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New revelations about Donald Trump's relentless pressure campaign on the Justice Department; decades of pain and hardship for Rohingya refugees; a young artist at the height of her powers. Did Not Air Live.
Aired June 24, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Amanpour. Here is what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New revelations about Donald Trump's relentless pressure campaign on the Justice Department. At the latest
January 6 hearings, more damning evidence about the former president's attempts to overturn democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEXTER FILKINS, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Ron DeSantis and President Trump are sort of competing for the same voters. It's the same
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Is Ron DeSantis the GOP's next Donald Trump? The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins joins me as the 2024 hype around Florida's governor grows.
Then decades of pain and hardship for Rohingya refugees, Hari Sreenivasan speaks to Dr. Mohsina Chaklader who has dedicated her life to helping them.
And a young artist at the height of her powers, I speak with indy rock star and best-selling author Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, who will be back next week.
January 6th, it's a day that no longer needs a year attached. Such is its dark place in American history. And we learned more and more about the
events leading up to the Capitol riot as the public congressional hearings continue, the latest focus on Donald Trump's attempts to pressure the
Justice Department into helping him overturn the 2020 election results.
And as more details come to light, the depth and breadth of the plot to subvert democracy is truly shocking. Correspondent Sara Murray takes us
through the latest hearings and revelations.
MURRAY: Stunning testimony from top Justice Department officials detailing the repeated attempts by then-President Donald Trump to pressure the
Department of Justice to subvert the 2020 election.
JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER U.S. ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: So, between December 23rd and January 3rd, the president either called me or met with me
virtually every day with one or two exceptions, like Christmas Day.
Well, the common element of all of this was the president expressing his dissatisfaction that the Justice Department, in his view, had not done
enough to investigate election fraud.
MURRAY: During multiple meetings and phone calls in the weeks after the election, Trump instructed the officials to endorse his unfounded claims of
RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER U.S. ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: What I'm just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me
and the Republican congressmen.
MURRAY: In a conversation on December 27th with then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, Trump
tried to pressure them to say the election was corrupt, according to handwritten contemporaneous notes taken by Donoghue.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Were any of the allegations he brought found credible? Did you find any of them credible?
DONOGHUE: No. Throughout all of these meetings and telephone conversations was adamant that he had won and that we were not doing our job. But it did
escalate over time.
MURRAY: The department did investigate numerous claims of voter fraud.
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The fact that I put myself in the position that I could say that we had looked at this and didn't think
there was fraud was really important to moving things forward. And I sort of shudder to think what the situation would have been if the position of
the department was we're not even looking at this until after Biden is in office. I'm not sure we would have had a transition at all.
MURRAY: During a contentious meeting with DOJ officials and White House lawyers on January 3rd, Trump suggested appointing DOJ Environmental Lawyer
Jeffrey Clark as attorney general.
DONOGHUE: I made the point that Jeff Clark is not even competent to serve as the attorney general. He's never been a criminal attorney. He's never
conducted a criminal investigation in his life. He's never been in front of a grand jury, much less a trial jury. And he kind of retorted by saying,
well, I've done a lot of very complicated appeals and civil litigation, environmental litigation and things like that. And I said, that's right,
you're an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office and we'll call you when there's an oil spill.
MURRAY: Clark was in attendance at that Oval Office meeting and the White House visitor logs even listed him as acting attorney general. The
environmental attorney had written a letter for the Department of Justice to send to officials in Georgia, falsely claiming prosecutors had, quote,
identified significant concerns with the vote there and asking them to reconsider their slate of electors.
ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: When he finished discussing what he planned on doing, I said, (BLEEP) f'ing A-hole.
You just committed the first step or act you take as attorney general would be committing a felony and violating Rule 6C. You're clearly the right
candidate for this job.
MURRAY: The DOJ officials in the room threatened to resign in protest and said there would be mass resignations at the department if Clark wasn't
DONOGHUE: Suppose I replace him, Jeffrey Rosen with him, Jeff Clark, what would you do? I said, Mr. President, within 24, 48, 72 hours, you're going
to have hundreds and hundreds of resignations of the leadership of your entire Justice Department because of your actions. What's that going to say
MURRAY: The select committee investigating January 6 also named six Republican members who allegedly asked about pardons after the January 6
Capitol attack. Most have denied asking for one or not publicly admitted it.
Congressman Mo Brooks told CNN he spoke of pardon to Trump on more than one occasion. He says he was advocating for Republicans who voted against
certifying the election in Arizona and Pennsylvania to receive pardons, claiming he was fearful Democrats would prosecute and jail them after
President Joe Biden assumed office. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson says the committee has proof.
KINZINGER: The only reason I know to ask for a pardon because you think you've committed a crime.
