Return to Transcripts main page

The Amanpour Hour

The Kremlin's High-Stakes Game Of Hostage Diplomacy; Interview With Wife Of Jailed Russian Opposition Figure Vladimir Kara-Murza Evgenia Kara-Murza; Interview With State Department Staffer Who Resigned In Protest Annelle Sheline; Interview With Nephew Of Hostage Abraham Munder, Zahiro-Shahar Mor; How Is Musk's Starlink Falling Into Russian Soldiers' Hands?; Global Firebrand Feminist Gloria Steinem Turns 90. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 30, 2024 - 11:00   ET



CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Well, I was at the Chicago convention in 1968 when the Vietnam protesters dealt with the Chicago police and it really, really hurt the prospects for the Democratic party that November.

I'm going to break the rules and give you a best shot of my own.

Meet Sophie Anderson, our panelist and dear friend Kristen Soltis Anderson gave birth a few days ago to the six-pound, 13 ounce bundle of joy. I'm told her big sister L.A. and dog Wall-E are beyond thrilled. And we are too.

Congrats to Kristen, her husband, Chris, and the entire Anderson family.

Gang, thank you all for being here today.

Thank you for spending part of your day with us. We'll see you right back here next week.


Here's where we're headed this week.


EVGENIA KARA-MURZA, WIFE OF RUSSIAN POLITICAL PRISONER VLADIMIR KARA- MURZA: He is a dictator and a usurper. It's time the free world finally said so.

AMANPOUR: Putin's pawns, the wife of Russia's most high-profile political prisoner reacts to the year-long detention of "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich.

KARA-MURZA: Journalism being equated with espionage, seriously? That is a hostage situation.

AMANPOUR: Then why this State Department staffer quit over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

ANNELLE SHELINE, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICER: People are shocked and appalled by what the U.S. government is doing.

AMANPOUR: The relative of an Israeli hostage who was arrested at an anti-government protest accuses Netanyahu of deliberately slow walking ceasefire talks.

ZAHIRO-SHAHAR MOR, NEPHEW OF ISRAELI HOSTAGE ABRAHAM MUNDER: The Israeli public is being pumped with "together we will win; together, we will win" and we're not winning.

AMANPOUR: Also this hour how did Elon Musk's satellite Internet system fall into Russian hands?

And from my archive, the legendary feminist Gloria Steinem turns 90.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone.

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And we begin this out with Putin's political pawns and the dangerous hostage diplomacy at play in the Kremlin.

It's now one year since "The Wall Street Journal" reporter, Evan Gershkovich became the first American journalist detained on espionage charges since the Cold War.

He was on assignment with press credentials given to him by the Russian foreign ministry. There is zero evidence to support their charges.

And Evan, his family and the journal and the U.S. government deny all the allegations against him.

In a moment, I'll introduce you to Evgenia Kara-Murza. Her husband, Vladimir, who's a British- Russian citizen, is one of roughly 700 political prisoners in Russia.

He survived two poisonings that nearly killed him. And he's now serving 25 years for treason after criticizing Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

But first, CNN's Fred Pleitgen explains how we got here.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No media allowed at Evan Gershkovich's most recent court hearing in Moscow, just this short clip by the court's press service.

Despite a year in a Russian jail, a defiant smile from "The Wall Street Journal" reporter. No surprise, his detention was extended yet again through June 30th. The U.S. ambassador to Russia ripping into the verdict.

LYNNE TRACY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: The accusations against Evan are categorically untrue. They are not a different interpretation of circumstances. They are fiction.

PLEITGEN: Evan Gershkovich was arrested and charged with espionage a year ago while on assignment in Yekaterinburg, Central Russia.

MARIA ZAKHAROVA, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: I do not know if there are any other cases, but the allegations made by our intelligence services today were not related to his journalism.

PLEITGEN: "The Wall Street Journal" and Gershkovich's family strongly denied the allegations.

Polina Ivanova of "The Financial Times" is one of Evan's best friends and still keeps in regular contact with him writing letters.

POLINA IVANOVA, FINANCIAL TIMES REPORTER & FRIEND OF EVAN GERSHKOVICH: He's doing remarkably well. He's absolutely staying strong. He's not allowing himself to, you know, to wallow, to get too upset by everything. In fact, he spends most of his time in letters to us trying to make us feel better.

PLEITGEN: Gershkovich faces a jail sentence of up to 20 years if convicted. But CNN has reported that Gershkovich and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan were part of a proposed prisoner swap with the now- dead opposite leader Alexei Navalny.

