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Interview With Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu; Interview With Director Gurinder Chadha; Interview With Lviv, Ukraine, Deputy Mayor Andriy Moskalenko. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 18, 2022 - 13:00:00 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.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): As Russia prepares for its offensive in the east, it is striking Ukraine's military infrastructure, both in Lviv and Kyiv.
Lviv's deputy mayor gives us the latest.
NICU POPESCU, MOLDOVAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND FOREIGN MINISTER: We think we are Ukraine's most fragile neighbor.
AMANPOUR: Fears growing in Ukraine's southern neighbor, Moldova. My conversation with the country's foreign minister, Nicu Popescu.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: What family would want a daughter-in-law who can run around kicking football all day, but can't make round chapatis?
AMANPOUR: Twenty years later, the trailblazing film "Bend It Like Beckham" still inspires. Why it made such an impact all over the world. I'm joined
by director Gurinder Chadha.
JONATHAN HAIDT, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Something fundamentally changed in the nature of the social universe in the early 2010s. And
everything got weird and kind of stupid after that.
AMANPOUR: Have the past 10 years of American life been uniquely stupid. Psychologist and bestselling author Jonathan Haidt thinks so. And he tells
Hari Sreenivasan why.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Russian missile strikes continue even around the capital, Kyiv, and the western city of Lviv, as Ukrainian officials say Moscow has now completed
its regroup and is preparing to launch that expected offensive in the east. At least seven civilians were killed in Lviv this morning.
But resistance remains strong. Ukrainian defenders in the besieged city of Mariupol are refusing to surrender to Russia, that is, despite the massive
damage done to the city. Just take a look at this footage from our affiliate France 2 showing Mariupol on Easter Sunday.
In an interview with CNN is Jake Tapper, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Ukraine wants to keep fighting, but it does need more military aid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): And can you imagine you would fight one-on-one with a very large state, one that's 28
times larger than us, in terms of territorial size and economy? And their army is larger.
And one cannot fight on their character alone. To fight as one, there needs to be equipment today or tomorrow, not in two or three months. Some
countries are just not offering assistance. They can send millions, but we could still lose our state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So the urgency is really now.
And joining me with the latest is Lviv's Deputy Mayor Andriy Moskalenko.
Welcome to the program, Mr. Deputy Mayor.
We're very, very sorry to hear about the civilians who have been killed and injured in Lviv this morning.
Can you tell us the very latest?
ANDRIY MOSKALENKO, LVIV, UKRAINE, DEPUTY MAYOR: So, unfortunately, this morning was very sad for our city, because several missiles from Russia
were attacked. From first site, it was big car service.
And from another site, it was storage. Unfortunately, seven people were killed, people who this morning had some plans, who come to work. And we
have 11 people who are right now in hospital, two of them in critical condition, also in hospital, one children.
And so it means against that Russia fight against civilians. They fight against children ,against women, against civilians, because it's like civil
objects, it was completely destroyed, more than approximately 40 cars. Several buildings where was this one of the biggest car services in our
city. And, also, a big hotel which was close to that car service also was badly destroyed.
And several residential buildings from another side...
MOSKALENKO: ... and also one school, also, broken windows.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Moskalenko, we said military infrastructure is being targeted. And we understand the railway was a target.
Is that correct? Apart from the repair shop and the other civilian infrastructure you talk about, what you think they were aiming at as well?
MOSKALENKO: It's quite complicated to say what's real aim, because we see that, in other cities of Ukraine, or how we see in Bucha, they killed
And so it wasn't army, it wasn't military. The same story was in our city. So they targeted two civilian objects. And so it's also big question that,
for them, it doesn't matter for whom fight. They -- if they can't win the war, they start to use missiles. They start to destroy simply.
And so it's one more sign also for the whole world in order to understand what Russia is really.
AMANPOUR: And do you have the adequate air defenses, what you need to resist? I mean, obviously, not, because at least four missiles reached
targets inside in Lviv, the closest to the center of the city, I believe, since the war started.
You heard your president saying it's now that we need the heavy weaponry, the real weaponry to fight back this coming massive offensive on the east.
Describe whether you have that. Yes, go ahead.
MOSKALENKO: So, the more weapons will be provided for our country to defend ourselves, so the less civilians will be killed from Russia side.
And so, last weeks, we have several times during the day see sirens. It means that it was potentially a threat. And so our air defense system
works. But it's not enough right now. So, like the president mentioned, so we do need more and more weapons in order to defend.
We don't attack anybody. We defend our country. We defend our cities. And so, today, when we talk about our country and city, so it's not only
defending our country. It's defending about the whole Europe, because, today, Ukraine, it's like a shield of the whole democracy.
AMANPOUR: And just a quick one about the humanitarian hub, which, obviously, Lviv has been, and also an exodus point for refugees going to
But we hear from the Polish side that, actually, the number of Ukrainians coming back home, coming back into Ukraine from that area exceeds those
leaving. Talk to us about that. It seems there's still obviously a lot of danger even around Lviv.