GOLODRYGA: Well, one thing these hearings have shown is that there were conservative Republicans who were willing to stand up to President Trump.
And while many have believed him to hold an iron grip on the GOP, it seems that could be waning as well.
There's a lot of buzz around Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis right now as Trump's heir and waiting. The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins delves into
DeSantis, the man and politician in his latest piece, and asks can Florida's leader supplant Trump as the dominant force of the Republican
Here is our conversation.
GOLODRYGA: Dexter, thank you so much for joining us.
The name of the piece is, can DeSantis displace Donald Trump as the GOP's combatant-in-chief. Did you get an answer to that question in your
FILKINS: Yes. I think the answer is he'd certainly like to and he wants to. I think Ron DeSantis wants to be president and sooner rather than later
and would like to run in 2024. So, the question really at this point is -- I think the big question to answer that is what is Donald Trump going to
GOLODRYGA: You describe him as articulate, fast on his feet and others have called him Trump with a brain. Is that a winning combo for 2024 for
the Republican Party?
FILKINS: It worked for Trump in 2016. I think those circumstances were pretty exceptional given his opponent at the time, Hillary Clinton, and
among other things. So, I don't know the answer to that.
I think what is clear is that Ron DeSantis and President Trump are sort of competing for the same voters. It's the same constituency. And so that's
why when you hear DeSantis, I mean, he speaks in complete sentences and he's very articulate. But it's -- essentially, he's targeting the same
group of people, which is basically the white working class and largely and with kind of smatterings of other groups.
And the way he does that is he -- just like Trump, he riles them up, he gets them really angry and gets them fired up against the elites. It's a
similar playbook. And so is that coalition big enough? Can it like put him over? I don't know. I really don't know. But he hasn't shown any signs yet,
DeSantis, of kind of reaching out to anyone else.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. It's interesting because Trump takes credit for him and views DeSantis as his own creation after supporting him, his nomination for
governor back in 2018. And DeSantis early on then began mimicking Trump and even gestures, even in a campaign ad that went viral, where his kids were
building the wall and really embracing Trump. How do the two feel about each other today?
FILKINS: Really good question. I think it was described to me by somebody who knows both of them very well as a complicated relationship.
I think on the surface, they both make noise. I spoke to President Trump last week and he said, we have a great relationship. We must have said that
15 minutes, which led me to believe that it was something less than gray. But I think the relationship is complicated for the reasons that we're
discussing, which is Ron DeSantis is very, very ambitious. He practically radiates ambition. He wants to be president.
And I think -- my sense is that the president, former President Trump, feels like Governor DeSantis was not or has not been sort of sufficiently
grateful for what he did. And it was really Trump's endorsement that kind of did it for DeSantis.
And somebody said to me he won't kiss the ring, and that's what angers Trump. And so I think the relationship is actually way more complicated
than either one of them has led on.
GOLODRYGA: You really delve into who the man Ron DeSantis is and his background, his education, his focus, his attention to detail, his
brilliance as those who -- even his archenemies would describe him as. And you begin the piece by talking about COVID and his response to COVID. He is
a libertarian, one could describe his politics, but he really took a turn from his approach early on into the -- dealing with the pandemic where he
supported lockdowns and followed the government guidelines and listened to Anthony Fauci for a few weeks and then things began to change.
Why is it do you think he lost faith in the scientific establishment?
FILKINS: A really good question as well. I mean, I think the question about Governor DeSantis has always been how much of it is conviction and
how much of is opportunity. And I think here is a kind of -- the COVID response is a perfect example. He started out kind of in the same playbook,
as everyone else, and then he kind of threw the playbook out.
And what he says, and I think there's a lot to this, his aides tell me he read the data, he pored over the data. And there's a -- in the piece
itself, there's an interview with one of the scientists that he relied. He said, it's extraordinary, like Governor DeSantis clearly had read all the
literature, not just the abstracts, he'd read all the articles, he was totally fluent at it.
And so what Governor DeSantis decided was, basically, I know as well as the experts and I'm going to chart a different course, and that course is worth
throwing everything open and we're going to -- because, basically, the virus is unstoppable. And so the one thing that we can do is protect the
elderly and close the nursing homes, which they did, and kind of -- and tried to ride it out. And that's what they did. And it's -- I think it's
too early -- given all the data that we have, it's too early to say how well that worked.
GOLODRYGA: Let's talk about his strengths and weaknesses. You describe as strength that somebody you speak with said that Ron's strength as a
politician is that he doesn't give an F. Ron's weakness as a politician is that he doesn't give an F. Longer term on that path towards the Oval
Office, which of those is more beneficial for him, the fact that he doesn't give an F or does it hurt him more that he doesn't give an F?
