host, Jaafar Abdul Karim, seeks to conquer prejudice in Europe and the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Purpose of your visit?
VIVEIK KALRA, ACTOR, "BLINDED BY THE LIGHT": I'm going to visit Bruce Springsteen's hometown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't think of a better reason to visit the United States and to see the home of the boss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And another cross-cultural spotlight, "Blinded by the Light," the unlikely bond between of a young Pakistani in '80s Britain and
America's poet laureate of the working class. Hari Sreenivasan talks to the writer and director behind this new film.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amirpour in London.
A tense standoff in Philadelphia was the latest national spurt of gun violence, as a gunman with seemingly bottomless supply of ammunition pinned
down police for almost eight hours last night. Six officers were wounded in the shootout, and miraculously no one died. The past month in America
has been wracked by gun violence.
There are tantalizing snippets though now of political conversations and feelers sent out for solutions. President Trump is on record saying that
he wants to enhanced background checks. But still, there is no definitive commitment to take action.
To understand why, listen to this how to do (ph) of what looks like political dysfunction from White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, and the
Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: You know for a while who passes laws in this country, Congress, but they're on their six-week recess. Why
did they leave in the first place? All this grandstanding call us back, call us back, call us back. And they're welcome to come back if they like,
but will they?
TERRY MEINERS: You're not calling people back in early for -- to address this gun legislation?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, if we did that, we'd just have people scoring points and nothing would happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Karen Bass, told me earlier that's entirely disingenuous.
There is legislation ready for the Senate can take up if it wants to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): I do have to emphasize, the House already passed legislation. We passed legislation on backgrounds and we also passed
legislation on some of the loopholes that allows people to get guns. So, it's the Senate. The bills are sitting in the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And so, here's a simple question, after more than 250 mass shootings so far this year alone, is there any new movement on gun laws?
Scott Jennings is a Republican public relations consultant. He's based in Louisville, Kentucky, which is Mitch McConnell's home turf, and he's an
alumnus of McConnell's state -- Senate campaigns. And he's been talking directly with the Senate majority leader about how to act on gun safety
Scott Jennings, welcome back to our program.
SCOTT JENNINGS, REPUBLICAN PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT: Good to be with you. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, look, I don't know, but give us the temperature of what's going on right now. It seems that there is a maybe more serious search for
solutions than even after Parkland, even after Sandy Hook. Is that right? Are we absorbing the atmosphere correctly?
JENNINGS: I think so. I think that we've reached a tipping point in public opinion in the United States on this issue. You know, that Congress
did act after Parkland. They did pass some legislation to upgrade the background check system, it's already in place called NICS. They
appropriated a lot of money to -- for school safety.
So, there was some action. But none of this, of course, is a panacea for the big kinds of events that we've seen and the ones you've mentioned. And
now, I think there is a legitimate question going on among the American people which is, what is wrong with us and what can we do about it? And I
do believe there are serious conversations going on among the people that need to be having them, most importantly, of course, the president of the
AMANPOUR: Well, you did see and listen, at least, to all those snippets of soundbites which two of them were interviews that I did, one of them was a
radio interview with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
So tell me, the "New York Times" reports that you have been in touch with him, that you're urging him to move on this issue of gun legislation. Can
you fill us in with some of your conversations, what you're saying, what he's saying to you?
JENNINGS: Well, I don't usually divulge the private communications I have with [13:05:00] people who seek my counsel. However, I would say I told
him much of what I wrote in "USA Today" and a lot of other American newspapers recently that people of good will can come together here and try
and do what we do.
I think the American people understand, there is no panacea, there is no magic wand that will make all the evil and the crazy go away out of
humanity, but there are things we can try to do to, at least, address and be responsive to this American question right now of how are we going to
try to stop some of these events from happening.
I told him I thought background checks was a pretty simple proposition, if you could find language that satisfies all the parties. I told him that I
thought the red flag laws where you could give people these avenues to report people that they thought could be a danger to themselves or others,
and that seems like it has a little bit of momentum. So, I thought some of these ideas were worth bringing up, and I also told him that I thought it
was all worth bringing up if the president, Donald Trump, is going to get behind it.
Ultimately, he's the key. To pass a law, you've got to get 60 votes in the Senate, the House, of course, and a presidential signature. If President
Trump signals that he'll sign a package of something, then that will probably pretty easily bring a package along in the U.S. Senate.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, here's a little bit of a soundbite from President Trump when he was asked about this this week on Tuesday. Let's just listen and
we can talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I am convinced that Mitch wants to do something. I've spoken to Mitch McConnell. He's a good man. He wants to
do something, he wants to do, I think, very strongly. He wants to do background checks, and I do too, and I think a lot of Republicans do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, kind of there he has it, Scott. I mean, that's what you were saying, every side has to want it. Well, the House has put forth
legislation, the president is now on record, there again saying he wants it, and he says that Mitch, as he calls him, Senator McConnell wants to do
it too. What do you think? What did McConnell say to you? Does he?
JENNINGS: Well, he wants to have a process that can produce legislation and an outcome and not just grandstanding. I think there are a lot of
politicians in this country that love to talk about this issue, but they want to talk down the process, you know, they want to grandstand on when
the Senate comes back into session or they want to attack President Trump for not being serious.
Everybody that wants to do something here that's in a position to make it happen is saying the right things. And so, what I hear Senator McConnell
saying is, "We need a process that can produce an outcome and not grandstanding," and ultimately, that means, is there a package here that
can get 60 votes in the Senate and attract a presidential signature?
