Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With Deputy Head Of The Office Of The President Of Ukraine Igor Zhovkva; Interview With "A Heart That Works" Author Rob Delaney; Interview With "Our America: A Photographic History" Author, Editor And Filmmaker Ken Burns. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 29, 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 CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour". Here is what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: President Putin is failing in his brutal war of aggression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Are Western allies supporting all the support Ukraine needs as it leads the fight against Russian aggression? I speak with President
Zelenskyy's Chief Foreign Policy Adviser, Igor Zhovka. And --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY HILSUM, CHANNEL 4 CORRESPONDENT: We've just heard sniper fire overhead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What it looks like inside the trenches. A special report from the front lines. Then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB DELANEY, AUTHOR, "A HEART THAT WORKS": If your heart is hurting, then it's, kind of, doing what it's supposed to do. And -- that's OK, you know.
But pain and sadness are an ingredient of a full human life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: In his new book, "A Heart That Works", comedian, actor Rob Delaney shares the greatest pain any parent could ever know.
Also, with "Our America: A Photographic History", filmmaker Ken Burns celebrates the images that helped shape his country and his work.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Where today, Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska came to make her case to the British prime minister and parliament. Appealing to them not to forget
the tragedy facing her country this Christmas and comparing Ukraine's struggles to Britain's suffering during World War II.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLENA ZELENSKA, UKRAINIAN FIRST LADY (through translator): We are fighting for justice, but justice, like victory, it's not possible without allies.
The president of Ukraine has suggested our formed -- and announced our formula of peace. Next day, Russia responded with hundreds of missiles. But
just like in 1942, the replies of Nazis did not matter. We have to understand that, together, we can do it with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Meantime, across the channel in Europe, NATO foreign ministers are wrestling with how to supply Ukraine the weapons and equipment it needs
to survive a harsh winter at war. Led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, pledging solidarity and $53 million to bolster the
The minister is also added this. We condemn Russia's cruelty against Ukraine civilian populations, such as forcible deportations, torture and
barbaric treatment of women, children and persons in vulnerable situations. NATO may say that Putin is failing on the battlefield, but he is exacting a
fierce revenge against civilian targets and on Bakhmut right now, a town in the Eastern Donbas. Ukraine's foreign minister says that his country needs,
"Weapons faster, faster and faster".
So, joining me now from Kyiv is President Zelenskyy's Chief Diplomatic Advisor, Igor Zhovkva, welcome back to the program. Can I ask you what I
proposed at the beginning of this introduction. Is Ukraine getting the number of weapons that it needs for this winter at war?
IGOR ZHOVKA, DEPUTY HEAD OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: We are certainly getting the number we need, but not enough quantity, I would say.
Because it's definitely, obviously, more than at the beginning of this open war, but definitely less that we need in order to start the
counteroffensive in each and every region of Ukrainian territory which is currently occupied by Russia.
Look what we did in the Kherson region, that is because we got enough amoralized (ph) because you start with the ammunition -- with the artillery
fire when you start in the counteroffensive, then you go by manpower using the combat vehicles and tanks. Provided that we have enough weapon, we
would have started each and every region counteroffensive. And we would near the victory even closer for us.
AMANPOUR: So, for people watching from the outside, we see that, yes, Kherson was liberated as you say. But the Russians, as you are all
reporting, are shelling, as we hear from the Kherson officials, almost every settlement in the -- on the bank, you know, the western bank. So,
they're still doing that. And as I said, they're also assaulting Bakhmut, this town in Donbas.
And you all are also putting a huge amount of men and material there. Why? What is the strategic significance of that town?
ZHOVKVA: Let me reiterate first on Kherson, we -- they are reaching the city of Kherson because our amoralized (ph) is not that -- haven't that far
range, that long range to hit them in the controlled areas -- in the areas controlled by them. As far as Bakhmut is concerned, for us, it's very
simple. This is Ukrainian territory. We are taking control of it. We will not let any Russian soldiers go.
While for them, it's probably their dream of taking over the Bakhmut and then they are dreaming, this is their cost and dreams since 24th of
February to conquer all the Donbas region. Which they're failing to do. I mean, they set themselves deadlines. It was 1st of May, 1st of June, now
we're almost at 1st of December, not -- they -- even close they are to get all the territory of Donbas or all the territory of Luhansk. So, we'll
take, we will withdraw, we will stand with the city and we'll come back to all our territories.
AMANPOUR: So, I don't know whether you agree with what the NATO secretary general says that Putin is failing on the battlefield, therefore he is
attacking civilian targets. I'm just going to play this soundbite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: He is responding with more brutality, attacking gas infrastructure, power lines, and trying to deprive
the Ukrainians of water, electricity, light and heating. Therefore, we need to support Ukraine because what we see is that President Putin is trying to
use winter as a weapon of war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what will that look like, you know, winter at war with this constant attack on that heat and the water into the light?
ZHOVKVA: That's the reality of what happened. I completely agree with secretary general. That probably reminds me of the tactic of a coward, you
know. You cannot stand against a well-equipped, well-trained professional army soldiers of Ukraine. Your so-called second army of the world proves to
be not even the 25th army of the world or whatever.
