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Interview With E.U. High Representative For Foreign Affairs And Security Policy Josep Borrell; Interview With "How To Win An Information War" Author Peter Pomerantsev; Interview With Medecins Sans Frontieres Secretary General Christopher Lockyear, Interview With "Shirley" Lead Actress Regina King. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 25, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour," here's what's coming up.




AMANPOUR: Europe faces a world of challenges as terrorism strikes Russia with at least 137 people killed and Israel pounds Gaza, allowing little

food aid through. The U.N. secretary-general calls that a moral outrage. E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell joins me.

Then, Putin points the finger at Ukraine despite ISIS claiming the Moscow concert hall attack. I discuss the Kremlin's disinformation strategy with

journalist and expert Peter Pomerantsev.

Plus, back from Gaza, the head of Doctors Without Borders gives a first- hand account of the situation inside hospitals there.

Also, ahead --


REGINA KING, ACTRESS: I have something I want to tell you. I am running for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of the United States? Holy --


AMANPOUR: -- the legacy of Shirley Chisholm, actress Regina King on her starring role as the first black congresswoman and her trailblazing run for


Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And we start tonight with terror and trauma around the world. In Russia, four men from Tajikistan have been charged in the attack on the concert

hall in Moscow, which killed at least 137 people. ISIS has claimed responsibility, but the Kremlin says, without evidence, that Ukraine played

a role. Kyiv denies that, calling those allegations absurd.

Russia continues its assault on Ukraine with heavy missile attacks across the country. In the Middle East, an alleged hostage deal hangs in the

balance, and the death toll in Gaza reaches over 32,000 amid fears of an Israeli offensive on Rafah.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell joined me from Brussels to discuss all these challenges ahead.

Hi, Representative Borrell, welcome back to our program.

BORRELL: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: What is your immediate reaction to the terror attack in Moscow that so far 137 people have been killed and there may be more? Who do you

think did it?

BORRELL: It's really awful. And we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. A terrorist attack against civilians has to be condemned wherever it

happens. And this has been really, really tragic. So many people, innocent people being killed by these crazy people.

I don't have concrete information. I only know what has being published. But I don't think that linking Ukraine to this terrorist attack makes

sense. Ukrainians are not fighting against the Russian people. They are fighting with against an army who has invaded them. I don't see that it can

be linked to the Ukrainians. ISIS has been asking for responsibility for this crime.

AMANPOUR: And they have released body cam video as well. Does the E.U., despite the major differences with Russia over Ukraine, do you have

intelligence cooperation with Russian?

BORRELL: The intelligence people cooperate with intelligence people, yes.

AMANPOUR: OK. Now, why do think Putin would be publicly blaming Ukraine?

BORRELL: Well, we are certainly afraid and concerned by the fact that Putin may take -- may use these tragic circumstances in order to justify the

increasing attacks against Ukraine. And in fact, it has happened. On the last hours, the number of rockets and the number drones launched against

civilian infrastructure has increase, has destroyed the electricity system in some cities.

But once again, we don't see any justifical (ph) link between this tragedy and Ukrainians. Ukrainians are not fighting against Russian people. They

fight against an army who invaded them.


Maybe Putin may want to take advantage of that, but the important thing is the suffering of the Ukrainian people, the suffering of the Ukrainians and

the Russian people, and in particular the ones who suffered this terrorist attack.

AMANPOUR: Back to Ukraine, the suffering there and the uncertainty on the battlefield because of the lack of weapons from the United States, and to

an extent, from Europe as well. You have just come back recently from the United States in which you said that you came away with a continued picture

of bipartisan support for Ukraine, but still uncertainty as to whether this will result in a vote to unblock that military aid.

I mean, have you got anything you can say about that and whether Europe can fill the gap in ammunition and weapons?

BORRELL: We are doing our greatest effort in order to support Ukraine more and quicker. We have provided -- we have the most important support of

Ukraine. You add up all kinds of support. And we think and we expect and we ask the U.S. to approve the supplementary budget in order to continue

providing support to Ukraine.

You know, the U.S. has a vested interest in supporting Ukraine. Otherwise, it will be giving a free pass to Russia, and we know what happens then. We

know that if we give a free pass to Russia, remember Crimea, remember Syria, if you don't show commitment and strength and real will to support

Ukraine, we cannot afford Russia to win this war, otherwise the U.S. and European interests will be very damaged.

It's not a matter of generosity alone, it's not a matter of supporting Ukraine because we love Ukrainian people, it is in our own interest. It is

also in the interest of the U.S. as a global player, someone who has to be perceived as a reliable partner, a security provider to the allies. That's

why we call the U.S. to open and to approve the supplementary budget.

