ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINE/WORLD,
three stories from a small planet.
In Pakistan, President Musharraf seeks peace with India.
JUGNU MOHSIN, Publisher, "The Friday Times": Peace
is more of a possibility than it's ever been.
ANNOUNCER: But he faces a nuclear scandal, terrorism
EXPERT: These extremist groups realize that Musharraf
is a threat to their own existence and their own beliefs.
ANNOUNCER: Sharmeen Obaid goes home to Pakistan
to see if peace has a chance.
Next, in Kyrgyzstan, an old custom, once banned, now returns.
FATIMA: My mom wanted me kidnapped by a Kyrgyz
boy because she didn't want me to study at the university.
ANNOUNCER: And finally, in Kenya, runners break
records and social barriers.
LORNAH KIPLAGAT: It's a way of changing the whole
lifestyle of women in Kenya. And you're, like "Wow.
Pakistan: On a Razor's Edge
Reported by: Sharmeen Obaid
SHARMEEN OBAID, Reporter: [voice-over]
Spring has come to Pakistan. And for the moment, a gate
long closed has been opened. This is the only train allowed
to cross the border from India into Pakistan, bitter enemies
for over 50 years.
I've begun this journey at news that India and my home country
of Pakistan were cautiously moving towards peace. I study
at university in the United States now, but I wanted to see
for myself what this new hope for peace means to people here.
Mrs. Arshaid lives in India. The difficulties between
the two countries left her cut her off from her daughters and
her grandchildren living in Pakistan.
[on camera] [subtitles] When was
the last time you saw them?
Mrs. ARSHAID: [subtitles] It's been
six years. They must be all grown up now.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] She
was born in this area before it was separated off from India
to become Pakistan.
[on camera] [subtitles] Will the
problems between Pakistan and India ever be resolved?
Mrs. ARSHAID: [subtitles] Everyone
prays this will happen, the whole world. I've prayed for
the day that borders would open again.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] A prayer
for peace. But still, there's tension here, suspicions
and caution. They all carry their stories of painful separation.
That evening, we arrived at our destination of Lahore, in central
Pakistan. This is the meaning of reconciliation.
And it's become possible because of this historic handshake
between Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, and India's
prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Their agreement
to set aside differences had happened just a few weeks before
I had come to Lahore for the festival of Basant. Basant,
originally a Hindu holiday, heralds the coming of spring.
But it has long been embraced by Pakistan's Muslims. It's
a celebration of what spring means everywhere- a time of rebirth
[on camera] [subtitles] Do you think
the peace gestures are different this time around?
WOMAN AT FAIR: [subtitles] From what
I can see, it is different this time. And there is some
SHARMEEN OBAID: Do you think they want peace or-
WOMAN AT FAIR: [subtitles] Of course!
Who doesn't want peace? Everyone wants peace.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [subtitles] Do you
feel that this peace is different?
MAN IN KITE SHOP: [subtitles] Only
the bureaucracy knows that. We are just the dumb public.
We do what we're told.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] But
with the hope and skepticism, there's also caution.
MAN AT COUNTER: [subtitles] Ask me
some other time. If this interview is aired, we will both
be jailed. This is Pakistan!
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] Pakistan
is a country of secrets and paradoxes, still emerging from its
recent past - before 9/11 - when it was the Taliban's main supporter.
It's also a country determined to be a part of the modern world.
I'd arrived here at a time of change and hope, but beneath the
bustling surface, I know Pakistan is at a dangerous crossroads.
I started by seeing the publisher of The Friday Times
newspaper, Jugnu Mohsin.
JUGNU MOHSIN, Publisher, "The Friday Times": I
think that there was an inevitability about what's happening
in Pakistan now. And I may be being very unconventional
here, but I'll say to you that 9/11 has been very good for Pakistan.
It's been good for Pakistan because, suddenly, we had to choose
which way we wanted to go. The state decided to dump the
Taliban- not a moment too soon, I can tell you as a woman.
Not a moment too soon. But it's worked out well for Pakistan.
We've seen our economy picking up. We've seen real estate
prices, stock exchange prices, generally, confidence returning
SHARMEEN OBAID: [on camera] Do you
think that peace is a reality with India?
