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CNN Films Presents "No Ordinary Life"; Ukraine's President Zelenskyy Blames Russia For Fires Near Nuclear Plant. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 05, 2022 - 23:00   ET



CYNDE STRAND, CAMERAWOMAN: And, you know, you carried that responsibility to do good journalism for the rest of your life.

MARIA FLEET, CAMERAWOMAN: Somalia was a very unpredictable and volatile place to work. And we were vulnerable. And, you know, and journalists did get killed there. There was no law in Somalia. There was the law of the gun.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): In Somalia, you had to have protection. It is the only way you can get around because of the warring clans.


JIM CLANCY, FORMER CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are women journalists. They are always at more risks than with others. And then you are always, always at risk of being robbed, and we were robbed.

JANE EVANS, CAMERAWOMAN: We didn't know where these guys came. The next thing I know, I had a gun at my neck, three guns at my neck.

CLANCY: This 12-year-old pops out of nowhere and basically points the gun right in Jane's face and says, you know, damn, give me the camera.

EVANS: Die, die, die. Jamming me in my neck, and I'm thinking, oh my, God.

CLANCY: He doesn't know Jane Evans has a family. He doesn't care. He doesn't know if I have a family. He doesn't care. He is hungry. He wants something, and he's going to take it.

EVANS: I thought that was it. I really did.


STRAND: I am telling you, there are some of those days where (INAUDIBLE) got back and either watch the dirt or blood or whatever off me, and hell, I was heading for the bar.


UNKNOWN: I'm shocked to discover you people been drinking alcohol. Frankly, I am shocked.

STRAND: We kind of just took care of each other. If someone wasn't doing very well or if someone had a rough assignment. Sometimes those humor, sometimes it was dark humor, and sometimes it was a night in the bar. Back then, we certainly didn't have the knowledge of PTSD like we have today. We don't even know what PTSD was. All we knew is like sure, we lived through that. We survived another day.

INGRID FORMANEK, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CNN INTERNATIONAL: We are also each other's therapist. Very often, you feel powerless to change things. I mean, we all did what we did because we wanted to change things. We wanted to tell the world what was going on. We wanted to right some wrongs.

UNKNOWN: This is a job that took up all your time. You could be having a normal day. The next thing you know, you are running out the door someplace.




(ON SCREEN TEXT): Rwanda, 1994.

CLANCY: This was a society that devoured itself in a 100-day frenzy. And you were witnessing the aftermath of this. You could feel the evil that had been there.


EVANS: Rwanda, it was genocide. There were bodies everywhere. They were in the churches where they ran to protect themselves. The world wouldn't even call it a genocide in the beginning. You're on the ground and you are seeing what you are seeing. What else do you call this?

Rwanda was tough because the Hutus who had committed the genocide had crossed the border from Rwanda into the democratic republic of Congo. It was just hard to film because when the Hutus escaped, they started dying of cholera. It was just biblical.


Among that horror, every shot had to have impact, every shot had to mean something. What a twisted thing of faith that these people had committed, genocide, and now they're all dying.

CLANCY: I remember Jane looking at it and just, you know, in wonderment. We've never seen anything on a scale like this before.

EVANS: You kind of felt like you're walking amongst evil. You have to be careful for your own health. You're worried about your safety.

FLEET: The hardest thing is that you have to find a way to deal with the intense emotion of it. You can see -- can you hear the emotion in my voice even when I think about it? I mean, it's -- you see so many horrible things and people doing so many horrible things to each other. That you have to find -- you have to find a way to put it away so you can continue working.

STRAND: Part of, you know, being a female in the news business is like sometimes you probably act tough when you are not feeling tough. You are watching people die. You are watching man's inhumanity to man. There is no Teflon for that. That's real that shakes you to your core.

FLEET: I think we didn't really realize how much trauma we were internalizing ourselves because what -- the trauma that we were witnessing, what other people were experiencing, was so much greater than ours.

I felt like I was witnessing another world. I was telling these people stories to the world. That was my offering to them, that I would tell and show what was happening. And that's what made me feel better and still does to this day make me feel better about it. But it is still hard.