So, when you fail on the battlefield, you start to fight against civilians. You start to fight against critical infrastructure. You fight -- you start
to fight against kindergartens, children's playgrounds, museums, schools and universities. So, this is true. But his aim is to freeze us because we
had a winter. The temperatures in Ukraine fall under zero Celsius degrees. And month by month and now week by week, we are experiencing severe massive
simultaneous missile attacks over all the major cities of Ukraine. There's no longer safer place in Ukraine currently.
This week, we are expecting again the new missile attacks against critical infrastructure. Yes, to deprive us of heat, energy and everything. But we
are managing to repair. We experienced a blackout for several hours last week. Now, almost all the infrastructure is restored. We are ready to new
attacks, we will definitely survive.
AMANPOUR: So, you say that. And we also hear that extra cars are being added to, like, the trains going to Kherson and other areas as you try to
evacuate certain cities. Do you think Putin is getting what he wants if these towns are being evacuated for the winter?
ZHOVKVA: No, no. This is his dream, you know, to fully evacuate all the towns and cities in Ukraine. Maybe to fully evacuate, if not, you know,
evaporate all Ukrainians somewhere, I don't know. It definitely depends on each and every person whether to evacuate or not. But probably for the
armed forces of Russia will be much easier to destroy the empty cities rather than the cities inhabitants with the Ukrainians, I don't know.
We will struggle. We will survive. Whether people are evacuated or not, our armed forces will control the territory of Ukraine and we will regain the
territory, which is not under control yet.
AMANPOUR: Just going back to the military piece of this. "The New York Times" has reported that both sides, Ukraine and Russia, are burning
through weaponry and ammunition at a pace, as they say, not seen since World War II. And that there is concern in NATO countries that Soviet era
weaponry and ammunition, that you're being supplied a lot with, is kind of running out. And they're scrambling to find enough ammunition to keep you
able to defend your country.
Is that something you've heard? And is that worrying to you, particularly with the foreign minister saying, we need more, faster, faster, faster?
ZHOVKVA: Well, I could that -- faster, faster, faster, yes.
And I would say that, yes, for obvious reason, obvious way that the soviet type weapons longer produced or almost no longer produced, it probably
produced in some minor quantities in Russia and Belarus. The way out is very simple. You and NATO countries have modern state-of-the-art, new
equipment, new weaponry, new ammunitions.
So, let's give it more to Ukraine. Let's give it more in good qualities, sophisticated Ukrainian armed forces know how to operate this weapon. There
is no doubt now that we are mastering this new weaponry in a very speedy manner. So, let's help Ukraine create more, more, and more, faster, faster,
and faster. Together we will definitely win.
AMANPOUR: And we understand that there is talk about more sophisticated air defense systems coming to you. But I want to finish by asking you about the
grain deal, about Ukraine's ability to export and about, you know, the food poverty. We saw a senior American official in Odessa recently. What is the
ZHOVKVA: Well, last Saturday, you might notice in the news that my president held the first summit of international food security grain from
Ukraine initially. Very simple, we still have Ukrainian grain to be exported. We still have Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea open. And we still
have the poorest countries in Africa continent or somewhere in Asian continent, they need grain.
Because what's Russia doing in the 21st century, it was the same time or the same what he was doing in the 20th century was call on the war (ph) in
Ukraine, great famine in Ukraine which was celebrated and commemorated all on Saturday. So, that's why we want to deprive the world from the great
famine. And now the territory act with Russia is doing as of now.
So, we ask the countries to donate and more than 25 countries were present at the summit, offline or online, have collected already almost $200
million U.S. in order to sell these ships with Ukrainian grain to the poorest countries of the world. And by this, save the world from great
AMANPOUR: Igor Zhovkva, thank you so much for joining us from Kyiv with that update.
Meantime, it is rare to get a look at the trench warfare that is underway. Correspondent Lindsey Hilsum traveled to Ukrainian forward positions around
the strategic town of Krasno-Orlivka (ph), that's near Donetsk. She spent a tense day with the troops there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY HILSUM, CHANNEL 4 CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Not the Somme, but Donetsk. Not 1916, but now in the 21st century. Ukrainian soldiers trudging
through that splashing mire of the trenches. This is how it will be all winter, through rain and sleet and snow. Inches of territory lost and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enemy for 500 meters or our --
HILSUM (on camera): So, the enemy is just 500 meters away?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.
HILSUM: That's not very far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HILSUM: A bit too close for comfort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
VADYM, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: Every soldier have his fighting place.
HILSUM (voiceover): Vadym shows me a firing position.
VADYM: Everyone and fight.
HILSUM (on camera): And fight, yes.
VADYM: If we hear artillery fight for us, we --
HILSUM (voiceover): The soldiers rotate every two and a half hours. And at times, get barely any sleep.
VADYM: We have superpower.
HILSUM (on camera): You have -- what is your superpower?
VADYM: I am Ukrainian.
HILSUM (voiceover): The commander leads us further into the warren.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).
HILSUM (voiceover): And tells us we have to run across the stretch of open ground, left so tanks can pass between trenches. The trees have shed their
leaves, so there's no cover. We can hear outgoing machine gun fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During the day --
HILSUM (voiceover): And the deepest part of the trench, it is always night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).