JUGNU MOHSIN: I think peace is more of a possibility
now than it's ever been. And the groundswell of the common
people and the hope of the common people is that- you know,
we want a better life. We don't want to fight a thousand-year
war with India, not least because both countries are armed with
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] This
monument commemorates the mountain where Pakistan's first nuclear
bomb was tested. There are monuments like it all over
the country, markers of Pakistan's pride in being the only Muslim
country to have nuclear weapons. And our nuclear program
was all over the newspapers the week I'd arrived. The
world was horrified to learn that Dr. A.Q. Khan, the father
of Pakistan's bomb, had been accused of proliferating nuclear
secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. President Musharraf
said Khan and his team had done it for personal gain.
And that night-
[February 4, 2004]
Dr. A.Q. KHAN: My dear brothers and sisters-
SHARMEEN OBAID: Dr. Khan apologized
to the nation.
Dr. A.Q. KHAN: -to offer my deepest regrets and
unqualified apologies to a traumatized nation. I am aware
SHARMEEN OBAID: I was surprised he spoke English
in a country where most people speak Urdu. Clearly, this
was meant for an audience far beyond Pakistan.
Dr. A.Q. KHAN: I take full responsibility for
my actions and seek your pardon.
SHARMEEN OBAID: Dr. Khan is a national icon, revered
for making the bomb that matched India's nuclear weapon.
I wondered what the reaction would be to his abject apology.
1st MAN AT CAFE: [subtitles] I think
it was a pre-planned, deliberate move which has only caused
harm to Pakistan.
SHARMEEN OBAID: Some believed that Dr. Khan was
taking the fall for others, that it was a conspiracy.
Others were uncomfortable even talking about the nuclear issue
in public. And it was unusual to hear these two young
men openly criticize Dr. Khan.
2nd MAN AT CAFE: [subtitles] Nuclear
leaks are wrong. Dr. Qadeer Khan is a great scientist,
but what he did was wrong. He's a very good scientist,
but he shouldn't have committed this act. He's a national
treasure. He commands our respect and is our hero.
SHARMEEN OBAID: People from all across the political
spectrum turned out to show their support for Dr. Khan.
The public believed their hero had been sold out by his own
government and by President Musharraf. Musharraf called
a press conference to respond to criticism in the newspapers.
Pres. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: "Musharraf named in nuclear
probe." This is news to me.
SHARMEEN OBAID: Interestingly, he chose to wear
his combat fatigues. President and General Musharraf took
power in a 1999 military coup, and he defended his own.
Pres. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: [subtitles]
No government official, no military man, was involved.
SHARMEEN OBAID: Musharraf has built alliances
with conservative Islamic parties, but he's also called a progressive,
who's become America's most important ally in the war against
Pres. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: [subtitles]
America is not pressuring me. No one is telling me what
SHARMEEN OBAID: Then he ended his speech by pardoning
Pres. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: [subtitles]
And I, as president of Pakistan, have made a decision to pardon
Dr. Khan because he is our national hero.
SHARMEEN OBAID: A move widely viewed as putting
a lid on further investigations.
AHMED RASHID, Journalist: It's impossible, even
if you think about it in the most naive way, that one man or
three or four people could have carried out such acts of proliferation
over 27 years involving weapons, technology, missiles, everything
under the sun.
SHARMEEN OBAID: Ahmed Rashid is a well-known journalist
and critic of the government.
AHMED RASHID: I mean, you know, the simple fact
is when we're talking about a barter deal with North Korea -
nuclear materials from Pakistan, nuclear technology from Pakistan,
in exchange for missile technology- now, Qadeer Khan has no
use for missiles. I mean, the army needs the missiles.
So when we're talking about a barter deal with North Korea,
I think it's fairly obvious who gets to benefit from it.
The military had to be involved. And General Beg I'm sure
SHARMEEN OBAID: General Aslam Beg was army chief
in the late '80s, the man in charge of the military in the midst
of Khan's proliferation activities. I was surprised to
land an interview with the former general at his home in the
city of Rawalpindi. He'd been facing a barrage of questions
and was under a lot of pressure.