AMANPOUR: Yes, I understand that. What about Europe's need to protect itself? There's a lot of discussion going on about focusing on your own

defense industry. And in a joint op-ed with a senior European commissioner, you say, we're not talking about creating a European army. What we need and

what we want to achieve in coming years is a closer cooperation between our national armies and a stronger defense industry in Europe. It will help

also build an effective European pillar in NATO.

Is there a European consensus on that?

BORRELL: I think so. A strong consensus on the need to increase our defense capacities, both on the industrial side, on the military capacities. As you

said, as we said, it's not a question of creating the, in singular, European army.

We have 27 member states, all of them sovereign, defense, it's their capacity, their competence, and they have, they own armies. But these

armies has to be more inter-operational. They have to be more ready to work together than what we're planning to create the rapid deployment force.

They have to create a European pillar inside NATO.

The Europeans have to take more responsibility for our defense, certainly a stronger partnership possible with the U.S. inside NATO. But we have to

increase our military capacities, starting with the industry and also with our armies.

But it's topical to believe that we are going to cancel the 27 armies act to create a single one. What we have to do is be more realistic. And maybe

what do we have to put better together? Filling gaps, avoiding (INAUDIBLE) cities, spending better our money.

We are spending more. We are increasing our military's expenditure. And believe me, the Europeans have been taking stock. They are very much aware

of the challenging world in which we live. And we have to be prepared for that.

Mr. Borrell, moving on to the war between Israel and Hamas, you've accused Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war. The U.N. secretary-general

spoke in Rafah this weekend, and this is what he said.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: A long line of blocked relief tracks on one side of the gates, the long shadow of starvation on

the other. That is more than tragic. It is a moral outrage.


AMANPOUR: What can the E.U. do, Mr. Borrell, to break this deadlock and to, as the secretary-general says, you know, roll back this moral outrage?


BORRELL: Last Friday, the European Union Council agreed on conclusions about the situation in Gaza, and the conclusions were very clear. We asked

for unimpeded access to Gaza. We asked for increased humanitarian entrance into Gaza because they are -- it's not enough. The number of trucks is much

lower than before the war. And as the secretary-general words, there are more than 1,000 trucks waiting to enter. The backlog of the number of

people sometimes waiting for days and days.

So, the European Union Council, I want to repeat our wording, is in one hand to remind that everything is started with a terrorist attack by Hamas

against innocent civilians on the Israeli side. And we understand the shock and the feeling of the Israelis being attacked and many people being

killed, innocent civilians. This was also a terrorist attack.

But on the other hand, everybody says in Europe that the number of civilian casualties in Gaza is too high. Everybody is saying that there is

starvation. And everybody is saying that there is not enough humanitarian aid entering into Gaza. So, make a logical relationship between the two


The European Union Council asked clearly for unimpeded access to Gaza, increased humanitarian support, and for immediate humanitarian ceasefire, a

pause, a pause in the combat, in order to allow the entry of support, to stop the fighting, to free the hostages, this is important to remind that

there are hostages to be free. To avoid regional escalation, the spillover of the war in Lebanon, in the Red Sea. And then start discussing about the

political solution, because it is not a military solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, who last for more than 75 years.

The lesson of what's happening in Gaza, that attack by Hamas. And this is really the answer, is that we need to look for a solution where the two

people can live side by side, because it's not going to be possible for them to live together in peace and common security.

So, ceasefire or humanitarian pause leading to a ceasefire, free hostages, increased humanitarian support, and political solution, which can only be

based on the two-state solution.

AMANPOUR: Josep Borrell, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

BORRELL: Thank you, thank you.

AMANPOUR: And in a moment, we'll look more into Gaza and the humanitarian crisis. But first, as Russia mourns the Moscow terror attack,

disinformation runs rife. Former Russian lawmaker Sergey Markov posted this advice to the Kremlin. He said, isolate Kyiv's leadership by pointing out

the connection of the terrorist attack, not with ISIS, but with the Ukrainian authorities.

The U.S. embassy in Russia had warned of a possible attack weeks ago, but Putin dismissed it. Now, faced with a massive security failure, the Kremlin

is on the offensive, with a strategy well known to my next guest.

Peter Pomerantsev lived in Russia for years. His latest book is "How to Win an Information War," and he's joining the show from Kyiv. Welcome back to

the program, Peter.

PETER POMERANTSEV, AUTHOR: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: So, just what have you undergone and what have the people of Ukraine undergone since this terror attack? We hear it's massively stepped

up across, you know, attacks across the country.