MOSKALENKO: I can truly say that, today, really, people who come back to our country, so it's really huge. So it's increased from day to day, and
We have right now in our city more than 200,000 IDPs. And so, every day, also, we have, like, some location trains with the people who are wounded,
and so they are transported to our city. And people come back here in order to be volunteers, I mean, that who from abroad, or to move to army. So we
have a lot of such examples.
So it simply means that -- so we don't have another land, so we don't have another city. So, we will defend until the end, until the winning.
AMANPOUR: And, finally, as you know, Russia clearly knows that Ukraine is getting weapons and help from outside. And it sent a warning, threatening
message to the U.S. and to others.
How should the rest of the world read those messages? I think, over the weekend, they said it would have unpredictable consequences.
MOSKALENKO: Today -- today, the whole world understand and see what Russia really is.
So, they killed everybody. They don't fight against militaries. They fight against children, woman. They can explain everything. Or when you show
really how -- what really is, they say that it's fake. They don't have any values. They don't have any humans.
And so it's the responsibility of the whole Russia. And so, today, sanctions have to be pushed more. And, today, more weapons have to provided
to our country, because the whole -- the world have to understand that Ukraine is that last barrier in order to don't give chance to spread it to
the whole world.
MOSKALENKO: But the cost of this fight, huge.
AMANPOUR: Andriy Moskalenko, thank you so much, indeed, deputy mayor of Lviv.
Now to the war next door and Ukraine's most vulnerable neighbor, Moldova. The small nation has become a safe haven for nearly half-a-million
Ukrainian refugees who have passed through since the war began. But the country is near the Southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which has come
under attack as well.
I discussed this precarious situation with Nicu Popescu. He is Moldova's foreign minister. And he's in Washington for meetings with Secretary of
State Antony Blinken.
AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, welcome to the program.
POPESCU: Thank you for inviting me.
AMANPOUR: You are in Washington. You're going to be meeting with Secretary of State Blinken. You do have a strategic dialogue partnership with the
The timing obviously is very important, because your visit comes when there is so much threat and de-stability in your region. What is Moldova most
concerned about at a time of this Russian war in Ukraine? How is it affecting you?
POPESCU: Of course, we are very concerned for regional security. I think there is not a single person in Europe that does not feel the insecurity
that is pervading the whole European continent.
And, of course, we in Moldova also feel very affected by this war. Of course, this war is having a dramatic impact primarily on Ukraine. But we
are also very affected. We think we are Ukraine's most fragile neighbor. We have had a huge wave of refugees. Over 400,000 refugees from Ukraine passed
through our territory.
And, as we speak, we have 3.5 percent of our population now Ukrainian refugees. Half of them are minors under 18 years old. So, if you look at
our population of children under 18 years old in Moldova, when 10 percent of our children in Moldova today are refugees from Ukraine.
And that is really a humanitarian crisis of dramatic proportions, which we are trying to handle. And we're also talking about the best ways to handle
it with the United States and the states of the European Union. So this is an important item on our agenda and something that really takes a lot of
time for us to deal with.
AMANPOUR: A lot of people have been impressed by your generosity.
And, as you say, you're one of the most fragile members of that area, one of the poorest countries in Europe. You're neither E.U. nor NATO. And you
have a very complicated balancing act. Let me just ask you, do you have enough funding ,enough resources to actually house the refugees? And how
many would you say you have right now?
POPESCU: So, right now, we have 96,000 refugees. Half of them, as I said, are under 18 years old.
They're mostly housed in private accommodations, so they stay with families. And that ensures a safe and dignified situation for them on our
grounds. But we really do need a significant support to help them financially, so that the families hosting them, refugees themselves have
some income, so that they can feed themselves.
So it's not so much equipment like mattresses or beds and tents. It's more financial support that we need at this stage. Of course, we're very afraid
that, if the war continues and drags on, and especially the front line approaches closer to Moldova, we might face new refugee waves, and they
could be dramatic.
Just the Odessa region right next to our border has as many citizens as the entire Moldova, more or less. So any future refugee wave would be truly
dramatic for us. But, for now, the situation is reasonably calm and stable when it comes to our capacity to manage refugees.
At the same time, we face significant socioeconomic problems as a result of this war. Our exports have been significantly affected. Our imports have
been significantly affected. And in the next months and years, most likely, we will face significant economic and financial constraints.
And we will need significantly more help, significantly more help if we are to maintain socioeconomic stability in this fragile part of Europe.
AMANPOUR: So, I understand that the United States is pledging 100 million U.S. dollars to help you out in the areas that you have just mentioned.
And, yes, the World Bank has basically projected that you could actually fall into recession this year, as it has done with Ukraine, with Russia.
And this financial economic spinoff of this war is very dire.
Can I ask you about the security aspects of it? Because, as I mentioned, you're neither in the E.U. nor in NATO, and potentially might feel that you
don't have that protective umbrella. And, at the beginning, I remember everybody was concerned from inside and outside your country that you might
be an easy target, an easy morsel for Russia to gobble up.
Do you feel any kind of threat from Russia?
POPESCU: As I said, there's not a single person on the European continent that feels entirely safe in the last two months.
And in this sense, yes, indeed, we all have to factor in this dramatically worsened security situation and this dramatically worsened security
situation for Moldova, for our country.