Gen. ASLAM BEG, Fmr. Military Chief: Please proceed
with your question.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [on camera] It's
been said that, and allegations have been made, that you knew
about the nuclear proliferation. Why do you think that
you haven't been arrested till now?
Gen. ASLAM BEG: Just to disappoint you.
And many, my American friends and their stooges here in Pakistan,
they still want to see me behind bars for sins which I have
not committed. And I am very confident that nobody can
harm me because I have committed no crime. If my government
was not aware, how could I be aware? The Americans had
been monitoring our program for the last 15 years. They
should have told us. They are also a party to the crime.
It's part of the conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] His
conspiratorial accusations against the Americans raised important
questions. Why had America's response been so muted?
And why was India so quiet about it, as well? It seemed
to many as if Musharraf was being protected from both.
[www.pbs.org: More about the reporter]
I'd come to visit a man who really knows the secrets here.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [on camera] Hello.
I've come for the interview with General Gul.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] But
I hadn't bargained for the conspiracy he would lay out.
General Hameed Gul was our spymaster, the head of Pakistan's
Intelligence agency, the ISI before 9/11, when Pakistan was
openly the Taliban's biggest supporter. When the nuclear
program was going strong, Gul had been one of the most powerful
men in Pakistan.
[on camera] It's been said in some news reports
that the Pakistan army knew about the nuclear proliferation.
Gen. HAMEED GUL, Fmr. Intelligence Chief: No,
no, no. That's not- this is incorrect. This is fibbing.
This is speculation. And I think this is the Western interests
which are spreading these rumors. No, Pakistan army could
not have because it was never our policy to proliferate.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] Gul
firmly believes that the United States wants to dismantle Pakistan's
nuclear arsenal. And it's not just the U.S.
[on camera] Do you think that the United States
has designs on our nuclear arsenal?
Gen. HAMEED GUL: [subtitles] Oh,
yes. They have. Israel have. They have because
they have been trained to act in a certain way and the Jewish
lobbies control them, and since Israel will simply not see Pakistan
a powerful nuclear country, or any Muslim country, for that
matter. Islam is the target. Islam is the new enemy.
Islam is the challenge. So they need Pakistan at this
moment. They need President Musharraf. But that
doesn't mean that they are going to abdicate the objective of
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] What's
important about General Gul is that his deep anti-Americanism
and all its paranoia is so widespread, especially in the military
and intelligence services. These are the forces that Musharraf
has to keep contained. More and more, the nuclear scandal
felt like a Pandora's box. Who knows what would happen
to Pakistan if it were ever opened?
I set out for the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan to find out
what one of President Musharraf's unlikely allies had to say.
He's also one of his strongest critics. Sami ul Haq is
a senator and a founding member of Pakistan's most powerful
fundamentalist political movement. Among his old friends
is Osama bin Laden.
SAMI UL HAQ: [subtitles] Osama has
got such a good character. All his enemies have made him
look like a beast. I have not met him for some time now.
It's not possible to meet him under these circumstances.
SHARMEEN OBAID: Sami ul Haq is certainly no friend
to America, and he sees no problem in Pakistan sharing its nuclear
knowledge with other Islamic countries.
SAMI UL HAQ: [subtitles] If we gave
information to Iran, what's the crime? If we gave it to
Libya, then what's the crime? If Europe shares this technology,
it's the duty of all Muslims to share their technology.
Surreptitiously, America has forged such an elaborate scheme
to strip Pakistan of its nuclear technology. Americans
have found a great opportunity in Pervez Musharraf. They
will agree to discard all issues on the condition that we assist
them in the spring operation.
SHARMEEN OBAID: The "spring operation" is a massive
effort by the Pakistani army to hunt down bin Laden and al Qaeda
in the tribal areas, planned and coordinated with the United
SAMI UL HAQ: [subtitles] They will
carry on their military exercises and leave our border in shambles.
They want Muslims to be tied up like goats and sheep so that
they can slaughter us at their will. Why doesn't President
Musharraf understand that this all part of their plot?
SHARMEEN OBAID: President Musharraf is caught
between the demands of fundamentalists at home and his promise
to the West to fight terrorism.
Pres. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: [United Nations address]
I believe the way forward is to adopt a two-pronged strategy,
a double pincer to build harmony, promote moderation, oppose
extremism and ensure justice.