If Donald Trump signals he'll sign a law and if there are 60 votes for it, Mitch McConnell has said he's going to bring it up and call for a vote on
it. So, right now, as I understand it, all the main players are talking, their staff members are talking, and that's a good thing. The Senate
should not come back in right now, by the way, because this cake isn't really to come out of the oven, but it might well be in a couple weeks.
And if it is, the Senate will come into session and Mitch McConnell, as the majority leader, can run a process that can produce an outcome.
AMANPOUR: So, you mean, that when the actual recess ends, when it's due to come back, there might be something to come back to and something to come
JENNINGS: Absolutely. I think it's going to take a couple weeks here to figure out what package can come forth that can attract a presidential
signature and 60 votes in the Senate. The House has sent over legislation. There's been other legislation considered in the Senate before. But right
now, the quest is on to find something that can get to 60 votes and attract Donald Trump's seal of approval.
Until then, bringing the Senate into session is kind of a useless exercise and bringing this up for a vote is useless. McConnell has been very clear
in his public statements. He doesn't want a process that ends with grandstanding. He wants a process that produces a result, an actual
legislative outcome. McConnell is not much of a grandstander, but he does like to produce things that make results. And it could make a difference.
You know, there is a lot of discussion going on right now about would any of these laws actually make a difference in any of these shooting
incidents. All of that needs to be hashed out before they take it to the floor.
AMANPOUR: You say he's not a grandstander but he's a built of a blocker. I mean, we've seen him exercise his power as majority leader. I mean, the
biggest block he did was to prevent President Obama from nominating and bringing to the Senate a Supreme Court nominee. So, do you think, from
what you're listening to and what you're absorbing now, that the time for blocking on this issue is over?
JENNINGS: Yes, I do. I believe the Republicans need to come up with a series of solutions here that the president can sign, that are consistent
with our parties' values on the Second Amendment and that are responsive to what the American people want to see, which is to do something on this
issue of these mass shootings.
I mean, speaking as a conservative, I sure as heck trust Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell to do something on the gun issue more than I would say a
President Elizabeth Warren and Speaker Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
I mean, let's pretend we go a year in advance and the Democrats win the election. Do Conservatives want them making [13:10:00] laws on this issue
or do you want Conservative Republicans making the laws now when they can actually take into account the Second Amendment freedoms that we hold dear
in this country? So, I trust Trump and McConnell. They work very effectively together on a number of things. And if they can come together
in agreement on something, I have no doubt that McConnell will run a process that can get the president something to his desk that he can
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I want to ask you about the president, because you mentioned it a lot because, obviously, his signature is very important.
And he has said certain things. But again, in the reporting, we understand that he's kind of being tugged and pulled by various different concerns of
his advisers who are talking about his base and what they might feel and this and that, and even his son Don Jr., who the president calls his
expert, numero uno, on guns. And it looks like, according to reports anyway, that Don Jr. is not so pro for something like red flags.
The president hasn't talked about addressing the nation yet, he hasn't talked about even wrangling or calling up senators and doing that kind of
behind the scenes stuff that presidents do to twist some arms and use the power of Oval Office. Again, what is your -- you know, your knowledge and
what does your gut say about really where the president is on this and how far he's willing to go?
JENNINGS: Well, I think the president has good instincts for public opinion and I think the American people want something to happen. And,
therefore, that's why you see him publicly saying he wants to do something meaningful. I also think what you just described is exactly why this isn't
ready to go to the floor of the Senate just yet. The president is getting briefed, obviously. He's hearing from different senators about their
proposals and I think he's trying to wrap his brain around, "What can I support that's consistent with my party's values and that is consistent
with what the people who support me, what's consistent with their values but would be responsive to the issue?"
I just don't think the president has come to a final answer yet on exactly what that package looks like. He's getting lobbied on a lot of ideas that
have to do with background checks and the red flag laws, but I think the finer details of what a piece of legislation would look like are still, you
know, a couple weeks away as the president continues to get briefings on these matters.
So, my gut tells me that he knows the American people want something to happen, and now, they're going through the sausage making process of
actually writing a law that can pass the United States Congress. I'm really hopeful they get there. I think the American people want something.
I think there is overwhelming bipartisan support for a couple of these ideas and it would really show the American people that our government is
being responsive to these horrific tragedies if they could come together in bipartisan fashion and pass something. It would be a real feather in his
cap along the lines of criminal justice reform that he signed into law. I think he's really enjoy having this accomplishment.
AMANPOUR: And indeed. I mean, you know, you mentioned the American people, they overwhelmingly want something to happen, including in, as you
mentioned earlier, the Republican party. So, it really is not the American people, it's a small group of lobbyists who have been holding this back for
so many years because they are overwhelmingly, over -- more than 90 percent of the American people want something done.
Let me just play for you, and then I'll get you to respond, what the mayor of Philadelphia has said in the wake of this shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEY: If the state and federal government don't want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, then let us police ourselves. But they preempt
us on all kinds of gun control legislation. Our officers deserve to be protected and they don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an
unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets. So, it's disgusting and we got to do something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, of course, he's a mayor. He doesn't have federal authority in terms of the legislation we're talking about, but he does speak to,
certainly, Democrats and, as I say, a lot of people around the United States. So, where do you think the possibility in this current debate of
actually going further than background checks, further than red flags and mental health awareness and prevention, et cetera? What about the assault
weapon ban? I know it's not on the table right now, but there was one, it did work. Do you think that that could be reinstated, and wouldn't that be
a really great thing?
