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Interview with National Security Council Former Senior Director for Europe and Russia Affairs, The Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and Former Deputy Assistant to the U.S. President Fiona Hill; Interview with The New Yorker Staff Writer and "In the Shadow of the Holocaust" Writer Masha Gessen; Interview with "To Kill a Tiger" Director Nisha Pahuja; Interview with "To Kill a Tiger" Executive Producer Dev Patel. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 21, 2023 - 13:00 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's what's coming up.
A tipping point for Ukraine. We get a grim report from the front lines. And Russia expert Fiona Hill tells me why this is so much more than just about
Then, "To Kill a Tiger," actor Dev Patel and director Nisha Pahuja join me to discuss their chilling documentary on sexual violence in India.
Plus, the New Yorker's Masha Gessen talks to Michelle Martin about the politics of memory.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Ukraine is entering its second long, hard winter at war. In the wake of the stalled summer counteroffensive, troops are digging in for a frozen war of
attrition, while Putin appears increasingly emboldened about Russia's prospects on the battlefield and beyond.
President Zelenskyy's recent trip to Washington didn't yield the result he wanted, with the Senate deferring any vote on more aid until the new year.
Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has this report from the front lines, showing just how grim things have gotten. And a warning, it is war, and it
can be disturbing to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was where the billions were meant to spell a breakthrough, but with a counteroffensive
that was supposed to have kicked Russia to the sea this summer, now it is mud, death, deadlock, and the remnants of American help vanishing.
WALSH: It's a notably different mood here -- dark, frankly. In the summer, they were buoyed, feeling like they had the world at their back moving
forwards. Now, it's slow, dangerous, and a real sense of despair, to be honest.
WALSH (voice-over): Forty Russian drones swarmed one Ukrainian trench here in a day. Down here in this tiny basement, the rule is do not get seen. The
other side are not so lucky. Two Russians spotted moving a load. They guide in a mortar strike. There are just so many Russians now.
Usually more meat means more mince, the commander says, but sometimes their machine struggles to handle it and sometimes they have success.
Batteries die fast in the cold and Russian jamming seems to damage them, too.
This is Orikhiv, whose streets wreak of crushed lives and how much horror Moscow is willing to bring to be seen to win.
WALSH: It's been a matter of months since we were here in the summer. How much more damage has been done?
WALSH (voice-over): If you've stop thinking about Ukraine, be sure Putin hasn't. At command, they watch a wasteland of tree lines now bare. The
dead, the injured, it's unclear if Russia treats them differently. Another Ukrainian drone aims for a foxhole.
What they've struggled with are the waves of Russian assaults. Dozens of Russian prisoners, well-trained and equipped and backed up by armor, who
they say are given a mix of drugs.
They show us this graphic video of a wounded Russian, his legs severed, seemingly high enough to smile through his fatal injuries.
Still, they claim they held hard-won ground but at a huge cost.
As we say in the army, he says, the counteroffensive was smooth on paper, but we forgot about the ditches. Colossal changes are taking place. They
started making their own attack drones and outnumber ours. They use them badly, like a kid's toy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Excuse me. What's happening? Heavy injuries. From what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Dexter, Dexter, I'm Bremya. Do you copy?
WALSH (voice-over): They say a drone has hit a trench and blown up a gas heater.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Begin the evacuation. Begin the evacuation. Evacuate with a small vehicle. Did you move already?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We didn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Why not? Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): No transport. No transport.
WALSH (voice-over): The silence and the wait for news, agony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Already dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Copy. Is he dead?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It's over. Evacuate him. No rush. We can't help him already.
WALSH: Does it feel like the casualties are getting worse?
WALSH (voice-over): Every casualty makes a difference, he says. It affects everyone's morale. It's very painful for me.
Sergey (ph), aged 48, was one of four Ukrainians to die in that area that day, and about 50 that week. They haven't had to really talk about losing
in this war but this is what it looks like.
It's not just drones. This Russian video seems to show a new threat, gas, caustic, flammable. The Ukrainians have had nine instants on this front
Here are two survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): At first, I saw smoke. We ran out from the trench and the gas suddenly caught fire. The trench was in flames.
This gas burns and blinds you. You can't breathe. It shoots down your through immediately. We didn't even have a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You inhale it twice then you fail to breathe.
WALSH (voice-over): Medical reports confirm that poisoning. A Ukrainian official told CNN a form of CS gas was being used.
WALSH: And there was injuries inside your mouth? Where?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): On my cheeks, everywhere, inside the mouth. My face is swollen and covered in red marks.
WALSH (voice-over): It is an ugly, savage world, even on a TV screen where there seems little Moscow won't do but too much the West won't.
AMANPOUR: Nick Paton Walsh, incredible reporting there. A grim reality indeed, but President Zelenskyy still is projecting optimism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Talking about financial aid, we are working very hard on this. And I'm certain that
the United States of America will not betray us. And that on which we agreed in the United States will be fulfilled completely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Few know the stakes better than Fiona Hill, Russia expert who served on Former President Trump's National Security Council. And she told
me why Putin thinks that right now he has the winning ticket. We spoke recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Fiona Hill, welcome back to the program.