FILKINS: I don't know. I mean, that's like one of the biggest questions. Because he think he's kind of -- he's a conviction politician. I think he
knows what he knows, he knows what he believes and he's going to stick to that. But he's basically just disregard 50 percent of the voters, just like
forget it, I'm going that way, rather than trying to sort of bring everybody along.
And that's really appealing to his supporters. It's like Ron's great, he's awesome, he tells everybody to like jump in a lake, but I don't know if
that works if you're president of the United States. We got a big country and it's very diverse. And I don't know if it would work him either to get
elected to be president and he's basically happy to like blow off half the country.
GOLODRYGA: You bring up his appeal in front of a large audience, and that has to count for something at least, and that's where the American public
aside from just his constituents in Florida have really gotten to know who he was. We'll talk about Fox News and his relationship with Fox in just a
moment, but let's play a clip of him of him speaking at CPAC in Florida earlier this year. Because not only does he have an ability to speak to a
large public and open up that charisma that perhaps isn't there on a one- on-one level, but he is able to hone in on really firebrand issues and tackling what he views as the left woke-ism in the country. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The woke is the new religion of the left and this is what they have in mind. That's why they want CRT because they want
to divide the country. That's why they remove statues of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, take George Washington's name off
schools because they want to erase that history, they want to delegitimize our founding institutions and they want to replace that with their left
wing ideology as the foundational principles of our modern day society. Woke-ism is a form of cultural Marxism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: CRT, of course, referencing critical race theory.
Listen, this is something that he doubled down on, not only on CRT but the Don't Say Gay bill in Florida.
Is that a winning strategy nationwide given that that is the direction that many in his party have taken?
FILKINS: I don't know. Like you can see from his speech, it's really effective. It's really effective. He kind of -- he sets it up and then he
like knocks it down. And one of his advisers said that to me. He said, Ron needs a foil, and the foil is the press and it's the kind of the left wing
of the Democratic Party, the kind of woke piece of that party.
I don't know. Like I think -- I was there for that speech and I saw it. Again, it was really effective. It's kind of, as far as it went, which is
I'm against this, I'm against CRT, I'm against -- it was basically a long list of things that he opposed. And so I was sort of sitting there like
thinking -- I mean, I grew up in Florida where he's the governor. I thought, well, what are you for, and like he didn't talk about.
So, he was just firing the crowd up and saying like, I'm going to oppose these lefties and I'm going to crush the woke people, and they were loving
it and they were eating it up. But it was like, but what are you going to do? Like once you've done that, like what are you going to do? And he
didn't have anything -- he didn't speak to that.
GOLODRYGA: But you could argue that that speaks to many aspiring presidents or people who weren't in office. It's much easier to knock what
is already out there as opposed to coming up with new legislative ideas, right?
What role did Fox News and has Fox News played in enabling that foil that you just described?
FILKINS: It was pretty amazing. I mean, I just did a -- I did a public writer's request for like a really brief period, like basically right after
Trump left office and Biden came in. The thought being Trump is not around anymore, what's Fox going to do?
So, I just looked at this four-month period in 2017, and it was remarkable. It was -- Fox basically -- and surmising here, but Fox basically reached
out to DeSantis almost every single day, almost every day, and said, will you please be on air, will you please be on Tucker Carlson's show, will you
be on our morning show, will you be on Laura Ingraham, every single day. I mean, and they kind of -- you could see it was a kind of collaborative
enterprise. Fox wanted to kind of push him forward and kind of -- they said in the emails, we see he was national leader. So, they were kind of -- I
mean, whatever else it is, it's not journalism but they kind of put him forward.
And, of course, DeSantis was like -- the people around him, they were just eating it up and they were like, great, we'll be on it Tuesday at 8:00. And
so it was this kind of synergistic relationship that really pushed DeSantis forward and on to the national stage. And that was -- at the time, it was
before the COVID response but -- and that's kind of what continued, which was, as he -- as DeSantis became this kind of outlier in the COVID
response, Fox basically made him a conservative folk hero, and that's kind of what he's become. He's this kind of -- he's a folk hero. He's the guy
that like sticks it to the elites and he's our guy. And that -- instead of just being a Florida phenomenon, that's now like a nationwide phenomenon.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Never mind that he is a Yale and Harvard grad and sort of sticking it to the elite, but he is able to sort of encompass that every
day. I've read that guy quite well and that is the role that Fox News has created form or helped create form.
Let me finally ask you about bigger picture, the country, the party going forward. We are now through five public hearings of the January 6
committee, and they've shown how Trump's lies about election not only caused harm to those at the Capitol and threatened our democracy, but also
to everyday Americans who were just doing their jobs and doing what they were supposed to do.