POMERANTSEV: Well, look, there's been sort of a wave of attacks with missiles, with Shahed drones, with all kinds of weapons against Ukraine

over the last week, attacking, you know, civilians and energy infrastructure, Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city has been without power,

hitting a huge dam, which is near bursting now, which would cause huge ecological catastrophe. And today in Kyiv, there was -- an art school was

hit with a missile that was very, very loud across the city.

So, you know, it was so predictable that Putin would blame this on Ukraine. I think nobody is, in any way, surprised that his rather -- you know,

rather predictable conspiracy theories that he's pushing.

AMANPOUR: Let me first ask you about what happened in Russia on Friday. You have been living many years there. You were there during last terrible

attack, which was some 20 years ago, the Beslan Siege. And then, of course, there was the theater attack and hundreds of people were killed.


What is the modus operandi, remind us, of when these terror attacks have struck Russia?

POMERANTSEV: Well, look, there are always incredible security failures and the Kremlin always tries to, sort of, take advantage afterwards to use this

as an excuse to extend its dictatorial powers. I guess what's slightly different this time is that the dictatorial powers are already extended.

Russia was already -- you know, has already launched an aggressive invasion of Ukraine. Back when I lived there, there were independent TV stations,

which were sort of destroyed after these terror attacks. Now, there's not much left to destroy.

And really, I mean, this is a huge failure on the part of Putin, who is now openly a dictator and who now brazenly purely positions himself as a strong

man who's, you know, dedicated to security and war.

So, this is actually a very vulnerable moment for him. You mentioned my book where I explore how Britain undermined the connection between Hitler

and the German people in the Second World War. I mean, this is a real opportunity to really highlight the failures of Putin to the Russian

people. I just don't know, you know, whether we in the West or the allies have got the -- I don't know, the resolve to highlight that.

AMANPOUR: And the other side of the coin is that Putin appears to be clearly trying to do the reverse, to disassociate and undermine the

reputation and the connection of the Ukrainian leadership with its own people and presumably the U.S. Congress and the American people. Do you

think that's part of his disinformation strategy right now?

POMERANTSEV: Look, you just quoted Sergey Markov, who's a slightly comedic figure in the sort of gruesome cabaret of Russian politics. He was clearly

encouraging that, wasn't he? You just quoted him.

Maybe they'll try. So far, European resolve is still, you know, on the level of public opinion, strong with Ukraine. The paradox in America, where

I live, is that most people in America, most Congress people, are for Ukraine. The aids Ukraine is being blocked by a tiny number of Congress

people, and it looks as if it's, you know, they're following instructions from a certain presidential candidate who's not even in office.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And again, that minimum, as you say, small minority of people who are in charge of blocking it, because that small minority is led

by the house speaker, he won't bring a vote to the floor of the Congress, which would pass if he did.

But clearly, it's in Putin's interest to continue keeping that window of opportunity closed, right? How does this disinformation work?

POMERANTSEV: So, Christiane, it's a fantastic question. I mean, I think, you know, having studied propaganda for like three books now, sort of come

partly to the conclusion that disinformation and propaganda work when they find a willing audience. It's always a two-way movement.

It's not that people are, you know, so stupid or something. People usually actually know at some level what the truth is. It's that they have an

interest in agreeing with a certain disinformation that is put out because it enables them to do what they really want it to do. So, if there's groups

in America who want to find any excuse to blockade to Ukraine, for whatever reason they may have, they'll use the disinformation that Putin provides.

I think generally when we're talking about communication propaganda, it's a two-way street. There's always the motivation of the receivers of the

disinformation that we have to understand. And sadly, there are people in the American political system who are, you know, to some extent on Putin's

side, or they are so against Joe Biden that they will sacrifice, I don't know, the interests of global security just to hurt Biden.

AMANPOUR: Just remind us, because again, you've been studying this and reporting it for such a long time. I mean, we know that propaganda in our

modern world was actually developed by the Soviets by -- and they do it really, really well.

I mean, remember that they put a little article in an Indian newspaper suggesting that the CIA created AIDS, and people still believe that. That

was in the '80s. And now, there's a whole story. You've probably read "The New York Times" story by their digital disinformation expert about stories

that are being planted in various newspapers about the alleged corruption of Zelenskyy and his people.


No matter how many times, you know, various governments and interested parties deny it, these things get planted. I mean, it's an industry that

Russia's churning out right now.

POMERANTSEV: Look, it's part and parcel of its -- Russia's military strategy, of Russia's foreign policy strategy, sort of embedded in Russian

doctrine, that you use information, or what they call sort of information psychological warfare, as part of your statecraft. This is not something

that anybody kind of disguises.