The Russian president taunted on his reelection day that he approved a swap on the condition he'd get back a high-profile Russian intelligence officer in prison for murder in Germany, Vadim Krasikov.

PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): The person who spoke to me had not finished his sentence yet. I said, I agree, but unfortunately, what happened happened.


PLEITGEN: For those close to Evan, that means the waiting continues, outcome uncertain.

IVANOVA: When you see (INAUDIBLE) talk about it and very clear terms that this is what they want to see happen, that they're looking for a deal, you know, it just gives you hope that at some point this will -- this, you know, that he will be home. He needs to be home, needs to be back with his family, with his friends.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


AMANPOUR: As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, Putin gets ever stronger in punishing any dissent at home. People like Vladimir Kara- Murza remain in jail. So now to my conversation with his wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, who is

central in the increasingly female-led fight for human rights and democracy in Russia.


AMANPOUR: Evgenia Kara-Murza, welcome to the program.

KARA-MURZA: Hello, Christiane. Thank you very much for inviting me.

AMANPOUR: I'd like to ask you in light of your husband's persistent imprisonment in Moscow in Russia, and also being a one-year anniversary since the journalist Evan Gershkovich was taken, his family tries to reach him. I know you try to reach your husband and your kids -- you try to get them to talk to him

How do you do it? When was the last time you managed and how long can you talk for?

KARA-MURZA: The last time I talked to my husband was last summer, in summer 2023. My kids were allowed a 15-minute phone call with their dad at the end of December of last year. And since we have three kids it meant that each of them got five minutes on the phone with their dad and that was the first call in over half a year.

And I obviously had to measure those minutes with a timer because I could not allow one of our kids to speak to their father for longer than five minutes.

So in the conditions in which Vladimir is being kept now, and that is a punishment cell in so-called special regime prison colony in western Siberia, he's not allowed any visits by family members. He's not allowed any calls and only under exceptional circumstances.

So in mid-February, we celebrated our 20th anniversary and Vladimir requested a phone call with me and was denied. The Russian -- the prison authorities told him that this was not an exceptional circumstance. As was not our oldest daughter's 18th birthday. So they told him that death would be an exceptional circumstance.

Other than that, he's not allowed any phone calls.

AMANPOUR: Wow. That is just so hard to hear. It's really hard to hear.

What must be going through your mind every day since Alexey Navalny died. I don't know whether you also believed that he was killed in prison.

KARA-MURZA: I do believe that this was a murder. And the responsibility lies with Vladimir Putin. As to my family situation, well, you know what, I have been living with this fears since 2015 when my husband survived the first attack on him, the first assassination attempt. He then survived yet another one in 2017.

And thanks to an independent investigation by Bellingcat and the Insider, we know that the same team that was implicated in the poisoning of Alexey Navalny had been following my husband before both attacks.

So now that he's being held by the same people who tried to kill him twice of course, I am extremely worried about his life and I've been living with this fear for many years already.

AMANPOUR: And I can see the strain obviously in your face and in your words. Your husband is a domestic, in other words, a Russian critic inside Russia of Putin.

Evan Gershkovich was arrested and jailed on what the Americans called trumped-up espionage charges. The first time a journalist, American journalist since the Cold War.

What is Putin's aim in -- I know they're different, but what's the aim of holding these pawns, whether domestically or international figures?

KARA-MURZA: Well, the imprisonment of Evan Gershkovich are on absolutely ridiculous grounds. I mean journalism being equated with espionage, seriously?

But that is a hostage situation. Vladimir Putin takes hostages to then get the persons of interest to him back to Russia in exchange for the lives of these hostages.

Just like in the Soviet times, (INAUDIBLE) Vladimir Putin wants to show that there is no dissent in the country. There's just a huge number of criminals, spies, traitors, and foreign agents.


AMANPOUR: You spoke at the U.N. in fact, this last week and you laid into President Putin, I'm going to play a little bit of what you said.


KARA-MURZA: Vladimir Putin is not a legitimately-elected president. He is a dictator and a usurper. Its time the free world finally said so.


AMANPOUR: Famously, President Biden said that, you know, Putin would pay for the death of Navalny. You have met your husband was a dual U.K. citizen with the foreign minister here and others. What must the world do, do you think?

KARA-MURZA: Well with regard to President Biden's promise, I'm afraid were still waiting for those devastating consequences that had been promised.