At the same time, we see no reason as to why Moldova would or should be attacked. Of course, we have and are preparing for all possible scenarios
for the full spectrum of contingencies. We have been doing that for several months. We cannot predict the future. We cannot speculate.
But we proceed from the assumption that, in the immediate future, we don't see action that would suggest that Moldova would be a target for hostile
AMANPOUR: So, you say that.
POPESCU: But, as I said, we are preparing for all possible scenarios.
AMANPOUR: Right. You say that there should be no reason.
Well, of course, there was no reason for Russia to launch an unprovoked war against Ukraine. So, can I ask you? Because I think there's -- I think you
want to apply or try to get closer to the E.U.?
Does that -- in your view, is that a provocative move? Could it be read as a provocative move by Putin?
POPESCU: The Moldovan population gave us a firm mandate to bring the country closer and eventually into the European Union. We are a democratic
state, a democratic society.
And we have been doing our best to bring Moldova closer and eventually into the European Union. And on the 3rd of March, we applied for E.U.
membership. We received an E.U. membership questionnaire a few days ago. We are working on it. And our hope is that, in the foreseeable future, we will
make a very important step that will bring us closer to the European Union.
Now, we are all aware of the situation is tense, the situation is complicated. We have always in Moldova said that the war against Ukraine
has been completely unprovoked. And we have condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine. We consider it unprovoked, unjustified.
At the same time, we're very determined to continue with the reforms process in Moldova to bring the country closer to the European Union. And,
of course, as I said, we're preparing for the full spectrum of contingencies when it comes to our country's security.
AMANPOUR: Talking about that, I mean, clearly, you're going to ask the U.S. for something. I mean, can you tell me? Are you asking for, I don't
know, defensive anti-missile batteries? Are you asking for specific military help right now?
POPESCU: So, we're talking. As I said, we have this working group on political and security issues.
So most of the conversation in that group is about regional context, our diplomatic efforts, on border management, and we have new and significantly
increased border management risks. As you can imagine, with the war in Ukraine, there is an increased risk for proliferation of weapons.
There's much more attempts to cross the border not entirely legally. So we have a lot of border management needs. We have a cybersecurity component of
that, of a situation, of that dialogue. And, of course, Moldova and the United States have had a good relationship in the defense sphere.
But Moldova has been a neutral country since 1994. And the way we structured our cooperation with the United States is mostly about
coordination and strengthening Moldova's participation in peacekeeping missions and focusing on nonlethal types of equipment supplies.
So we have over time we have received some assistance, donations from the United States, but these are mostly cars, that kind of equipment.
POPESCU: So, we're not talking now about significant lethal equipment.
AMANPOUR: And there has been since the '90s a Russian occupation of a piece of land that's called Transnistria. It is a separatist area of
Moldova, and they're still there, the Russians.
What do you think is the endgame...
AMANPOUR: In the endgame there -- and what should be the lesson of Transnistria for Ukraine, where the Russians also occupy and are trying to
increase their territory?
POPESCU: Indeed, there's a Russian military presence in the separatist area of Transnistria. It's in the east of Moldova.
We're speaking about 1,300 Russian troops. And since day one of our independence, we have been calling on the withdrawal of Russian troops,
which we are illegally stationed on our territory. We have been always raising this question.
But at the same time, as we speak, we have always insisted that the only way for Moldova to solve the conflict in Transnistria, to persuade Russia
to withdraw its troops is the path of dialogue, the path of persuasion, the path of diplomacy.
So, in this sense, we continue with the same message. We only count on peaceful conflict settlement mechanisms, and our way of persuading Russia
to remove its troops is, as I said, through dialogue and diplomacy.
Now, when it comes to lessons, of course, we have been -- in our part of the world, there are multiple parallels between the conflict in Moldova, in
Georgia, in Ukraine, between the separatist conflict. At the same time, there are significant differences of geographic nature, of historical
So, in this sense, with Ukraine, we have, of course, been discussing our experience of conflict settlement even well before 2014, when Ukraine
itself started facing open separatist conflict. We have had an open separatist conflict since the early '90s. So we constantly exchanged
lessons and views with Ukraine on how to handle do's and don't's of conflict settlement.
But of course, our geography and our contexts still differ. And, in this sense, I would not be in a position to be giving advice to anyone on that.
AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, thank you so much indeed for joining us from Washington.
POPESCU: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, the sporting world has also rallied behind Ukrainian athletes during this conflict. And just this week, the Invictus Games for
wounded veterans opened with a tribute to the Ukrainian team.
It does show that sport provides an arena not just for competition, but for conversation, which is something my next guest used to create a masterpiece
of modern cinema. This month, "Bend It Like Beckham" marks its 20th anniversary. The film captured the world's heart with its hilarious tale of
a soccer-mad British Asian girl struggling to live her dream on the pitch, while hiding it all from her traditional Sikh family.
Here's a clip clue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PARMINDER NAGRA, ACTRESS: No, my mom and dad ain't got a clue.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: So, you mean they've no idea you've been playing all this time?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Where do they think you are?
NAGRA: At work. They think I have got a job at HMV.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Blimey. That's not on.
NAGRA: Indian girls aren't supposed to play football!
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: That's a bit backward, isn't it?