JENNINGS: I don't think the assault weapons ban is going to pass the U.S. Congress and I don't think the president would sign it into law, mostly
because the term assault weapons is kind of a made-up term. I mean, what a lot of people apply that to is semiautomatic weapons, which applies to
millions and millions and millions of handguns that are already in the hands, lawfully, by the way, of U.S. citizens. So, I think that term and
that debate would frankly derail this conversation.
It strikes me that the most politically possible things at this moment have to do with background checks, red flag laws, and I think if you want to
look at equipment, the high capacity drums or the high capacity magazines like the one used by the shooter in the Dayton shooting, I think that's a
little more possible, but even then you get into the whole question of banning [13:15:00] things in confiscation, which really makes a lot of
Americans, especially hunters and those that have weapons already very, very nervous.
So, I think if you're looking for an outcome, it strikes, the best way to get an outcome quickly is to really focus on the possible which strikes me
as background checks and red flag laws. I think the high capacity drums and magazines should be debated. I'm not sure why someone would need 100
rounds in the bottom of their weapon to get off that many shots the way they did in Dayton in that horrific tragedy. And I personally have said I
thought it would be something that would be politically feasible as a matter of public opinion.
I'm not sure it could pass the Congress though, and I'm not interested in something derailing this whole conversation. I'd like to see something
pass that the president can sign into law. And if it doesn't include that, you know, 90 percent of a loaf would be better than no loaf at all.
AMANPOUR: I mean, we talked about assault weapons, but, I mean, let's just take the one that has been causing the most mayhem in many of the mass
shootings and that's the AR-15 which is basically the civilian version of an M-60. I mean, it's a military rifle. And so, many, including police
unions and all the sort of security experts, are just kind of outraged that that's allowed in private hands, particularly given what damage and what
terrible carnage they've created.
Do you think even that one -- I mean, how does it make you feel in your gut that somebody who is, you know, clearly unhinged can use that kind of
weapon and many of them get them legally?
JENNINGS: Well, I think that particular weapon has gotten a lot of attention because of the incidents. But the way it works is not really any
different. It's a semi-automatic weapon not unlike a lot of handguns that are in use. Most of the murders and violence in the United States, by the
way, are using handguns and not these rifles that you're talking about right now.
Again, I think when you start banning individual weapons and talking about even confiscation which is what some of the Democrats are talking about, it
makes Conservatives who want to be constructive in this process extremely nervous, and I just don't think they're go down that road.
In the United States, we already banned machine guns and we already banned fully automatic weapons. Those would be, you know, military-style weapons.
So, those are already banned. It strikes me if you want to get at the heart of this particular rifle, the high capacity drums and magazines could
be a way to get at that. But, again, there's just a lot of nervousness in the Republican Party and among Conservatives about banning and confiscating
certain kinds of weapons.
So, to me, I don't want to see this derailed. And if I thought that would derail the idea of background checks and red flag laws, I certainly
wouldn't be for it because I wouldn't want to see the whole thing come apart in September and then nothing happens. I think the American people
want something to happen. And so, getting a couple of those items that can actually attract enough votes and a presidential signature seems like a
good step in the right direction to me.
AMANPOUR: All right. Scott Jennings, thank you very much, indeed. And as you say half a loaf perhaps better than no loaf at all for the moment.
Now, while gun violence is seen as a uniquely American crisis, a far-right political murder sent shockwaves through Germany earlier this summer.
Walter Luebcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conserveative Party and a defender of her refugee policy was fatally shot in the head on his
front porch in June by Neo-Nazi extremist. Critics claim that in Germany, as in America, police failed to take right-wing extremism seriously.
Jaafar Abdul Karim is a German. He is a voice for tolerance and respect in his troubled country. Which his award winning program, "ShababTalk,"
"Youth Talk," and his new program, "JaafarTalk," on the Deutsche Welle Network, Karim gives young Arabs around the world a platform to break
taboos and open minds. And I asked him about his challenging mission, forging connections in a sometimes hostile world.
Jaafar Abdul Karim, welcome to the program.
JAAFAR ABDUL KARIM, HOST, "JAAFARTALK": Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: So, you do something unusual. Tell me what kind of bridges you're trying to build at this moment in Germany.
KARIM: These moments in Germany, there's a lot of the unknown because 2015, you have a huge number of people coming from Syria, from Iraq and
Afghanistan arrive to Germany or fled to Germany. So, people coming, arriving in Germany, the Germans have a lot of questions, who are these
people? What culture do they have? What does their religion say? How do we want to live together?
So, there is a lot of questions. And since I understand both cultures, I am familiar with the European, with the German culture, but also with the
Arab/Muslim culture, and that's why I try to bring people together and let them talk, exchange, know each other more, because there is a lot of
prejudgments against each other. So, when you bring them together, they know each other more to support the dialogue. They don't always have to
agree, they often disagree, but at least you have people talking to each other.
AMANPOUR: So, you talk about prejudice, and certainly, we've [13:20:00] seen this Germany since the influx of about a million refugees that Angela
Merkel allowed in --
AMANPOUR: -- in a policy of compassion and humanity, really.
AMANPOUR: But it did have quite a lot of backlash, both personally and politically.
KARIM: Yes. True.
AMANPOUR: So, one of the casualties was this far-right group, AFD.
AMANPOUR: Or Democracy was a casualty because this group got into parliament. We're going to play this clip from one of your shows where you
engage in one of the members of the community in Saxony --
AMANPOUR: -- which is where AFD is very strong.
KARIM: Yes. OK.
AMANPOUR: Here's the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARIM (through translator): What bothers you most here on this street?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The housing conditions and all the people around here.
KARIM (through translator): What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I just mean all the asylum seekers that got shipped here. They could have asked the people here if
they agreed or not. In just those two buildings over there, there are at least 10 families.
