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Interview with France European Parliament Member Nathalie Loiseau; "The Wealth of Refugees" Author Alexander Betts; Interview with The New York Times Magazine Contributing Writer Robert Worth; Interview with International Olympic Committee Senior Member Dick Pound. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 25, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone and welcome to "Amanpour."
Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crossing the channel in this lethal way, in a small boat, is not the way to come to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: This after the biggest death toll of its kind. 27 migrants drown in the English Channel. We seek answers from Oxford University migration
expert, Alexander Betts and a Macron ally, the MEP, Nathalie Loiseau.
Then, Libya at a crossroads after Muammar Gaddafi's son is disqualified from his presidential bid. Journalists Robert Worth interviewed him and
tells us why Gaddafi thought he could win.
Also, ahead, the International Olympic Committee under fire for the way it's handling the #MeToo case of Chinese tennis star, Peng Shuai. I speak
to senior IOC official, Dick Pound.
And finally --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SELMA VAN DE PERRE, AUTHOR, "MY NAME IS SELMA": I didn't let the Germans to have the satisfaction of killing me, of having me dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: An incredible story of survival and Thanksgiving. We look back at my conversation with concentration camp survivor, Selma van de Perre.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London where the home secretary, Priti Patel, is under fire for migrant crossings in the
English Channel that have turned shockingly deadly. While in France, five suspected people smugglers have been arrested and face manslaughter
Yesterday 27 people drown shortly after setting off from France. They were trying to reach the U.K. on an inflatable boat. And it's the largest such
loss of life there. President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have agreed to take urgent action. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I say to our partners across the channel, now is the time for us all to step up, to work together, to do
everything we can to break these gangs who are literally getting away with murder.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We are holding this border for the U.K. They don't want asylum in France. We will improve
our means to increase protection, but we need to work as partners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: More than 25,000 migrants have made the crossing so far this year. That's compared to about 8,000 the year before. And they are still
coming despite what happened in the channel.
With me now to discuss this is the MEP and former French minister for Europe, Nathalie Loiseau, and Professor Alexander Betts, the leading expert
on forced migration at Oxford University.
Thank you both for joining me.
Let me ask you for the politicians' view of this. Because it is an issue, Nathalie, that has been highly politicized. And yet, you just heard both
leaders saying, we must put that aside and work as partners. What actually do you think they can do to stop what is a surge now in these crossings of
Nathalie Loiseau, European parliament member, France: Well, first of all, before talking about politics and numbers, let's remember about human
beings and human lives which were lost, because this is a tragedy we're talking about.
Are we talking about a surge? Let me tell you, and I might surprise you, that I doubt it. The number of asylum seekers in the United Kingdom this
year is approximately around 25,000 to 30,000. Whereas, in France, at the same, it's more than 100,000. And it's much less than in 2016, of instance.
Because there has been cooperation between the U.K. and France, a number of smugglers have been arrested. A number of peoples who in intended to cross
the channel were stopped.
The crossings through the tunnel have diminished very significantly in the five last years, which, unfortunately, let people to risk their life
crossing with more boats. But we are not talking about a surge. Of course, we can do better, but there are things that we will not manage to do.
AMANPOUR: Well, Nathalie, what should the French do? I mean, you say there isn't a surge and maybe you're right. And I'll get Alexander's take on
that. But, you know, the 25,000 this year compared to about 8,000 last year across this channel represents, you know, not just double, but more than
double the number. What can France do about this? What does working as a partner actually mean?
LOISEAU: Well, we are having patrols around the Port of Calais and also on the beaches. But we have to realize that migrants leave from very different
places. They are spread all around -- all along the coast. And if a promise of British authorities is zero migration, it's a promise that cannot be
fulfilled because it doesn't exist anywhere on earth. The U.K. has left the European Union, but it hasn't left planet earth.
So, we are doing our best. We are making more patrols. We are mostly working with other European member states, Belgium, Germany and others, to
crack down a network of smugglers, because these people are criminals. They know that they put human lives at risk, and we do more. We do it with the
British authorities as well. We give a lot of information from our side to the British partners on networks of smugglers. Maybe our British partners
could reciprocate and give us information they have. Because if they have networks of smugglers, some of them live in the U.K. and welcome the
AMANPOUR: So, Alexander, let me put it to you, you have been following this for a long, long time. So, put it in perspective. Nathalie says
there's no surge. And just tell me what does that look like to you, because here, the government anyway, acts as if this country is on under constant
invasion by mostly Muslim migrants. What is the -- what are the facts and what do you say has led to this crisis right now in the channel?
ALEXANDER BETTS, AUTHOR, "THE WEALTH OF REFUGEES": So, this was a predictable and entirely avoidable tragedy. It stems from a failure of
political leadership by governments on both side of the English Channel. And it's clear that we do need the sense perspective that there is very far
from being a refugee or a so-called migrant crisis, that the numbers of asylum seekers arriving in the U.K. and, indeed, in Europe should not be
understood to be a crisis. Politicians have been exaggerating as in the U.K., but also elsewhere.
