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The Amanpour Hour

Is The West Letting Putin Win?; Interview With Jens Stoltenberg; Interview With John Kerry; Interview With Adam Driver; Is War In Gaza Creating A New Generation Of Enemies For Israel; Interview With Marina Abramovic. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 23, 2023 - 11:00   ET




CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Tap dancing in the White House.

RAMPELL: How can people -- how can people get so triggered by tap dancing?

WALLACE: And tap dancing and jazz which is what it is. You say Duke Ellington -- a uniquely American form of expression.

RAMPELL: Absolutely. I think tap dancing is among the most American art form there is.

WALLACE: So they're really unpatriotic, aren't they.

RAMPELL: Absolutely. Absolutely.

WALLACE: Well, I've watched the whole thing after knowing that you were going to bring it up today and it is terrific.

Thank you all for being here and sharing our pre-Christmas spirit. Even though you were wrong about the song and the movie, but you did pretty well.

And thank you for spending part of your day with us.

Merry Christmas. Happy holidays to all of you.

And we'll see you right back here next week.

CHRISTIAN AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London and welcome to THE AMANPOUR HOUR.

In the next 60 minutes, we'll take you around the world to ask the tough questions, tackle the big problems and let history be our guide as well. Here's where we're headed this week.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: I'm certain that the United States of America will not betray us. AMANPOUR: Stay the course, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

says he's counting on Congress to keep funding Ukraine and our battle for democracy.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Ukrainians have been able to inflict heavy losses on the Russian forces.

AMANPOUR: Then as tough as it gets. Biden's top climate adviser, John Kerry, on his high stakes deal making at COP28 and why even a Trump comeback couldn't turn back the clock.

JOHN KERRY, BIDEN TOP CLIMATE ADVISER: Nobody can stop this now. The economies of the world have made this decision.

AMANPOUR: Also ahead. From my archive, a cautionary tale from Gaza after the 2009 war. Why a summer camp there was more boot camp for the children I met.

Then, Adam Driver plays Enzo Ferrari, who bet it all on an epic car race across Italy. He tells me movie making is all about lasting moments.

ADAM DRIVER, ACTOR: It's a document that's going to last forever.

AMANPOUR: And finally, Marina Abramovic puts her body and her life on the line for her art.

Marina, you could have been killed.


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

And what a difference this year has made for Ukraine. Just last December, President Zelenskyy was warmly received in a rare joint session of Congress.


ZELENSKYY: Our two nations are allies in this battle. And next year will be a turning point. I know it. The point when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom. The freedom of people who stand for their values.


AMANPOUR: But if this year has been a turning point, it is turning in the wrong direction. Here's President Zelenskyy at a press conference in Kyiv sounding less than confident about continued American support.


ZELENSKYY: Talking about financial aid. We're 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.


AMANPOUR: Why the change? Republican resistance to funding Ukraine has hardened from no blank checks to no checks at all. Congress has adjourned without passing critically-needed funding for this batting for democracy.

And in Europe, Hungary's Viktor Orban blocked $50 billion in E.U. aid. Now, military planners are considering the worst-case scenario that Ukraine, without western aid, loses to Russia. Perhaps even by this summer.

My guest Jens Stoltenberg wrestles with all of this as NATO's Secretary General and he tells me that support for Ukraine is in fact a vital investment for the United States in the face of Putin's direct threat to the democratic world.


AMANPOUR: Secretary General, welcome to the program. Did you expect that by the end of this year, things would be so dire and maybe Putin will be proved right to have said that he can wait out the West.

STOLTENBERG: I'm always very careful predicting about wars because wars are by nature unpredictable and most experts were very wrong at the beginning of the war because then we feared and many experts believed that Russia would take control over Kyiv within days and that Ukraine will collapse within weeks.

That didn't happen. The Ukrainians has been able to push back the Russian invaders in the north, in the east, and in the south.


STOLTENBERG: But of course now, we see that the front lines have not changed in any significant way over the last year. And therefore, it's even more important that we very clearly continue to provide support to Ukraine because they need our support to be able to prevail as a sovereign independent nation in Europe.