DeSantis, in a way, played a role in that, fed into that as well. He refused to say that President Biden has been legitimately elected. He
enacted restrictions on voting by mail and at drop boxes, even though there was no evidence suggesting that were irregularities. What does that say
about what kind of president a President DeSantis could be? Would he uphold the Constitution, in your opinion, as president?
FILKINS: That's a really good question, super good question. I think everything you pointed out is true. He's been -- he's refused to say that
Biden is legitimately elected. He refers all the time to the Biden regime, like it's the regime in Tehran. And he's been very, very careful about
that. I mean, I think at one point, he condemned the January 6th insurrection.
But he's -- I think -- I mean, Ron DeSantis, Harvard Law School, Yale grad, he wrote a book about Constitution and the founding fathers, he understands
and I think he respects the constitutional order. And I think he knows American history. He taught American history.
So, I think in him is a kind of imbued respect, a pretty deep respect for the American system. I think the question though is he's so ambitious that
those things are in conflict. And, so far, he hasn't had to like -- he hasn't had to rein in his ambitions. He's just gone 100 miles an hour.
And so the big question is, what's going to happen if that comes to a head, if Ron DeSantis running president, as president, is confronted with the
kind of -- with a close call or not even a close call in the Constitution, what's he going to do? And I want to think that that respect for American
history and the constitutional order that I think he has, I want to hope that that would prevail. But it's unclear.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. That determination, that ambition, you end the piece by saying, Ron has heard way too many times that you're next, mind you he's
only 43 years old.
Dexter Filkins, thank you so much, a really fascinating piece, we appreciate your time.
FILKINS: Thank you. Thank you very much.
GOLODRYGA: Only time will tell.
Well, we turn now to more news from Myanmar where deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved from house arrest to solitary confinement in prison.
She's been held by the military since being ousted in a coup in February of last year.
Of course, Suu Kyi has been condemned for her refusal to protect the Rohingya minority. Hundreds of thousands of them fled to Bangladesh after a
brutal military campaign of killing five years ago.
Dr. Mohsina Chaklader has been visiting the now infamous refugee camp, Cox's Bazar, since those killings. She's the medical chair of Humanity
Auxilium. And she joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the conditions that refugees are facing there.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR ANCHOR: Bianna, thanks. Dr. Mohsina Chaklader, thanks so much for joining us.
What made you want to go to Bangladesh? What made you want to get involved in this?
DR. MOHSINA CHAKLADER, MEDICAL CHAIR, HUMANITY AUXILIUM: So, back in 2017 when the genocide started, the images of helpless children, women crossing
the border and in dire situations, I just couldn't sleep for many nights. It was very difficult to see that as a mother and as a physician. So, I
thought in Canada, we're privileged, and as a physician, it's my duty to help these people and, hence, I just looked into avenues how I can go and
volunteer and treat these patients.
So, one day, I had a discussion with my husband. I kissed him goodbye along with my two-year-old and four-year-old, and I was off to Bangladesh for a
couple of weeks to see it to myself and treat these patients.
SREENIVASAN: I think oftentimes, at least given these media cycles, we sort of go from crisis to crisis. And a lot of people might not recognize
or realize that there is still a crisis along the border there between Myanmar and Bangladesh. And you've been there multiple times. What were the
kinds of medical ailments and problems in 2017 and what did you see on your most recent trip?
CHAKLADER: So, the genocide started August of 2017, and I was there around December. And at that time, people were still coming. By that time, we had
about 600,000 people come into Bangladesh. So, what the type of problems that we're seeing back then was malnutrition in kids, (INAUDIBLE),
tuberculosis and a lot of infection and even Graves' disease, which we don't see here as much because of our medication and treatment.
And there is a lot of trauma for the first time I went to see them, especially mental trauma. Like I had a 30-year-old woman come in to see me.
She was complaining of abdominal pain. And after an exam, I figured out that wasn't the root cause of her visit and I started to question her. She
fled from Myanmar with her family and six kids and she was a farmer back in Myanmar. She was quite happy with her small farm and animals. And one day,
all of a sudden, the Burmese military were there and they were burning her crops and the vegetation.
So, she and her husband just froze in panic and then they to just grab their kids from wherever the kids were and -- but, unfortunately,
everything happened so quickly.
They witnessed their one-year-old and three-year-old sort of burn in their homes while they were trying to gather the other children and flee from
there. So, they were not able to rescue their one-year-old and two-year-old and they just heard their cries. And then she traveled on foot for 14 days
with her family without any food and they just had a bit of drink from the stream water.
And we felt that it was so important not to just treat their physical wounds but also to treat their mental wounds. So, it's not easy to forget
these stories. So, when you come back, you want to advocate for them, you want to keep their stories alive because they made you see through their
stories a glimpse of the horror they had lived.