FORMANEK: I was really lucky. I spent three months in South Africa, leading up to the election of Nelson Mandela. It was great because Cynde (ph) has just moved there. She was based there. She is one of my great friends. And it was so much fun.

Going to the rallies for Mandela was like going to a rock concert. It was hours of singing and it was fun.

STRAND: Mary Jane, gosh, everybody came through that story. It was just great to be together on a story that was going to have a good outcome. What a story to cover it. South Africans voting in the first non-racial election. What a story to have.

People lined up for blocks and blocks and miles and miles and miles over the countryside to vote for the first time and to vote for Nelson Mandela as president. To get to that election and then the inauguration, I was like being invited to the world's best party. The best party ever!

UNKNOWN: I'm so glad that I voted, you see. Now, if I'm still alive in 1999, I'll do it again.

FORMANEK: Mandela would recognize Cynde (ph) because, you know, she was always around.


UNKNOWN: How was your first day of retirement? MANDELA: It's great. If I were you, I'd be very tired right now.

STRAND: Any time you are around him, you would just feel him. And even one-on-one, he would ask after you. It's like, oh, are you going to dangerous places again? Where have you been? You must stay out of these dangerous places. How extraordinary in your life to finally film like the good guy, right? Because there is no doubt about that this is the good guy.





EVANS: You would go off into these crazy places. And then an airplane arrived home, you were back home in the world of normal and you had to be normal. You know, that wasn't always easy to do.

FLEET: It's not an ordinary life, traveling and going from story to story. It's a very fragmented life, actually. It's impossible to have a relationship while traveling around like that. I mean, I saw people do it, but I was not successful at doing it. It was too -- it was too hard to have any continuity in a relationship.

STRAND: You see amazing things and you have amazing experiences and you do what you love. But you pay the price, right? You know, you come home, it could be a bit lonely. But having a normal life was not that easy because, you know, you can't have a nice boyfriend at home that had a normal job and you're like, oh, I'll be home in three months, so, hey, you know, there's a terrible massacre site that I have to film today. A lot of times that would make a lot of guys run for the hills.


JOAN RIVERS, COMEDIAN: CNN's Cynde Strand. Yes, a woman. Yes, a woman.

STRAND: I was asked to be on "The Joan Rivers Show."


I was so nervous that.

RIVERS: Let's go right to the hottest events, anything you've ever covered, start with you.

STRAND: Absolutely had to be being in Baghdad during the Gulf War once the war started. And they asked me if I wanted to go, and I said, of course, I wanted to go. There is a new thing being in the enemies' capital during a war, every missile in the world aiming at you. And it was very exciting, we had all of this technology --

I had to say I stole the show because I don't think she was quite prepared for some woman to walk out and start talking about frontline this and frontline that. All the guys were like, really?


MARY ROGERS, CAMERAWOMAN: It's very hard to have a personal life, extremely hard. My work is my life. There are times when I've come off trips that have been so momentous. It would've been nice to have somebody to share, you know, automatically share the experience with.

Sometimes, I joke and tell people I've used up all my man karma. You know, do you miss having anyone, or do you miss not having anyone? Because in my younger years, I had boyfriends, I had great loves. I had all that in my younger years. I'm a lucky human being. I had it.

And now, I have something else. Maybe you can't -- maybe not all woman can have everything at the same time, and I'm fine with that.


(ON SCREEN TEXT): Margaret Returns to Sarajevo.

UNKNOWN: Hi, Margaret! How are you doing?


MARGARET MOTH, CAMERAWOMAN: Look, I have a black bullet proof vest.

FORMANEK: I think a lot of us would've dealt with the injuries of Margaret very differently. It affected her ability to speak, to eat. She was in really, really bad shape. But she worked on getting better. And once she was able to come back to work, and it took more than a year, Margaret wanted to go back to Sarajevo.




(ON SCREEN TEXT): Margaret meets the doctor who saved her life in Sarajevo.

MOTH: I look very different now? My doctors in America say it's because he did such a good job that they've been able to do what they can.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORERSPONDENT: For Margaret, you know, her work was everything. She was insistent on going back to work and working, you know, harder than anybody else. And she's, like, this is what I do, this is what I want to do.