AMANPOUR: So what is your reaction then to the U.S. Congress, you know, not voting on this package, to the E.U. not voting on this package, and to, you know, American policy anyway? Western policymakers saying that Ukraine's going to lose if it doesn't get this aid.

Do you share that concern that it will lose if it doesn't get the critical aid that it needs very soon?

STOLTENBERG: Of course, it would have been much better if the U.S. Congress could have decided on a new package or a new allocation of money to Ukraine before Christmas. At the same time, I continue to count on the United States and the U.S. Congress to agree a substantial package for Ukraine because this is not charity. This is not only something we do to support Ukraine. We do it because it is an investment in our own security. And we have

to remember that if President Putin wins, it's not only a tragedy for Ukrainians, it's also dangerous for us. We become more vulnerable because then the message to President Putin is that when he uses military force, he gets what he wants and this is also very closely watched in Beijing.

So this is in our security interest and the security interest of the United States to invest in the defense of Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: So to that point, let me play something that President Zelenskyy said while he was, you know, trying to persuade the West that they needed the aid. He sort of said what you said. If you know, if Ukraine loses, who knows what's going to happen next.


ZELENSKYY: If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries and you will send your sons and daughters and it will be, I'm sorry, but the price will be higher.


AMANPOUR: So -- and you said last week and let me get this straight. If Putin wins in Ukraine, there is a real risk that his aggression will not end there. And you know, President Biden has said something similar. Putin says that's nonsense.

But what do you say to this fear that it won't stop in Ukraine?

STOLTENBERG: We don't see an imminent threat against any NATO ally country, but what we see is that if Russia and President Putin wins in Ukraine, then of course we see a pattern. We'll have forces in Moldova and they invaded Georgia. We see the brutality of the Russian forces in Syria and then they annexed Crimea in 2014. They went into eastern Donbas in 2014 and then, if they're then able to take the rest of Ukraine, then of course the lesson for them is that they can violate international law. They can use military force. They can invade neighbors and they get what they want. And that's a very dangerous lesson.

AMANPOUR: I've asked you many times and I've asked many other leaders many times in the two years of this war, you know, why hasn't more that's been promised got to Ukraine in the right time when it could have actually used it, when it could have actually taken advantage of its strength on the ground.

There's a major new article in "Time Magazine" that is now asking the very same question. In fact, saying that President Biden's and the Biden administration's slow yes and NATO's slow yes to Ukrainian requests for weapon systems especially ammunition, has led to this point where Russia has been able to capitalize and to dig in and this state of attrition right now.

STOLTENBERG: They invaded. They use military force against a neighbor which have in no way been a threat to them. We can always discuss if it was possible to do even more from our side earlier in providing support to Ukraine.

But what is clear is that the United States and NATO allies have provided unprecedented support to Ukraine. In the beginning, weapons like the antitank weapons and the Javelins, and all the antitank weapons that made a huge difference the first weeks.

Then with heavy artillery, then with advanced air defense systems. And now with cruise missiles, long range cruise missiles, and we have started the training of F16 pilots and F-16 planes will soon be delivered.

So this is the reason why actually the Ukrainians have achieved a lot. They have been able to liberate 50 percent of the territory that the Russians occupied at the beginning of the war.


AMANPOUR: But nothing in the last year and I guess my question is what is your Plan B?

STOLTENBERG: The plan is to continue to support Ukraine because we know that the only way to end this war in a way that ensures that Ukraine pervades is that we convince President Putin that he will not win on the battlefield. And the only way of convincing him is to ensure that Ukraine has the weapons, has the ammunition, has the forces they need to continue to push back Russian forces.

And yes, you are right that the front lines have not changed significantly over the last year, but Ukrainians have been able to inflict heavy losses on the Russian forces so they're paying that price on the battlefield and have been able to take control over parts of the Black Sea and push back the Black Sea Russian navy so they're able to export goods and grain out of Sevastopol and out of Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: So next year is going to be really challenging then.

Jens Stoltenberg, thank you so much for joining us.


AMANPOUR: So that stern warning from Europe to the United States.