I, you know, I join my husband in his call for finally calling (INAUDIBLE) and I believe that the world has to finally call Vladimir Putin for what he is, a criminal wanted by the ICC for kidnapping of Ukrainian kids and for many other crimes that he himself and his regime had been committing over the years.

He cannot be seen and recognized as a legitimate partner on the international stage.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you whether furthermore, the terror attack that took place that ISIS claimed last week, that killed, you know, nearly 140 people. You saw that Putin finally admitted that it was ISIS, but said that Ukraine must have had something to do with it.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: We know that the crime was committed by radical Islamists whose ideology the Islamic world itself, has been fighting for centuries.

It is also necessary to answer the question, why the terrorists tried to go to Ukraine after committing a crime. Who was waiting for them there?


KARA-MURZA: We know that Vladimir Putin has been on the scene for almost a quarter of a century, committing very similar crimes to the ones that are being committed now in Ukraine.

And in the past the regime used every terrorist attack in the country to his own interests to strengthen repression in the country and to launch aggression like the 2002 and 2004 terrorist attacks, (INAUDIBLE) were used to start the second Chechen war and the bombings of 1999.

All these are terrorists attacks in the past were used to start a second Chechen war and to justify his aggression against Chechnya.

I believe that Vladimir Putin will use this terrorist attack for the same purpose.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much Evgenia Kara-Murza. And we wish you and your family well.

KARA-MURZA: Thank you very much, Christiane.


AMANPOUR: Coming up next, my exit interview with the State Department staffer who quit over the crisis in Gaza. Why she believes the Biden administration is helping "enable the atrocities" in her words.

And then the relative of an Israeli hostage tells me why he believes the Netanyahu government is deliberately stalling ceasefire talks.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

It's another significant sign of growing dissent inside the Biden camp over its handling of the crisis in Gaza. State Department staffer Annelle Sheline resigned in protest this week and decided to go public after colleagues convinced her to speak out on their behalf.

Writing in an op-ed for CNN, she said that her job to advocate for human rights was impossible while blank, check support for Israel, quote, "enables atrocities in Gaza".

In her first television interview, I asked her why now.


SHELINE: I think as it became clear what U.S. policy was going to be as far as enabling the ongoing military operations in Gaza, as well as the intentional use of starvation as a weapon, I initially hoped to make a difference inside the State Department through the dissent cables, through internal forums, speaking with supervisors.

And then eventually, it became clear that, from my position inside State, there was really very little that I could do. And I was initially just going to resign quietly. I just didn't want to be part of this government anymore.

But as I started to let colleagues know of my intention they said, please speak for us, please use your voice.

You know, many of these are individuals who feel they cannot resign or who are still doing very important work inside the State Department. And so, I decided that I would go ahead and go public.

AMANPOUR: Was it painful? Do you -- did you -- what risks did you feel you were taking? What consequences for your life, for your child? You have a one-year-old child I believe. A mortgage.

SHELINE: Yes. Those are all concerns. I do think I'm privileged, you know.


SHELINE: I'd only been at the State Department for a year. I have an academic background. I have a PhD in political science. I had previously been in the think tank sector.

Whereas, I think for a lot of my colleagues who spent their whole careers inside government or inside the State Department it's -- it is much more challenging to think about, you know, trying to leave.

Although, plenty of colleagues have said that it is something that they're considering, that they see what the U.S. government is doing as just in such direct to contravention to the mission that they believe they're trying to uphold by working for the U.S. Department of State and in contravention of American values more broadly.

AMANPOUR: You just talked about using starvation as a weapon of war. Yes, the E.U. has said that, yes, the U.N., yes, other international organizations but not the United States.

Let me play this from the briefing on Monday by the State Department about whether the U.S. believes -- that the Department that you just left, believes that that is happening. Take a listen.


MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We have not made an assessment or drawn the conclusion that they are in violation of international humanitarian law when it comes to the provision of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

That said, we do believe there is very much more that they can do to let humanitarian assistance go in.


AMANPOUR: So you can hear the U.S. saying that over and over again now, I mean really for a long time. So they're trying to thread a needle, and they are dropping aid, they are complaining and demanding that more aid goes in.

Tell me what you're noticing about maybe a shift in the public posture of the administration.

SHELINE: I think it's encouraging that we have started to see some degree of a shift, but at present, it has made almost no difference to the lives of people starving and being bombed inside Gaza.

I think to the extent that even things like the U.S. being willing to abstain at the U.N. Security Council is significant. But then the administration came out and immediately said that that was nonbinding.