But what is happening is there are record numbers of asylum seekers coming to the U.K. or at least the highest level in the year and in September 2021
since 2004. So, in that year, there was 37,000 asylum applications in the U.K. and the proportion of asylum seekers coming across the English Channel
So, in that sense, there is an increase. But we do need to keep it in perspective. We need to recognize that against the backdrop of 82 million
displaced people around the world, 26 million of whom are refugees. Countries like Turkey hosting 3.7 million refugees. Countries like Colombia
hosting 1.7 million refugees. That the numbers we're talking about in Europe as whole and in the U.K. should be seen in perspective. They're
But why are the numbers increasing? Well, firstly, they're increasing because more people are displaced around the world. The people who are
coming are fleeing desperate situations. They are fleeing authoritarian governments, violence, conflict, they are mostly coming from countries
where we know many refugees are fleeing. Countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, those are the types of countries that people are
coming from. They're fleeing desperate circumstances.
The second reason is because there's really no other way to seek asylum in the U.K. It's been made so difficult by the British government and other
European countries that the only way to seek asylum in the U.K. is by using smuggling networks to cross illegally. If there were safe routes, if there
were safe passages and alternate pathways, asylum seekers would be able to use them.
AMANPOUR: So, you say the failure of leadership on both sides of the channel. And before I go back to Nathalie, who is obviously a politician, I
want to know what you mean by that and what specifically the British government could do from your perspective where we are here in the U.K. to
ameliorate the situation. Because as Nathalie said, these are people, desperate people, there were men, there were women, some pregnant, there
were some younger people, children, I mean, it's a real tragedy.
BETTS: Yes. These are some 30 human beings, including a pregnant woman, at least two children. We know that some were Kurds fleeing Iraq. We know that
some were Somalis, they're fleeing desperate circumstances. And I think it's all too easy for politicians to blame the smugglers and to talk about
breaking up the smuggling networks. And, of course, nobody could disagree with that. They are merciless, greedy smuggling networks, exploiting
people's vulnerability. But there are still more that politicians can do by cooperating.
France, the U.K. and the European Union need to work together. The two have been squabbling and nationalist pandering rather than moral leadership. The
moral position is to say the numbers across the European Union should be manageable and should be shared equitably. There need to be safe passages
within Europe and there needs to be a way of creating responsibility sharing.
Now, of course, Brexit has changed the dynamic between the U.K. and France, and the U.K. and the rest of the European Union. But we need to set that
aside and come up with ways of sharing refugees in a more just way and ensuring that some safe passage from Europe to the U.K. I think that's the
ethical thing to do.
And we need to realize that lives are at stake. And if we had a realistic framework, everyone would benefit from the predictability, the cooperation,
enabling desperate people to come and claim refugee status. Because one thing is clear, is that the majority of people claiming asylum in the U.K.
are being recognized as either refugees or people in need of international protection.
Last year, the grant of international protection status was around 50 percent at first instance decision making. That first bureaucratic choice.
And on appeal, a larger portion would then recognize. So, most people arriving as asylum seekers are in need of protection. But let's make it
AMANPOUR: Right. And, of course, that goes against what the British home secretary says, who says most people coming here are just, you know,
economic opportunists or economic migrants, but you're giving us the facts and figures of the fact that they actually are desperate and fall into
those internationally recognized categories that require and should have help.
But, Nathalie, I want to ask you because tell me whether you think your own interior minister has politicized the situation in this. And I will read
you what he said. He basically says, the British companies are creating incentives for this kind of travel across. In a radio interview, he said,
everyone knows that there are more than a million illegal immigrants in the U.K. and that English employers use this workforce, English employers use
this labor to make the things that the English manufacture and consume. We say reform your labor market. Tell English employers that we need them to
be as patriotic as the conservative government.
Tell me about what you -- do you agree with that, Nathalie, that English companies seeing an opportunity, I guess, for cheap unregulated labor are
part of the problem?
LOISEAU: Well, I don't want to enter into a blame game because it will not help working together. We could as well say that in the United Kingdom,
there is no mandatory carrying of an I.D. and maybe it makes it simpler for undocumented migrants to try and risk entering the U.K. But my point is not
My point is that Brexit was supposed to be about taking back control and being able to have a brighter future without the European Union and without
European partners. What we are seeing now is that, first of all, Brexit was never able to stop migration from people coming from outside the European
Union, and this is what's taking place now.
And, of course, in challenges like migrations, which are worldwide, the only possible answer is cooperation. We need each other. And we need a
positive atmosphere to work on this. Because let me be very frank. I'm a politician. I listened to my fellow citizens. They are asking time and
again why French taxpayers' money is being spent to protect the British border. We can explain it, but there is a need for a positive atmosphere,
for stopping the blame game, for a will to cooperate and for a rational conversation, not using migrants as a scapegoat or the European Union as a
AMANPOUR: OK. Very, very quickly because I want to turn to Alexander. The British government have said that they will up the amount of money, you
know, they give France and to try to help with the situation. Would France accept British police on French soil to police that area? Yes or no?