SREENIVASAN: So, in 2017, when you were seeing perhaps a lot of physical injuries from the trek and the flight from Myanmar, now when -- on your
most recent trip, the camps are still there, they're more established. What are the kinds of things that people are coming to your clinics for?
CHAKLADER: Yes. So, Humanity Auxilium has established two clinics and it has started in January to be a formalized clinic. Before that, we were
working with the local NGOs. So, now, we're seeing these patients have chronic illnesses, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure and
also a lot of infections still because of the conditions of the camps, lots of skin disease, a lot of dental disease. Some of the kids have never ever
seen a dentist in their life. So, we see all that. And on top of that, the mental anguish, the mental diseases are also there, especially PTSD and
For the young women and girls, it's especially difficult because they not only have to deal with their mental trauma but they also have to look after
their many young children, because in Myanmar, they always had the tendency to be pregnant, because if you're pregnant, you're less likely to be raped
and less likely to be attacked. So, they don't have much knowledge of birth control or anything like that. So, a lot of education has to be done as
And most of my work was also gaining the trust of these people, that they can trust us with their health, because they did not trust the health
officials back in Myanmar. So, any health related problems, they would go to their elders in the committee or the midwives. So, it's a lot of
education that we do and also training for the local doctors. Because whenever we go there, we're either teaching complicated pregnancy-related
cases or infection-related cases, so that they can continue our work when we're physically not there.
SREENIVASAN: How did COVID impact these refugee camps where there's tremendous population density already?
CHAKLADER: There are about 34 camps and it's in a very small space of 13 kilometer square only. And in one kilometer square, as of 2020, there are
about 46,000 people all squished in. So, COVID set off a ripple of panic all over the camp as well as in the local doctors as to how they were going
to manage. We did the outreach program in COVID. Because in the camps, people were quite afraid of COVID, they did not want to come forth with
symptoms because the government had made isolation centers. So, if anybody came forth with symptoms, they would be sent to the isolation centers. And
that's a total nightmare for the Rohingyas, where they will be separated from their family like they would in Myanmar.
So, what we did was we established four outreach programs where there would be a physician, a Rohingya volunteer to speak the language, our volunteer
midwife and nurse who will actually go into the shelters of two camps, '17 and '20. And they will ask and assess them for symptoms, according to the
WHO survey. And because there was no testing back in 2020 when the COVID broke out, if the answer to positive tests that was considered a positive
case, and we did education and we also treated symptomatically with antibiotics and antipyretics, and then we want back for a follow-up.
So, our tiny organization did assess more than 80,000 people and we did more than 6,000 education sessions because we were able to break myths
about COVID and also debunk some of the gossip that was going on that if you drink this water, you can get rid of COVID, things like that.
So, I think people underestimate small organizations, but if your passion, dedication is there, it's possible to move mountains.
SREENIVASAN: Give me an idea of what happens in basically a society where these refugees camps are where there are hundreds of thousands of people,
most of them are unemployed, many men in those villages can't find jobs and they're not welcome in a surrounding community. So, what are the ripple
effects to the women and children in these camps?
CHAKLADER: So, the women and children, they suffer the most. They were abused back in Myanmar. And here, they have -- sometimes abused from their
husbands because the husbands are frustrated. They at least were farmers or had small jobs back in Myanmar. Now, they have absolutely nothing to do.
Sometimes the local community might employ them to build up a structure or build to fix some toilets in the camps but these are not permanent jobs
that they have. And a lot of the women are widows now, so they have lost their husbands. And these men tend to marry now two, three times, and so
the first wife with their kids are sort of semi-abandoned. So, there is a lot of mental anguish going there.
This time around, I was there and we have established a mental health facility for the psychosocial support of these young women and girls. And I
interviewed a 13-year-old who was married off to her cousin who was already married with kids without her will because the father wanted to make sure
before -- he had many children so he wanted to sort of give up the responsibility of this young girl, because if she's married off, it's one
less mouth to feed for him. And she gets beaten on a daily basis by her in- laws, by her husband and her husband's first wife. So, she's basically used as a slave, sexually abused as well as physically.
So, she tried to run off from her in-laws place twice to her father's place, which is in a different camp. There are 34 camps in total and the
camps are quite far apart. So, she ran off twice but she was always sent back her husband by her dad because he will not have her back in, then
there will be another mouth to feed because they themselves are in dire condition.
So, what do you say to this 13-year-old? I can't even say, you should just continue your education and go back to your husband, because after third to
fifth grade, there is no education for women. Usually, the parents don't want to send their girls to school to anymore because they are sort of
priming them for marriage. And they think if they get into trouble, they might get a bad name and they will not get married in a good family.