KARIM (through translator): And you don't think that's OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No, I don't because there are enough German homeless. And in my opinion, they should get an apartment
first before someone comes here from far away. Whatever the history is, the German come first, no one else.
KARIM (through translator): Hi. What's it like to live here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Well, quite bad.
KARIM (through translator): Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The East, the mentality of East Germans.
KARIM (through translator): What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are so many Nazis.
KARIM (through translator): Have you experienced anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes. I opened my mailbox like always to see if I had some mail. Suddenly, I saw a piece of pig meat.
They know I was a Muslim and didn't eat pork. I just left it there, the next day it really stunk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's pretty extreme when you see that young Muslim man, you're talking to him, and somebody in the community has put pork meat through his
letter box, knowing that that's an insult.
AMANPOUR: Then the girl, the woman, who seems fairly, you know, reasonable, but she's like, "Hang on a second. Germans first, refugees
AMANPOUR: How did you feel when you first started engaging these people about this issue?
KARIM: You know, when I'm talking to her, I'm talking as a reporter. When I talk to her as a reporter, I have to ask the right questions, to
understand why is she thinking the way she's thinking, why is she saying Germans first? Because I told her, according to the constitution, there is
nothing that said Germans first. Humanity first, humans first. But she thinks Germans go first.
And as a person, when I -- you know, when I go back and think, I'm kind of asking, what is happening now that we are forgetting about humanity or
forgetting the people who really need help, also have war in their countries, need the help of Europe, need the help of Germany today?
I'm kind of sad when I hear it, because I know Germany's economy is doing well. I know that the people in Germany are very welcoming. We're seeing
part of the people. We don't have to forget the majority in Germany are still welcoming refugees and are being very helpful for refugees, you know,
but you have the minority, as we can see in this clip, that people are against them.
And then on the other hand, I can see how such words can affect the life of a person fleeing to Germany. Because when someone tells you you're not
welcome, then how should integration work? When someone tells you you're not accepted, we don't want you to be here, and you're trying to be part of
the society, then it's really hard to integrate, it's really hard to say, "I'm motivated to learn the language, to know the culture," than you're
more busy being neglected, than you're more busy being say, "They don't want me," because we ever to see what's going on in Europe and the world as
a whole image.
Even when you look at the way the rhetoric President Trump is using, you know, when he was racist against the congresswomen, this is exactly what's
giving a kind of -- I wouldn't to say inspiration, but that's helping others to say, "Look, even the president of the United States, the land of
liberty, status of liberty, we all see it and have it in mind, is saying such things."
AMANPOUR: So, I want to draw a little bit of a connection between --
AMANPOUR: -- some of the violence in Germany, some of the groups like that Identitarian -- say it?
KARIM: Identitarian Movement.
AMANPOUR: Identitarian Movement.
KARIM: Yes. They also visited --
AMANPOUR: Yes. There was a political murder. I think it's the first one in living memory, a member of Angela Merkel's party was shot in the head.
KARIM: That's true. Yes.
AMANPOUR: You visited a group of people who belonged to this Identitarian Movement.
AMANPOUR: And they have links or, at least, the movement has some links with the Christchurch, in New Zealand shooter, with the El Paso shooter,
they all repeat each other's slogans and kind of draw inspiration from each other. And you went to see some of the [13:25:00] people who I think
identify with them, right?
AMANPOUR: Let's play this clip.
KARIM: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I want Germany. Germany to remain --
KARIM (through translator): What does that mean?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): That's what I'm saying. If you don't understand that, that's your problem. Then you have a big problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): One solution would be apartheid.
KARIM (through translator): Apartheid? In Germany?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I mean, for example, a city for Muslims, a city for Christians and so on.
KARIM (through translator): In Germany?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It could be a solution. And then you can see which city is developing better in the long run.
KARIM (through translator): I have an immigration background.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Well, good, then you're just a German citizen on paper.
KARIM (through translator): But not German or part of German society and the German people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): From my personal perspective, you do not belong to the German people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You know what? If you don't like it here, then go somewhere that works better for you.
KARIM (through translator): I studied here in Dresden. And now, I live in Berlin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If you don't like it, go somewhere better.
KARIM (through translator): Where am I supposed to go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Where you ancestors come from.
KARIM (through translator): Where did I come from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You must know that. How would I know that? What a bunch of crap.
KARIM (through translator): I studied here in Dresden and live in Berlin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Quit the crap.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): You're not German.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, you were shocked there and you're shocked here as I watch you watching that again.
KARIM: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: There is a rise in far-right nationalism in Germany of all places. The interior minister says that, you know, there were 24,000
extremists, 100 more than in 2017, and half of those were considered violence oriented. In other words, it's a real worry. It's not just
KARIM: Yes. It is a real worry. Even the Identitarian Movement, when I went there, they weren't classified according to the German Domestic
Intelligence Service as extremist. But I think weeks ago, they were classified now as extremist movement. When you talk to them, they have so
much hate in what they say and they have so much thinking of race that they could do anything and that's why you feel like, "How far will all this go?"
AMANPOUR: Do you yourself feel endangered? Do you feel threatened? I mean, you go and you confront these people and you talk about them, you
have a show, you're very public.
KARIM: I believe -- in the job I'm doing as a journalist, I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression. So, if someone tells me I'm
not allowed to go to a place because he or she thinks I'm allowed, then I'm going. Because the constitution in Germany allows me to have the same
rights as everyone, every other citizen. And that's what I see it as my job, as my responsibility, to go there and talk to the people.