LOISEAU: Well, let us be very clear. It's a question of sovereignty. We are a sovereign country. Second, I talked about the length of the shores
where migrants may try to cross the channel. And third, when you go to the beaches, it's already too late because people are here will always try to
cross. The very thing to do is fight against the roots of migration, to be more active in conflict resolution. I am appealed to see that the United
Kingdom downsized its development assistance.
LOISEAU: If you want to have less migrants, let's have a better support for developing countries to begin with.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's a point, isn't it, Alexander? And, of course, the Brexit point. Can I just ask you what some have been talking about in this
instance? We have all seen the lack of workers here in the U.K. for vital jobs, whether it's drivers, whether it's, you know, in the farming
industry, et cetera, et cetera. And some are saying -- and you have written the book, "The Wealth of Refugees," I think and how these people can
actually rebuild economies.
Is this a moment when actually the British should be thinking, hey, we don't have these European workers anymore, we need people, many of these
are skilled or, you know, skillable (ph) or teachable and should we have them in our country?
BETTS: So, the majority of people coming across the English Channel seeking asylum are in need of international protection and they don't
represent a threat to the United Kingdom. But they represent the possibility to contribute to the economy. We know that many asylum seekers
and refugees contribute to economies around the world, including the U.K. economy.
The U.K. faces a demographic challenge of having a population that is aging, of having a population that doesn't always want to take some of the
low paid jobs, and there's a need to fill some of those gaps. We have seen recently the U.K. pioneering something quite exciting, which is offering
opportunities for refugee health workers to come and support the British national health service, to work in particular hospitals and contribute
that way, and it's been a success.
So, I think, sit's absolutely right to recognize that refugees can be an asset. They have skills, they have talents, they have aspirations, they can
be contributed. And so, the portrayal of, what does the British government -- of the governments of refugees as an inevitable burden is something I
think we have to challenge, particularly given that the numbers are quite small.
AMANPOUR: Yes. The numbers are quite small. I really think that's something we should really try to cement because it does get blown out of
proportion and leads to this terrible, terrible tragedy that we have just seen.
Alexander Betts, Nathalie Loiseau, thank you so much.
Libya is a transit country for migrants, as we know, desperate to reach Europe. You'll remember how politicians lamented the Mediterranean becoming
a watery cemetery. Well, last week alone, 75 died, that's top of the tens of thousands of who perished in these crossing the years.
Now, for the first time since the Arab Spring, Libya is about to hold its first ever direct presidential election. None other than Saif Gaddafi, the
son of the ousted dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, has registered to run. But last night, he was borne by Libya's the Election Commission.
Can next month's vote really bring some kind of order to this dysfunctional and divided country? Well, journalist, Robert Worth, has spent months
tracking town Saif Gaddafi to ask. And he's joining me now from France.
Robert Worth, welcome to the program.
I think, you know, everybody was quite taken by the first interview that you managed to get with Saif al-Islam, as his formal name, but he's the son
of Muammar Gaddafi. He had been held by militants for a number of years.
When you spoke to him, what did he tell you about why he wanted to run and whether he really thought that it was, you know, OK for a Gaddafi to try to
run again in this post Arab Spring world?
ROBERT WORTH, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: I think Saif al-Islam is banking on there being -- and there is, quite a bit of
nostalgia for the Gaddafi era, amazingly enough. I mean, after all, Gaddafi was known as a brutal dictator, all kinds of human rights abuses. I think
though what has happened in the 10 years, the Gaddafi regime was followed by, you know, the link (ph) collapsing into a patchwork of militias, and
many of those militia leaders also committed terrible, terrible atrocities.
And this is what's foremost in people's minds. So, strangely enough, someone who is from an earlier period of Libya's history, like Saif al-
Islam, can count on some people looking back and saying, well, at least it was more stable at that time. At least we had something. And I think he
does believe that he -- not just he himself, I should say, because he was trying to run for president, but his movement, which is essentially is his
father's movement, and people -- there is going to be not only a presidential election, but parliamentary elections. And so, he's backing a
number of other candidates who stand with him and he thinks that they all have a chance of running on this kind of tide of nostalgia.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, he's been barred. I mean, will he still run? I mean, he's been barred by the Election Commission. And what effect do you
think that will have if he does, in fact, have a popular base?
WORTH: Well, he can appeal the ruling. He certainly -- you know, he may well remain ousted from this. So, far, it doesn't look as if his
disqualification has caused any violence or anything of that kind. But I suspect even if he is unable to run for president, he may still have quite
an impact by, as I've said, backing parliamentary candidates. And at some point, in the future, he may well be able to run.