FIONA HILL, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE AND RUSSIA AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, SENIOR FELLOW, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION AND FORMER
DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE U.S. PRESIDENT: Thanks so much, Christiane. Great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So, Fiona Hill, if you were what you were before an advisor in the national security apparatus to the president, what would you be
advising this president now about Ukraine and about fulfilling the pledges? Because the big picture, obviously, is President Biden and his allies
pledging to defend democracy on the Ukrainian battlefield and "supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes."
HILL: Yes. Look, I mean, we're in the same kind of inflection point, and at the same juncture as we were in World War II. Now, you know, if you kind
of want to do a counterfactual and think back into history, if Pearl Harbor hadn't happened in 1941, and Japan's attack hadn't brought the United
States into the war, what the hell would everybody have done with Great Britain? Would we have left Churchill and the U.K. out to dry? I mean,
that's the kind of question that we're being asked right now.
Biden gets this. The administration gets this. A lot of people in Congress and the Senate, irrespective of political party, get this. Obviously, in
Europe, the same thing is happening, but the focus in the United States, as in many other European countries, is really about domestic politics, about
their own elections, their own constituencies, and we have to find a way of breaking through that logjam.
Because right now, Vladimir Putin thinks that he's got the winning thing ticket here, the winning edge. And he is already, as we speak, sending out
feelers to try to gauge whether the United States and European countries are ready to capitulate, give up Ukraine and actually push forward on
negotiations. He's sending emissaries out. Lots of people are getting approached now.
Putin thinks that this is the propitious time for him to basically declare a ceasefire and basically to partition Ukraine. That's the moment that
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that is really interesting. That's very interesting information. I hadn't realized that he was seriously, because up until now
we have heard that Putin doesn't want to negotiate. He just thinks time is on his side.
But this is fascinating because --
HILL: I mean, he doesn't actually, in many respects, Christiane, want to negotiate.
HILL: What he wants to do is to basically lay out the terms of Ukraine's surrender. So, negotiation is a bit of a misnomer here. When he says, I'm
ready to negotiate, he's ready -- he's basically saying, are you ready to give it up? And we will negotiate those terms, my terms. which is not
giving up Ukrainian territory.
So, we'll have a deterrence problem, you know, across the horizon here. Russia will maintain a major military force. It will replenish its depleted
stocks. And of course, you know, Putin thinks that he has an unlimited supply of manpower when he's pulling people out of jails and, you know, out
of remote areas of Russia. So, this will be on Russia's terms. That's not a negotiation. That's a capitulation.
AMANPOUR: And precisely, I'm glad you corrected me, because I was going to then say he's got some willing -- I don't know what to call them, willing
believers in the U.S. Congress. Senator J. D. Vance said that it is time now --
HILL: He absolutely has. Yes.
AMANPOUR: -- for Ukraine essentially to give up territory.
HILL: Well, yes. And it's not just in the U.S. Congress, you know, it's kind of globally at this point. I mean, now that we have this absolute
disaster in the Middle East, a lot of people are saying, look, we've got to focus, you know, what's happening there, you know, we've already had two
years, or coming up to two years of this conflict in Ukraine, that's not the main issue anymore.
AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you bluntly, do you think if this continues, that Putin could win, Ukraine could lose? And if so, what does that mean for
Europe and for the United States?
HILL: Well, yes, to the first two points, of course. And Putin -- you know, a win for Putin doesn't matter how many, you know, men he's lost. I
mean, there's more than 300,000 Russian casualties, including people who have died or been seriously injured. Putin doesn't care about that. That's
beside the point. He doesn't care about the fact that he's had to distort his whole economy to a war economy.
You know, for now, the Russian economy has adapted and is doing reasonably well over the long-term. This is very detrimental to Putin, but he's not
thinking about the long-term. He thinks over the long-term, he will win. And right now, this is the tipping point where the United States and
Ukraine and Europe, everybody loses. And he turns everything to his advantage. Right now, that's what he's thinking.
And so, what does that do to all of us in the long-term? I think that that actually, you know, shows that the West is incapable of sticking to its
ground. And there will be a deterrent effect after this. And I want to explain that a moment.
Putin will be emboldened. It doesn't mean he's necessarily going to send tanks into the Baltic states tomorrow, it's just that he will now know that
the United States and West, and NATO as well, have no sticking power.
He will turn around and say, we defeated NATO, not because NATO was directly involved in Ukraine, but because NATO member countries have been
involved in supporting Ukraine. He always says, and he's said before, when he threatens, he delivers, and the West promises much to partners and never
delivers. And it will have a chilling effect on every ally of the United States in the West, Japan, South Korea.
I mean, remember, North Korea is also involved in supporting Putin here. So, it will be a win for North Korea and Iran, and it will bleed over into
every other arena that we're concerned about at this moment. This will not solve a problem. It will just create a host of other problems. An American
and Western leadership will be greatly diminished by this.
AMANPOUR: The entire effort of Europe and the United States has been to weaken Putin through sanctions, through all these things for the last many,
many years, particularly since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
But we are hearing, and you alluded to it, that the domestic economy is ramping up, that even there's a construction boom, there are rising real
estate prices. Mikhail Zygar, who is an exiled writer, rights in "The Washington Post," business leaders, officials and ordinary people tell me
that the economy has stabilized, defying the Western sanctions that were once expected to have a devastating effect. Putin's regime, they say, looks
more stable than at any other time in the past two years. The Soviet Union's Cold War isolation has not repeated itself. Putin's Russia can get
many of the supplies it needs from China.