ROGERS: Margaret is an incredible human being. I met her after she was shot. But I saw photos of her before. She was a strikingly beautiful woman with these gigantic blue eyes. She told me when she thought and after she was hit, I didn't think a man would ever want to kiss me again.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: This was a woman whose face was completely changed. And I always wonder what she thought about that as a woman. What did that professional horror do to her and the rest of her life. Being a woman doing this job is very different because often, the wounds, the results, the fallout have an exponential effect on women.

STRAND: In my early 40s, it was like a personal earthquake. Oh, my God! My life was always someone else's life. My life is the revolution, the tsunami, the latest war zone. I wanted my own life. I wanted to experience my own moments. And it was tough. It's a tough transition to make. I tried to hold on to it for a while.

Oh, champion! Yeah!

I realized, like, you know, I want to be a mom. So, there I am. My kids in Johannesburg, and I'm in the Ivory Coast. I'm standing there in front of a massacre scene. I've got cigarette butts at my nose so I don't throw up. And I'm just going to burst into tears because I'm going to miss mom and tots singing group on Tuesday. And that's when I made the call, like, I can't do this anymore.

Look, look how deep it is over here!

I ended up as a single parent. And all that life on the road and learning how to organize and go places last-minute, deal with crisis, problem solving, troubleshooting, you know, pack, technical, adventure, that made me a great single parent.

No touching!

The greatest gift I could give my son is that love of the unexpected and the love of adventure.

EVANS: This is Christiane, Maria and myself in London.

Okay, Maria, turn your body a little bit more to the right.

FLEET: To the right?

EVANS: Yeah, go ahead. One, two, three. Great!

It was pretty cool to get a photo shoot (INAUDIBLE).

This photograph was in the book -- (INAUDIBLE), and she had told us that she was going to give us last word, put us in the last page. So -- and she did. So, that was kind of cool. Yeah. We were strong.

Let's go home.



It was good -- I wanted to slow down a little bit. I was getting a little bit older.

I thought about children. I was starting to feel fragile. I wasn't sure how much more I wanted to risk my life.


EVANS: Then, I had Kate. I wanted to know her. I wanted to spend time with her. And I couldn't do that if I was always gone. It was a very, very thoughtful decision that I made to slowly walk away.

She's just crawling everywhere, isn't she?

My decision to be present with my daughter was the best decision.


FLEET: I have to say my love is camerawork for sure. It's a very physical job. And I could feel it at a certain point. And that's when I started thinking, maybe I need to transition out of camerawork.

(ON SCREEN TEXT): Tikrit, Iraq, 2003.

When you're working in a war zone, there are a million things that are going through your mind. As you get closer and closer to the danger, you also pick up so much more information. And so, you know where you can go and where you can't go, where you hope you know.

We were coming down from the north toward Tikrit, which was Saddam's hometown. I was working as a producer, not as a camera person. We were into cars. When we enter Tikrit, all these images of Saddam were still intact. That was an indication that it was still under control of the army or at least Saddam loyalists. We went through this armed checkpoint.


FLEET: But soon, we attracted some attention and a couple of pickup trucks with guys and guns came, and we figured we needed to get out of there. The guys with the AK-47s pulled up right next to us. And my driver was talking to them, across me. Then they slowed back up and just started firing into our car.


UNKNOWN: Okay that's gunfire. We've just come under attack. Under attack!

FLEET: Stop! Stop! Stop!

UNKNOWN: No problem, he's coming.

FLEET: Could you please stop so he could catch up to us? Please!

UNKNOWN: So, these are two vehicles. You see that vehicle there. A window has been shot out. One of our drivers has got some sort of --

UNKNOWN: Hay! Get up!

UNKNOWN: Obviously, a head wound there.

FLEET: Salaam is bleeding and -- I don't know. I was hit with shrapnel in the head or something. Both of us are bleeding in the head.

A bullet hit the back of my -- jacket and splintered, and my head was bleeding. And I just remember being crouched down with my head kind of close towards where the radio was and thinking, this is how it ends. We made a mistake, and this is how it ends. I did have a fear about going back to Iraq after that. I guess a little bit superstitious.