I should add also that it's entirely possible that this election, which is scheduled for December 24th, won't happen on time. And there's been quite a
bit of chaos in terms of the administrative side of things. So, who knows, you know, when these elections will take place and whether he will, in
fact, be able to run.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to play a little snippet from the interview you did with him because it's very similar. Well, we'll see. I want to play a
snippet of what you did and then, 10 plus years ago, a snippet of what I did with him before the fall of his father. So, here's from your "New York
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOICE OF SAIF AL-ISLAM, LIBYAN- PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the Libyan choose a strong president. The only thing they need is a strong president.
That's it. The Libyans will choose a strong one. Everything will be solved automatically. It's as simple as that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, as simple as that. And I just wonder when we play this snippet from my interview in 2011 with him, on the verge of his father
being run out of his, you know, leadership, whether he seems to have changed a at all. Here's what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Will there be a new regime?
AL-ISLAM GADDAFI: If are you strong, they love you. If not, they say good- bye. And it's good, we get rid of them. Hypocrites.
AMANPOUR: Do you think they will get rid of you?
AL-ISLAM GADDAFI: No. They are the losers. They have no future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I don't know, Bobby, he seems to exist on a plain that's not really rooted in reality, because shortly after he said that to me, they
were out. And shortly after he said that to you, which was practically the same thing, Libya needs a strong person, you know, he was barred. Did you
get a sense that he was grounded in some kind of reality or he's just nostalgic?
WORTH: I think he's very much the son of a dictator, and he's never really been able to emerge from that shell. You know, I spent years trying to meet
with him because -- partly because I was curious. You know, after all, he went through a lot during those years. First his father was killed, his
brothers were killed in 2011. He was taken captive. He was injured at the time. He lost a couple fingers on his hand. He was quite sick. And then, he
was in prison in the desert and have essentially vanished. Nobody knew where he was. And he lived alone much of that time in a basement prison, as
he told me when I met him a few months.
So, you would think that someone who had gone through so much might have had time to re-examine his life and his role in the country and learn
something, let's say. But as you pointed out with those two clips, which were do, I think, tell you something, he still has that same sense of
himself. He still thinks that he can just walk into that role and act as if the whole past 10 years never happened.
AMANPOUR: And then, there's another one contesting the election, General Haftar, and he is being, you know, accused of sort of stirring up the civil
war there and certainly, not -- you know, not helping out. I wonder what you think, if an election does happen that's scheduled on the 24th, you
said it might slip. But let me just read, you know, some of the things that aren't provided for. No provisions for power sharing after the elections.
No safeguards to ensure the vote's integrity. And couldn't you think possibly be a big gamble that could just tip Libya back into, you know,
local clashes, armed conflict that we have seen over the last, you know, 11 years?
WORTH: Yes, I do. I think that's entirely possible. But, you know, as we have seen in other elections in troubled countries, elections can, you
know, provide a better -- a greater sense of legitimacy or they can very well do the opposite. They can tumble a country further into chaos. And
because you have very divisive figures running in this election, there is absolutely the possibility that this could make things worse.
You mentioned Khalifa Haftar, I mean, he's considered by many at Libya to be war criminal as well. And he -- you now, he was very much involved in
the war that could have destroyed the capital, Tripoli, that ended only last year. And he's somebody who now rules, essentially, over -- or much of
Eastern Libya. And so, I think, you know, if he wins or losses, you could see a lot of discontent among different sectors of Libyan population.
I should add also that he is possible that he could be disqualified from the election as well. He hasn't been yet, but the Election Commission has
said that they will be doing more reviews and quite possibly will disqualify other people. And Haftar was an American citizen. This would bar
him from running for president. You're not allowed to be a dual citizen. Haftar claims that he's no longer an American citizen, just a Libyan one,
but we haven't seen the evidence on that. So, that remains to be seen.
AMANPOUR: Well, that was going to be my next question. What does America want to see happen in Libya? Because right now, we've got a lot of Russians
backing one side, a lot of Turkish forces backing another side. It's already being, you know, swallowed up by entities that are not necessarily
-- you know, certainly not necessarily in the best interest of the United States or Europe. What is the lay of the land that exists there right now?
WORTH: Well, as you say, the Libyan civil war became a proxy battleground with Russia and Turkey playing prominent roles, but other countries as
well, including Egypt, United Arab Emirates and France. And one real triumph that took place last year was that United -- none of the auspices
of the United Nations there was -- you know, there was a peace deal, there's now a transition government, those foreign actors may still have --
they do still have soldiers on the ground but they are not fighting. At least we don't have a war in the country.
As for what the United States would like, I think they simply want to stabilize Libya and hopefully, build a more legitimate government or rather
to see a more legitimate government. The Biden administration is awfully busy, as we all know, on the home front and, you know, we've had this very
tumultuous thing happened recently in Afghanistan, I don't think the Biden administration wants to commit much attention or resources certainly not to
Libya. But I think they very much would like to see this place, which after all, was something of a black mark. President Obama called it his biggest
mistake a few years ago, because of the role that the United States played in that NATO mission that helped to bring down Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
So, we've got some skin in the game, but I think the Biden administration really wants to avoid getting drawn in.