So, how worrying is that?
HILL: Well, it's very worrying because, again, this is a short- to medium- term perspective and Mikhail Zygar is absolutely right. I mean, one of the effects of sanctions and sanctioning Russian business people and oligarchs
has been to make them bring all of their capital, you know, from outside in Europe and back into Russia or to basically put it into the Middle East,
UAE, you know, for example, and as Putin would probably say, like the old quip goes over the longer-term, we're all dead. He doesn't care about that.
He cares about the short- to medium-term, his own election next year in 2024, which seems like a pretty sure thing to be president again until at
least 2036. So, that's what he's playing for.
And so, Mikhail Zygar is right, and many others are to call the alarm here. The only way that Putin changes his mind is when he feels pressure from a
very large number of actors, and that's not what he feels right now. There's no pressure coming from the Middle East. He's just been, in recent
weeks, in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. He doesn't feel any pressure from China.
He's not feeling any pressure from other players in the world system to end this war. In fact, all the pressure is on the United States and on Europe,
not on Russia at all. Putin doesn't get any scrutiny rather from his own press. He is basically scot-free right now, and that should be something
that people should be contemplating.
Every time that we step out there in a such a kind of a critical way about American players, irrespective of our parties on position, we're handing
again another opening to Vladimir Putin to mess about in our domestic politics. We've got Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, messing
out in -- about in our domestic politics as well.
America has now become a playground for other interests in ways that we've not seen for a very long time in our political history. This should be a
real concern for people thinking about how vulnerable and how fragile U.S. politics and the U.S. political system has become to outside interference.
AMANPOUR: But I want to add one more layer on and ask you about what you yourself have written about the other war that has broken out that the U.S.
is heavily involved in, of course, the war of Israel and Hamas.
You have written, these could be global system-shifting wars, something like World War I and World War II, which reflected and produced major
changes in the international order. In a sense, the Hamas attack on Israel was a kind of Pearl Harbor moment. It opened a second front.
HILL: Yes. I mean, this is obviously an attack on Israel, Hamas, on October 7th. I just want to fill the record as just a little point of
interest. October 7th is Vladimir Putin's birthday. This is just coincidental, but it's still, you know, worth noting this, that, you know,
that -- when that date is reflected upon, there'll be all kinds of different dimensions on it as well.
I mean, it's very close to the whole anniversaries of Pearl Harbor in any case. Because in many respects, you know, the United States is in jeopardy
in three different arenas where many of the same players are very active. And the whole perspective is one of a proxy war against the United States,
against the United States as a global and regional hegemon.
And we're really getting unite -- seeing the United States being put in the spotlight by Russia, by China, obviously North Korea, Iran and many other
countries as really being the cause of all of this turmoil. The United States is getting blamed for what's happening in Israel and Gaza, just as
much as it is in Ukraine.
And there's now a push by Russia and other countries, you know, to isolate the United States. The United States, I would suggest right now is on the
back foot here. And Putin is obviously going to take every advantage of this, and so will China. This looks like a world with three major fires.
Two, you know, fully combustible in Ukraine and in the Middle East, and one that's, you know, still simmering and smoldering. Not simmering a fire, but
smoldering and looking, you know, kind of like it also might be ignited in the Indo-Pacific region as well. And we have to keep an eye on all of these
fronts at the same time. The United States' global position is really challenged here.
AMANPOUR: Gosh, I was going to ask you, what is the antidote to this? And does the action by Congress simply put the U.S. in more danger?
HILL: It does put the United States in more danger. I mean, if we want to have any kind of leadership and any role in shaping the system that comes
out, and instead of Pax Americana, we get Pax Sinica, and this is done on, you know, China's terms with Russia, you know, heavily involved, we'll have
a very different world, one in which it'll be much more difficult for the United States and the western alliance to play in.
There is a great desire, you know, all around the world now for more say in world affairs for having the United States taken down, not seeing Russia
weakened, don't necessarily want to see China as the dominant power, but there's no real desire to see the United States on top. That unipolar
moment for the United States is long gone.
And this is, you know, really what we're seeing playing out here the last moments of this. And, you know, the sad fact is it's not being fully
recognized here in the United States or elsewhere. It's, again, one of those really pivotal moments.
And, you know, if we want to step up this is the moment to do so. And if we want to just see how this kind of plays out, again, not necessarily to our
benefit, then, you know, if we just sort of sit back.
AMANPOUR: Fiona Hill, thank you so much for putting that all out for everybody to hear. Thank you.
HILL: Thanks, Christiane. Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, our next guest has just won the prestigious Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought, but in a scaled back ceremony after a very
public spat. Author and staff writer at The New Yorker Masha Gessen faced backlash after comparing Gaza to Jewish ghettos in the Nazi era with an
essay entitled "In the Shadow of the Holocaust."
Masha Gessen now joins Michelle Martin to discuss the difficulties of exercising critical thought at this time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Masha Gessen, thank you so much for joining us once again.