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, ACTRESS: Yes, but it ain't just an Indian thing, is it? I mean, how many people come out and support us?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: So, are you like promised to someone then?
NAGRA: Nah. No way. My sister's getting married soon. It's a love match.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: What's that mean?
NAGRA: It's not arranged.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: So, if you can choose, does that mean you can marry a white boy?
NAGRA: White, no. Black, definitely not. A Muslim. Uh-uh!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It was an astonishing success and remains so. It made stars of its cast. And it became the only film officially released in every single
country in the world, including, if you can believe it, North Korea.
I'm joined now by -- here in the studio by its award-winning director, Gurinder Chadha.
GURINDER CHADHA, DIRECTOR, "BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: I have to say, I got all mixed up about the studio because you're one of the rare guests who comes into the studio in post-COVID. So
I'm so happy to have you here and so...
CHADHA: Just so happy to be here with you.
AMANPOUR: Well, honestly, this film is a legend. It really is.
How on earth do you compute the fact that, 20 years later, it's still such a thing?
CHADHA: You know, I'm as shocked as anyone else.
I mean, it was such a struggle to get the film made, because financiers, people just said, who's going to watch a film about an Indian girl and
football? I mean, it's just not commercial.
So it was a struggle. But, finally, after a lot of fighting, I got it made. And I was just taken aback by the way the world opened up to it. But I
think it was a few factors that -- partly, I think Britain had presented itself as cool Britannia, so, with Tony Blair, and all that.
So we were moving away from this sort of old fuddy-duddy British empire image of Britain and embracing the diverse Britain. So we kind of were part
of that. But, also, 9/11 happened while I was mixing the music of the film.
In fact, when I was in the studio with Bally Sagoo, his wife called and said, put on the TV right now. And in the studio, we put on the TV and we
saw the second plane go into the Twin Towers.
AMANPOUR: And how did that affect -- why was that something that was -- that thought about at the time of the film?
CHADHA: Well, I thought about it after, because I realized at the time that the world was so shocked, really, in shock after 9/11, and this
innocent film comes along inviting you into the home of an Indian family in Britain, and their sort of struggles, generational struggles.
But, also, it was so feel-good, you had to go along with it. And I think it sort of healed the world in some ways, which is why I think it just took
off in such a big way.
AMANPOUR: Well, exactly.
And just a point on the financiers, I mean, you had the last laugh, right? I think you made it for somebody like $3.5 million?
AMANPOUR: And it grossed, I mean, 1,000 times that much.
CHADHA: Yes. It made a lot of money for a lot of people.
CHADHA: Not necessarily me, I like to say.
But the great thing is the legacy of it. I mean, who would have thought I'd be sitting here talking about it in this way, and all over social media so
many people writing amazing articles about how important the film was to them watching it as kids.
Even now, the U.S. champion team, the female soccer team, I read somewhere that every single one of them got into soccer because of watching the film.
AMANPOUR: Well, it did open so much, not just doors, but possibility.
AMANPOUR: And I have heard you say, I mean, look, can you imagine, all these years later, you actually have women's soccer on television, and it's
really competitive, and it gets great ratings.
CHADHA: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: And women's soccer is certainly -- well, certainly, American women's soccer is much more successful globally than men's.
CHADHA: Yes. Yes.
And right now, we have got the Euros coming to England in the summer. And I think the England team could take it. There's a lot of very great English
players right now.
AMANPOUR: Women, yes.
CHADHA: Women, yes.
AMANPOUR: OK. So let's go back to the beginning. What made you -- how did you even think about it? Where did the story idea come from?
CHADHA: Well, there's three people who wrote the film, my husband, myself and Guljit Bindra, my friend.
And she was a big Man U fan.
AMANPOUR: Manchester United for the -- yes.
CHADHA: Yes, Manchester United.
And had -- she liked soccer. And she had written this story that was a little bit sad about a girl who wants to play soccer. And so I -- and she
gave it to me, and I parked it, because I thought, oh, I don't know if it's the right time. And then, after one of the England matches in the '90s, Ian
Wright came on the pitch.
AMANPOUR: And, remind, he was a big Arsenal player.
CHADHA: Big Arsenal player, black player, but he came on wearing a Union Jack.
Now, that was a very radical thing at that time, because the Union Jack belonged to the right wing. It was the National Front flag. And so me
seeing that was just mind-blowing. And also, football, for me growing up was always seen as a very violent, aggressive, kind of white domain,
And so it was a no-go area. But David Beckham had come along and was kind of metrosexual, and he was going out with a Spice Girl, and he didn't mind
being a gay icon. And, suddenly, things were changing.
So, when we -- I went back to Guljit and said, look, here's my pitch. So I pitched him my version.
AMANPOUR: Which was a much happier version.
CHADHA: Much happier version.
AMANPOUR: Not a sad version.
AMANPOUR: But ,still, you addressed in a very funny way -- because it's really also a comedy. I mean, you did use humor, I assume...
CHADHA: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: ... to get this very -- pretty serious message across.
We're just going to play one of the clips we're going to use. It's the Sporty Spice clip. And it's -- yes, let's just play it.
CHADHA: Yes, my husband wrote this line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Oh, will you both pack it in! Look at the state of my fuchsias!