AMANPOUR: And yet, as we have seen with all the migrants crossing and the instability, it's something that really does need to be taken care of.
Bobby Worth, thank you so much indeed.
Now, concern continues to grow for the welfare of the Chinese tennis star, Peng Shuai, who recently accused a senior communist party leader of sexual
assault. She disappeared from public view soon after that and the Women's Tennis Association, the WTA, is threatening to pull tournaments out of
But in just a few months, China will host the Winter Olympics. And now, the International Olympic Committee is under fire for its handling of the Peng
case, releasing this picture, but little else, of a weekend video call between Peng and the IOC president, and declaring her safe and well.
Dick Pound is one of the most senior and longest serving IOC officials. And he is joining me now from Paris.
So, Dick Pound, welcome to the program.
This has become not just about Peng now, but about how people on the outside or institutions on the outside are handling this case. So, what do
you make of all the criticism that's come down on the president of the IOC and the IOC itself for what they consider an unsatisfactory intervention in
this case with that video call?
DICK POUND, SENIOR MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: Well, I must say I'm really puzzled by that assessment of it. I mean, basically, lots of
people around the world were looking to see what happened to Peng Shuai and nobody was able to establish contact. Only the IOC was able to do so. And
there was a conversation that was held by video with Thomas Bach, who is older Olympian and two younger female IOC. Members. And it was -- nobody
released the video because, I guess, that aspect of it was private. But they found her in good health and in good spirits and they saw no evidence
of the confinement or anything like that.
And just -- you know, she wanted to spend some time with her family and friends. And they agreed that well -- you know, that Thomas Bach said,
look, I'll be in Beijing in a month or two, let's get together and have lunch or something and continue our conversation. And so, if you're really
concerned about Peng, you have some good news.
AMANPOUR: Well --
POUND: But for some reason --
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, I guess the question is, is beyond proof of life video, which this clearly seemed to be, what else was achieved? Because
does, for instance, Mr. Bach know that, you know, out of camera range, there weren't officials sitting with her, you know, and censoring her. Why
does the IOC not release had the video call? I mean, you know that there's many questions beyond just seeing her talking. And yet, the WTA is, you
know, really not satisfied at all nor are the human rights organizations. So, I'm just wondering why you put yourself in this position of not just
putting out even more that you have at your disposal?
POUND: Well, I think the idea was to be assured in so far as one you can as IOC members and so forth, including a Chinese, the female member, that
she was healthy and not being confined and that, you know, she's happy enough to get together with the same folks who are on the call. The leader
in Beijing, I think, if nothing else, you can have quite a lot of confidence that she will be in good shape up to and including Beijing. And
I think that's that we were concerned about.
Now, the ATP may have its own views, but I don't think they've been paying much attention to what's happened in basketball and football, in
threatening Chinese with economic sanctions on this, and it's not going to work. And part of the proof of the pudding is they were not able to get in
touch with her. And that -- you know, that's her sport. And maybe she didn't like the attitude that they were showing.
Now, whether that was discussed on the video or not, I don't know. It may be one of the ground rules was that the full content would not be released
because there may have been some private matters discussed in the court of the 30-minute conversation. But, I mean, there's been criticism said, well,
you know, you had this conversation and you got it resolved, the harassment charges.
AMANPOUR: Right, right.
POUND: Of course, not. That takes a lot more time and a lot more evidence to come some resolution.
AMANPOUR: I guess what I -- you know, what people -- well, what I'd like to know is -- very quickly, yes or no, have you actually seen the tape of
POUND: I have not.
AMANPOUR: No. Do you know what's in it? What have you asked Thomas Bach what exactly they talked about, given you have been doing a lot of press
POUND: No, I haven't. I'm simply relying on the combined judgment of the three IOC members who were on the call.
AMANPOUR: OK. Why do you think she was -- I mean, you've been around the block a lot and you've dealt with a lot of controversies, you know, over
the years in sports and politics and all the rest of it. Why do you think she was censored on Chinese media and stayed out of public view for these
long weeks and has very senior members of her sport, from Billie Jean King to Serena Williams, not to mention the WTA so concerned and worried?
POUND: Well, I think the Chinese system of monitoring what goes on of the internet or whatever particular meeting that was is very sensitive about
anything that's critical of senior members of the government. So, I think the post was taken down within 20 or 30 minutes. That's kind of standard
operating procedure. But I think that her status in the community and in China at large hasn't taken it any further than that. And whether there are
discussions going on with her and the Chinese authorities about -- I mean, was this really a complaint which you want resolved or was it a post about
an experience that started off apparently with coercion and then, may have evolved into something that was consensual or at least quasi-consensual?