Coming up next on the program, Biden's top eco-warrior John Kerry reveals the high stakes deal making at COP28 and tells me why not even a second Trump presidency could stop climate action now.



AMANPOUR: President Biden's top climate envoy John Kerry says only greed can now get in the way of combatting climate change. Kerry was right at the center of the high-stakes deal making at COP28 in Dubai where remarkably all 195 nations agreed to transition away from fossil fuels.

Earlier this week, he and I talked about aid, activism and how hard it was to get to that agreement.


AMANPOUR: Secretary Kerry, welcome back to the program.

KERRY: Good to be back.

AMANPOUR: There was a lot written about how you were able to leverage, if that's the right word, your contacts with the Saudi, with the U.A.E., with the Chinese official, et al.

Tell me just what it was like in terms of personal negotiation getting them to sign on the dotted line.

KERRY: Well, it's really tough. This is as tough as any multilateral negotiation gets. When you have economic interests and different capacities, different capabilities, different amounts of money, different cultures, different economies, and you bring them all together in a multilateral forum, I think people will expect them to all of a sudden, you know, terminate what they're doing or just not operating on the reality of how multilateral governments works. It's the hardest kind of all.

And what happened in Dubai is that 195 countries actually came to a consensus. Any one of them could have blocked. Any one country could have walked away and said now we're not doing this. They didn't.

They gathered together and said time for a transition away from fossil fuels with acceleration in the 2020s, commensurate with net zero 2050, and in keeping with the Paris Agreement, which means keeping 1.5 degrees alive. And that's what --


AMANPOUR: If there's one thing that worries you, what is it?

KERRY: Well, what worries me now is greed. And procrastination and business as usual. And people who just aren't going to step up.

AMANPOUR: If you're the envoy for President Biden, what happens if Biden doesn't get elected and the climate, you know -- I don't even know what to call him -- the climate agreement puller-outer of Donald Trump, which he did after 2015, comes back. What happens then?

KERRY: Yes. But let me tell you something. Let me tell you, even were Donald Trump was president of the United States and he pulled out of the Paris Agreement -- 37 governors, Republican and Democrat alike in the states of America, all continued to apply the Paris agreement. Even while Donald Trump was out of the agreement, 75 percent of the new electricity in the United States that came online came from renewables.

He probably didn't know it or if he tried to stop it. But bottom line is, he now -- nobody can stop this now. The economies of the world have made this decision. I think no one politician anywhere in the world can undo the direction the world is now moving in. AMANPOUR: And particularly the young people who are really there for

it and won't allow it to go and die a quiet death.

KERRY: Correct. Correct.

AMANPOUR: Can I talk about values and you as a public servant? It's known that you really shot to, I guess, public service by first going to Vietnam when you were very young as a young naval commander. And then coming back once you've seen what happened there and what you were faced with and speaking very bravely to the Fulbright committee.

What -- you saw what happened and you came out against the war.

KERRY: I did.

AMANPOUR: How did a young man decide to go against his country's policy about that and how did it affect and shape you?

KERRY: Well, because I saw it firsthand and I saw what was happening there. And it was very different from what we were being told. Our leaders. It was not about communism and it wasn't about a domino theory.

It was a civil war. It was a war which the United States became more and more involved in out of pride and out of ideology and not out of practical assessment of what was happening on the ground.

This was a failure of concept and those who are supposed to lead at the highest levels and it just cost America enormously.


KERRY: What's significant is I had the privilege of going back there a few weeks ago with President Biden and with a great friend of mine, who was a 19-year-old sergeant in the Marines named Tom Vallely who's put a lifetime in helping create the Fulbright University in Vietnam, a full-fledged, you know, academic freedom university in Vietnam.

But the point I make is that President Biden sort of completed the circle. John McCain and I worked on this together for years. George H.W. Bush took steps to lift the embargo. Bill Clinton as president took steps to normalize relationship.

But this final moment was President Biden announcing with the president of Vietnam a comprehensive, strategic relationship between Vietnam and the United States. What an amazing circle. What an amazing journey. Who would have believed that in 1968 or 9.