So, in general, I just find that the way the administration is trying to do this, I think they made a political calculation, that they thought that it

made the most sense politically to maintain this extreme support for Israel, regardless of the illegal behaviors that Israel engages in.

AMANPOUR: Annelle, very quickly. I wonder, because you are the second to actually resign.

Can you give us a sense from what you know inside the State Department of how much the support is?

SHELINE: People are shocked and appalled by what the U.S. government is doing. Many people continue to do the very important work inside the State Department and continue to feel that their efforts are making a difference on, you know, the many, many issues that the State Department is involved in.

But on the other hand, I do know people who may be considering resigning.


AMANPOUR: And you can watch the rest of our conversation online at, along with all my other interviews. Up next on the show, the relative of an Israeli hostage on the

frustrating fight to reunite his family and the drastic measures he took to get the government's attention.


MOR: We're not winning, we're not winning at all. So this this charade should stop.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

Famine in Gaza has brought civilians to the depths of despair. But Israeli families continued their own struggle to bring back the 130 remaining hostages. On Tuesday, protesters in Tel Aviv took to the streets demanding the return of those still held captive while symbolically locking themselves in cages.

Four of them were detained briefly for locking a public road. Zahiro- Shahar Mor was one of them. His cousin was murdered and his house was torched by Hamas on October 7. His uncle, aunt and cousin together with her nine-year-old son, were taken hostage.

But while the women and children were released late November, Abraham is still in Hamas captivity and his nephew Zahiro is joining me now from Jerusalem.

Welcome to the program. How are you holding up?

MOR: Not so well, it's almost six months now and every day, you know, is you have cycles of despair and hope and hope and despair and --

AMANPOUR: What is your honest, genuine feeling about whether you will get your uncle back. He was alive according to others who've been released subsequent but he was injured.

MOR: Last we heard was from, as you said, one of the released hostages who is a lady medical nurse in (INAUDIBLE) Medical Center and she took care of him, apparently was taken to Gaza on the backseat of a motorcycle and he fell on the way. I remind you, this is a 79-year-old man.

So apparently he fell and he got some superficial scratches and wounds and she took care of him. And she said that his wounds are getting better but since then, and this was like almost three months ago, we know nothing.


MOR: We just know that he's been moved and now he's probably deeper inside some tunnel. And we know from people that got released, you know, that the humidity there is terrible and the sanitary conditions are non-existent.

AMANPOUR: And I want to ask you about the protests you and others are now undergoing regularly in Israel against the government and its inability to bring back more of these hostages, including your uncle.

So we said and we showed you and others in cages, symbolic cages, on a street in Tel Aviv. Why do you think you were arrested and detained?

MOR: For the obvious reason, you know, for police force arriving. We are not family members or we are people disturbing the traffic.

Yes. We got released really faster last Tuesday, we spent like 134 minutes symbolically in this prison cell. It's nothing compared to what my uncle is going through, of course.

AMANPOUR: So the Israeli government has, from the beginning said that it has two objectives -- defeating Hamas and returning the hostages. Do you believe that that second objective is actually, you know, happening?

MOR: The military maneuver that's going on in Gaza is not helping the hostages in any way. This was from day one, we understood that there can't be two prime objective and they tried to convince us that these two objectives will go hand-in-hand and neither of them -- neither of them is accomplished.

And the Israel administration is just not committed enough and its busy doing all kinds of political games for political survival and the hostages are wasting away in some rat hole inside Gaza and we don't have time. They don't have time every day that goes by.

AMANPOUR: You told us before we started the interview that some hostage families are hesitant to actually go out and protest. Why is that?

MOR: There is very strong notion of please don't make too much noise otherwise your family member, you know, hostage could be moved to a lower place once a list will be composed. There's a lot of pressure coming from the cabinet ministers stating these thoughts, ok, be quiet. Be quiet, play along. Come with us to this delegations and meet with the U.N. and put pressure on outside players. But don't say anything to contradict the official governmental line.

And we're very public being pumped with "together we will win, together we will win". And were not winning, not winning at all.

So this charade should stop. We need some international intervention because the way things are going in Israel now, we're jumping straight head down to the abyss.

AMANPOUR: And it is really horrible to hear you describe that. And we obviously wish you all the best. Zahiro-Shahar Mor, thank you very much for joining us.

MOR: Thank you for hearing my voice.