MASHA GESSEN, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER AND WRITER, "IN THE SHADOW OF THE HOLOCAUST": Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: You know, you're a familiar face and voice here, you know, on this program. A lot of people are familiar with your work. But there's one piece
we wanted to talk about. A piece that many people may have seen by now. The title of your piece was "In the Shadow of the Holocaust: How the Politics
of Memory in Europe Obscures What We See in Israel and Gaza Today."
You reflected on the politics of memory, which you said have become the policy of memory. So, I just wanted to start by asking you, what are the
politics of memory? What did you mean by that?
GESSEN: So, the piece was written as I was actually on my way into Ukraine to continue reporting on the war there, and I started out reporting in
Germany on the politics of memory there, then went through Poland, mentioned Poland a little bit and wound up in Kyiv.
And what I'm writing about is the way in which memory of the Holocaust is wielded, to put it very bluntly, to turn Israel into a forever victim that
is unassailable. And at this particular moment, to turn off any criticism of its actions in Gaza. And, you know, more profoundly, I think, not just
to silence criticism, but to really make it very difficult to see what is happening in Gaza.
MARTIN: I take it your, your views of this didn't start with what's happening in Gaza. So how did -- how do you think this started?
GESSEN: The particular case that I started with is the case of Germany, which for obvious reasons is the center -- or at least one of the centers
of this memory politics. And in Germany, over the last few years, yes, it did not start yesterday, the whole machinery of anti antisemitism
bureaucracy has shown up.
One of the precipitating factors is this resolution, and it sounds very obscure, but it's had a huge influence. So, there's a -- or rather not the
resolution, but the definition of antisemitism that was written by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association, which is a nongovernmental
organization and this definition has no legal force per se, but it is interpreted in such a way as to basically frame any criticism of the State
of Israel and importantly to my piece, any comparison of Israeli policies to those of the Nazis as a priori antisemitic.
And this definition of antisemitism is used by this anti antisemitism bureaucracy in Germany to silence any criticism of Israel. And it's had a
profound impact because the German State is so generous. So, it funds all the culture. It funds so much of the media. It funds sort of all of this
production. And basically, anybody who is at all critical of Israel and disproportionately actually Jewish artists and writers and thinkers because
we care about Israel have been silenced by this definition. But it doesn't stop in Germany. I mean, this is actually a huge issue in the United
MARTIN: One of the things you point out is that, you know, there have been efforts by governments to define antisemitism, to make sure that they can,
you know, address it when it exists to, you know, whatever means.
And you point out that this -- you talked about this, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance came up with this definition. This was in
2016. It was adopted by dozens of E.U. states and the United States. One of the issues that it identifies is drawing comparisons of contemporary
Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Why is that so important and why do you take issue with that?
GESSEN: Look, our entire post Second World War idea of how we protect people, how we protect human rights, how we protect people from crimes
against humanity, that entire intellectual and legal framework is based on what came after the Holocaust. This is when the world said, never again.
So, in a sense, every time when we're looking at a country and at its human rights record, and at the way it wages war, we're comparing it to the
Holocaust. We're comparing it to the Nazis. Does this rise to the kind of crime, to the kind of violation that requires the world to intervene and
protect people in the way that it failed to protect Jews during the Second World War?
And so, when -- with the support of the right-wing Israeli government, who's been in -- which has been in power for more years than I can count,
this definition prevents that comparison. It basically positions Israel as being outside the framework of international humanitarian law and outside
the human rights framework. That's why we're building that comparison is such a grievous thing.
MARTIN: You explain in the piece of why, you know, Holocaust remembrance is so important to Germany and, you know, for very good reasons, I mean,
for very good reasons. Here's this line in particular that seems to have evoked a lot of background. You say that you were comparing Gaza to Jewish
ghettos under the Nazis. You say, not like the Jewish ghetto in Venice or an inner-city ghetto in America, but like a Jewish ghetto in an Eastern
European country occupied by Nazi Germany.
And we're off to the races.
GESSEN: Right. So, I obviously violated the letter of the ASHRAE definition. I compared -- I directly compared Israeli policy to the Nazis.
I'm not the first person to do it. I was about to receive the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought, which Hannah Arendt was one of the original
people who really was sounding the alarm back in 1948, comparing the politics of -- and actions of some Israeli political parties to those of
And I think it is essential to make that comparison right now. Because if we're serious about never again, this is the moment, to when people can
still be saved in Gaza.
MARTIN: Did you hesitate at all when you wrote those words? Did you anticipate a backlash, a negative reaction, anger, resentment, fury?
GESSEN: Of course. I mean, as I said to the fact checkers, we're going through the piece, I said, this is the moment when people throw their
laptops across the room. That line was the point of the piece. The other 7,500 words were making my argument.
Of course, it's a huge thing to make that comparison, of course, it makes people upset. It should make people upset. We should be losing sleep every
day because of what's happening in Gaza because that comparison is valid.
MARTIN: You know, one of the things about your piece that was so, I thought, profound and it's frankly difficult to talk about in a sensitive
way is that, you spoke about the way it makes sort of Israel a permanent victim, and I just wondered if you would talk more about why you think
that, sort of emphasizing the singularity of the experience and saying, this only applies to Jewish people and the State of Israel and why you feel
that that's so kind of compromising of Israel and its own kind of moral agency. Would you just say more about that?