HILSUM (on camera): How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
HILSUM (voiceover): And even the shortest soldier has to bend down to avoid cracking his head. Yuri shows me the location of an observation point and
where the machine gunner stands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).
HILSUM (voiceover): The Ukrainians don't just want to push the Russians back, but also to get them to waste man power and ammunition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have a machine gun with a large caliber, 12.7 millimeters. We take it out and -- they shut up even more
quickly after we fire with that one.
HILSUM (voiceover): By now, the outgoing fire was getting intense. And there was incoming too as we were trying to leave.
HILSUM (on camera): We've just heard sniper fire overhead. That was after all the outgoing from the Ukrainian machine guns. So, we're just going to
stay down here for a bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voiceover): Eyes on. He is just opened fire with the machine gun from the left. Use the Dushka. When I was walking, he was
watching us. He is watching us now.
HILSUM (voiceover): So, we wait. Listening.
HILSUM (on camera): The outgoing machine gun fire from the Ukrainians is aimed at suppressing the Russians, so they don't fire back. But the problem
is that, as long as there is firing from this position, there could be firing coming into us. That is why we are waiting here in this trench and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two --
HILSUM (voiceover): After a few minutes of quiet, it's time for us to run across the open ground to the other trench. All safe. And now, down into
the safety of the soldiers sleeping quarters, which are warm and cozy. A necessity, not a luxury, because they need to keep kit dry. And Vadym has a
VADYM: We have friend.
HILSUM (voiceover): Olenka, the kitten is just two months old.
VADYM: She is a good warrior.
HILSUM (on camera): She's a good fighter?
HILSUM: Oh, she gets the mice?
VADYM: Yes, yes.
HILSUM: Do you have a problem with mice in the trench?
VADYM: Our places in the field.
VADYM: It's filled with many mouse.
HILSUM: And do you have a wife?
HILSUM (voiceover): Vadym thinks of the Netherlands where he worked before the war. And of his girlfriend, who is in the Czech Republic.
VADYM: If we win, I stand in Ukraine, make a family.
HILSUM (on camera): Yes. You will make your life here.
VADYM: My children live in the freedom country.
HILSUM (voiceover): Life in Ukraine will be tough this winter, and nowhere tougher than the trenches of Donetsk. The risk is only too clear. But
Ukrainian soldiers know why they are fighting, and what they must endure to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Correspondent Lindsey Hilsum there.
Next, a frank conversation on a topic Ukrainians know all too well, grief. Comedian Rob Delaney is best known for his, let's just, say ribald humor.
But four years ago, while in London to make his acclaimed television series "Catastrophe", Delaney suffered a catastrophe of his own. He lost his
infant son, Henry. to brain cancer. Delaney shares that experience in a new book, "A Heart That Works", published in the United States today. And I
recently sat down with him to talk about how he and his family get through every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Rob Delaney, welcome to the program.
ROB DELANEY, AUTHOR, "A HEART THAT WORKS": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: I wanted to I ask you about the title of your book, "A Heart That Works". What does that mean in this context?
DELANEY: Well, I should first say, it's half a quote from a lyric by Juliana Hatfield, a singer/songwriter from Boston that I grew up listening
to. Am the full quote is, "a heart that hurts is a heart that works.
DELANEY: And that's just, sort of, become my life philosophy as things have bounced along and I've experienced more pain, just through being alive. So,
if your heart is hurting, then it's kind of doing what it's supposed to do. And that's OK, you know. But pain and sadness are an ingredient of a full
human life, so.
AMANPOUR: You were the father of three boys.
AMANPOUR: Henry, your youngest at the time, died. You have since another son.
AMANPOUR: And we'll talk about that. But, you know, as we talk, I've just come from a funeral.
AMANPOUR: It was a funeral for an elderly gentleman whose life was well lived and absolutely fantastic. But you had to say goodbye to a child, who
is barely three years old.
DELANEY: Yes, not quite three.
AMANPOUR: And it just must be so awful for a parent to lose a child.
DELANEY: Yes. I'm tempted to just --
AMANPOUR: It's not the right way of life.
DELANEY: Yes, I know. It's funny, because, you know, there are television cameras, I feel compelled to say, like, yes. However, you know, there is no
however. It's yes, full stop. As we say here in the U.K., it's terrible. It was terrible. It is terrible. You pull through, in some ways, I think most
of the time. And his death did not diminish my love for his brothers, whom he loved dearly, or his mother, who he was crazy about.
So, I have responsibilities to them. And he -- you know, they look like him, and they loved him and held him just as much as I did. More, you know,
his mom. So, there is threads that pull you forward. But the pain is, you know, I was looking at pictures of him this morning, as I do most mornings.
And I'd rather be looking at him.
AMANPOUR: Tell me a little bit about him.
AMANPOUR: The actual person who was Henry.
DELANEY: Yes. I mean, a lovely sweet, generally calm, kind little fellow. Before he got sick, he was very magnetic. I think he sensed that he was
going to have to just draw us towards him, because he was the third boy in rapid succession. And so, he did that. And just pulled towards him. You
know, he didn't, like, cry a lot or -- you know, whatever. Some kids can be quite a tempest but he didn't do that.