But at least with our organization, we have established a safe place for women, where women are being taught how to knit and make bedspreads as well
as shoals and they get a percentage of their income. So, at least they have some skills that they will be acquiring and they will have a little bit of
income as well to stand on their feet.
SREENIVASAN: How do you gain the trust of women and girls in situations like this? I mean, even though speak the language, you're from the outside.
You're going to be able to get on plane and leave.
CHAKLADER: Yes, so that's very important. So, in any community, it's important to get the local physicians and the local NGOs to be your ally.
And we have been quite fortunate that we have two local NGOs who have been working side by side. And even if we are in Canada and other part of the
world, by WhatsApp, by telephone communication, by email, we're always in touch with them.
So, we have hired Rohingya volunteers and we give them a salary as well to help us translate. So, when you see that a person of your community is
working with them and they're telling you that they're doing good work. That also automatically helps to gain their trust.
And in the camps, there are some Rohingya individuals, usually men, who are in charge of like 10, 15 shelters. They're called magis. So, we have been
working with them as well to help us convey the message that we're there to help them and this is what we're doing, and that has helped a lot gain some
of the trust that they have lost from decades of abuse.
SREENIVASAN: So, what do you see happening to all these children that you might see on your repeat visits, I mean, from 2017 until now? Are we
talking about a lost generation here that aren't going to school, that don't have any kind of stability or security in their lives?
CHAKLADER: Yes. So, I did visit a couple of community schools and their education is very, very rudimentary. They're taught Burmese, English and a
little bit of math, but not Bengali because the Bangladesh government doesn't really want them to integrate. Because once they learn the
language, they might get a job and they might integrate, so they don't want that.
The kids are still hopeful. They hear stories from their parents, how their land was and where they lived, and they're kind of hopeful. And some of
them think that this is how life is. I met a very bright 18-year-old the second time I went. And he tells me that when he was in Myanmar, he would
have to go on a boat for an hour to get to his school and that also, if it flooded, was very difficult for him to do that. He would come back. And
when he would study, the military will come around. So, if it is after 5:00 P.M. and it's dark, you cannot have any of the lights on. So, his parents
will really shut the shutter of their homes and he will light a small candle and study under that candle light because he is a very bright
student and he wanted to be a teacher.
So now in Bangladesh, he's losing hope, like how do I get further education, at least he was getting some education in Myanmar. So, we're
trying to support from Humanity Auxilium. We bought him a laptop to see if he can take some online courses from outside. But that's also very
difficult because the internet situation in the camps is quite difficult.
So, to answer your question, it's a dire situation. We don't know what will happen to these kids. They will have likely very minimal education and
maybe some minimal skills that they might acquire, but it's hard to know what will happen.
SREENIVASAN: Sometimes I wonder if you think that the world has sort of forgotten this. I mean, it's been five years since the genocide, images
came on T.V., it's really been longer, at least ten years since the tensions between these communities were flaring up. But we have so many
different crises today that we're watching on the news, that this is just one that kind of flies under the radar.
CHAKLADER: And I think the Ukraine war and then other crises all over the world, such the Yemen or the Syrian crisis as well. So, it is -- it seems
definitely like people have forgotten about it. But I think it's important to keep their cause alive and to advocate for them, because, like I said,
for generations and generations, they have been oppressed. They don't have a very good advocacy group for them, although some people are doing quite a
bit these days.
So, it's important to keep their cause alive because these are hundreds and thousands of people stuck in limbo without any fault of their own, and they
-- because of their religious belief or the way they look and being a minority, they have been tortured and they've lost everything they owned.
So, it's very important to keep their cause alive and to keep reminding the world that if one community suffers, then we all suffer.
SREENIVASAN: Mohsina Chaklader of Humanity Auxilium, thanks so much for joining us.
CHAKLADER: Thank you so much for having me.
GOLODRYGA: Next, to an artist who is certainly having a moment. Michelle Zauner is navigating newfound stardom performing in the season finale of
Saturday Night Live and as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people.
The indy rock star is also a New York Times best-selling author for her memoir, Crying in H Mart. I sat down with Michelle to talk about her
creative success and literature and in music.
GOLODRYGA: Michelle, thank you so much for joining us. It's such a pleasure to have you here. Wow, we've just been talking about what an
incredible year or two, 2021 has been for you, and now this, your best- selling memoir headlining musical festivals, musical act for SNL and their season finale. What has it been like for you?
MICHELLE ZAUNER, AUTHOR, CRYING IN H MART: It's been completely surreal and certainly very validating. There were so many years put into this
record and growing the band and also this book was about a five-year process. And so it feels incredibly validating after all that time that
I've reached this level.
It's very surreal.