Of course, their argument, or their pseudo argument, is that everybody's doing it to them, that CNN, or the BBC, or human rights organizations that

will be on your program in a moment, are all part of a demonic conspiratorial plot. And it kind of reflects this conspiratorial, you know,

world view that, you know, every bit of information is actually manipulated, that you can't trust anything.

So yes, there is this sort of, you know, these concrete pieces of disinformation that the Russian state steeds. But there's also this sort of

larger story that it's always developing, and that is very powerful within Russia that you can trust no one, that in this dark, murky world, multiple

lies, you need strong men like Putin to lead you through the mark.

AMANPOUR: Before I ask you how to counter this, let's just pick up on what you said, strong men. Essentially, in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu's calling

card has been, I am Mr. Security. I stand between, you know, us and the deluge, and that has been challenged by what happened on October 7th. His

popularity amongst people is at rock bottom.

So, my question is, clearly Putin has an interest in deflecting blame for his security failure. Do you think that in today's Russia people will

question Mr. Security, Mr. Putin, for what happened?

POMERANTSEV: It's a very, very, very good question. When Putin responds with this kind of like, you know, conspiratorial disinformation that it

wasn't ISIS, it was actually Ukraine and America that was behind this heinous terrorist act, do Russians really believe it or is it something

else? Is Putin saying, look, I am so powerful that no one dare question my narrative? And the more that narrative goes uncontested, the more he can

say, don't you dare do anything because I am so in charge.

So, the ability to force an absurd narrative onto the population becomes a sign of your power. Now, of course, one man who did challenge that was

Alexei Navalny. He would be, I think, right now, Putin's only serious opposition. He would be right now telling his really rather large audience

that, you know, this is, as you said, a failure of the strongman that Alexei Navalny was imprisoned and killed in one of Putin's jails very

recently. So, that's what Putin does to people who dare to question his narrative. But that also shows how scared he is.

AMANPOUR: So what is, in your mind, and is there any way to counter this? Because we are in the 2024 -- it's election year around the world.

Obviously, everybody looking at the United States, we just had the elections in Russia, that's going to be -- what is the way to defend

against this very insidious and all-pervasive disinformation?

POMERANTSEV: Well, there's no one solution. We can talk about needing to reform the tech companies so that there's more oversights about how they

police a lot of this disinformation or this is a tech problem.

But I think, at the end of the day, it's always a question about who understands audiences best, you know. What is the effect of these

disinformation campaigns? If it's to intimidate people, which it often is, then how does one battle this sense of intimidation? How does one people

feel that they do have agency to push back against a leader? If it's to confuse, then how does one build confidence?

I think the key is to think about the effect on the audiences and countering that rather than chasing every little lie, because those lies

can just be shot out like a fountain of disinformation.

AMANPOUR: Really interesting. Peter Pomerantsev, author of "How to Win an Information War," thanks so much for being with us.


Now, the fraught relations between the Israeli and U.S. governments over Gaza just spilled out into the open. The U.S. abstained, allowing a

ceasefire resolution to pass at the U.N., prompting Netanyahu to cancel his delegation's trip to explain his planned Rafah offensive to the Biden


Meantime, in Gaza, the humanitarian situation only gets worse. Israeli troops continue their siege of the Al-Shifa Hospital, with civilians

describing "mass arrests" of medical staff and heavy airstrikes endangering patients.

The secretary general of the NGO Doctors Without Borders has been witnessing much of this emergency inside Gaza. Christopher Lockyear is now

back in Jerusalem, and he's joining me from there.

Christopher Lockyer, welcome to the program. I guess I just need to ask you first to talk about what you have just come from, what you've just seen.

You heard the secretary-general of the U.N. call it not just tragic, the humanitarian catastrophe, but a moral outrage.

CHRISTOPHER LOCKYEAR, SECRETARY GENERAL, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES: Yes, well, Christiane, I've just come from a few days in Gaza, as you say. And I

want to share a couple of the impressions that I've had in that -- in those few days.

And I want to start with a point which may be a little bit surprising in that I have witnessed some real acts of beauty, joy, and really strong

humanity in Gaza over the last few days. I've seen a six-year-old boy who is getting physiotherapy for his leg, which was badly wounded as the school

that he was sheltering in was bombed, and he was in the arms of his father the whole time that he was he was getting his leg manipulated so it could

rehabilitate as quickly as possible.

I've seen a couple of girls a similar age in the Indonesian Rafah Hospital, which is a sense that we're working with the ministry of health to try and

as a wound specialist sensor. And these two little girls were the life and soul of the hospital. They were cheerleading the other patients, it was as

if they had been -- they were stimulating and adopted the whole community.