And so, I don't know that.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me -- yes. So, let me ask you this then. The WTA wants an investigation. And I just want to know whether, you know, you agree with
them. It says of your call that it does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation without censorship into her allegation
of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern. Would you support an investigation by the Chinese by whoever and
do you have any certitude that she was not being confined when the president of the IOC actually spoke to her on that video call?
POUND: Well, I think you can fake some things and they were satisfied. All three of them were satisfied that, you know, she's alive and healthy and
not under coercion. And so, I think the first thing you have to do is figure out what was she trying to accomplish with the post.
AMANPOUR: No, no.
POUND: Was it just an attempt to tell her story or did she want an investigation and consequences if she was able to establish the coercion?
AMANPOUR: Do you, I guess, again, support an investigation? But also, I wonder whether you are concerned or whether the IOC is concerned of a
potential conflict of interest or the perception of a conflict of interest or at least a conflict given that the person she accuses, Zhang Gaoli, is a
very senior communist party official, or at least was at the time, and was the specific individual tasked with the Olympic bid, therefore, negotiating
with your president and et cetera, selling China's position to the -- you know, China's position to host the Winter Olympics, which it has and will
in, you know, this winter? Does it bother you that of all people he is the one who is the link between the IOC and the Chinese government?
POUND: We don't really have links with the Chinese government. I mean, we're pretty careful about compartmentalizing the organization of the
Olympics. You know, these are not government games. These are IOC games. And there's an organizing committee that is responsible for that, which is
certainly, from what I've heard, you know, whenever there's anything that boarders on a requirement that the Chinese government act, the organizing
committee has a tendency of throwing up his hand and saying, well, that's a government matter and we're just involved in organizing the Olympics.
And by the way, if you look back at the awarding of the games to Beijing, it was not a sure thing by any means. They came within four votes of losing
to Kazakhstan. So, there's no involvement of the government's per se in any of that selection. It's a matter of can you organize the games and are you
a member in good standing -- as your Olympic Committee, a member of in good standing of the Olympic family?
AMANPOUR: Well, it would be great, I think, if the IOC would be able to release that video call, because it would answer quite a lot of people's
questions and might go some way to figuring out what's actually happening. It would be great if you could lobby on our behalf for that.
Dick Pound, thank you so much indeed. I'm being serious.
And finally, for Americans everywhere, it is Thanksgiving. So, we thought we'd end this edition of our program with an amazing story of survival,
courage and gratitude that we came upon this year.
Back in May, I spoke to the incredible 99-year-old Dutch woman, Selma van de Perre. Selm was just a teenager when the Nazis invaded her homeland. She
became a resistance fighter and holocaust survivor. She finally revealed it all in her book, "My Name is Selma." When we spoke, she told me the family
she lost back then has never left her thoughts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Selma van de Perre, welcome to our program. It's a really big honor to have you.
SELMA VAN DE PERRE, AUTHOR, "MY NAME IS SELMA": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to start by asking you, what was it like there before the war? What do you remember about Holland before the invasion?
VAN DE PERRE: Well, we were not living in a particularly Jewish neighborhood. And we were not friends with only Jews.
I had many girlfriends from school as well. And most of them were Catholic or Protestant. We knew one was Protestant and the other one was Catholic,
and I was Jewish, and so, but it didn't make any difference. We were just all friends. I remember that very well.
AMANPOUR: You remember everybody living together?
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And then, everything obviously changed. The Nazis invaded the Netherlands. I think you were 18 years old.
VAN DE PERRE: Seventeen.
AMANPOUR: Seventeen. What did you know about the Nazis? I mean, did you know that it was then going to be dangerous for Jewish people like
VAN DE PERRE: Well, I mean, we -- well, we didn't know 100 percent, of course, because the Germans were very careful, very clever. They never told
people, state or countries, what they were going to do. They just did, slowly but surely. And so, we knew what had happened in Germany and Austria
and Czechoslovakia, and so on, but not really. We didn't know about the extermination camps, well, not the public did, at least.
AMANPOUR: Four days after the invasion, Holland surrendered.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: And, somehow, you knew that you had to get your sister and your mother to safety. What happened to you and your siblings at that time?
VAN DE PERRE: Well, not straight away after the invasion, because, as I said, the Germans were very clever. We didn't realize what was going to
happen. The Dutch thought -- the whole Dutch, Netherlands government and country, people in the country, thought, the First World War, they had been
not in the war, and they had been neutral. And they thought this was going to happen again this time. So, people didn't think about the worst yet.
AMANPOUR: What happened to your father?
VAN DE PERRE: Well, after a year, in 1941, the orders about -- against Jews started, not being able to own the trams, on the trains, in the cafes,
or the cinema, et cetera. But, in 1942, the Germans, or the Nazis, my friend says I have to say, not Germans -- and the Nazis started, Germans
started to call up Jewish people, first of all the German refugees and so on, and Jewish girls and boys and men. And I got my call-up on the 7th of
June, my birthday, 1942. And my father said, no, you don't go.