Alan, when are you going to realize you have a daughter with breasts, not a son?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Paula, please!
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: No boy's going to want to go out with a girl who's got bigger muscles than him!
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Why don't you just leave her alone?
KNIGHTLEY: I'm not going to give it up!
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I'm just saying. I saw that Kevin last night in the High Street with a blonde girl, and it didn't look like they were talking
about match of the bleeding day either!
KNIGHTLEY: Kevin can shag whoever he bloody wants!
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Honey, all I'm saying is, there is a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one of them without a fellow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And, of course, that's what mattered then.
CHADHA: Yes, absolutely, to that mom, definitely.
AMANPOUR: Yes, to that mom.
CHADHA: I think that for -- the reason I made the film was because I just felt that there was so much pressure on girls to conform in a particular
way, both Indian, white, black, wherever.
If you're a girl, there is so much pressure on you to look a particular way, behave a particular way, act a particular way. And at that time, the
idea of a girl wanting to play football was just weird, you know?
And so I thought, why not put an Indian girl next to the antithesis of that, which is soccer, football, and bring the two together?
AMANPOUR: So that was Jules, Keira Knightley, who did go on to be become a major star.
So you put the -- again, the antithesis together. We're going to play that little clip. And that's her with her parents.
And we will -- let's play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHADHA: I'm still laughing.
AMANPOUR: But, Guirinder, did you grow up in that kind of household?
AMANPOUR: So, it's like totally familiar with you?
CHADHA: That's mom and dad. My mom was just obsessed with one thing, that I should learn how to cook Indian food.
AMANPOUR: Dal particularly?
CHADHA: Meat and veg.
AMANPOUR: So, was that your line?
CHADHA: Yes. All that family stuff is mine. And the dad was very much like my dad. I mean, the heart of the film, the reason why I think it resonates
is because of the dad story and the fact that when he was in Kenya, he played cricket, you know, and it gave him so much joy, but when he came to
England, he was thrown out of the cricket club. And you know, not much has changed. If you look at the recent, you know, stories about cricket up in
CHADHA: But in the film, the dad withdraws from cricket. Withdraws from the world and tries to protect his daughter from the racism out there and
doesn't want her to play football. And so, it's very moving at the end when the dad realizes that actually, he's the one that suffered. He's the one
who held back from something he loved. And so, to -- when he pushes his daughter to say, you know, go for it. It doesn't matter what happens, go
for it, it's very moving.
And then, the right at the end, when he's playing cricket with his two, you know, son-in-laws, as it were, I find that terribly moving and I think
there was little moments like that throughout the film where you can't quite place whether it's a serious film, it's a comedy. You know, it's
about racism, it's about sexism, it's about so much, but it all sort of comes together in a very authentic experience that really came from mine
and George's (ph) experiences, as Gill (ph) is growing up. And then my husband who's Japanese-American, you know, being married into this Punjabi
family, you know, it's such a melange.
AMANPOUR: He's a really malange. I could get to that in a second. But, you know, we talked about the sexism. You know, there's been a huge amount of
improvement on that level. Women are doing much more front and center on television, making money.
AMANPOUR: I mean, just doing the right thing. But the racism, even though there's improvement, it's still really bad. I mean, at football matches,
soccer matches still here, you hear all of that stuff. You know, you had the Marcus Rashford backlash before.
AMANPOUR: Well, how do you process that? I mean --
CHADHA: Well, I think it's still shocking and I think that it's something that you have to deal with. But when I -- when you talk about the Marcus
Rashford backlash, for me --
AMANPOUR: I was all over taking a knee and everything.
CHADHA: Taking a knee but also losing in penalties, the three black England players who lost in penalties recently, the World Cup.
CHADHA: The thing that I take away from it was once Marcus Rashford's mural had been defaced by racist, was the outpouring of love by ordinary
people who came there and we wept at this hate.
AMANPOUR: So, the antidote was stronger.
CHADHA: The antipode was so strong.
CHADHA: And that's the thing that we -- I hold onto. And Beckham's success is that.
CHADHA: You know, when people say, oh, multiculturalism doesn't work, I say, excuse me, 20 years later we're still talking about this film, which
is all about diversity and celebrating diversity in Britain. It's a British film. It's like a massive British success around the world that shows the
Britain that I know and love of today. Now, if that's not a fantastic advertisement for how great Britain is as diverse nation, I don't know what
AMANPOUR: Yes. That's really amazing. And just because we mentioned it, it is extraordinary. You said and we know that it's been -- it's one of the
only films, if not the only one that's released in every single country of the world, right?
CHADHA: It is.
AMANPOUR: Including North Korea.
AMANPOUR: And that's a pretty interesting story how that came about.
CHADHA: Very interesting. And it came -- well, I was invited to a film festival there. And I couldn't go at the time for some reason. And so, they
said to me, you know, they'd like to somehow honor the film. So, I thought, OK, fine. And I happened to be in New York, actually, Christmas, a few
Christmases ago. And CNN came on and there was a big news report that "Bend It Like Beckham's" has been shown in North Korea, and I learned it from the
news myself. And that was amazing. So, they put it on Christmas Day.