And at the same time, I've seen medics, ICU medics, intensive care units, medics who have had to move from hospital to hospital and are now having to

retrain to be able to treat the rising rates of malnutrition that we're seeing across Gaza.

And at the same time, I visited the Al-Aqsa Hospital, which is in the middle area of Gaza. I arrived at around 8:30 in the morning. And

throughout the night, there had been some heavy bombing, probably not as heavy as we've been hearing about around the Shifa area the last few days.

But as I walked in at 8:30 in the morning, there's a morgue in the hospital grounds, and I walked past the morgue, and there were bodies filling the

morgue and coming out of the morgue. I tried to make myself count the bodies that were there, but I couldn't bring myself to do that.

And after that, I went into the hospital itself. And it's so packed inside that hospital. There are patients lining the corridors, on either side of

every corridor, waiting for their wounds to be redressed, waiting to go into surgery. The pressure on that hospital is immense.

And one of the most excruciating stories I heard was speaking to some of the medics and the questions that they're having to ask themselves in terms

of the trade-off, do they give space and beds to those who are war wounded, suffering from trauma, or do they give space and beds to those that need to

treat the rising rates of malnutrition?

AMANPOUR: You know, just listening to you, Christopher, you sound very affected by what you've seen and you paint a very dire and desperate

picture. Although, also showing us the necessary view of those little moments of resistance, resilience, and joy as well.

I was quite struck by what you said that there are medics who have to retrain, as you said, to treat malnutrition. Explain that to me. Why


LOCKYEAR: Well, malnutrition is not a phenomenon that has history in the Gaza Strip. And we are seeing a situation whereby we have the population of

Gaza under siege. We have the north of Gaza, which is twice besieged. It's a siege within a siege. And the population have been victims of

indiscriminate bombardments for several months now with a trickle of aid coming into the Gaza Strip. It really should not be a surprise to anybody

that we're seeing these rates of malnutrition at the moment.

You don't have to be an aid worker. You don't have to be a nutritionist. You don't have to be a data specialist. It's entirely logical that you

would be in a situation like this for a population who have been subjective to what the Gazans have for the last few months.


AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you, I wonder what -- I assume you have to have engagement with the Israeli government as well. There's an argument in

public, the Israeli certain -- well, the government says that this limitation of food and humanitarian necessities into Gaza, they don't

believe that they're violating international law. Others say, in fact, indeed, I just had the head of the E.U. foreign policy, High Representative

Borrell on, who says that they're using starvation as a weapon of war.

How do you, as an NGO, see the withholding of food and basic necessities to the civilian population?

LOCKYEAR: Well, let's go back to January the 26th when the International Court of Justice, the ICJ, ruled on the situation in Gaza, and there are

two elements that I think we should pick up on. Firstly, there is the prevention of killing, the protection of civilians. And secondly, the

demand to increase humanitarian assistance into the Gaza Strip.

There are hundreds of thousands of people going without the basic essentials that they need, and there are people who are being

indiscriminately killed. I was just talking about those two little girls in the Indonesian Rafah Field Hospital. That hospital is full, both with

outpatients and inpatients needing their wounds dressed, and they have been -- they are men, women, and children. It has been an indiscriminate


And so, I can't see how either of those provisions, both in terms of humanitarian assistance and the protection of the civilians, are being

adhered to.

AMANPOUR: You talked about Rafah, and I just want to ask you, because, again, the United States and E.U., everybody very, very concerned about any

Israeli military offensive into Rafah.

From what you saw and from what you know about Rafah, what would happen physically to the people there if this offensive invasion, whatever they

call it, was to happen in Rafah?

LOCKYEAR: Very clearly, a ground invasion of Rafah would be an absolute catastrophe. I've heard -- been hearing for months, along with everybody

else, the rest of the world of the one and a half million people who are squeezed into Rafah. When you're there for yourself and you see it for

yourself, it becomes visceral.

A 10-minute -- what used to be a 10-minute car journey across Rafah is now taking about an hour because the people are so packed in, the roads have

shrunk because of the tents and the makeshift shelters on either side of the road.

And where do people go to? We're seeing -- just a few days ago, as the latest round of fighting around Shifa was starting there was an evacuation

order to -- for the people of Shifa to move towards the Al-Mawasi area of Rafah, which was where I was staying.

Firstly, they couldn't make that movement because of Israeli military checkpoints on route. Secondly, it makes no sense for sending people into -

- to join this other one and a half million people if they are going to become the victims of a ground offensive.