And my father got a call-up in October. And he -- they were told, people were told by the Jewish council, who were told by the Germans, no doubt,
that they were going to a work camp in the north of Holland. That was a call-up. And so, we thought -- and also, they were told that, if they went,
then their wives and children would be free, didn't need to go to a work camp. And everybody believed that.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, it was a terrible lie.
VAN DE PERRE: And it wasn't true at all. That's what I tried to tell you. There were so many lies, slowly, but surely, they told. And we were not --
don't forget, we were -- now we know what happened. But we didn't in those days, you see.
AMANPOUR: Your father was taken off?
VAN DE PERRE: Yes. So, my father went to that work camp one evening, and, the next day, they were straight away transferred to a transfer camp,
called Westerbork in the north of Holland, where Jews were later on all the time transferred to before being sent to Auschwitz, the camp, the
extermination camp Auschwitz.
They were also collecting wives and children, so that was not too -- the next day, we were not called, thank God. Otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting
here. I said to my mother, when we heard that my father was sent to Westerbork, we better go and hide, because if they haven't called us last
night, they will come tonight. And that's what happened. I called -- I went to friends who knew about a man who had addresses for hiding. And my mother
and sister went into a hiding place in Eindhoven in the south of Holland. And they stayed there until 1943, when they were betrayed.
AMANPOUR: And did your mother and your sister survive?
VAN DE PERRE: No. They were sent -- straight away, they were sent to Westerbork and then to Auschwitz. And they were killed, murdered straight
away. I didn't stay --
AMANPOUR: And you were not with them?
VAN DE PERRE: No, I didn't with them. Number one, it cost a lot of money. And, number two, the woman only could have two. So, you needed people. And
there wasn't -- it wasn't easy in the beginning to find houses where people were willing to take Jews in.
AMANPOUR: And she could only take two people. So, what did you decide to do?
VAN DE PERRE: So, I went -- a friend of -- I went to evening classes to learn typing and shorthand when I left school in '41, and -- grammar
school. And one girl there with whom I had become friendly said, if there's any trouble, you can come to us. So, that's what I did. I went to them and
hid there for a week. And then her mother told me that it was getting too dangerous, and could I please go? So, I was then looking for hiding place
again. And I went through several hiding places.
AMANPOUR: You joined the resistance. How did that happen?
VAN DE PERRE: They were short, because all the young people could be -- not be out for that anymore and help with that anymore. And they needed to.
So, I said one evening, can I help? And they said, oh, yes. Would you please? And I said yes. So, the first, first week, I just put resistance
papers into envelopes, because we weren't allowed to have -- papers weren't allowed to be published anymore.
AMANPOUR: The Nazis banned all that.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: So, you also had to change your identity.
VAN DE PERRE: So, yes.
AMANPOUR: You were Selma.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes. And then, the resistance thought I was -- a different name was better, because, by that time, the resistance had influence
already with the main resistance in the Netherlands. They all have joined up with each other, luckily, and good. And so, the resistance asked me,
would I be willing to take on another name?
AMANPOUR: Yes. And you became Marga. And in your book, you write, ever since joining the resistance, I buried my true self.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: I consciously denied my essence, my Selma, the whole time.
VAN DE PERRE: That's true.
AMANPOUR: What did that mean?
VAN DE PERRE: Well, it meant that I hid it away. I did -- I went into hiding as Selma. I tried to forget Selma, because I was scared that I would
talk in my sleep, especially when I was in prison. I hardly dared sleep because I was so scared that I would.
AMANPOUR: That you would betray yourself?
VAN DE PERRE: Yes. I had that all the time, actually.
AMANPOUR: That fear of betraying yourself?
VAN DE PERRE: Yes, all the time I was imprisoned during the war.
AMANPOUR: Well, I'm going to get to the prison in a moment. But, first, I'd like to ask you to read on page 76 in your book there the passage about
fear, about how fear was everywhere, but you had to put it to the back of your mind.
VAN DE PERRE: Well, you forget -- yes, you forget about fear, because I was busy as well. Like, I was now -- when you're busy, you're able to push
the things away you don't need. You can't live in constant fear. Even fear is something to which you become accustomed. Quite true. And the job, the
resistance job becomes like any other job. Every day, I did things that put my life at risk. I didn't allow the fear to overwhelm me. The desire to
thwart the Nazis and help people in danger was stronger.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's really a powerful statement, because everybody wonders how they would act when confronted with such a terrifying
situation. And from what I read, the most terrifying and daring thing you did was go to Paris to Nazi headquarters. Tell me about that.
VAN DE PERRE: Well, it was. They asked me to go to Paris because they needed some papers from the Germans, and -- the resistance did. So, I said,
oh, no, it's too dangerous. I don't want to go. I didn't want to go. I thought it was much too dangerous. And -- but they said it was needed
because they had people, two boys in prison, and they wanted -- a few boys -- and they wanted them out.