FLEET: I was asked to go back a few months later, and I declined it.

UNKNOWN: You got a little flag to veneer there?

AMANPOUR: Oh! Okay, thank you, it says.

UNKNOWN: That's really nice.

AMANPOUR: Isn't that lovely?


UNKNOWN: Talk about the flip of the coin, right? Now, I'm a part of the team that's responsible for these people.

So, this is the soundbite I like. I fell down before the gravy (ph), I fell down for the immense sacrifice of the 37,000 killed and 19,000 reported missing who died at (INAUDIBLE) here in Normandy.

UNKNOWN: Is that in English, do you know?

UNKNOWN: I think that's in French.

Now, I'm just on the other side of the equation. I'm the one that sits back at head office and watches and waits for the call. I am sending people into dangerous places. And I'm having the discussions that I used to have when I was in the field. And now, you know, I feel like, oh, my God, now, I'm the parent.

I did have a great time as a camera person.

MOTH: I wanted to be a cameraman in news, and I fought for years to get that position.

FORMANEK: When Margaret finally had to stop shooting because of her illness, it was really hard for her.

MOTH: All hands on deck!

FORMANEK: She never wanted to give in to an illness. She had a huge amount of drive. She wanted to overcome things. She never wanted something else to determine her existence.

MOTH: I fought for my life. I don't believe anyone could have fought more. I love my life. I don't have a death wish. I love my life. I love every day, every adventure, every -- even the thought of dying, I'm not afraid of that. Yeah, it would be nice if I had a normal lifespan, but I am going to die in a couple of months. To me, it's just another adventure.

FORMANEK: Margaret was just too full of life. Just like unstoppable. And she loved what she did, she loved it, loved it, loved it.

(ON SCREEN TEXT): Margaret Moth traveled the world for CNN covering war zones and major stories for nearly two decades before succumbing to cancer in 2010. She was 59 years old.




AMANPOUR: Women have been blazing this trail for a long, long time. Often, being taken for granted. And actually, women bring a different dynamic to the table. They bring a different story, a different experience to the table. Each and every one of those women have made a difference through their pictures, through their storytelling, through their commitment.

Mary hasn't given it up. She's still doing it. I can't see Mary doing anything else for the rest of her life.


AMANPOUR: Wherever there's conflict, you'll find Mary.

ROGERS: Some people have asked me, you know, why do you do it? Why do you risk your life? I think it's important, you know, to let the rest of the world know what's going on. We're all part of the human race. That's why we do it.

UNKNOWN: I feel really fortunate that I had the opportunity to witness all those events, and work in the way that we did.

UNKNOWN: I had no idea. I forgot about this, yeah.

UNKNOWN: And where was that?

UNKNOWN: Beirut (ph).

UNKNOWN: Beirut (ph), yeah.

UNKNOWN: I was the sound person, one of the sound people.

UNKNOWN: We all love each other so dearly. Who else has gone through that? Who else has been through what we've been through together?

UNKNOWN: Even to this day, they are the ones I turn to. And when you haven't seen each other for a while, it's as if you've never left.

UNKNOWN: When you've been through the kinds of things that we went through together, it does form a real enduring bond. It connects to you in a way that is provided.

UNKNOWN: We've taken the images that defined history for our generation. And that is a profound experience.


STRAND: Packing up a huge ranch house and leaving my job. And I don't know what's next. It's almost too big to think about what I'm leaving behind. So, I don't know what it's going to look like it. It's time for something different. The same is easy, the same in life, the same is very easy. I've always taken the rogue list travel. And time to do that again.


STRAND: Jane, Maria, Mary, Margaret, we were one hell of a journey together. And for all of you, every day when you come to work, right now, it really matters. You come in, show up, and play to win.

It's time to get that (INAUDIBLE) back. It's scary but I've lived a life of courage, and I want to continue that. I have exactly the life I dreamed of when I was a little kid. I used to ride my bike in China.

I think back of all at these extraordinary lives that we love, they were fierce, they were fearless. We are kindred spirits forever.