And that's the evolution of our policy. And I think it really does give it meaning and value beyond the tragedy of the war itself.

AMANPOUR: You just celebrated your 80th birthday. Still going strong. What line can you draw from that? From the young man who came back and told his country that this war is the wrong war to today to what you will tell your grandchildren about what's been achieved after this COP28? What will you tell them about their future? KERRY: Well, that we can make a difference. That all of us being

citizens and being active and being engaged, we have that freedom, that power to make a difference.

The struggle for us a little bit now in the United States and elsewhere is to make sure that the truth is on the table. That we are ratifying truth, not disinformation, not bad ideology.

And I think that you know, in so many ways, the journey we travel, I wrote the title of my autobiography after I left as secretary is "Every day is Extra". That comes from a saying that many of the guys on my crew and many of the people I knew there felt that responsibility because we survived and we came back.

And so you treat every day as extra. And when you say to me, you know, I'm 80 years old. I don't think about age. Honestly, I don't.

The other day I said to my friends when we were gathered, I said, you know, at 80, I can do everything I used to do when I was 15 but I don't remember what it is. It's funny.

AMANPOUR: On that note --

KERRY: On that note, it's not true, by the way.

AMANPOUR: Ok, good.

KERRY: Anyway.

AMANPOUR: So it must really tick you off all this stuff about Biden and his age.

KERRY: It does. I think it's sort of an ageism. He's done a brilliant job I think as president. He's strengthened NATO. He's been able to galvanize people around critical values that are at stake in Ukraine. Critical values.

I don't know what has happened to a lot of people who back away from that now because the cost of not persevering would be just extraordinary for the world.

And I think he knows how the Congress works. He knows America and he also knows how the world works and that's what you need today.

AMANPOUR: Secretary Kerry, thank you very much indeed.

KERRY: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And up next on the show, the drive to survive. I ask Hollywood star Adam Driver about his new role, playing Enzo Ferrari who bet the house on an epic race across Italy.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

Martin Scorsese says he is probably the best actor of his generation and now Adam Driver is starring alongside Penelope Cruz in Michael Mann's biopic "Ferrari", which opens on Christmas Day. Here's a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two objects cannot occupy the same point in space, at the same moment in time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go beat the hell out of them.


AMANPOUR: Driver plays Enzo Ferrari, the racing entrepreneur as he reckons with the death of his son and tries to save his company from ruin.

I asked Driver about the raw emotion at the heart of this new movie and if his time in the Marines made him a better actor.


AMANPOUR: Adam Driver, welcome to our program.

DRIVER: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

AMANPOUR: I'm going to play a little clip. This is not on the race course. It's actually interaction between you and Penelope Cruz who plays your wife Laura and she is now going at you over the death of your son.


PENELOPE CRUZ, ACTOR: You were supposed to save him.

DRIVER: You blame me for his death?

CRUZ: Yes. Yes, because you promised me he wouldn't die.

DRIVER: Everything, I did everything. Table showing what calories he could eat. What went in, what came out. I (INAUDIBLE) degrees about blumenuria (ph), the degrees of endothelia (ph), diuresis. I know more about nephritis. And this (INAUDIBLE).

CRUZ: Because you knew. I blame you because you let him die.

DRIVER: The father deluded himself. The great engineer. I will restore my son to health. Swiss doctors, Italian doctors (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I could not. I did not.

(END VIDEO CLIP) AMANPOUR: It's so raw and it's so dramatic and to see him as the, you know, the race car expert and then getting into this very personal situation. Half the story or maybe the most of the film is about his personal relationship with his wife who's his business partner, with his lover, who's the mother of his next son. It's very, very personal.

DRIVER: I probably should say just also to hedge people's expectations that it very easily could been a movie with a loose plot that's an excuse to look at beautiful Ferraris driving in a beautiful time, you know, in the world.


You know, the late 50s in Italy is beautiful. The costumes are beautiful.

But Michael's films are character-driven. He is committed and obsessed with having three-dimensional characters so hopefully by the time something does happen that you actually care, which seems to be, honestly hard to find in a lot of scripts.