Large parts of the north of Gaza have been completely pulverized. And I've tried to illustrate a little bit of a picture of what can be seen in the

middle area, in the Al-Aqsa Hospital. It really doesn't bear thinking about. I can't imagine, any scenario which is not utterly catastrophic.

AMANPOUR: Benjamin Netanyahu has stopped his delegation from going to Washington because he was upset that the U.S. abstained this ceasefire vote

in the U.N. Security. Part of the visit was to explain to the administration their plans for Rafah and to presumably offer their so-

called evacuation and humanitarian plan for the civilians of Rafah.

Have they said anything to you? Has anybody indicated to you as an NGO how they would get civilians out of the way?

LOCKYEAR: No, absolutely not.

AMANPOUR: OK. I want to ask you about medical trauma finally -- sorry, mental trauma finally. You know we've talked to many, many people about the

children there. You've just spoke about some children. There is a new acronym which is so sad and we've reported before, that medical teams call

these kids WCNSF. Wounded Child, No Surviving Family.

And we hear -- you have said yourself, children as young as five tell you that they would prefer to die. You've met a psychologist who lost 10

members of family members. You said you need psychologists to treat the psychologists now. What is the biggest state of mental health particularly

amongst the children?


LOCKYEAR: Well, you know, I think what we're going to see in Gaza is a population with an extremely highly -- extreme high proportion of disabled

people needing care for mobility for generations to come. And, you know, one thing that somebody said to me in one of our clinics was, you know,

post-traumatic stress disorder doesn't exist in Gaza because it's ongoing.

Now, I think when you're hearing psychologists tell you how they have been -- their families have been subjected to this horror, the stress of the

population is going to be endemic for generations to come.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much indeed, Christopher Lockyear, the head of MSF. Thank you for being with us.

Now, in the United States, with the presidential campaign well underway, a brand-new biopic, "Shirley," spotlights the remarkable story of a

presidential candidate and political trailblazer of yesteryear.

Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected into Congress and the first to ever run for president. That was in 1972. Often, the only woman in

the room, her campaign was met, of course, with resistance, but those doubts never slowed her down. Here's a clip from the film.


REGINA KING, LEAD ACTRESS, "SHIRLEY": I'm paving the road for a lot of other people looking like me to get elected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brooklyn's first black representative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're about to make history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wanted to be president? You ain't no man.

KING: Maybe we should find your mother. All you got is your one vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sound just like every other politician

KING: Do I look like every other politician?


AMANPOUR: Looking forward to that one. Now, Oscar Award winning actor and director Regina King takes on the daunting task of capturing this American

icon, and she's joining Michel Martin to talk about it.


MICHEL MARTIN, HOST, MORNING EDITION, NPR: Thanks, Christiane. Regina King, thank you so much for joining us.

KING: Thank you so much for having me.

MARTIN: You know, you've had this incredible career, Oscar winner, Emmy winner, actor, producer, director, all the things. What made this the

project that you wanted to do at this time? Why this project? Why now?

KING: Well, it kind of worked out that the now ended up being perfect timing. But my sister and I, we started our production company about 15

years ago. And when we started, we were, you know, just talking with each other about what stories would we want to tell, what stories would royal

ties put out into the world. And Shirley Chisholm was one that kept coming up for both of us because we both had experiences with other people that

did not know who Shirley Chisholm was.

And we just felt like she is so much a part of the American fabric. How is it that no one knows who she is? And it seems though everyone should know.

And to think that -- and I'm speaking of a lot of black people not knowing, we felt like this is a story that we -- her story, we need to tell.

And as we started doing our research, she's so interesting and so fascinating and has lived so much life. It's like, how can we get it all

into a film?

MARTIN: How did you know about Shirley Chisholm? Because as you pointed out, a lot of people don't know about her or didn't know.

KING: I learned about Shirley, and just a touch of Shirley, during Black History Month. Luckily, I got a teacher who maybe I was, may have been in

the third grade, fourth grade, who felt like Shirley Chisholm was an interesting person to talk about.

I don't know about you, but when I was in elementary school and in junior high, Black History Month, you have about two minutes a day for a

different, you know, black person that's done something great. And I got lucky one year where Shirley, you know, got two minutes on that day.

And from there, my mother allowed us to have the opportunity to know more about her than that she was the first woman, black woman in Congress.

That's what we -- what I learned in that class that day. But, you know, she told us about her running for president and that I was only one years old

when it happened. And so, yes, that's what made us familiar and made her name stick in our minds.

MARTIN: First black woman elected to Congress, first African-American person, first woman to run for president on a major party ticket.