When I'm there, I'm rejected. When I'm there, people don't want to talk to me. But that's exactly what I have to do, because on one side it's
important to be the voice for others, because a lot of migrants in Germany today might not have the possibility, might not have the function as a
reporter, as a journalist, to go and talk to people. But I can be the voice of people who today are may be afraid or feel insecure or feel no one
is talking in their name.
So, I go there to confront people, to ask and to tell them, "I am a part of it". And it's important to be stay -- you know, you saw it, I was like
calm, I was listening, I was trying to understand, I was trying to know why are you thinking the way you're thinking, and maybe, maybe, other people
can see it and these people can see too, which may lead to a change, you know.
AMANPOUR: Are you surprised that this kind of white ethno-nationalism, this white supremacy, actually, this growing movement in many --
AMANPOUR: -- places, whether it's Russia, whether it's parts of Europe --
KARIM: True. Yes.
AMANPOUR: -- whether it's the United States, it's now become a thing that law enforcement and analysts and political analysts are really concerned
about. Are you surprised that it has spread so far?
KARIM: I am surprised. I just want to mention something. I just came from Lebanon days ago, and the same rhetoric that we are hearing from the
AFD or we're hearing sometimes also from President Trump and from other politicians, you have it in Lebanon today against the refugees, Syrian
refugees and Palestinian refugees.
Like I had a talk show where a politician, a Christian politician, he's part of the Patriotic Free Movement, where he said, "We don't want refugees
anymore. Lebanon first. Lebanese first." You hear from the AFD also telling, "Germany first," President Trump, "America first."
I think there is a kind, if you observe, if you look at the facts, there is kind of something going on. I still don't have the answer for it. But
what I can observe or what I can see is there is kind of insecurity of their own identity. There is a kind of new identity search. Who are we
today? And all of this is leading to this kind of nationalism.
KARIM: You cannot -- you try to understand it, but on the other hand, you say, like how far is it going?
AMANPOUR: I mean, incredibly, the numbers in Lebanon are just staggering. It's like --
AMANPOUR: -- one in every four people in Lebanon are refugees, which is huge.
KARIM: I mean we have to admit and say Lebanon has a huge challenge when it comes to Syrian refugees, that's for sure. But there is a red line.
There is a line that we don't have to cross.
It's about humanity. But what's happening now, politicians are being racist, politicians are saying things that they shouldn't say.
AMANPOUR: And there's they couldn't say it.
KARIM: And yes, they couldn't say it. And this whole rhetoric, this whole discussion is leading to a kind of -- I mean if the politician is saying
this, I can say it too, and if this person is saying it too.
And that's the whole speech, the hate speech, the racist speech that's going on. This is affecting on the ground because people are seeing it
every day. It's getting very normal.
The norms and the standards of respect and tolerance are changing.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Obviously, your program is on Deutsche Welle which is the international service.
AMANPOUR: So it's not airing in Germany.
AMANPOUR: So who is your message directed at?
KARIM: So my show airs in the Arab countries. It's addressed to the Arab- speaking people. But you also have Arab-speaking people after 2015 that arrived in Germany, so they are watching the program, too.
Politicians are talking a lot about refugees, so what we do is we say let's talk with refugees. So we already had German politicians who are in
cabinet or in parliament. We invite them and bring together with refugees and they talk.
So it's all about -- what you need today is more dialogue, more knowing each other, and more speaking.
AMANPOUR: And you've done something quite unusual as well. Because not only have you got this mission, bridging the terrible gaps between far-
right and refugees and migrants, but you're also trying to bring sort of a more dynamic conversation to the youth in the Arab world as well.
KARIM: Sure. Sure.
AMANPOUR: Because they're also within very strict confines. They're very conservative, often dictatorial regimes.
So I want to get to one of the programs you did in Sudan.
AMANPOUR: Now, it's before the current uprising. So the youth have really taken to the streets, the story is not over but they've been really
battling for their rights against the military regime there. But here is a cultural and social moment that happens on your show in Sudan.
KARIM: Sure, yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I walk down the street and a man treats me like an object, body, not as a human being. The person who gives him the right to
harass me, he is the sick one, not the clothes I'm wearing.
My clothes respect my humanity and are part of my freedom of choice. Not the choice of society with its sick backward traditions, which it then
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, that's a completely different issue to what we've just been talking about. Here's a woman railing against the restrictions
on her freedoms and her ability to wear what she wants.
You've once said that JaafarTalk, your program, is the baby that survives the Arab Spring.
AMANPOUR: What are you trying to say when you go to places like that?
KARIM: Today, people, young people in the Arab world, they want to live the way they decide for their own. But you have a lot of challenges.
Traditions, religion, social structure and political systems that are suppressing the younger generation.
So what we say is we want to have a platform. There's a platform where everyone can be, or he or she wants to be. They have the right, and again
it's a right.
It's a human right that I can talk, that I can express myself, and that's all we want the people to have. We want them to say there is a program,
there's a platform where we can discuss about everything --
AMANPOUR: Do you ever get in trouble by the way when you do those things there?
KARIM: True. You know it on your own. You've got troubles. It's part of our work.
AMANPOUR: Do they try to stop you?
KARIM: Yes, you have --
AMANPOUR: Because this is really pushing against the religious, the Islamic extremist --
KARIM: Sure, they try to push you. You get threats. They try -- but, you know, the one thing is when people and fans and people who watch the show
are behind you, that's the strength we have today.
AMANPOUR: The safety.
KARIM: The safety, because they want to talk. They want to talk.
Like we saw in Sudan, also the same thing happened in Jordan.