This is a character driven movie first where the spectacle is -- I'm avoiding all driving metaphors -- but it's easy to say it takes a backseat to what his character study is.

And in a way, they all, they communicate with each other. You know. Who cares if anyone crashes if you don't really, don't care about the people.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you because I always get surprised when I think that you as a younger man, joined the Marines. And I wonder whether that gives you the intensity, the discipline, the connection with war reality that you were able to bring with you to Hollywood and this profession.

DRIVER: I look at a film set no different than I did a gun team. Obviously the stakes are life and death in the Marine Corps whereas in the civilian world or acting, you're pretending that they're life and death.

But the way, the process in working on it is almost the exact same. You know, it's a group of people trying to accomplish a mission that's bigger than any one person.

You know, the crossover between the military and acting especially as a group of people doing this thing that's bigger than any one person really made sense to me. And so I don't take it for granted.

AMANPOUR: I wonder how this fame affects you because it can affect people in very deep and difficult ways.

DRIVER: Well, as I kind of get older, I adjust to it so in a way, biology has taken care of some of it, you know. I try to live my life where I, you know, I have kids, I have a wife, I have, you know, a family that you want to try to protect. You know, it's -- I see the artifice and how you can get caught up in

it. Maybe because I was exposed to this later on in life, I just have a different perspective of it.

But you know, I don't know. To me, I really think it's about preserving your -- it's kind of like I don't really want to hear from actors. I wouldn't trust a lot of actors on real estate advice let alone their opinions on it, you know. So I try to keep it to the things we're working on and not take away from -- not mess up this thing by saying something stupid.

But also just it's not, it's not interesting. It kind of takes away from your job, which is to be a spy and look at other people and when they're looking at you, it's an adjustment. It's a weird way to be in the world.

AMANPOUR: I love that. To be a spy and look at people. That's very cool.

Adam Driver, thank you very much, indeed.

DRIVER: All right. Thank you. Thanks for having me.


AMANPOUR: And when we come back, why summer camp was more like boot camp for these children growing up in war-torn Gaza. From my archive, next.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

A persistent fear in this Gaza war is that the massive death toll and the destruction will only create a new generation of enemies for Israel. That's why the elders, a highly respected group of former world leaders working for human rights and peace, sent an open letter to President Biden saying quote, "destroying Gaza and killing civilians are not making Israelis safe. These actions will breed more terrorism across the region and beyond."

Frankly, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the same. Beware strategic defeat.

In 2009, after a different Gaza war, I traveled there and to other Muslim countries torn by fighting for my report that I called "Generation Islam".

What I saw there in Gaza shows us that the elders' warning is not fear mongering or prophesy. It is simply the voice of experience.


AMANPOUR: The hot summer sun beats down on 5-year-old Hamza Maru (ph). He and his family are now living in complete squalor. He sits in the rubble of his bombed-out home playing with a broken mirror. It's all he has.

The preschool where we first met Hamza is closed for the summer. With little to do, he can only dream of a place to play.

HAMZA MARU, FIVE-YEAR OLD GAZAN: I have no camp and no one brings me toys. How am I supposed to get them on my own? My father doesn't work. I sit at home alone.

AMANPOUR: Even if he could go to camp, summer in Gaza is a long way from campfires and canoe rides. The Hamas government runs religious and recreational camps for more than 100,000 children. The boys participating in this one call it Boy Scouts. But it's more like boot camp.

12-year-old Mohammed is honing his skills. without Boy Scouts, he says, there wouldn't be much to do.


MOHAMMED: We'd be bored. Not having fun at all and hate our lives. We'd be sitting at home reading the Quran.

AMANPOUR: Mohammed and many of the other boys here lost friends during the war. This may be a welcome release for him, but even at this young anyone, he's absorbing a message.

MOHAMMED: We come to the camp to have fun. And train for Boy Scouts so we can build up our bodies, have power so we'll be able to fight the Israelis.

AMANPOUR: Emad (ph), the camp leader, insists that they're not teaching violence. But in war-torn Gaza, they are teaching self- defense.

EMAD, GAZA CAMP LEADER: we try to change their perspective from one that is vicious or war related to one that encourages them to be kids, to play.