You know, Jesse Jackson used to have this saying, if you're going to tell it, tell it all. Well, your film really does. It tells a lot. It talks

about the fact that she was not universally loved and applauded, that she got a lot of resentment and not always from the people that you would


How did you figure out how you wanted to play her? Because again, one of the things about the film that's so striking is you really -- you kind of

show the complexity, not just of being the first or the first or one of the few or the only, but also being a woman in a male space. How did you decide

how to capture all that?

KING: You know, honestly, Michel, I think it was living more life, because 15 years ago when we started out, like knowing that we were going to tell

Shirley's story, whether it was going to be a slice of her life or her entire life, I was not ready. I had not lived enough life. I can say that

now. Then I would not have ever thought that. It was just, you know, we're going to do this.

You know, we'd even gone as far as to do a photo session with me and kind of photoshopped my head into images of her as we were putting together the

package to go and get the financing for it. But I wasn't ready. And just in that 15 years, having experienced more life helped me to understand that it

was important for the world to see her with all of the complexities, the fatigue, the loneliness.

You know, when you are a person that's embarking on a journey like that, where there's no blueprint, no one's done it before you, that's a really

lonely path to go down. And the people, Barbara Lee -- we got a Representative Barbara Lee, we got a chance to talk to, and Robert

Gottlieb, who Lucas Hedges plays in the film, and her goddaughter, Maria, I got a chance to talk to these people who really knew Shirley.

And one of the things that I did take away from talking to Barbara and Maria is that she always put on such a good, strong, you know, presentation

of a politician, of a leader, but they always felt like behind the scenes there was a loneliness. And that made sense to me, seeing all of the things

that she had accomplished, and in the spaces that she was moving. She was the only one.


KING: I am running for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of the United States? Holy -- that's -- I mean, that's right the hell on Mrs. C. I mean, that's great. You would be the most

amazing president that this country has ever seen. I mean, wow. That -- if there's anything I can do to help.

KING: Well, there is. I need you to be my national student coordinator.


KING: Overseeing all the student organizations affiliated with the campaign and all the states where I'm on the ballot. Putting together campus


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. C., I'm -- I can't.

KING: I don't like the word can't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I know. But I --

KING: Robert this is the first year 18-year-olds will be able to vote in a national election. To get them to vote they need to know that using their

vote can make a difference.


MARTIN: Is there anything that you really struggled with that you thought was, wow, that really is crazy? I can't even imagine what that was like.

KING: When I learned that during her run for Congress that she won, she was in the hospital with -- having -- had to have a tumor removed. And there

was a lot of talk from her opponent that he was trying to make her small by saying, where is she, what -- you know, little teacher from Brooklyn, you

know, we don't see her, we don't hear from her. That this is who you want to represent you.

And she never spoke about why she kind of had to step back from the campaign, but she pulled herself up, still recovering, came back in, fought

the good fight, as she said, and won. And no one knew that. You know what I mean? No one -- that was not part of her narrative. That was not part of

her narrative. That was not part of her campaigning because if that was a man in that same position, and he -- and the world knew or the district

knew, it'd be like, oh, my God, he is so strong. That's (INAUDIBLE).


You know, but her, it would be like, oh, the feminine things that are happening with her we -- you know, because at that time --

MARTIN: Yes, girl problems. Women problems.

KING: Yes.

MARTIN: You can't have that. You can't talk about that.

KING: Women couldn't even open up a bank account without a man at that time. And here she is running for Congress. That was kind of like, you

know, mind-blowing for me.

MARTIN: The film depicts that she had support from her husband, Conrad, at least at the beginning, but that her sister resented her, and you show


KING: Yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I don't blame you?

KING: No, you blame our father.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had four daughters. Four. But when he died, he left you the little money he had. You were treated differently. And now, you

think -- now, you think you're special. That's how papa was with you. He made you believe things. They aren't true.

KING: He made me believe in myself, regardless of what people think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have no regard?

KING: Whether or not someone else stand with you --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't care what this campaign does to your friends?

KING: I can do what is necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To your family? That's what papa would want? You are pushing us away over nothing.


MARTIN: Could you talk about that, and why you thought it was important to include that?

KING: Well, I think, you know, when you are especially doing -- telling a story that's a slice of life, a slice of history, it's -- I know as an

audience member, I want to walk away feeling like I've learned something about the experience that I couldn't of receive just when I looked it up

online, you know.

And it's those little things that we call those nuances. It's the nuance, you know, that makes you feel as though, oh, I've really gotten into the

interior of this person that, you know, we're sitting to take in for a couple hours.

And everything that we read, even in Shirley's books, she did not just say it outright, but she does allude to not having the support from her mother

and her sisters, not quite understanding the need for to be Shirley Chisholm, you know? But her father did before he passed away.