And then he got sick, and then he really -- after his surgery, when his drive to get better and still grow and do things with his peers, because he
still had friends come visit him in the hospital, and his older brothers, so he was very driven and curious. You know, he learned sign language very
quickly, because he couldn't speak because of the tracheostomy.
AMANPOUR: Tracheostomy, yes.
DELANEY: And -- so then, he just became -- so he went from lovely to amazing. And then he died, yes, right before he would have turned three.
AMANPOUR: You have written an incredible book. It's just so raw. And it's just so everything is out there. And we're going to talk a little bit about
some of what you have written, but first I'd like you to read a passage. I believe it's on -- we've chosen it.
AMANPOUR: But it's on page nine.
DELANEY: Why do I feel compelled to talk about it, to write about it, to disseminate information to designed to make people feel something like what
I feel? What my wife feels? What my other sons feel? Done properly, it will hurt them. Why do I want to hurt people? And I do. Did my son's death turn
me into a monster? That's certainly possible, it doesn't sanctify you. Things get broken. Maybe because I write and perform for a living that I
can help but try to show or communicate the biggest, most seismic event that has happened to me.
The truth, despite the death of my son, I still love people. And I genuinely believe, whether it's true or not, that if people felt a fraction
of what my family felt and still feels, they would know what this life in this world are really about.
AMANPOUR: And what is this life in this world about? What have you discovered?
DELANEY: Well, I certainly don't know everything. But I do know that the rug can be ripped out from under you in a way where your skull will be
fractured. You will go temporarily blind. You will go mad. You'll try to fix it and you won't be able to.
I mean, to say, pain, like I talked about, you know, when we were talking about the title of the book, is guaranteed. And that's not bad, to say it
simply. The more you understand that that is going to find its way into your life, then you can, sort of, metabolize it. And ultimately be happier,
you know, more frequently. If you accept the fact that, you know these things can and will happen.
AMANPOUR: So, I said that, at the time, you had three children.
AMANPOUR: Henry died.
AMANPOUR: Your two older boys, well, you had really involved them.
AMANPOUR: You don't try to shield them, you and your wife, they really were there hugging him.
AMANPOUR: Playing with him.
AMANPOUR: Reading to him. Doing all the things brothers and siblings do.
AMANPOUR: And I think they were there even after he died.
DELANEY: Oh, yes.
AMANPOUR: They saw him lying there in your bed, right?
DELANEY: Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about that. And, you know, most parents are --
AMANPOUR: We can't talk about it. We got to shield the young people.
AMANPOUR: We don't talk about death. But Henry was right there.
AMANPOUR: You even told the workers to cool it next door.
DELANEY: I did. I called -- and I'm nicer about it in the book. Yes, I called -- they were doing construction on a house next to ours. And we
already didn't like them because they are doing it for years. I mean, get it done. Like, you've got to work on a house, sure, but -- anyway.
So, I called them and I said, tell your guys to stop work on the house. My son died earlier this morning and we want to keep the windows open so that
his body can stay cool. So, tell them to quit or I'll go over there and do it myself. And he was like, OK.
And, yes, we wanted to -- I don't know, spend time with his body, you know. His spirit had left it, but that was a body that we had cared for, you
know, and we had learned we've become really good at, you know, emergency care for a child with an unsafe airway. So, we knew a lot, medically, you
know. We would train people. You know, your average staff nurse doesn't need to know how to do that. They can learn it, and of course a lot of
nurses do know how to do it but they don't have to. You know, most doctors don't know how to do it.
And so -- yes, I mean, the hours we put into all the maintenance of his tubes in various holes that they had put in him and devices and stuff. So,
we didn't want to have him taken away right away. And yes, our boys, his older brothers, got right in there and cuddled with him. I'm really glad we
did that. I'm really glad that.
AMANPOUR: Because you see the effect.
DELANEY: Yes, you -- it's real, you know, because it shocks you out of -- sort of, a stunned state where we realize, yes, he is dead, you know. I
mean, I would have to repeat it to myself after they did take him away. I mean, for six months I'd have to remind myself, you know, my son died. He
got sick. We tried to find out what was wrong, it took a while. We found out what it was, it was terrible, it got worse, then he died, and now he's
dead. I mean, I would have to you -- because you don't believe -- you can't believe it.
AMANPOUR: So, it actually leads me to ask you to respond to something my own colleague, Anderson Cooper has been doing.
AMANPOUR: Discussing his grieve. His father died when he was 10 of a heart attack, apparently.
AMANPOUR: And he was kept away, kids were not allowed into the ICU at this time, right. Then his brother, when Anderson was 21, I believe, and the
brother was 23, died by suicide, and his mother witnessed it. So, I was asking him about this, particularly about how -- anyway, this is what he
told me in a recent interview.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: But my mom, you know, until the day she died, she went out of the blue say to me, you know, maybe if I
had, you know, grabbed an iron from the fireplace and hit, you know, Carter, it would've knocked him out, and maybe that would've stopped him.
You know, I could've stopped him and -- from going to the balcony.
And so, she -- you know, she could never get to a place where she could accept the death, but she got to a place where she could continue to live.