AMANPOUR: On the television apparently.
CHADHA: On the television.
AMANPOUR: And it was a British ambassador who did that because it was to celebrate or mark 10 years since Britain and North Korea had resumed
AMANPOUR: So, gosh, there are a lot of strands.
CHADHA: And it's used by girls' groups around the world as well.
CHADHA: Some of these girls' groups have set up their own leagues as a result.
AMANPOUR: Yes. There's a lot to talk about.
AMANPOUR: Guirinder Chadha, thank you so much, indeed. And congratulations, still, all these years later.
CHADHA: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, in the decades since Facebook went public, social media platforms have transformed the face of society, of course. Social
psychologist Jonathan Haidt has observed how we are affected by this type of technology. And he joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss what went wrong and
how social media could become less corrosive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Jonathan Haidt, thanks so much for joining us again.
You have written an article that I think, and the last time I checked on the Atlantic, it is still number one most read. It's titled, "Why the Past
Ten Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid." We will unpack that and you put social media at the center of a lot of it.
Now, before we get to sort of the politics and the impacts of social media on our institutions and life, I also want to know something that you
followed pretty closely and that's the research of what social media is doing to the minds of children, the behaviors of children and how maybe how
that now contributes to this larger essay and larger topic that you're talking about. So, what do we know about the research on how social media
if affective kids today?
JONATHAN HAIDT, SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Well, thanks, Hari. Thanks so much for having me on.
And I think that is the best place to start because that's where, I think, the evidence is clearest. And actually, the kids were the canaries in the
coal mine. My article in the Atlantic is about how something changed, something fundamentally changed in the nature of this social universe, in
the early 2010s. And everything got weird and kind of stupid after that.
And we see it clearly -- most clearly with that the kids. All kids have been on screens all the time. When I was a kid, when you were a kid, we
watched too much television. We couldn't take the television with us to school or into the bedroom, and something changed when kids got
smartphones. And it's not just the phone, it's especially social media.
The girls went right for the digital platforms. Instagram and Tumblr. The boys went more for YouTube and video games. And at the time, people said,
well, you know, maybe this is good for them to have so much stimulation. But actually, what happened, beginning in 2012, as that rates of
depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide all began going up. I mean, it wasn't a gradual thing, it was like they were sort of stable until 2012 and
then, it's like a hockey stick. They're now -- most of them are 100 percent higher, we kind of double it, of the rates of suicide, self-harm,
depression and anxiety.
So, that has really drawn me in because this, I think, was a national emergency. One that is tractable. And I've been studying this in depth to
try to figure out what is the evidence that social media actually is a contributor, and there is a fair amount now.
SREENIVASAN: Now, you know, people are going to question that and say, where there's correlation and there's causation, and we have the surgeon
general putting out a warning. I mean, this is something that, you know, we are used to on the equivalent scale of saying that tobacco is a bad idea to
HAIDT: That's right. So, there's a long history of moral panic, especially around technology. And I've been engaging with other psychologists who say
I'm fermenting a moral panic. And they're right to be concerned about that because most of the previous times we freaked out about technology, it
hasn't been actually anything.
This time, we believe is different for a couple of reasons. The first is that there's never been a hockey stick graph, like that that sudden upturn
in mental health problems. So, this time, it's different. Two is that the timing is exactly what you would expect for social media. It's not a
gradual thing. It's not like something changed and then something else kind of changed. As soon as most kids get on social media and right then, the
next very year, rates of depression and anxiety start going up.
And then, a final kind of data is, the kids themselves say it. I mean, when we were growing up, we didn't say, yes, you know, television is making us
crazy. Mom and dad, you know, do something. But if you talk to the kids, Facebook, Instagram, they talk to the kids and guess what, they say, yes,
Instagram is what's making us depress and anxious.
SREENIVASAN: As you lay out, there's this research showing the impacts of social media on an entire generation of young people, I mean, your article
and your essay talks about this sort of stupefaction. And you kind of lay out the evidence. But break it down for us in kind of a couple of big
parts. How do we measure the general stupidity, so to speak, the increase of that stupidity and then, what's causing it?
HAIDT: You know, there have been hundreds of articles about how bad social media is and it's destroying this and that. I think what I'm trying to add
here is, as a social psychologist, I study morality and politics and I have become a big fan of the philosopher John Stuart Mill who said, he no knows
only his own side of the case, knows little of that. That is, in order to really understand anything, you have to look at it from multiple
perspectives. We have to have different viewpoints pushing against each other.
That's what we do in universities. And what we've always done in my career as a professor, until around 2013 or 2014. And all of a sudden, it became
more hazardous to question. If you questioned -- if you even tweeted about a study that challenged the received wisdom on race, gender, transgender,
there are a couple of sacred issues. If you even suggested there was another side, huge social sanctions would rain down on you on Twitter and
And here's the key thing. When people feel even a little bit intimidation, when they think, if I speak up, terrible things are going to happen to me
of unknown size. It could be nothing. It could be 1,000 tweets. It's that little bit of intimation, that's what makes people go silent. And when
critics go silent, the group gets stupid. That's the central point of my article.