GOLODRYGA: So, we'll get more into the book in just a moment. Let's talk about your musical career, because that took years to lift off really. And
you started this passion in your adolescent years in Oregon. You moved to New York. And like so many of these stories, you struggled. What kept you
persisting in this field? And were there moments where you thought, you know, maybe I should really do something different?
ZAUNER: So many times. I started playing the guitar and writing songs when I was 16 years old. So, for almost -- how long is that -- 17 years. And I
came from this DIY background where I would play house shows in basements across North America and drive a 15-passenger van with my band mates and
sleep on floors at colleges and random people's houses and carrying an 80- pound amp down some rickety stairs every night.
So, I think that I came up in a time where that was paying your dues as an indy musician. And I really admired people that kind of came from that
background. And within that community, we were always sort of supporting each other, that that's what you were supposed to do and that someday it
would happen for you. But there were certainly a number of occasions where the floor was particularly gross or the show was particularly dismal and
not many people came. You'd get paid in like a can soup and a few bills, that I wanted to give up. And I certainly did give up when my mom got sick
and when I was 25. And it felt like at that age, it was time to move on. But then I made a record about that experience called Pyshopomp, and, of
course, was the one that sort of took off.
GOLODRYGA: Okay. So, there was -- we're going to play an excerpt from the song. I just want to get your response to what these words meant for you.
How does it feel to stay stand the height of your powers?
ZAUNER: I mean, it is a constant rush. I mean, I think that this new record, Jubilee, was written after two albums and an entire book about
grief and loss. And I felt like after I had completed the book, I had sort of said everything I needed to say about that experience and it was time to
begin a new chapter creatively. And so I wanted to kind of rush to the other end of the spectrum of human experience and write this album about
joy. And I think part of it was this beautiful experience I was having where people were listening to my music for the first time, where I was
able to pursue a career in the arts and finally being able to pay rent. And that was a real joy.
And so I wanted to write an album about giving myself permission to feel joy, finally allowing joy into my life, the joys of getting to do what I do
for a living, which is just a complete lottery ticket. But, of course, in any creative field, there is this sort of agony of just toiling away and
this constant fear of rejection and misunderstanding. But then there's this other side that's just so perfect and so joyous and wonderful and to be
able to look out and a sea of people singing words you wrote back to you as such a perfect feeling that I feel so lucky to get to do every day. And so
that song is sort of about the two poles of creativity, the rush of completing something that resonates with people and also just the agony for
creation and self-doubt and imposter syndrome.
GOLODRYGA: Does that feeling ever get old, the rush of performing for an audience that's singing your lyrics back to you?
ZAUNER: It never gets old.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. You lost your aunt, you lost your mom, you lost your grandmother and you write about that in the book. What role, if any, and
maybe intentional or not, did these women play in your -- both careers, both literary now and in music?
ZAUNER: I think -- I mean, certainly, my mother and losing her has been formed, my music and my book completely.
I mean, before that, I was pursuing both writing and music but she has certainly been the inspiration for all of my work pretty much over the past
But I think in a way, she made me really work at it. Like she was not really supportive of my creative life not because she didn't believe in me,
but I think as a mother, it feel it is her duty often. She felt like it was her responsibility to sort of protect me from the financial security of
that type of profession and also the emotional instability and the rejection that comes with that type of life. And so I think that she really
instilled a very strong work ethic in me that I would always have to kind of fight for this, that this was never going to come easily.
GOLODRYGA: Did you find that to be judgmental? I mean, I know you talk about in the book about she would just give you certain looks every time
she saw a new tattoo and the look that only a mother could give, right, and that the response and the feeling that only a daughter could feel from
their mother. What were those interactions like?
ZAUNER: My mother was an incredibly judgmental and critical woman that, especially as an only child, as an only daughter, could feel incredibly
smothering. And now, in retrospect, of course, I really miss that smothering devotion. But at the time, it was completely exhausting. I had
such an independent streak and I was a creative and it felt like this woman was standing in the way of my passion and my dreams. But I think it was her
way of loving and protecting me. But it was everything I think most parents probably aren't thrilled to see new tattoos on their children.
GOLODRYGA: Who did you write this book for? Was it therapeutic for yourself and in the way that some of your music had been?
ZAUNER: I think that in all of creative work, it's really just for myself. I think that oftentimes the personal is the most universal and it was
really a way of just making sense of what had happened. It was such a whirlwind six months when we found out that she had stage four cancer. I
moved to Eugene, and we went through two horrible rounds of chemotherapy and then she died. I was married during that time. I left behind music
during that time. It was just such a whirlwind. My whole life changed in six months. And so I think so much of this book was sort of just trying to
make sense of that and trying to express to people what I couldn't in conversation.