(ON SCREEN TEXT): This film is dedicated to Margaret Moth and all journalists who continue to put their lives on the line, in the pursuit of truth.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Vause at the CNN Center with the top stories we are following right now. A Trump- appointed federal judge has granted the former president's request for an independent review of documents and evidence seized from his Mar-a- Lago estate.

This is a big win for Trump's legal team. Part of the ruling means investigators will not have access to the documents while they are being examined by a so-called special master.

Both sides must head now to submit a list of potential candidates for their job. The judge cited allegation of bias and media links as one of her reasons for ruling in favor of Trump.

More than 11,000 government documents were removed from Mar-a-Lago during the FBI search last month. We'll have a closer look at all of this in just a few minutes right here live on "CNN Newsroom."

Well, two suspects in a deadly mass stabbing in Canada's Saskatchewan Province has been found dead. The manhunt continues for the other suspect with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police warning local residents to be vigilant, describing Myles Sanderson as dangerous, possibly seeking medical attention for an injury. On Monday, Sanderson was charged with murder and attempted murder in the stabbing that killed 10 and wounded 18.

In the coming hours, Liz Truss will be invited by Queen Elizabeth to form a new government and serve as prime minister after winning a leadership battle for the ruling conservative party.

Truss defeated Rishi Sunak, the former finance minister, with a narrow victory in a vote among rank-and-file members of the conservative party. She has promised to cut taxes, grow the economy, ease the burden of record-high energy cost for both families and business.

The former foreign secretary takes over for Boris Johnson. And a break with tradition, he will fly to Scotland formally under his resignation to the queen who has remained (INAUDIBLE) on a summer holiday.


VAUSE: After Johnson's resignation, Truss will then fly to Scotland in a separate jet for an expected 30-minute orientation with the queen. Just hours after that, she will deliver her first speech to the nation as prime minister.

Ukraine's president says Russian shelling caused a fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. It disconnected the last working reactor from the power grid.

A spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency says the reactor should be reconnected once the fires are out. An IAEA team was given access to the nuclear plant last week, expected to report on safety conditions at the facility.

President Zelenskyy says the continued Russian shelling around the plant has proved that Moscow is not concerned by the prospect of causing a potential nuclear disaster.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): Shelling the territory of Zaporizhzhia means that the terrorists, they do not care what the IAEA says, what the international community decides. Russia is interested only in the fact that the situation would remain in the works and as long as possible.


VAUSE: More details now from CNN's Sam Kiley reporting in from Odesa.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the third time in 10 days, the Ukrainian authorities are deeply concerned about the disconnection of a nuclear reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which is 20 miles south of the city of 700,000 people because they say that it has been disconnected, forcing the use of the backup power, the diesel generating system, in order to cool the nuclear reactor. Now, this has happened three times in the past, and every time it happens, the concern is over a nuclear meltdown increase. Now, there are two U.N. inspectors still on the site. They're supposed to be there permanently or at least for the foreseeable future. So, it will be interesting to see who they'll blame or whether they go public with what's going on there.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has been claiming relatively limited success, saying that at least two villages in the south during the southern offensive here have been captured, and one village in the east.

Now, these villages frequently change hands fairly often during these campaigns, but there's no doubt that here in the south, the Ukrainians' counteroffensive still means that they have the initiative using a lot of NATO-supplied firepower to overwhelm superior numbers of artillery and men that the Russians have here on the ground.

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Odesa.


VAUSE: A Moscow court has sentenced a former journalist to 22 years in prison on charges of treason. Ivan Safronov, who covered space and military, was also an adviser to the head of the Russian Space Agency. Prosecutors say he passed military and technical secrets to NATO. Critics say Safronov is being punished for independent reporting with Amnesty International calling his sentence absurd.

A suicide bombing has killed six people, including two Russian embassy employees in Afghanistan's capital city. Russian officials say the bomb exploded near the (INAUDIBLE) section of the embassy in Kabul. Security forces shot the bomber but not before his explosives detonated in a crowd of people. ISIS-Afghan affiliate is claiming responsibility.

I am John Vause at the CNN Center in Atlanta. "CNN Newsroom" starts after a very short break. Please stay with us. I will see you in a few minutes.