And sometimes you have to live -- get to a place where you can live without a lie, and that's the way it is. I think for me at least, in the wake of my
brother's suicide, getting to a place where I could live in the world where sometimes there isn't a lot.
AMANPOUR: And he's been doing a podcast on grief and all that he's lost, and trying to understand it. Do you ever collide with the idea of why?
DELANEY: No, I don't. And the -- so, that's really beautiful to me, what he said there. And that is why I have found our bereaved parents' group that
we go to so useful, and spending time with other bereaved parents. But the reason that I find it so useful is because those people understand that
there is no explanation. There are no words, right?
That's why, when people are like, you know, what should I say? It doesn't matter what you say. Nothing you can say is going to make it better offer
AMANPOUR: Which brings me to -- I'm sorry to interrupt you, but that story that you tell of Rachel, who has one of Henry's carers.
AMANPOUR: And just describe her reaction.
AMANPOUR: Because so many people, as you say
AMANPOUR: -- just don't know how to wrangle. They try to --
DELANEY: Yes, yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: -- kind of, calm you or calm themselves, or try to --
AMANPOUR: -- you know, stay way from the rawness of it.
AMANPOUR: But Rachel --
DELANEY: Yes. So, Henry, because he had an unsafe airway, normally he was all right as he went through the day. But in an instant, it could become
fatally, you know, blocked with anything. He's very young. He can't fix his own tracheotomy.
So, he could never be unattended, even in sleep. So, he had night carers because we had to sleep for some portion of the day so we could take care
of him during the day and these other kids. So -- and then you know, I should say, in London, because people who are watching this in America,
those -- that was provided by social care.
DELANEY: By our council.
DELANEY: Yes, by the NHS.
AMANPOUR: Oh, by your council, yes.
DELANEY: Not by the NHS --
AMANPOUR: Yes, yes, yes.
DELANEY: -- but working in tandem with the NHS.
AMANPOUR: Which doesn't happen in the United States.
DELANEY: And so -- anyway, Rachel, one of his night carers, who was on duty the night that we found it his tumor had returned and he was going to die.
And I told her, I said, listen, Rachel. I need to let you know that we went to the hospital today and got the results of Henry's last MRI and his tumor
has returned. Let it sink in.
What can I do or what are they going to do?
There isn't anything they can do. He's going to die.
And she just started screaming, oh Jesus Christ, no. Oh, God, no. And -- again and again. And, you know -- like, shuffling around in, like, shock.
And I was just like, oh, my God. Let this be the template for how people talk to me when they hear that my son is going to die. That's the right
response. The -- I was like, yes, correct. That's -- exactly. That's how it feels. That's what's going happen. That's a response.
So, you know, it's funny because -- you know, British people will always be like, oh, well, we're so terrible at, you know, expressing emotion and --
you know. No worse than Americans, you know, same deal. Where people are like, what do I say? What do I do? And oh, I'm -- Oh, your tragedy or like
-- and I'm like, shut up, you know. Start screaming. Let's scream.
AMANPOUR: We talked about the social care that your council provided.
AMANPOUR: And the NHS here is famous for its brilliant medical care, that's basically free for people unlike in the United States, where you'd
bankrupted, you know, with any kind of serious illness.
DELANEY: Right. So, being, you know, a public figure, I do take advantage of the opportunity to talk about the NHS a lot because it's quite
staggering to discover the NHS in your mid-30s, which I was when we moved here. And the wonderful thing about the NHS with Henry's illnesses is the
gift of time that it gave us. Because I wasn't on the phone with some insurance functionary in an office tower in St. Louis. I was by his
bedside, holding his hand, shaking a little candy thing filled with lentils to try and find the Lego guys in it.
In the United States, I would have been saying, please approve this MRI, or, hey, I just went to the pharmacy and they wanted $600 for this thing,
because my prescription plan in the middle of the night was sold to another provider and they screwed up my login information. So, the amount of
clerical administrative work that you have to do when you get sick, not to mention the bills, of course.
DELANEY: Which suicide because of medical debt is a thing that happens in the United States, right? So, that's one nightmare. But in addition to the
financial nightmare, we got the gift of time that the NHS gave us. So, I am a staunch defender of the NHS and will be until I die, maybe in an NHS bed.
AMANPOUR: Something extraordinary, and I said we'll get to your fourth child in a moment. Because you did have a fourth child, Teddy.
AMANPOUR: And he was born just after Henry died.
DELANEY: Six months, yes.
AMANPOUR: Several months after Henry died which means that your wife was pregnant while Henry was dying.
AMANPOUR: And you write about that. And you write about how the grief caused you to cling to each other so much that you also expressed love,
DELANEY: Oh, yes, yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: And some people might think, that's weird --
DELANEY: I know, right.
AMANPOUR: -- having sex in the middle of this grief.
DELANEY: No, I mean. Look -- I mean, in fact, my wife was massively helpful with this book. She read the draft after draft and remembered things
correctly where as I was -- she was like, yes, that didn't happen. That happened then, you know, it was actually this first step. Super helpful.
And she's also a voracious reader. So, she's good with stories. So, very helpful.