GESSEN: I think you put it beautifully. It is compromising of moral agency, because when you are actively being a victim, when you're in such
extraordinary pain, and this pain has indeed been passed on through generations, how do you hold yourself to account morally?
When -- and when you're driven by the desire for -- to avenge your pain as Israelis, many Israelis, certainly not all Israelis, are right now in Gaza,
who is going to hold you to account? And if you -- if you're relieved of that responsibility because your people are a permanent victim, my people,
in this case are permanent victim, and if the world is not going to intervene and hold you to account, that creates a moral catastrophe.
MARTIN: So, the backlash. You were on your way to receive this prestigious Hannah Arendt Prize in Germany, and then a foundation connected to the
award call for it to be rescinded. The city withdrew the venue where the prize ceremony was scheduled to take place. The ceremony was suspended. It
was scaled back. You did receive the award, but, you know, it -- I mean, frankly, let's just be honest, it's become kind of an international
incident. Could you just tell us how you found out about all this?
GESSEN: I was about to fly to Germany when I got an e-mail from one of the organizers, actually a Hannah Arendt scholar who's a member of the Hannah
Arendt organization, which awards the prize. And the e-mail was -- the subject line was, be prepared, and she said the Heinrich Boell Foundation,
which is not just a foundation that supports the prize, it's the biggest political foundation in Germany and it is connected to the Green Party.
It's the foundation of the Green Party, which is the government party in Germany right now.
So, she said the Heinrich Boell Foundation has pulled out of the prize. And as a result, we've lost the venue, which was city hall in the City of
Bremen. So, we'll hold the prize at an alternative venue. And then, I thought for a minute about whether I should fly or not, and I flew. And by
the time I got there, it was kind of an international scandal. And in the end, the price ceremony was held -- instead of a dinner for 400 to 500
people at city hall, there was a dozen people dining at a private house. And then the next day, there was a prize ceremony, I kid you not, in like a
fortified shed. Because we couldn't get another venue.
MARTIN: So, here's what they said. There was an open letter calling for the award to be rescinded. And they said, it is incomprehensible to us how
a scholar as experienced as Masha Gessen, who has made such a great contribution to the critical analysis of Russian imperialism, can seriously
equate Gaza with the Nazi extermination ghettos. For us, there is only one explanation, a deep-seated and fundamental negative prejudice against the
Jewish state. This has nothing to do with political judgment in the sense of Hannah Arendt. Masha Gessen is free to hold such views, we have such
discussions on many occasions these days, just as the critical assessment of Israeli politics is also a permanent part of our work as the DIG. But
Masha Gessen's views should not be honored with an award that is intended to commemorate the Jewish philosopher, Hannah Arendt.
That is extraordinary. And in essence, they're calling you, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, a Jewish thinker, a person who has been, you know,
attacked by totalitarian governments before, whose family fled a totalitarian regime, basically, they're calling you an anti-Semite. I mean,
that's basically what it is, yes?
GESSEN: Yes, that is exactly what they're saying. And that is also part of what I was writing about in the piece, is that this anti antisemitism
bureaucracy is run by non-Jews, but the people that they accuse of antisemitism are disproportionately Jews.
MARTIN: Why do you think they have such alacrity around, you know, policing speech in this way? I mean, it just -- I'm just wondering why
there is not more critical distance there? Because they claim that they are open to criticism of the Israeli government.
MARTIN: And its policies and its actions. So, I guess I'm just sort of wondering what do you make of this?
GESSEN: I think (INAUDIBLE) is a huge element of it. But I think I also have to say that it's -- I don't -- I have doubts about how sincere they
are in their efforts to fight antisemitism. I think there are elements to this policy that are basically antisemitic.
This -- the targeting of Jews. The ease with which Jewish voices are silent. The equating of Jews with the State of Israel. I think there's an
argument to be made, but that is in itself antisemitic. And it's no accident that the party that has probably benefited most from this
antisemitism -- anti antisemitism bureaucracy is the IFD, the far-right party.
It rode into the political mainstream on this sort of antisemitism trump card. And again, this was not dissimilar to what we're seeing in the United
States right now. I don't think that Representative Stefanik is losing sleep over antisemitism, but she sure finds it convenient to target
university presidents under the guise of fighting antisemitism.
MARTIN: Why is there such enthusiasm for this kind of policing of speech? Because it would seem that to people who are targeted by this would see it
-- would draw the same comparison that you do.
GESSEN: It takes a lot of time and intellectual energy to draw that comparison, and people don't have time and intellectual energy when they're
scared. And, you know Jews are actually scared. I think a lot of it is -- you know, the aftermath of October 7th has blinded people to the fate of
others, which is what happens when people are scared to see what happened in Israel and to have the Israeli government spin it as an antisemitic
attack, when in fact, it was an anti-Israeli attack. Really makes people feel like they're under attack.
And so, you know, in that state, people just want to ban everything, stop everything, go along with whoever tells them that they're going to be able
to punish the people responsible.
MARTIN: Why did you think it's so important to draw the connection to what is happening in Gaza now?
GESSEN: Well, what is happening in Gaza now is that people who have been effectively ghettoized for the last 17 years are being indiscriminately
targeted, killed and starved, and this is probably, at this point, the strongest connection.