AMANPOUR: When they are older, he says, they can then join the fight for a Palestinian homeland.

EMAD: After you grow up, you can be recruited to liberate the land.

AMANPOUR: When we asked the boys what they wanted to be when they grow up, not surprisingly they all said the same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be a defender of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be a policeman. And defend the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone who is disciplined and a defender of my country.

AMANPOUR: For years, Hamas has openly promoted a culture of violent resistance, presenting masked gunmen and suicide bombers as heroes.

I asked Hamas political leader Ahmed Yousef (ph) why their message to kids is so militant.

AHMED YOUSEF, FORMER HAMAS POLITICAL LEADER: When you have the Israeli belligerent approach all the time, they see all the time the F-16, Apache and the tanks. What do you expect the people to do here?

We expected the world would help the Palestinian to achieve their dreams of having a free, independent state. Until we achieve that, the tragedy will continue. Nobody will surrender.

AMANPOUR: Angry and isolated, these are the young Muslims whom White House adviser Eboo Patel is worried about.

What does it mean to be alienated in places like Gaza or Afghanistan where there's quite a lot to be alienated about if you're young and Muslim.

EBOO PATEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Not only do you not belong, but you will never belong to this thing called the human community. You will never have the opportunity to live a full life of dignity.

And so it's not surprising to me that some of these young people would be receptive to the message of creating an alternative community, a destructive community.

AMANPOUR: John Ging (ph) directs the United Nations relief effort and runs its schools here. He's launched his own war against extremism with a competing summer games program to keep kids off the streets and out of the hands of the militants.

JOHN GING, FORMER DIRECTOR, UNRWA GAZA: An overwhelming vast majority of the people here are decent, civilized people with good values. There's a battle going on here for the hearts and minds of the people.


AMANPOUR: Back then, one Palestinian elder told me if the Israelis want peace with us and end the occupation, we will wave an olive branch. If they do not, we will wave the Quran and a gun.

When we come back, why the godmother of performance art is willing to put her life on the line to leave a lasting memory.


ABRAMOVIC: This was a piece that I realized that I really could (INAUDIBLE).



AMANPOUR: Welcome back. Marina Abramovic is a fearless pioneer of performance art. Instead of

canvas or clay, this Serbian artist uses her body in ways that range from uncomfortable to downright dangerous. And at 77, she remains an unstoppable leader in the field.

Here in London, the Royal Academy is hosting the definitive retrospective of her 50-year career. And I met her there to find out what makes her put her whole self on the line for art.


AMANPOUR: Marina Abramovic, welcome to the program. One of your exhibitions which is here now is a table of 72 objects that you say do what you will with these objects. I am the tool. Do whatever you want to me.

Tell me how that played out because it turned out pretty violent at one point.

MARINA ABRAMOVIC:, ARTIST: But you know, I was 33 years old. Six hours, the first one two hours (INAUDIBLE). Then they my (INAUDIBLE), then they cut my shirt. Then they put pins in rolls in my body, then they try to spear the skull and suck my blood on my neck.

Then they you know carry me around. There was so much -- the violence. Very interesting thing happened. Women didn't do anything. Women told men what to do. And women took when I was crying, they would take handkerchief and wash my face from the tears.

AMANPOUR: How do you interpret that?

ABRAMOVIC: I don't. I have no (INAUDIBLE).

AMANPOUR: I'm shocked.

ABRAMOVIC: This was a piece that I realized that I really could be killed.

AMANPOUR: And somebody did point a loaded gun at you.

ABRAMOVIC: Yes, and another person came and took the gun (INAUDIBLE) to the window. It was so much violence.


AMANPOUR: At what point do the guards have a responsibility. Marina, you could have been killed.


AMANPOUR: Somebody could have not just nicked your neck. They could have gotten your jugular.

ABRAMOVIC: Now we talk about performance. When you go into state of performance, you're not you. You're not little Marina who can start thinking what all hell could happen. You're Super Marina. You're the higher form of yourself. And then everything is possible.