GOLODRYGA: And so much of this book and so much of your relationship was surrounded with food and Korean food and your love for Korean food. And you
talk about the trauma you experienced after her loss and concerned about the connection. Would you still have that connection with your Korean
heritage, with Korean food? What have you learned out of that?
ZAUNER: I have learned that so many -- not just like mixed race people but adoptees and people who are immigrants have this shared sort of experience.
I think it's such a natural bridge to your culture. And for me, growing mixed race and suddenly losing what kind of tethered need to that part of
myself just felt at risk suddenly in this way that I had never experienced before. And it was healing.
I felt for a long time I could not remember my mom before she got sick because it was sort of the first concentrated period of time in the last
seven years and I got to spend with her after moving away from home for college at 18. And so that made me incredibly sad, that all I could
remember was this really traumatic period of time and I knew my mother would not want me to remember her that way. And it wasn't until I started
going to a Korean grocery store and started cooking Korean food. And I had all of these really lovely memories from my childhood start to sort of
breakthrough and I could remember my mom again and the things that we shared before illness entered her life.
GOLODRYGA: You're going to a read an excerpt from the book, and I love how described your mom. It's not the sort of what you'd see in American
households, the sort of compassionate, overly sweet, saccharine-filled mother, but your mother really expressed her love and appreciation for
people through food, by knowing which foods they like, which food they didn't, and was really proud of you for even trying novel foods.
Can you read a little bit of that?
ZAUNER: Sure. Food was how my mother expressed her love. No matter how critical or cruel she could seem, constantly pushing me to meet her
intractable expectations, I could always feel her affection radiating from the lunches she packed and the meals she prepared for me just the way I
like them. I can hardly speak Korean, but in H Mart, it feels like I'm fluent.
GOLODRYGA: Your mom is obviously not here with us but I'm sure you've thought over and over again in your head who she would have reacted to this
book. I know your dad had voiced some questions about some of the facts in the book. How would your mom, in your opinion, have responded to this and
ZAUNER: I always like to think that if another half-Korean girl wrote this book about her mother, my mother would read it and say in a sort of chiding
way, I hope that you love me this much to write something like this. But I'm sure that if she read this book, she would find her own issues with
this storytelling. But I think that she would be incredibly proud of me. I think of her all the time when I get wear a pretty dress or do a photo-
shoot or carry a nice bag or wear sunscreen or all of these things like that I know that she would be so proud of. And I have to think of in some
way that she knows even though it goes against every logical belief that I have.
GOLODRYGA: We hear President Biden reflect on his loss in his life and he says whenever there's a crisis, remember, there's a tragedy, a shooting,
what have you and he tells those grieving that there will come a day where the thought of the loss of their loved one will not bring a tear to their
eye but a smile to their face. And I'm just wondering, when was that moment for you when the thought of your mother would bring a smile to your face
instead of tears to your eyes?
ZAUNER: Gosh. I mean, I don't know if I can pinpoint a specific moment. But I also think that I really enjoyed crying for my mother. I talk about
so much in interviews that sometimes when something just knocks me off my feet, it brings a tear to my eye remembering her. I'm so comforted that
that's there because I feel like -- I don't know who said this, but sentiment about love or grief being love enduring, I truly believe that.
And so it brings me great comfort when memories of my mother make me smile but it also brings me great comfort that I still cry for her because it's
such an intense, raw feeling to remember her and have a small memory kind of knock you off your feet that I think that that was another chapter in my
life when I was able to also just appreciate the tears. I think that that's another sort of level of grief that is still pretty new for me that I
GOLODRYGA: Michelle, thank you.
ZAUNER: Thank you so much.
GOLODRYGA: An incredible story of learning to live with grief.
And, finally, Serena Williams returns to the court. Before Wimbledon's first serve on Monday, Williams warmed up for competition at Eastbourne and
doubles with Ons Jabeur. The pair advanced the semifinals but withdrew yesterday because of her partner's knee injury. During their sit-down
earlier this year, Christiane asked the 23-time Grand Slam champion about that elusive 24th title and the all-time record, which she'll be chasing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Does it bum you out? I mean, does it tick you off that people keep asking you this question? Is it too much pressure?
Is it unreasonable? Do you think that you've had enough of people asking this question about the record?
SERENA WILLIAMS, AMERICAN TENNIS PLAYER: As our friend says, pressure is a privilege.
AMANPOUR: There you go, Billie Jean King.
WILLIAMS: What's the alternative? Is having someone to ask about no record? And I think that's a privilege. I would rather you ask me that? To
be clear, any day, anyone is allowed to ask me that any day as opposed the alternative of having like 3 years, 6 or 10, 15
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: It's a great attitude.
Well, Wimbledon is the first tournament Williams is playing and professionally since injuring her leg at the All England Club last year.
Well, that is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from