And it's little moments like that you don't -- you can't spine on the Google. You can read about. Shirley's a strategist. She understood that if

I did write that, then now that I could possibly look weak. That's my thought. And I think the vulnerability was important to show so that you

can appreciate the strength. Because vulnerability is a form of strength, to me, when you're -- when we're -- we allow ourselves to show it. But it's

not always looked at as a form of strength when -- for women in positions that they're operating and dealing with mostly, you know, are only men.

MARTIN: You do show so many aspects of her life, and one of them is her mentorship of other women. I mean, she was famous for, as a member of

Congress, giving women jobs that they had not had before.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Voting's bourgeois politics.

KING: If all you're doing is outside yelling and screaming, that's all your ever going to be, a yeller and a screamer. You have to be part of the


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The process doesn't exist in politics for black women. You're different.

KING: I saw what needed to be done, and I did it. That's not different, that's necessary. I want you to come work for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On your campaign?

KING: Oh, is that too bourgeois for you?


MARTIN: What do you think Shirley Chisholm might think of the current moment, where, you know -- our current political moment, where on the one

hand you have the first, you know, woman of color as vice president, on the other hand, you know, legislatively, women are fighting battles that they

thought they had won? And I'm just wondering if you have some thoughts about that. Your film lands at such an interesting time.

KING: Yes. You know, there's a part of me that feels like if Shirley was running for president during these times, she might have very well won, you



Can you imagine a Shirley going toe to toe with like a Donald Trump? Oh, my God, I don't think it would have gone down quite the same.

And, you know, maybe that's me just with Pollyanna dreams or whatever. But I do know that there's an interview that I had seen that Shirley had done,

I want to say it was in the '90s, it may have been in the '80s, but she was asked, you know, did she think she'd see a woman president in her lifetime?

And she said, absolutely not, you know? And she said, but you know, there'll be a vice president, a woman vice president before a president.

And I just thought that was so fascinating with everything that she had -- you know, the fighting Chisholm, everything that she had done, all that she

was up against. She -- and this was after she had retired, she was no longer in politics at all at this point, she was just kind of giving

speeches, but all that she had seen in the time and all those terms that she had served, she knew without a doubt that we as a people were not

evolved enough to have a woman in that position.

And I think about when Trump won, and that meant that there were a lot of women that voted for him. I think that she'd be disappointed, you know? I

mean, we are -- we're disappointed, you know? But I would say that I have faith in the younger generation having the desire to become more involved

to activate.

Because we do need a youth, smart, young, passionate people to want to become involved in the political process. And I think that's one of

Shirley's gifts. That was one of her superpowers, to just see in people what they did not see in themselves and kind of ignite something in them to

think bigger and want to go out and seek the knowledge and think more globally, if you will.

MARTIN: Well, congratulations on the film.

KING: Thank you.

MARTIN: Thank you so much for talking with us about it. What do you hope people will get from it?

KING: Just what I was just saying, I hope that people feel activated. And I hope that, again, although I'm not Shirley, one of the big messages that

she always spoke about throughout the campaign is the importance of the youth, you know. We're making decisions for their future.

And I hope that younger people feel that they meet the criteria. They have the criteria that's needed to want to run for those local offices, because

that's where a lot of the decisions that are made that affect our day-to- day lives. You know, in city council, your -- you know, your representatives in your district, your mayors, your governors, you know,

that they make really huge choices that affect your day-to-day, and that they are interested in it. They're interested in the future. That's what I

hope, you know.

MARTIN: Regina King, thank you so much for talking with us. Congratulations.

KING: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And we can all watch it now on Netflix.

And finally, tonight, no running, no spilling, and only one hand on the tray. Those were the rules for waiters in Paris who swapped fine dining for

a race to the finish line.

As the city revived the century-old Coups de Cafe, 200 of the creme de la creme dashed two kilometers through the streets of Paris, carrying a tray

set with a traditional continental breakfast. It's a fun and lively celebration of the city's famed restaurant and cafe culture, and it was

started back in 1914. And the love, friendships, business deals, and revolutions, just think about all of that that began in those cafes.

Revived to promote sport ahead of the Paris Olympics this summer, here's one of the contenders.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been doing this job since I was 16. I don't necessarily expect to be the first because I don't necessarily have the

best cardio. But I hope to at least arrive with the tray in good condition at the finish line.



AMANPOUR: Now, the winner is the one who crosses that finish line fastest and who's judged to have spilled the least liquid on their mad coffee run.

That's it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. Remember, you can always

catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.