But at one point, just in the first draft, I was -- I mentioned that we got a hotel room a few doors down from the hospital when he was having his 14-
hour surgery to remove the tumor. And yes, we had sex. And -- I'm like being grilled before Congress. So, you had sex with your wife? I had sex
with my wife.
And I put that in just because I wanted to be totally honest. First draft, you know, you vomited out. And then I said like, you know, and I can take
that out. She was like, don't take that out. People should know that part of the crazy is that that could happen. You're scared. Your close. You're
married, you know. You watched -- you've already watched three "Big Bang Theory" on the hotel TV. You have sex.
And so -- anyhow, what's funny is a lot of bereaved parents or hospital parents have been like, hey, thanks for putting that in because, you know,
we actually did that too. And so, yes, it's -- even in grief, it's OK to have sex. But I should say, it was six months after he was born. So, it
wasn't after he died that Leah got pregnant.
And so -- but -- at Henry's memorial, I knew she was pregnant but nobody else did except Henry. Henry knew. We told him, you know, before the 12
weeks where you, like, start telling people, we told Henry that he was going to be a big brother and so, he was the first to know.
AMANPOUR: That's a good place to end.
DELANEY: Yes. OK.
AMANPOUR: Rob Delaney, thank you so much.
DELANEY: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So much there.
Our next guest as one of America's most important documentary filmmakers, and it turns out that grief is also an influence in his life. He is Ken
Burns, who has won every major award for his many series on historical events and figures, as well as on social issues.
But his latest work uses the medium of still photography. His new book, "Our America: A Photographic History", collates images which charts the
nation over nearly 200 years. As he now discusses with Walter Isaacson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And Ken Burns, welcome to the show.
KEN BURNS, AUTHOR AND EDITOR, "OUR AMERICA: A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY" AND FILMMAKER: Thank you, Walter. Happy holidays.
ISAACSON: This is an amazing book. I mean, it's just a great series of photographs. And it begins with your father. Tell me about your father's
influence on it.
BURNS: Yes, it's huge. It's dedicated to him. He was a cultural anthropologist but an amateur photographer. And my very first memory, two
and a half, three years old, was sort of snaking myself through the stud walls of a soon to be completed darkroom that he was building in our
basement at a track house in a development in Newark, Delaware where he was the only anthropologist in the entire state.
And then a second later, the next memory is of sitting in his strong left arm as his right arms manipulated the tongs and the smells and the eerie
light, and watched that magic. Still, to me, magic of a blank sheet of paper suddenly becoming an image. And, you know, I was hooked. And still
image is still, as a filmmaker, the building block, the DNA of what we do.
ISAACSON: You talk about the influence of your father. But, of course, your mother was a great influence in your life. And in, some ways, part of your
soul. Tell me about that.
BURNS: Yes, I don't think we'd be talking, Walter. I don't think we'd know each other if she hadn't lived and died. She got cancer very, very early in
my life, two or three years old. It was something that my younger brother Rick and I saw and witnessed. It was devastating. We didn't have a
childhood. She died just a few months short of my 12th birthday, when I was 11. A very heroic struggle. One of the most brave human beings I've ever
And so, a good deal of what I do for a living, as my late father-in-law said to me when I said I couldn't remember the day that she died. It was
always approaching. It was always receding. He said, well, I bet you blew out your candles on your birthday cake as a kid wishing she'd come back. I
said, yes. How did you know? And he goes, look what you do for a living. I said, excuse me? He said, you wake the dead. You make Abraham Lincoln and
Louis Armstrong come alive. Who do you think you're really going, trying to wake up? And of course, it's her.
And so, she is ever-present in my life. In -- there is not a day -- and as you know, the half-life of grief is endless. And yet, what we do with it,
the difficulties and the traumas, as we negotiate -- art is the negotiation of the fact that none of us get out of here alive. And so, I think my own
work has been, in a way, a response to that trauma. And a way to make lemonade out of the lemons I was handed as a little boy.
ISAACSON: One of your other inspirations and mentors was Jerome Liebling, right? And I think it's the cover of the book --
ISAACSON: -- this wonderful picture on the cover. Tell me about him and why you chose this as the cover picture.
BURNS: Yes, so, when I watched my dad cry after my mom died when I was 12, and he'd never cried before. Not when she was sick, not when she died, not
at the very sad funeral. But he cried at an old movie that he let me stay up and watched.
And I thought, I'm going to be a filmmaker. I'm going to be a filmmaker. I'm going to be, you know, Alfred Hitchcock or John Ford or Howard Hawks.
But I ended up going to Hampshire College, a new -- brand-new, experimental college in Amherst, Massachusetts. And fell under the sway of two social
documentaries still photographers, Elaine Mayes and Jerome Liebling, her senior.
And he just gave me everything. He rearranged my molecules. He would say, go see, do, be, engage in all of these things. And, you know, I graduated
in '75, he died in 2011 and there wasn't a moment when he wasn't my mentor still to that day. And even now, he feels very much a part of my life. And
so, there was no other photograph but his own to grace the cover which is - - I was asked by someone in an interview, recently, what's the most important person -- you know, photograph in the book?