We had polarization for a long time. I mean, the country is incredibly polarized in the 1960s. It's not that this is a new thing. What's new is
these new dynamics brought to us by social media and especially Twitter, that we're not shooting the other side so much anymore, we're shooting the
moderates our own side. And so, what happened in the early to mid-2010s is the moderates on the left and right begin go silent and the extremes get
And at that point, I think the Republican Party goes off the rails one way. It's not that the Democratic Party went off the rails. It's not -- there's
an asymmetry. It's not -- on the left, it's not the Democratic Party, it's the fact that almost all of our major cultural institution, universities,
media, the arts, museums, K12 education, most of all these are dominated by progressives for a variety of reasons, most of which are not particularly
bad, you know, there are different kinds of people and different professions, but if the left dominates in these industries and then all of
a sudden, we start shooting the moderates, then institution gets stupid.
And we see -- for example, we see the imposition of policies, like really, you know, DEI policies, diversity training. These don't work. I mean,
there's no evidence these work and there's some evidence that these things backfire. But yet, institution after institution does the exactly same
thing over and over again. And when I talk to the leaders, they know this doesn't work. They know what they're doing is foolish, but they have no
That's what I mean by structural stupidity. That our institutions, which are crucial for a healthy democracy, are no longer able to do their job,
achieve their mission, and make intelligent choices.
SREENIVASAN: When you say that the diversity initiatives don't work, there's going to be a lot of people that push back immediately say, look,
this is trying to address or redress inequalities and inequities in the workplace that have been structural, that have given people a leg up, and
what's wrong with that? How do we know that this don't work?
HAIDT: OK. Well, to be clear, I'm not saying that trying to improve diversity is more. I'm saying diversity training, formal diversity
training. That's an area where there is a lot of research and there's not really any research to show that it works. So, that's just one example of a
policy widely implemented, tens of billions spent every year, huge amounts of time and for no good reason. And there's some evidence that sometimes
As for the larger issue of improving equality, improving opportunity, I am very supportive of that. I'm a social scientist. I want us to do things
that will actually work. But what happens is, we approach problems where we know what the answer is regardless of the data. We know that the answer is
certain kinds of prejudice or certain kinds of structural factors, we know that. And if anyone says otherwise, they're in big trouble. And then it's
as though we said like, well, here's the tree, we're going to bark up this tree. That's the only tree we're allowed to bark up.
And sometimes that's the right tree, but social sciences complicate it. All these problems are complicated. They are usually multiple factors feeding
in to any kind of observed outcome difference. And when social scientists and policymakers are told, you must bark up that tree, well, usually,
they're barking up the wrong tree.
SREENIVASAN: You know, you write in here that the connective tissue that binds a lot of our institutions together is three things, social capital,
strong institutions and shared stories. And you essentially say that social media tears at every one of those three things.
HAIDT: We have this idea that diversity is good. And diversity has many good affects. But diversity also makes things come apart. And so, for a
large secular nation like the United States, you have to look at what are the forces holding us together? What are the things blowing us apart?
You know, if diversity makes it more creative when you have good norms, when things are well-structured. We have to think really carefully about
how to get the benefit from America's diversity, but it's hard to do because if you critique it, you could get in big trouble.
Now, in terms of what it actually holds a country together, traditionally, it's shared Gods, shared blood, and shared enemies. That's what nations
usually have used. So, we have a challenge and it is a great experiment. And when social media came in, when everybody was on social media beginning
around 2012, 2013, when it gets hyper virilized, the ability to have any shared understanding what we're doing shatters.
Social media allows us to participate in micro stories that kind of bubble up then are gone. There is no ability to have a common understanding of
what we're doing. Not that we ever all are one nation or all on the same page, but there's a qualitative change when it's like here's the story of
the day. And so, there's no possibility for shared stories in the age of social media, widely shared stories.
There's a huge decline of trust. Trust in each other and trust institutions. And here, I'm drawing on recent science stuff -- political
science research showing that social media generally leads to a decline of trust. Social media is incredibly powerful for tearing things down, and
that can be good thing in a dictatorship, but it's very bad at building things up. And in an ailing democracy like ours, where institutions need to
be improved, not ripped apart, it's generally has made things worse.
SREENIVASAN: So, what are the implications if we are in a perpetual state of outrage? How does that influence what our society looks like?
HAIDT: Democracy is hard. The founding fathers knew that. They knew that democracy is unstable and generally blows up. So, they gave us a republic
with democratic features. And the crucial thing to keep a democracy running is you have to have good institutions, you have to have good democratic
institutions and good epistemic (ph) or knowledge generating institutions, and we had those for a while in America. Those are now declining.
What happens if you try to have a democracy without good institutions? I think the answer is Latin America. Latin American countries have been
trying for 200 years to have on and off with dictatorships and democracy. I fear that if we don't take major action now, if we don't get serious about
saying stop the fighting over stupid little things, we've all got to -- well, the ship is sinking. If we don't do anything, we're going to become a
Latin America democracy with a lot more political violence, a lot more instability, many more constitutional crises. This I fear is where we're
headed unless we can really change what we're doing.
SREENIVASAN: So, let's talk a little bit about kind of what are the changes that we can do? I mean, sometimes when you're mentioning kind of
things that lead to political polarity, especially in social media, I also see that playing out in electoral politics.