You know, you may not realize that out of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, 1.3Million died of starvation and disease, exactly what is
being inflicted upon people in Gaza as a weapon of war right now. The biggest difference between Gaza and the Jewish ghetto in Nazi occupied
Europe is that most Gazans are still alive. There's still an opportunity for the world to stop in and stop -- step in and stop this.
MARTIN: Do you think it's a genocide, what is happening in Gaza? Would you use that expression?
GESSEN: I think there are some fine distinctions between genocide and ethnic cleansing. And I think that they are valid arguments for using both
terms. But I think that it's incumbent on the world to either stop or prevent a genocide.
MARTIN: But you do think it's ethnic cleansing?
GESSEN: It is -- at the very least, it's ethnic cleansing.
MARTIN: There are those who would argue that however valid your critique that at a time when Jews are, in fact, under attack, in the United States
and elsewhere, that, you know, for example, I don't know how -- as we are speaking now, literally hundreds of Jewish institutions, schools,
synagogues, et cetera, were the subject of bomb threats, you know, over the weekend.
And there are those who would argue that however valid what it is that you're saying right now, at a time when Jewish people are under attack, it
would have been better to not say it. And I just -- I know you've heard that. So, I'd like to ask, what is your reaction to that?
GESSEN: Look, I don't believe that we have to act like humans are stupid. I don't believe that we have to act as though we can only protect one
population at a time. I really think that we're capable of protecting Jews in the United States and elsewhere from antisemitic attacks at the same
time that would criticize the State of Israel and protect Palestinians in Gaza from an overwhelming military onslaught.
MARTIN: Masha Gessen, thank you so much for talking with us once again.
GESSEN: Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And next to India, where sexual violence against women makes the nation one of the most dangerous places on the planet to actually be
female. But despite the stigma facing survivors, one family decided to pursue justice. A new documentary, "To Kill a Tiger," follows the emotional
journey of Ranjit and his wife, Jaganti, who take on the entrenched culture of their rural community after their 13-year-old daughter, who's been given
the pseudonym, Kiran, is the victim of a gang rape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are girls born just waiting to be raped and then forced to marry? Do they not have lived of their own? Their
own desires? Or do they just want to be puppets that belong to men?
Shouldn't we be teaching the boys of this village, that this is violence, and it's wrong? And if it happens again, we'll raise our voices against it,
even if it's my own brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I recently spoke with the director Nisha Pahuja and the film's executive producer, superstar actor Dev Patel. And a warning, of course,
this conversation has descriptions of sexual violence that may be difficult to hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, Dev, Nisha. I know you made the film, you saw it and decided to get behind it and really help promote it and make
So, we aired in the lead into you part of the sensitization that you're talking about.
NISHA PAHUJA, DIRECTOR, "TO KILL A TIGER": Right.
AMANPOUR: Basically, a group of men in the village talking about this issue. And this issue is, you know, crime, culture, violence against women,
sometimes talked about as honor crimes, and the rest. What was it that triggered your desire to get involved, even though you haven't made the
DEV PATEL, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "TO KILL A TIGER": I mean, I had a very -- I was truly humbled by it as a piece of cinema. And I had a very visceral
reaction to the material. I've spent most of my career working and traveling through India. It's impossible to ignore the kind of cases of
sexual violence, you know, against minors, against women that flood the papers there every day.
And the way Nisha dealt with this subject, the delicacy in which she kind of tackled it, I was humbled and truly moved. So, I'm here to amplify her
AMANPOUR: And did you also, in a way want to -- you know, the thing that she first thought she was talking about, male masculinity and, you know,
the problems, did you want to be part of that learning experience?
PATEL: Absolutely. I mean, I feel like, you know, we need male advocates as well in issues like this. And there's this amazing characters. There's a
great foundation, the Srijan Foundation. And there's many men that go to these rural villages on the ground that are helping out. But also, this is
a story about a father who's standing up against an entire system, an entire village to kind of defend and seek justice for his daughter, and
that's -- It's kind of a tiny miracle when you put it in that kind of context there.
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary how the world's biggest democracy, as it bills itself, has also not managed to protect its girls and women. It's not
an isolated case there. We're constantly reporting about rapes of young girls, rapes of women, rapes of female students, you know, gang rapes and
all the rest of it.
And I wonder whether you think, and particularly you getting involved in this as a, you know, megastar or your name is going to carry a lot of
weight, do you think that it will help raise awareness that men India should behave differently, those who are inclined to be violent, and that
those men who are inclined to actually fight the system on behalf of their mothers, their sisters, their daughters, should be encouraged rather than
PATEL: I mean, you hope so. The truth is, I -- you know, I don't know how much weight I really have out there, you know. So, you know, the more
success a story like this gets, the more exposure, people like yourself, in fact, giving us this platform.
I think, you know, we saw this with my first film, "Slumdog," it kind of -- it was very close to never seeing the light of day, and, you know, it was -
- came under a lot of fire, and was probably going to be squashed India, you know. Success made people turn their heads. Success created
celebration, created change, created exposure.
So, I feel -- you know, I think if we as a collective globally can take notice of stories like this, it makes the people on the ground there, you
know, turn their heads as well.