We went to Lebanon. We went to Egypt. We went to different countries to say to the people have a program through the program in Deutsche Welle to
[13:35:00] AMANPOUR: You obviously are a thousand percent integrated. You're a German citizen but you're a migrant. You went there to seek
safety and opportunity.
AMANPOUR: And it's been said that you have the narrative of the good migrant.
AMANPOUR: I mean is that, first of all, an acceptable term for you? And how did you manage?
KARIM: I would say you have a lot of examples like me in Germany. But I happen to be on T.V., you know. But you have a lot of examples.
People working, being part of society, integrated. There is even a discussion, what does it mean to be integrated? And they are working --
going through their lives like every other citizen or every person living in Germany.
When it comes to my own perspective, to my own experience, from day one I arrived in Germany, I didn't wait for anyone to tell me what are my rights.
I didn't wait for anyone to tell me if I'm part of Germany or not because I said I am part through work, through hard work, through learning the
language. I came and already knew the language and I don't get affected or influenced when people say go out.
The good thing you have in Europe, it's the land of law.
AMANPOUR: The rule of law.
KARIM: Exactly. The rule of law. And where you have rule of law, so the law is on your side, when you're also doing the right things.
So enjoy being who you are, go for it, just do it, and you do your thing.
AMANPOUR: Well, you're doing it, it's an amazing job you're doing.
KARIM: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much, Jaafar Abdul Karim.
KARIM: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Great bridge building there.
Now, the boss meets Bollywood with our two next guests. Acclaimed director Gurinder Chadha, known for her film such as Vend it Like Beckham, has
teamed up with journalist, Sarfraz Manzoor, to tell a deeply personal story.
Their film "Blinded by the Light" is based on Manzoor's memoir and it follows a young Pakistani British teenager in London in the 1980s who finds
unlikely salvation in the American icon Bruce Springsteen. It is also an intimate portrait of escapism in the face of racism and the shackles of
They sat down with our Hari Sreenivasan to connect the dots and tell him about their fateful encounter with the boss.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: Gurinder Chadha, Sarfraz Manzoor, thanks so much for joining us.
Sarfraz, I want to ask. How does a Pakistani kid in the U.K. get enamored by the boss?
SARFRAZ MANZOOR, AUTHOR, GREETINGS FROM BURY PARK: By having a very lucky encounter with a friend, to be honest. I was 16-years-old in 1987. I
really didn't know anything about Bruce Springsteen at that point because I was just listening to what was in the charts at that time.
And I started college, and this kid with a turban. He's got headphones on, he's listening to his music. I said, what are you listening to?
And he says "Bruce Springsteen". And that seemed a very unusual choice for someone of that age and that ethnicity, but he just says Bruce Springsteen
is a direct line to all that's true in this world and he's just had such passion that even though I knew nothing about Springsteen, I just thought,
maybe I'm missing out.
So he gave me some cassettes and I listened to the music. And I suddenly thought, oh, my God, this guy is connecting with me. He's writing and
singing songs directly about my life. And that's kind of where the fandom started.
SREENIVASAN: OK. And we've got a clip after you've heard some of his words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I listened to everything, both tapes. I could feel it all right here. It's like Bruce knows everything I've ever felt,
everything I've ever wanted.
I mean sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode, explode and tear this whole town apart. Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart.
I didn't know music could be like that. I mean is a dream a lie, if it don't come true or is it something worse?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations. You popped the Bruce Cherry. You never forget your first time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: Now, Gurinder, is that what drew you to it? I mean did that idea of a scene, this passion, fly off the page when you're starting to
read this stuff.
GURINDER CHADHA, DIRECTOR, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT: Well, I've been a Bruce fan myself separately in London, and I just thought he was masterful with
his words, and I didn't know I was going to be a filmmaker then.
But to me, everything he was writing seemed filmic. So that's what drew me to him.
And then I read an article where they've interviewed him, and I thought, oh, my God, there's another Asian in the United Kingdom that likes
Springsteen. And that's how we connected.
SREENIVASAN: You know it's interesting is that at the time, and you bring this out in the film, the music was escapist. It wanted to drive,
especially if you were poor and underclass. You were looking out beyond there and Bruce Springsteen's music is the opposite of that.
MANZOOR: Yes. There was a great line I read about him. It said most music is about Saturday night, and his music was about Monday to Friday.
Now, everything that I was listening to, whether it's Madonna or Michael Jackson, or the Pet Shop Boys, it was about escapism. It was all kind of
romanticized and sort of hyperreal.
Whereas Bruce is talking about people who work in [13:40:00] factories, living in dead-end towns. He's talking about people who don't get along
with their dads.
And that's not the stuff that pop music normally deals with. And I just thought, well, it's kind of obvious why somebody like myself who came from
that kind of background, had a difficult relationship with my parents, it's kind of obvious why I would connect with them even though at the time
everyone laughed and said, what's a kid like you liking Bruce?
CHADHA: Well, also the '80s and in the early '80s, we had a lot of disturbances up and down the country. We were the sons and daughters of
the original immigrants of England.
And we were -- in the political landscape, we were all trying to figure out who we were, what our identity was. Were we British? Were we Asian? Were
we British Pakistani?
All of this was going on around us. And perhaps it was the time of Margaret Thatcher and so there was mass unemployment and hardship and
And particularly for young people, a lot of people leave school and just go adult and never had a job for like 10 years. So this was also the
backdrop, I think. And so Bruce resonated with that kind of political context.
SREENIVASAN: You guys bring up identity and race is almost a character in this film. And here we are looking at these events that happened 30 years
ago in the context of what's happening in the U.K.