AMANPOUR: What are you saying here, Marina? This is quite --

ABRAMOVIC: I made this skeleton exactly my size. I'm lying (INAUDIBLE). I just want to know, you know, how that feels, this position. Somebody (ph) said life is a dream and death is waking up. I just want to know that moment, because the moment that I want to die is without fear, without anger and consciously. That's something that you need to train during your life. It doesn't come just like that.

AMANPOUR: Death is a huge part of your life and your work.


AMANPOUR: You're always thinking about death.

ABRAMOVIC: All the time.

AMANPOUR: So what -- how do you stay happy and positive?

ABRAMOVIC: I'm hilarious in real life. I'm honestly almost standup comedy. I need to laugh and it was (INAUDIBLE).

AMANPOUR: So we're sitting in this room, which is very important, because it has almost your signature piece of the Great Wall in China. It was designed for you and your lover Ule (ph) to walk from each end. That's a total of 5,000 kilometers. You walked about 2,500 each.


AMANPOUR: Exactly. It took you what -- three months or so to walk. What were you meant to do when you met, and what did you actually do?

ABRAMOVIC: We had the year at that time in the desert. (INAUDIBLE) Great Wall of China. And eight years we would write the China's government letters. Eight years we were getting very friendly answers, but we didn't move anywhere.

The deal was to walk this Chinese wall, and we meet in the middle and we marry. Finally after eight years we got permission to walk the Great Wall of China, but at that our relationship was ending.

I said we never give up anything. We said, ok, now, we're going to walk, instead of marrying, we're going to say good-bye.

One of our friends, American said to us, why don't you just make a phone call? He missed the whole point.

AMANPOUR: And then a few years later you went back to an amazing performance that went viral around the world, "The Artist is Present". It first showed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and what happened? Because something like 1,500 people came and sat next to you and tried to stare you out. But on one occasion your former lover came.

ABRAMOVIC: You know, I never break the rules. I'm a soldier, I'm a warrior. I do things as I decide. This is the only time I broke the rule because in front of me was a man I loved so much and in front is somebody that was not the public. It was life itself. So I put my hand on the table and touched him and just cry. It was one of these moments that it was so intense.

AMANPOUR: Thank you, Marina Abramovic.

ABRAMOVIC: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: A really extraordinary woman.

And when we come back, more questions and answers. "Ask Amanpour" is next.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

And this is where I take your questions about the events today that shape tomorrow. Let's find out what's on your mind this week.


WILLIAM, VIEWER: Hi. My name is William (INAUDIBLE). I'm a 15-year-old boy living in Edmonton, Alberta. My question is, what is the best path to achieve and revive the peace process in the Middle East?

So that's an excellent question, William. I tell you, I am going to put this on Rabbi Sharon Brous, author of "The Amen Effect" who I interviewed recent, who she told me that it's really about hearing the story of the other.


RABBI SHARON BROUS, AUTHOR, "THE AMEN EFFECT": We're living in a moment of false binaries as if people need to make a choice to be -- you're either with Israel or you're with the Palestinians when in reality, the only future is a shared future.

There are millions of people who live in that land who are not leaving, who literally have nowhere else to go. And they have to find a way to live with one another.

So these false binaries are only sending us further and further away from the work that ultimately must be done which is the work of shared grief, the work of building some kind of shared narrative.

And so the tools that I'm most invested in right now and the reason actually that I call the book "The Amen Effect" is because we have ancient mechanisms for teaching us how to lean into the discomfort of conversations that don't feel natural to us where we feel like we might even be losing something of our own victimhood if we hear someone else's pain.

But in fact it's only when we hear one another's pain and when we lift up and affirm each other's humanity that we can collectively walk toward a shared liberation with one another.



AMANPOUR: And I hope we can all agree and share the feeling that what she just said was really profound and really vital. Without listening to the other, without hearing the other's pain as a very first step, there is no avenue, there's no room to even start a peace process.

That's all we have time for right now. If you want to ask me a question, scan the QR code on your screen or e-mail and remember to tell us your name and where you're from.

Don't forget, you can find all our shows online as podcasts at on all other major platforms.

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. And I'll see you again next week.