And I said, oh, please, maybe it's the 1865 photograph of Abraham Lincoln. The last photograph, where he is holding a glass, as you just see the whole
history of us in him. And I said, but equally important is this little kid on a street corner in New York City in 1949 with his improbable hockey
shirt. His untied, you know, shoes, the shorts, a kind of wary thing, a little fedora on his head. He's holding his coat in front of a big sweeping
arch of a bumper, a wheel hub of an old car from 1940s.
And to me, if the book exists in a space, it's in the very minimal space between Abraham Lincoln and this kid, and the huge space between it. And it
is a testament to the extraordinary vision and I of Jerome Liebling that I am also here.
ISAACSON: Your documentaries deal, fundamentally, at times, with race. Whether it's a civil war or jazz or baseball. And this book does the same,
from the cover photo to the very end. Tell me about why race is such an important part of the narratives.
BURNS: You know, I don't know where to begin. I can count on the fingers of one hand and still have a couple fingers left. The films that I've done,
out of the 40 or so that have been on PBS, that don't deal with race. Because you cannot do a deep and responsible dive into American history
without running up against this fundamental contradiction.
We know exactly where we were born and when. And we know what our catechism is. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
The guy who wrote that owned hundreds of human beings and his lifetime. And so, we have, in our own collective memory, a group of people who have had
the peculiar experience of being unfree in a free land. And that has been the source of so much pain and so much tragedy in the history. And it's
also been the source of so much joy and so much positive investment.
You can just -- you know, Louis Armstrong alone helps to balance the scales of injustice with his extraordinary art. But you've got -- it's all there
in front of us. So, you can't help but do it -- I mean, the main thing about us, Walter, is freedom, you know. Like, and the tension in that,
like, what I want, personal freedom versus collective freedom, what we need. And they're often at loggerheads.
And I think the book, without consciously or didactically or pedagogical saying it, you see that dynamic in it. You see the majesty of our beautiful
continent that we inherited. You see the tragedy of the dispossession of the native peoples. You see all of those tensions. But underlying so many
is what historians -- my goodness, I'm an amateur, would call our original sin. Which is the original sin of tolerating chattel slavery just as we are
proclaiming to the world a new form of government that was going to be based on the principles of the enlightenment and the equality of all human
ISAACSON: You titled the book, "Our America". And the pictures show the great diversity of our America. But the title also implies that there are
things that we share.
ISAACSON: Tell me what that -- you're trying to show that we share.
BURNS: Well, I think, you know, Walter, everybody's talking about, oh, we can't teach our kids the sad stuff. We can't do this. We can't do that. We
can't talk about this. I mean -- and I just realized, these are the hallmarks of a tilt towards a kind of authoritarianism in which you
suddenly take, you know, the nationalist approach which is, you know, all human beings do horrible things, you know. Every culture everywhere, you
know. It's a litany.
What you want to do is say, let's own it all. The hallmark of a great country is to embrace its diversity. And understand that in the case of the
human resource of it, that diversity has been a strength. As Pete Hamill said, that's an alloy, much stronger than its constituent parts.
And at the same time, we can know that the ongoing struggle for freedom has always been complicated and is ongoing. And the fragility of that republic,
that Franklin fought that -- you know, would be -- you, know if you can keep it, it goes along for 250 years, almost. And yet, now, the things we
take for granted through the first crisis, the civil war, the depression, the second world war, you know, of free and fair elections, of the peaceful
transfer of power. Of an independent judiciary now all seem, kind of, up for grabs. And we, kind of, can sense the tenuousness.
You know, we've been through this stuff before. We'll go through it again. We just have to periodically reremind ourselves of that complexity. And
let's celebrate that complexity. As I say in the introduction, it's our America in an attempt to gather the sense of us in the U.S. But it's also
my America, right? It's just my attempt to say, this is what I've learned.
Every 50 state is represented here. Nearly every project we've ever worked on is there but not didactically. There are people playing, you know,
having a tug of war in downtown in Putney, if you can call it downtown, Putney, Vermont. There's a beautiful gal for my little village in New
Hampshire. There's girls dancing on the beach it what must have been risque, but it seems to have completely covering their body, swimsuits in
Jamestown, Rhode Island.
You know, there is a kid with -- you know, a sick shooter toy, you know, gun playing. There are native peoples. There's celebration and dance and
music and art and life. But there's all the other things that we are also too. And you don't stay great if you think you're going to paint a
sanitized Madison Avenue version of yourself. It just -- it ain't going to happen.
So, our history is checkered, but there is no one on Earth whose history is checkered. Just beware. The people who sell you that Madison Avenue, tree
Cooley (ph), white picket fence, morning in America have missed the story of us, which has been my beat. And this is just another form of exploring
ISAACSON: I was struck by the picture of the fuji athletic club.
BURNS: Yes, yes.
ISAACSON: And it was not just an interesting picture, this is a case where I went to the back and read all about it. So, sometimes it helps to know
the back story too.
BURNS: Yes, well, this is -- this is what I think is that, you know, it really requires two passes. One, let the photograph work on you. And then
you can keep your fingers and go back and forth because in the case of that, the late 19th century photograph of a Japanese-American baseball team
in the United States. Well, you know, this is part of the adoption of our national pastime.