But for a lot of people in the United States right now, it's actually very interesting to watch, and even across Europe, it's interesting to watch,
that some of these things are cyclical and they're back again. And we thought kind of as a society what we've learned from that, we're better now
but maybe we're not.
CHADHA: Well, we have been working on this project for quite a while on the script, and in the meantime, I had gone off to make "Vice Race House."
And after "Vice Race House," I was thinking like what am I going to do next? What film do I want to do next?
And I was worried about the overlap of Blinded by the Light with Bend it Like Beckham because it's in an Asian community set story. But then Brexit
drops in England. The vote happened.
We were like, oh, my God, what's happening? And then overnight suddenly all these xenophobes came out and there was a lot of sort of tension around
race and hate and people thought it was OK to get on buses and shout abuse to elderly black women who worked in our hospitals their whole life.
And for me, it was like a complete breakdown in the fabric of society, especially being in London, my hometown. It's very distressing.
And that's when I made the decision, I said OK, I'm going to make this film next and I'm going to show exactly what it was like. And normally, I kind
of shy away from being too visual around racism, but in this film, I said no, I really need to make that point.
It was his reality being spattered on the way home from school. The character roots in the film. His family regularly had people who would
urinate through the letterbox.
And all these things we need to tell these stories now so people understand. And so this film for us became extremely relevant to make
today to kind of stem the tide, really, and show an alternative way of being.
MANZOOR: But I also think these divided times that you're talking about, I think that's why the film is kind of connecting with people, because
ultimately it's a very hopeful message it's giving.
You're saying a Pakistani kid in England can be completely turned on by the most American idol there is. And in '87, that was completely plausible
that kid could think America was a promised land. Someone who is Pakistani could think that.
And I think that that makes people feel good about themselves. It also suggests to people an idea of an America that maybe doesn't feel quite as
close as it was in '87 but it's still possible and it's still plausible. And I kind of feel like that also was sort of hitting the core.
CHADHA: Absolutely. And we see that. There's a scene that's actually in the trailer. That scene actually happened.
And I took it out because this is too corny, no one is ever going to believe this. And we had to put it back in but the scene, when it plays,
you see it with an American audience, with all audiences, they're very uncomfortable at the beginning of this scene because of present events.
But at the end, what the guy says, is what actually happened to Sarfraz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to visit Bruce Springsteen's hometown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't think of a better reason to visit the United States than to see the home of the boss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHADHA: And I think it's moments like that that make people think there is an alternative and there is some kind of hope, you know.
SREENIVASAN: There is a scene when you were talking about your character extolling the virtues of the United States. At least in a screening in New
York City, there was almost audible laughter. I mean he was talking about this idyllic place where everyone is--
MANZOOR: Everything that's good about America but even better in America.
SREENIVASAN: Yes. And in a city like New York, we're like, oh, my gosh. They are harkening back in their minds. It's like, yes, you know what,
that might have been true and perfect and maybe we could get back to that more perfect union.
MANZOOR: The crowd that you're talking about, they're [13:45:00] cynical about America. But in a way, outsiders have always been the ones who are
the most idealists in a way about America because they sort of see in the most purer sense.
We were talking earlier, you know, if you're growing up in (INAUDIBLE), the idea that New Jersey town plays like sound incredibly exotic. If you're
actually having to do that on your morning commute, maybe not so much.
MANZOOR: Si I think that's always been true. But I think it's quite nice to be reminded of that kind of wide-eyed hope.
CHADHA: And it's interesting is the film is getting these great responses in America. People are connecting with it.
People are not necessarily seeing race, they're just seeing the father-son story and the universality of that, which is fantastic to say.
SREENIVASAN: You're almost dealing with some of these heavier topics juxtaposed with a certain joy to this. It's almost like a Bollywood dance
number that breaks out in the middle of somewhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runway American dream. At night we ride through the mansions of glory and the
suicide machines. Sprung from cages --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: You're not just hitting people over the head with it. They are heavy ideas but somehow you've kind of managed to wrap it in this very
CHADHA: Well, I think obviously having Sarfraz's story is fantastic because that's a great way of telling a story about being interconnected
across oceans, you know, with words. But at the same time, you know, it's a very truthful story about racism and coming through that and wishful film
He had a dream and it came true. That's the great premise for a movie. But at the same time having worked now for as many years as I have in
filmmaking, it's tough.
As soon as you want to put a person of color in a movie as a lead, immediately everyone is like, well, that's not going to be commercial,
that's not going to work. That's not going to be successful, ya da, ya da, ya da, still to this day.
SREENIVASAN: So let's talk a little bit about the music. You've been to 150 plus Bruce Springsteen concerts? What makes number 149 worth going to?
Like what is new? Why do it?
MANZOOR: Well, it's very simple. If somebody said to you, you know, at 8:00 tonight in Madison Square Garden, if you turn up, I can guarantee for
the next three hours you're going to have an indecent amount of pleasure.
You're going to feel jubilant. You're going to feel exultant. You're going to be moved. It's going to be profound. You're going to be
surrounded by people who are decent, caring people and you all are going to be just together for those three hours having an amazing time. Do you want
to come? What are you going to say?
SREENIVASAN: So in the world of filmmaking and music, this is very expensive to get the rights for something like this.
SREENIVASAN: So how do you go about getting Bruce Springsteen on board?
CHADHA: Well --
SREENIVASAN: You have 17 songs?
SREENIVASAN: Nineteen songs?
CHADHA: Nineteen. Well, what happened was America happened, basically. Sarfraz wrote his memoir. I read it. I said this is great, I know how to
turn this into a great movie, but it's nothing without Bruce's songs. There is no movie without it.