AMANPOUR: In response to that interview, a statement from the Israeli government reads in part, "Destroying Hamas and freeing the hostages are not mutually exclusive goals. On the contrary, these missions complement one another. Israel will continue to do what is needed to reach all its just war objectives. Destroy Hamas, free our hostages, and ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel and the civilized world in the future.

And up next why is Elon Musk's satellite Internet system getting into Russian hands? And how does that impact drone warfare in Ukraine?

A CNN investigation, when we come back.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Elon Musk's Starlink Internet satellite system has been crucial to Ukrainian troops on the battlefield especially its drone pilots. But now it's being used against them by Russian soldiers who aren't supposed to have access to it in the first place.

This week's investigation by correspondent Nick Paton Walsh shows how Russia appears to be bypassing U.S. sanctions to exploit this vital modern warfare technology.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Ukraine's newest target is something they've long cherished themselves.


WALSH: Small, white, rectangular satellite Internet terminals from Elon Musk's Starlink, apparently in Russian hands and hit by Ukrainian drones.

They're not supposed to be there at all, according to Musk and U.S. sanctions.

Here, a Russian soldier explains frontline damage to one of their Starlink units, connecting attack drones and command centers.

While Russia has officially denied their use, their army of crowd funders openly flaunt Starlink purchases in third countries.

Here is one key supplier showing off store-bought drones and five Starlinks, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next batch will be bigger, 30 pieces.

PATON WALSH: The look on their faces does not suggest they're too confident in coming home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take care of yourself.

PATON WALSH: She has posted other images of Starlinks and drones bought.

Ukrainian troops we met across the east and south of the front line said Russia has near copied their system of attack drones, using Starlink's Internet signal to control dozens of single-use first- person view devices to swarm Ukrainian positions.

Here is even an intercepted signal one unit told us they had hacked from a Russian drone. You can see it maneuvering into a Ukrainian target.

Near the heavily-contested village of Robotyne, down in the bunkers where the drone wars are fought, this change is huge and has come with an apparent complication for the Ukrainians too. Their Starlink speeds have been getting slower, said this commander.

ANTON, UKRAINE'S 65TH MECHANIZED BRIGADE: Before New Year the speed was much higher. Now it decreased by half. I saw information about the Russians, through neutral countries, bringing Starlinks and using them on the Zaporizhzhia front lines for their purposes.

PATON WALSH: Another operator in the same area reported problems in the last month.

MISHA, COMMUNICATIONS OPERATOR, UKRAINIAN ARMY: What we really started to notice is a constant drop of speed and connection. We need to reboot the Starlinks all the time to make them work properly, but eventually speed starts to drop and connections breaks.

PATON WALSH: And it's messing with your work?

MISHA: Yes, it brings rather unpleasant complications.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 9,000 active space lasers. So it vaguely reminds me of Dr. Evil.

PATON WALSH: A lot rests on Musk. While Ukrainian officials went public with their concerns six weeks ago, they've since gone silent. They're perhaps quietly pressuring Musk, who experts think can vet who uses terminals, even if that's trickier in contested areas.

OLEG KUYKOV, SOFTWARE ENGINEER AND STARLINK EXPERT: It's possible SpaceX can pinpoint each terminal and they know who is who, but the problem is to identify the actual owner of the account.

Musk is a big help, so it's important to talk to him and not offend him, because he might do some quick decisions that might be not very good for everyone.

PATON WALSH: Musk, SpaceX and Starlink did not respond to requests for comment. They said previously they do no business with the Russian state or military, and "If a sanctioned party uses Starlink, we investigate the claim and take action to deactivate the terminal if confirmed."

But as Ukraine's other lifelines wobble or dry up, space-based Internet is one they cannot afford to see slow, lose to the Russians or lose at all.

Nick Paton-Walsh, CNN, London.


AMANPOUR: And far from the battlefield in Ukraine, a different kind of struggle, the fight for women's rights and the icon at its center. Gloria Steinem, the fiercest feminist of them all turns 90.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

From Russia's war in Ukraine to Israels war against Hamas, it is women who often suffer the most. According to the United Nations, the world is failing girls and women and the fight for equality and justice is far from over.

That has been Gloria Steinem's life's work, the world's most famous feminist activist, a trailblazer of the women's rights movement. Steinem's tireless advocacy and undercover journalism reshaped norms and turned her into a global icon for women.

This week, fittingly, during women's history month Steinem turned 90. And from my archive, one of my interviews with her almost ten years ago, right after she wrote her memoir.