AMANPOUR: So, they had captured these Dutch political prisoners.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: What were the papers that you were taking?
VAN DE PERRE: Well, I didn't see them really. I only had an envelope which I took back. But the papers were official German papers which the Germans
had to carry with them if they wanted to go into a prison. So, the resistance wanted to go into that prison and get the boys out, which they
AMANPOUR: You then did get arrested.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: But not because you were Jewish.
VAN DE PERRE: No.
AMANPOUR: But you got arrested for your -- as a political prisoner and sent to Ravensbruck --
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: -- the woman's concentration camp near Berlin.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes.
AMANPOUR: What was that like? How --
VAN DE PERRE: That was horrible.
AMANPOUR: Because you weren't taken in as a Jew, did you think that maybe you would be spared the worst? What was going through your mind? What was
VAN DE PERRE: No, because we didn't really know what was happening to Jews. Don't forget that. We do now.
VAN DE PERRE: But we didn't. So, no, no. I did know, of course, that the Jews might have been very much more dangerous, in a way, being sent to
Poland to work. And we did know, of course, that none of them had come back.
AMANPOUR: What was your experience in Ravensbruck?
VAN DE PERRE: Well, I have had some very horrible experiences there too. But I survived. I wanted to -- I didn't want the Germans to have the
satisfaction of killing me, of having me dead. So, I did any -- everything to stay alive.
I was quite lucky, in a way, that I became the secretary of one of the chiefs in Siemens factory. I was I had to work in the Siemens factory.
AMANPOUR: The big Germany industrial --
VAN DE PERRE: Siemens.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes, which is now famous for all the kitchen stuff.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Yes. You said that, to survive, you had to maintain hope.
VAN DE PERRE: Yes. So, you tried to do your best to survive, which was difficult at some times. I was beaten once unconscious --
VAN DE PERRE: -- when I couldn't get off the loo because my tummy was always upset, you see, and -- because the food and the drinks we got was
terrible or hardly anything.
AMANPOUR: When you came out, you realized eventually that your mother had not survived, your father had, and nor had your younger sister. Two older
brothers had, and they had come here to England. How did you reconcile? How did you process their loss?
VAN DE PERRE: Well, I haven't reconciled with that at all. I think of them every day, every night. Small things happen. And when I slice my bread in
the morning for breakfast, and I half my slice of bread, I think of my mother when she buttered our bread. I can't help it. It comes into my mind.
I try not to, because I think -- I say to myself, it doesn't make any difference. You can't make it undone. But I can't help it. I think of them
every day in that way.
AMANPOUR: Did you talk about it throughout your life? You're now writing this incredible memoir about your life in the resistance. Was the war
something you would talk to your friends about, to your son, to your family?
VAN DE PERRE: No, the first 30 days -- 30 years, I didn't talk about it at all, except perhaps that I had been in the camp, but not detailed, and a
little bit with my husband when I met him, because he told me about his, and -- but not much either. And then, the Dutch association for women of
Ravensbruck e-mailed me or phoned me and asked me to go to Ravensbruck with the schools they go to. And I said, no, I'm too busy building up my life.
That was another thing. I was building up my life, you see? I was trying to get married and have a child. And so, I was busy again. And so, no. And I
said to them, no, no, no, no.
But then, a few years after that, they phoned and wrote and said, we are having -- we're going to Ravensbruck for a week with a workshop with
teachers, people who have just finished the college for teaching. And they are going. So, about 80 of them went to Ravensbruck. And I went with them.
And I said, yes, that that's a good idea, I thought, because if I could tell teachers what had happened, then they could tell the children. That
was the whole idea of the workshop. And that's what happened. And since then, I have been every year.
AMANPOUR: Fantastic. Do you think that your experience, obviously, the experience of the Holocaust, the history, will remain in generations to
come? Are you concerned that, the longer we move away from that --
VAN DE PERRE: Well, a bit, yes, I was. That's one of the reasons -- there are several reasons I wrote the book. It's one of the reasons I wrote the
book, because, with the book there, and especially now it's been so successful, I hope that it will -- it will remain, yes. And I hope that
people will talk about it still. And -- but the main thing is, because of the experiences, I hope that it won't happen again.
AMANPOUR: So, I was going to ask you, what do you think when you see genocides --
VAN DE PERRE: Something happening now, yes.
AMANPOUR: -- whether it was in Cambodia or in Bosnia or in Rwanda?
VAN DE PERRE: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: Now, they call what's happening in China a genocide to the Uyghurs.
VAN DE PERRE: Very disappointed, I am, yes, that people haven't learned from it. Mind you, it is very, very bad, what happens there, but nothing
like the Holocaust.
AMANPOUR: Selma van de Perre, thank you so much.
VAN DE PERRE: Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What an incredible elegant woman. And that's it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thanks for
watching. Good-bye from London.