And luckily for us, Bruce has come to London in 2010 for the premiere of his film "The Promise." I got invited. I took him as my plus one, and we
both stood like fans on the red carpet with cameras waiting for Bruce to go by so we can both like be (INAUDIBLE).
And we felt somehow -- we haven't told him but beyond that, didn't really have a plan. And then as he walked the carpet, we got very, very excited.
And because of his 150 shows that he's been to, and he doesn't look like many other Springsteen fans, Springsteen recognized him. And he walked
over and said --
MANZOOR: He comes right up to me and says, "I really love your book", out of nowhere. And I had the book with me. I was thinking I was going to
give it to him because I didn't even know if he knew it existed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: How are you doing?
MANZOOR: It's been a while. I'm good. I'm good.
SPRINGSTEEN: Your book was really beautiful.
MANZOOR: You read it?
MANZOOR: Oh my God.
SPRINGSTEEN: It was really a lovely thing.
MANZOOR: How did you know about it?
SPRINGSTEEN: Someone sent me -- people sent me copies.
MANZOOR: You took the time to read it?
SPRINGSTEEN: Yes, it was really really --
MANZOOR: Fantastic, man. We should have a chat about that. I want to make a film of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHADHA: So while he was having his meltdown with Bruce, I thought, oh my God, this is it. I got to do a movie deal right now, about five seconds
before he's moved on. And I thought OK, I'm going to be really professional, think how are you going to do it? How are you going to say
to him we need your music? We know notoriously does not give his music, we know that.
So I just thought OK, I'd just had to ask him. And I was trying to be professional but it came out very high-pitched, [13:50:00] I'm afraid. And
I was just like, Bruce, I'm Gurinder Chadha. I'm going to make this a movie. Please, will you help us, will you help us?
And he looked at me and he looked at Sarfraz, and he went, "Sounds good. Talk to Jon." And behind him was Jon Landau, his manager. And Jon came
out, he says, "What are you guys talking about?"
He said the book, he likes the book. We want to make a movie. And then we exchanged contact, and they said, you know what, he likes the idea. You
should do it.
And that's exactly what we did. We wrote a script that we knew Bruce would like --
MANZOOR: Yes, we hoped that Bruce would like.
CHADHA: You're right. But we were writing it for him. And then where it came back and he said -- his manager said, "He's read it."
And I was like, oh my God, what did he think? And she said he said I'm all good with this. And I said, and? And she said, no, he just said, I'm all
good with this.
I said, what does that mean for the music and everything? And she said, he said I'm all good with this.
MANZOOR: And that was it.
CHADHA: She go, make your movie. And that's how it all happened.
MANZOOR: It's amazing that his --all he needed to say was sounds good and I'm all good with this.
SREENIVASAN: Because he liked it?
CHADHA: Yes. Sometime later I came to New York to show him my director's card and said I got to show you the movie, Bruce. I will need to have at
least some feedback. If you don't like something, I can change it now.
And we sat in a small room, him and his managers. Put the video on. He watched it very intensely and at the end, there was absolute silence. And
I was like oh my God--
SREENIVASAN: It is good to go either way?
CHADHA: Either way. And I knew the managers wouldn't say anything because they wanted to hear what he said.
And then I thought, well, I'm going to go to the front, I'm going to put the lights on, I'm going to get my tape and I want to get out of the room
so they can all discuss it. That's what's going on in my head.
And so I stumbled to the front in the darkness. Put the lights on. I was going to get the tape.
And I turned around and he walked over to me and he put his arms around me, and he gave me a big kiss and then he said, "Thank you for looking after me
so beautifully. Don't change a thing."
And I was like -- I remember that because I was lost in his blue sweater. And then I said, pull yourself together, Gurinda.
And then he sat down and for an hour he talked about what he loved about the film. All the moments, all the nuances. He loved that there were lots
of '80s tracks that weren't him because he loved the fact that they gave the film a great context.
He loved that Tiffany was in there. And he turned to Jon and said, "Yes, that Tiffany, you know, she was like riding so high on the charts and I
couldn't even get a song on the charts."
So it was really cool to hear his feelings of '87, actually, but he really appreciated the way that I brought the songs to life in this current
context and in this current climate, because they had been, you know, been given a new meaning, if you like, obviously with Sarfraz and his
Obviously, he loved the cultural side because he loved the book, which is why he gave us permission. But seeing it in reality, I think it was that
urgency of seeing his words being transported through a 16-year-old come to life again in a way that was very relevant to today.
SREENIVASAN: Sarfraz Manzoor, Gurinder Chadha, thank you both for joining us.
CHADHA: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: What a great story and tribute to Bruce Springsteen that his words have such an extraordinary impact in an entirely new and different
Join us again tomorrow night when we will go to the hall of Africa the population of cheetahs is under severe threat. Fueling this drop, demand
in the Arabian Peninsula where the animals are kept as pets and feature in the social media post of the uber-rich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People who have a cheetah as a pet are causing the species to go extinct.
LAURIE MARKER, BIOLOGIST: It's leading the way towards extinction. Mr. bottle is one of the favorite toys that we found.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: American biologist Laurie Marker and her cheetah conservation fund are raising to save this species from extinction.
MARKER: This is not how a baby cheetah should be living. They need to be living out in the wild.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They set up this safe house in Somaliland for the rescues. It's bursting at the seams.
MARKER: Seeing them here, it breaks my heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So for tomorrow, watch more about these rescues, but that's it for now.
Remember, you can listen to our podcast at any time. See us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.