AMANPOUR: So, Nisha, tell me about the, the, the parents first. I mean, they seem to be really brave and determined people going against the entire
culture, not just taking a crime to, you know, try to have accountability, but they're going against their village, their culture, what's expected of
PAHUJA: You know, they're really exceptional, you know, and not just in terms of, like, the obstacles that they were dealing with and, you know,
death threats and the community turning against them, but the fact that they stood up. You know, that the community in that sort of ecosystem, you
know, the way villages operate in India, that it's about survival, right? Those are ecosystems that are based on survival and they were ready to
sacrifice. They were ready to sacrifice that for their daughter.
AMANPOUR: Because one of the activists says in the film, a father fighting for his daughter in a rape case "never happens."
AMANPOUR: So, I want to play one of the clips that you've given us. And in this case, it's the parents talking to the local headman who's
adjudicating. And although, you know, it's called Ranjit's daughter, it is in this case, mostly the mother who's talking. So, we're going to play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This isn't up for discussion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They already killed a woman they accused of being a witch, which was a lie. Whether you believe it or not.
They accused her of being a witch, and they killed her in the woods. And now, they do this. And still people want us to support them. How can that
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Look, what's done is done. Right? If you go ahead with the case, we won't stop you. When the villagers talked
about marriage, we thought that's a possibility. This is what the people from your village proposed. Did they not? What you decide is up to you. But
think before you act. You belong to a community, so figure out how to remain part of it.
For your own protection, really think about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I think they were being encouraged. I don't want to tell for the whole audience, but you can say to have her marry her rapist.
AMANPOUR: How common is that?
PAHUJA: You know, India, we don't know. We don't know what the statistics are. We don't know how many cases actually end up, you know, survivors have
to -- are forced to marry their rapist.
It is illegal India. I mean, there are 20 countries around the world now that still have a marry your rapist law, if you can imagine. So, I'm not
sure how common it is. But it definitely wasn't unusual in that community. It wasn't something that was shocking in that community.
AMANPOUR: And I chose that clip to -- because I thought it was -- you know, as a dramatic clip. The -- you know, the guy was like, what's
happened has happened. Now, we've got to move on.
PATEL: Yes. And you see this father with his head down cast, kind of, he's broken by society and poverty. You know, you're talking about survival and
it's like it's interesting when you think of these kinds of marches for justice and stuff, but this is a story of endearing resilience and that
achieves a huge feat.
But you know, his head's down, but he's not broken. And you'll see that as the film progresses.
AMANPOUR: Tell us a little bit about the father. What does he do? Who is he?
PAHUJA: Yes. Well, he's a farmer. And obviously, you know, very impoverished, impoverished farmer. He himself, interestingly enough, this
is something that we didn't have time to get into in the film and I don't know if you know this, but he himself was raised by a single mother.
So, when he was a child, his father left the family and he grew up really respecting his mother. And I think, you know, part of his -- part of the
reason he doesn't discriminate is rooted in the way he was raised. That's part of it. I think the other part is just that he is an exceptional human
being that looks -- that was looking at the idea of justice for his daughter as something that was sort of a moral imperative for him.
AMANPOUR: And I was, you know, impressed by the mom as well.
AMANPOUR: I mean, I don't know, is she educated, is she literate, what does she do? But she was the one saying, you know, no, this is not right.
PAHUJA: Yes, yes. No, mom is fierce.
PATEL: Yes. She provides the fire in that, for sure.
PAHUJA: Absolutely. She's really, really fierce. She's very strong. Neither one of them is particularly educated. She was a day laborer. Now,
she's staying home taking care of the kids. And I don't know where her particular kind of fire comes from, but I think that was the extraordinary
thing about making the film and the journey that they were on.
Because you see, you know, how Ranjit waivers and vacillates as she does at the beginning. Kiran never did. But I think the reason they stayed the
course in spite of all of the obstacles that were being thrown at them really had to do with the fact that they were incredibly unified as a
AMANPOUR: Tell us a bit about Kiran. You know, you say that you would be remiss to bring up morality and not touch on the ethics of filming a
survivor and what's more, a child. What happened when you first heard about her? How did you decide to portray her? Because these aren't actors, let's
remember, this is a documentary about real people.
PAHUJA: Yes. I -- when I first heard about it, you know, obviously I was mortified, and we had this very sort of intense discussion before -- you
know, before we were going to film with them about the way we were going to capture her.
And at that time, we decided that we were going to actually, you know, film her from behind, film hands, film her ribbons. We weren't going to -- we
weren't actually going to be filming her. And that was such an abstract, you know, because sometimes you make -- when you're making a film, you make
decisions in such an abstract kind of way. It's the intellect that's operating, and then you get into the field, you turn the camera on, and
everything changes, you know.
And so, I think what happened we started to film, because I felt, this is so strange and it's so wrong. And what I'm doing is I'm actually in some
way perpetuating the kind of prejudice that I'm critiquing, which is she's done something that is dishonorable, which we have to -- you know, which we
have to hide, right?
AMANPOUR: Or protect her from or whatever.
PATEL: Yes, yes.
PAHUJA: Exactly, yes. But it took so long for us to make the film. It was eight years, right? And by the time we were finished, she'd become an
adult. And we asked her how she would feel about coming forward. So, she said, let me watch the film. And she watched the film with her parents. And
they just, I think, really, really deeply moved and felt seen and heard and validated. And she was beaming and said, yes.