What you don't know is that the guy in the lower right-hand corner is a man named Chiura Obata (ph). Chiura Obata (ph) will become a really well-
respected painter. But he will also be, at the beginning of the second world war, interned in an internment camp and will have to struggle as an
artist. So, this film, you know, straddles our baseball series, and it straddles our film on the national parks, and it straddles other things
that have dealt -- World War II that have dealt with Japanese internment.
But it becomes a great champion of the national parks. And then uses the strengths of the redwoods and the sequoias to permit him to figure out how
to negotiate the indignity of him, an American citizen, having to be interned for the duration of the war in one of the most, you know,
scandalous things that we've done in our long, and a time sorted, history.
ISAACSON: I think the only person who appears twice in the book is Abraham Lincoln. First, the amazing picture of him near the end of his life. And
then him as the Lincoln memorial. And both of those pictures talk about what you talk about, the struggle for freedom.
BURNS: That's right.
ISAACSON: The march to freedom, democracy, if we can keep it.
BURNS: If we can keep it. Yes, that's right. And you know, there's another one, just a few pages after that picture, that beautiful picture in early
'65. The last picture, port sitting -- portrait of him. It's so beautiful and so famous, and everything is etched. Everything we've been through and
everything we're going to go through is etched in his face.
ISAACSON: The story of America seems -- and the fight for freedom all seems etched in Lincoln's face in that photograph.
BURNS: It's all there. And he able to --
ISAACSON: It's there.
BURNS: -- he's able to capture us in, as we know, the best language that any president has used. He's also, a few pages, later, they're burying him
in Springfield, Illinois in a soft spring rain.
Because sometimes, when you're at the crux of these American questions, violence of then comes. And violence is a byproduct. But there he,
enshrined in the most beautiful of all memorials of all-time, the Lincoln Memorial. And he's -- you are up behind him and he is listening because
what's happening -- and you don't know this, it just says Washington, D.C., 1963. It doesn't say August 28, 1963. Somebody said, oh, that's Dr. King's
March on Washington.
No, you can find that in the back matter. You're looking at Lincoln watching something take place over his shoulder. You're with him still. He
lives still in the hearts of all of us, as the dedication says, and the nation that he saved. And out there is Dr. King, reupping, you know. If
Jefferson is the 1.0 and the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln's total body of action is the 2.0, then King is saying the 3.0. He's coming to collect the
promissory note but he's also got a positive vision of where we can go.
And it fits and starts, we've gone there. We've taken steps backwards. We, sort of, feel things retrenching now. But, you know, we'll push forward.
And I hope that the book is seen as not dark, but is hopeful in that way.
ISAACSON: Another part of the march and fight for freedom in America and the struggles has been for women. And there's a juxtaposition of pictures
on the book, or two pictures in the book that struck me. One is, I think, the Jamestown Beach. The girls dancing on the beach.
ISAACSON: And then a very iconic photograph of Susan B. Anthony.
ISAACSON: Tell me how those play off each other.
BURNS: I love the severity of Susan B. Anthony. She is the, sort of, walking face of the movement, that she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, sort of,
started back in 1848, with the Seneca Falls Convention. And their language is what will eventually, long after their deaths -- 15 years after the
deaths are so, will be enshrined as the amendment giving women the right to vote. 144 years, Walter, after the Declaration of Independence, more than
half of our population finally gets partially some rights in it.
But also, we have to remember there's the irony of a black slave, enslaved woman, holding a white baby. You would trust your most precious thing, but
you can't extend to those people who take care of your most precious thing anything other than, you know, enslavement. That's where the contradiction
ISAACSON: Early in the book, you have the photograph of the U.S. Capitol. It's 1846, it says. Did you think of ending the book with a picture of the
capital under siege in 2021, or would that have somehow warped what you were trying to say in the book?
BURNS: I think it would have warped in every sense of that word, Walter. I mean, as I said, you know, we -- we're in the history business, and it
means that we sort of treat the near present with a kind of impressionistic arm's length. We wouldn't want to go up to the very present because it then
becomes a priori didactic and binary.
And what you want to do is begin to understand that his, you know, world we live, both the media, culture, good, bad, red state, blue state or the
computer world that dominates everything, whether ware of not of one or a zero, isn't actually what anything that human life is about. It cannot
produce a Leonardo da Vinci. It cannot produce a Benjamin Franklin or a George Washington or, you know, a Ruby Bridges or, you know, Anna Till's
mom, you know.
It just -- it's -- there's something else going on. And I want to know about that something else. And I don't want to be distracted by that. In a
book like this, it's our story. And let's -- I want to keep as many of our brothers and sisters engaged in this story as possible.
ISAACSON: Ken Burns, thank you for joining us.
BURNS: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And what a wonderful romp through 200 years of history.
Finally, tonight, a match like no other this World Cup of controversies. When Iran and the USA played at the 1998 tournament in France, it was and
still is described as the most politically-charged match in World Cup history. But in an example of the power of sport, the Iranians handed the
Americans, back then, white roses before the game and both teams joined in a team photo.
Iran won 2 to 1 then. Now, their first rematch, once again, overshadowed by politics.
Sources tell CNN that Iranian players are being threatened, that their families will face violence and torture if they refuse to sing the national
anthem again or join any protest against the regime.
That is it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.