HAIDT: Once we appreciate that we're running our democracy outside the range of sustainability, if we keep going as we are, I believe we're going
to fail as a country. So, what do we do? I think there are three buckets of reforms, three things we have to do. And the first is to harden democratic
institutions as you're saying. The second bucket is we've got to change social media so that it's less toxic. And the third bucket is we've got to
change what we're doing to children so that they grow up better able to handle this crazy, divided democracy.
So, on the democratic reform bucket, I think, is the most important reform we could possibly have, and that is, it's completely insane to have closed
party primaries. No other country does this. To have a system in which our Congress people -- even state legislatures as well, in which they don't
have to worry about what their constituents think, their constituents don't matter unless they vote in the primary.
So, if all of what you say and do is to appeal to the 5 or 10 percent of the people in your state or your district who actually are going to turn
out and vote in the Republican primary or Democratic primary, you have to be more radical. Most of our leaders are Congress people are good people.
They're generally smart people. Most are there to make the country better, but so many of them, when they get there, they find it's impossible to do
good. They get sucked into the game. We've got to change the game. Especially because we expect things are going to get even worse. The
pressures on them are going to get even worse. The polarization is going to get even worse.
SREENIVASAN: Let's talk a little bit about that basket of how to reform social media, especially in the context of children and what's happening
with this new generation.
HAIDT: One thing that's very -- that's -- it's very frustrating to me, is there's so much going on with social media and most of the action is in the
architecture. It's all about the viral dynamics. That's what changed. That's what we have to fix.
Unfortunately, all of the discussion is about content moderation. But one thing we learn from Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, is that
content moderation only gets a tiny fraction of what's out there, and that's only in English.
In most of the language of the world, there is no content observation. Facebook has nobody who speaks most of the world's languages. So, what we
need to do to reform social media is not more or less content moderation, it's change the architecture so that it doesn't take stupid, nasty stuff
and blow it up to millions of people.
People have always been posting or writing stupid, nasty stuff. The problem with social media isn't that, it's that it takes stuff and makes it hyper
viral within days. So, we need architectural reforms. Social media companies that are large that affect democracy in children should have to
know their customers. So, that the identity authentication. You can still post under a fake name, but to be able to open an account on a platform
that has section 230 protection and viral dynamics, that's not constitutional right to have those viral dynamics, to open an account, the
platform should be able to verify that you're a real person, not a bot or a Russian agent, in a particular country and that you're old enough to be
using the platform.
If we do those three things, most of the accounts would get closed down because they're mostly fake or troll accounts, and then people who make
death threats and rape threats can't just open 10 more accounts with a different name.
SREENIVASAN: Do you think that we have the appetite to be able to make some of these changes because the structures that are in place do reward
the people who are in power right now?
HAIDT: I do agree that when you look at how things are going, the chance for reform looks grim. But there are a lot of hopeful points. So, here's
one. The U.S Congress, I think, is hopeless. I don't expect it to do anything for us ever, really. But the U.K. parliament is actually doing
great work. The U.K. parliament is implementing a child-appropriate and age-appropriate design code. And it turns out the platform, it's very hard
for them to have different platforms in different countries.
So, if the U.K. can do something good, and they are, that's going to put a lot of pressure on the platforms. California is now considering -- actually
this week, this coming week, California is considering applying the age- appropriate design code from U.K. to California. And if so, California does it, the platforms are going to have to adapt. So, there are ways around the
U.S. Congress and its complete paralysis.
In terms of other reforms, you know, Alaska has adopted this final four voting system. But they did it by referendum. Now, in general, I'm not a
fan of referendums. But because the political process is so broken and the party with more power is never going to agree to a reform, so in states
that have a referendum, I think this is very popular. Everyone's fed up with what's going on. So, by referendum, any state could change its voting
So, I think there are ways. And then, the third thing is, even though I've been focusing on structural reforms, there's a lot that we can each do as
individuals, and I wish I said this in the essay, I keep kicking myself, I didn't close on this more inspiring note, but, you know, the biggest thing
is we could all take it easier on each other.
Once we understand that we're all going crazy by this stuff, it's like we're all being fed by poison gas. And so, when people do extreme things
and stupid things, don't get mad at them, don't tweet how terrible they are, just ignore it. Just ignore it. We have to go easier on each other if
we're going to make it as a country.
SREENIVASAN: NYU professor Jonathan Haidt, thanks so much for joining us.
HAIDT: Thank you, Hari.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, the pope has made an urgent plea to end the crisis engulfing Europe in his annual Easter message in St. Peter's
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine. So, solely tried by the violence and the distraction of the cruel
and senseless war into which it all dragged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, although he avoided openly criticizing Russia, the pope's words might ring out loud in that country when it -- and Ukraine celebrates
Orthodox Easter this coming Sunday. And Francis urged people to remember the conflict, suffering and sorrow in other parts of the world as well.
With that, it's the end of our show tonight. If you ever miss it, you can find the episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. On your screen now
is a QR code, all you need to do is pick up your phone and scan it with your camera. You could also find it at cnn.com/podcasts and on all major
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Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.