AMANPOUR: And yet, part of the instructions to all of us are, do not use her face, her image, her real name outside the context of this film.
PAHUJA: That also has a lot to do with me not wanting to use her face or her image to market the film.
PAHUJA: Or to sell the film. You know, there's something about not using a survivor in sort of a capitalist -- you know, in a capitalist way.
AMANPOUR: No, I understand that.
PAHUJA: So, that's -- yes.
AMANPOUR: How did you find the men in the village? How did you find their -- you know, their willingness to talk about this, to think about this, to
maybe change their minds about this issue?
AMANPOUR: You did?
PAHUJA: Absolutely. Resistance. Resistance. But, you know, I'll tell you what happened, Christiane, it was so fascinating. So, you know, Dev loves
the story. We actually --I went to India a few months ago and I did sort of stress test screenings of the film because, you know, we're going to be
doing a big impact campaign on the ground India with the film. And Ranjit and Kiran, if she wants to join.
And so, one of the people that we showed the film to was the ward member. And the ward member is, you know, the person who is quite sort of -- I
guess in some way, you know, if the film has a real bad guy that we meet, it's him.
And the ward member saw the film and loved the film. And after watching it, said that he felt ashamed of himself. And he felt that, you know, the
entire community needed to see the film in order to understand what they put the family through.
AMANPOUR: Wow. Well, I mean, you can't ask for more than that in terms of impact of a film.
PATEL: Absolutely. That's change happening on the ground. That's a tectonic plate shifting in the community.
PAHUJA: Yes. Yes.
PATEL: So, we need more men like that to be transformed. You know, putting a mirror up to those guys.
AMANPOUR: In the opening sequence, a narrator asked this question, the rate at which reports of violence against women keep coming in, it's time
we ask ourselves, is there something fundamentally wrong with our country?
I mean, that again is a very touchy thing to say because India's a very proud nation at the moment, especially. And, you know, there's a terrible
statistic, something like a rape is reported every, what is it, 20 minutes?
PAHUJA: Twenty minutes.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, that's a really horrifying statistic. Do you feel you have an answer, you know to that question, whether we should, in fact -
- you know, is there something fundamentally wrong with the country or do you think this is a -- no, it's just too common in too many countries?
PAHUJA: I was just going to say, I mean, you know, maybe it's -- there's something fundamentally wrong with our world, you know, that violence
against women and sexual violence, rape is so common, you know. I mean, one of the things that we keep talking about, and this is why, you know,
working with equality now is so important is because we recognize that the fact that this is a global -- you know, it's a global issue.
I would say that in India, I would say, it's an epidemic, you know. I really would.
AMANPOUR: And you can see. I mean, we're speaking in the midst of two wars in which sexual violence has been perpetrated on victims, whether against,
you know, the women in Israel, against women in Ukraine. And it's really very, very, very, you know, topical.
As I said, I mean, your closing credits say, according to local activists, Kiran's 2018 victory encouraged other women and girls to seek justice. Are
you seeing a kind of a groundswell?
PAHUJA: Yes. Yes and no. You know, I mean, according to what people told us after she came forward, definitely. But I think the issue -- you know,
and one person standing up is not going to change sort of a deeply, you know, misogynistic culture, which where that patriarchy and that misogyny
is baked into every single system, you know.
So, for me, the answer really lies in education and boys, you know, masculinity, changing the definition of masculinity. It's about raising our
sons in a different way.
AMANPOUR: And I want to just ask you a final question about a film. Here we are, you were in "The Newsroom."
PATEL: I know, I was saying, I was having flashbacks here, I was like, where's the control room?
AMANPOUR: But what's next for you?
PATEL: I've just directed my first film. So, I've been getting notes from this one.
AMANPOUR: All right.
PATEL: It touches on some similar subject matter actually.
AMANPOUR: Does it?
PATEL: And I approach it in a very different way.
PATEL: It's actually -- it's a Trojan horse packaged in a sort of action context. But, you know --
AMANPOUR: Set in India?
PATEL: Set in -- yes, kind of heightened India, yes.
AMANPOUR: And you obviously have Indian heritage.
AMANPOUR: Do you feel compelled to tell stories about your home country?
PATEL: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I was India during the time of the Delhi Bus Raid. And you know, I was in a relationship with my co-star at the
time, you know, an Indian woman. I had friends there, my best friends, you know, family members still live out there. So, I was deeply affected and
watching kind of -- the kind of uproar that happened.
But it took such a heinous act for something to really happen. But we need that to keep echoing, you know, we need these stories like this to keep
kind of being anthems for change.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Well, hopefully when people see this, "To Kill a Tiger," that will happen. It takes -- you know, it takes the pebble and the ripples
and all the rest of it.
AMANPOUR: So, Nisha, Dev, thank you so much indeed.
PATEL: Thank you for having us.
PAHUJA: Thank you. Thanks for having us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Anthems for change indeed. An inspiring story of one family's courage to speak out.
That is it for now. But we want to leave you with these images of outer space getting into the festive spirit. Some 2,500 light years away, NASA
calls it the Christmas tree cluster. It's definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there.
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.