AMANPOUR: When you look back and you write this book, which is really instructive and entertaining at the same time we've been through several waves of feminism. Where are we now because some people think the fight is over, is it.

GLORIA STEINEM, LEGENDARY FEMINIST: The people who say that the fight is over are the same people who used to say to me it was impossible. You know, it was against nature. And now their current form of obstructionism is it's over.

No, no, no. We've just barely begun.


AMANPOUR: And obstructionism, you choose that word obviously with consideration. I mean, you still feel that the women, we are being obstructed.

STEINEM: Well, you know, we're all born into this very patriarchal culture. It takes different forms around the world. But the basis of it is that reproduction must be controlled by men. And that means controlling women's bodies.

It may take different forms -- religious forms political forums -- but that is the basic impulse. And so, you know, it's quite radical to say we are seizing control of reproduction, which we are and it makes perfect sense because these are our bodies. And this was also the form of governance for millennia before patriarchy came along.

AMANPOUR: Again, going back to India, you were there, you observed the female prime minister Indira Gandhi being the first controversially to enact a family planning program. But you also know that there is infanticide there and obviously girls are the ones who get -- who get aborted.

We talked also to an activist recently about the continuing abomination of female genital mutilation. And she put it in this, in these terms that you're talking about. Just listen and we'll talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand one of the priorities for you was to have a cabinet that was gender-balanced. Why was that so important to you?



AMANPOUR: All right. That's the right soundbite at the wrong moment, but let's just talk about that. Then we'll get back to that.

STEINAM: That was good news.

AMANPOUR: That was really good news, exactly. Thats the recent prime minister of Canada saying it's 2015 and we need gender balance in the cabinet.

That must have sounded great to you, right? I mean, that went viral.

STEINEM: Yes, absolutely. It makes perfect sense and we have made progress in a lot of ways, but we still discuss, say foreign policy and terrorism and all the disasters that you report as if it was separate from the women's movement.

The women's movement as a silo over here, foreign policy is a silo over there, and never the twain shall meet.

AMANPOUR: How do you think the twain meets?

STEINAM: The twain meets because the single biggest predictor of violence in a culture has always been the polarization of roles. Hyper masculinity on one side; hyper femininity, you know, women and reproduction controlled on the other side.

And if we simply looked at that as an indicator, we would not for instance, have supported say, the mujahideen in Afghanistan who it turned into the Taliban because they were way more hostile and way more violent towards females than the regime we helped them overthrow.

AMANPOUR: Let me play that other soundbite because it goes to the heart of what we're talking about. This is about female genital mutilation.


LEYLA HUSSEIN, FGM SURVIVOR AND ACTIVIST: FEMALE: There's a reason why, you know, our genitals are specifically targeted. You know, women are not supposed to have sexual pleasure. Women are not supposed to experiment with their sexuality.

So we need to ask ourselves why is there such a focus on women's sexuality?


STEINAM: Yes. I mean, it's taking away women's sexual will, women's sexual pleasure and turning them into nothing but a controlled means of reproduction. Thats an extreme form of it but it is in gradated (ph) forms in many cultures.


AMANPOUR: And who would think that in the United States today, that is still an issue. It's become an issue and Gloria Steinem is still active as one of the main leaders of the reproductive rights movement since Roe versus Wade was overturned.

Now, when we come back, a Palestinian poet's terrifying escape from the wreckage of Gaza and his moving tribute to the home he left behind.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

After seeing his family's home destroyed in Gaza and fleeing one bombing after another, Palestinian poet, Mosab Abu Toha eventually found refuge in Egypt with his wife and three children. He was only allowed to cross the border on account of his youngest son being born in America. Mosab has been writing about the terrifying journey they made.

As part of our longer conversation airing next week, I asked Mosab to read a poem inspired by his life in Gaza and the home he and his family left behind.


MOSAB ABU TOHA, PALESTINIAN POET: What is home? It is the shade of trees on my way to school before they were uprooted? It is my grandparents, black and white wooden photo before the wall crumbled. It is my uncle's prayer rug where dozens of ants slept on when three nights before it was looted and put in a museum. It is the oven my mother used to bake bread and roast chicken before a bomb reduced our house to ashes.


TOHA: It is the cafe where I watched football matches and played. My child stops me, can a four-letter-word, hold all of these.


AMANPOUR: All the elements of a home gone by.

And you can watch that full conversation along with all my interviews online at

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

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Thank you for watching and see you again next week.