AHMED RASHID, Journalist: Musharraf is under enormous
pressure. There's no doubt about it. He's seen as
toeing the American line, making peace with India, blaming the
scientists for this nuclear proliferation. He's tried
to play this balancing act since 9/11. He's tried to satisfy
the West, the United States, the liberal critique inside Pakistan,
and he's also tried to satisfy the fundamentalists. And
I think, you know, all these chickens are coming home to roost
SHARMEEN OBAID: In December, explosives ripped
this bridge apart just seconds after Musharraf's car passed
over it. Then, two weeks later, someone tried to kill
[on camera] We're on the road on which President
Musharraf's second assassination attempt took place. And
one of the cars came out from this petrol station and the second
one came out from the one further down.
[voice-over] He was on his way home on Christmas
Day when two cars filled with explosives rammed into Musharraf's
motorcade, signaled by someone within his own security force.
Fourteen people died and over forty were injured.
Pres. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: [subtitles]
Although a lot of debris rained down on me, again, by God's
grace, nothing happened to me and we were able to get away.
SHARMEEN OBAID: Just hours after the blast, a
visibly shaken Musharraf appeared on national TV.
Pres. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: [subtitles]
They are hurting Islam and Muslim countries.
[www.pbs.org: Read about Musharraf's dilemmas]
SHARMEEN OBAID: Many say he emerged more determined
than ever to shut down extremists inside Pakistan.
[subtitles] Were you here during the bomb blast?
1st WITNESS: [subtitles] It all happened
in front of us. I was over there buying fruit. It
was a huge blast, with tremors felt in all directions.
If something unfortunate had happened to him, there is no one
else with enough courage to take over leadership of the country.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [subtitles] Why does
someone want to kill him?
1st WITNESS: [subtitles] Not everyone
agrees with him. Only a religious extremist could do this.
2nd WITNESS: [subtitles] I don't
think it's right to blindly blame the religious groups.
We can't just claim they did it. How do we really know?
Musharraf may be a good man, but our religious parties are not
evil doers. They are the torchbearers of Islamic values.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] Their
arguments reflected the heart of the struggle going on within
Pakistan, the struggle between the progressive Islamic majority
and a fundamentalist minority whose influence reaches far beyond
their numbers. And some hard-line extremists are actively
In the rubble of the second blast, investigators found one
bomber's cell phone with the memory chip still intact.
The phone numbers on it linked the bomber to one of Pakistan's
militant Kashmiri jihadi groups, tied to al Qaeda, who are fighting
inside Indian-held Kashmir, the disputed, mostly Muslim region
that both countries claim as their own and site of bloody battles
for its control.
But Kashmir is not just the cause of extremists. It's
a deeply felt issue, embedded in Pakistan's identity.
There's even a national holiday called Kashmir Day. That's
an effigy of Indian prime minister Vajpayee.
But there are thousands of jihadi militants doing a lot more
than protesting. They've been infiltrating Indian-held Kashmir,
fighting what the Pakistan government has called a "proxy war"
against India. Now, with Musharraf's peace initiatives
with India, he's publicly labeled hard-line Kashmir jihadis
as terrorists. Their groups are now banned and the jihadis
[on camera] I'm going to meet a member of an outlawed
Kashmiri fighting group who has agreed to meet me and speak
with me. The only condition is that it has to be in a
[voice-over] Our talk began with an agreement
to not name his organization and also to cover my arms.
JIHADI: [subtitles] In Kashmir, I
witnessed the cruelty, the torture. I saw it with my own
eyes. Hindu extremist groups can come into Kashmir.
They commit mass murder of Muslims. They loot, rape Muslim
women, set our homes on fire! Are these not acts of terrorism?
In Indian eyes, it is not!
SHARMEEN OBAID: There are accusations of atrocities
on both sides- Muslim against Hindu, Hindu against Muslim.
But he insists that those in his group are not terrorists.
JIHADI: [subtitles] What terrorism?
We are not terrorists. We are fighting a war for the liberation
SHARMEEN OBAID: [on camera] [subtitles]
The two recent attacks on President Musharraf's life, are they
not the acts of jihadi groups?
JIHADI: [subtitles] There are two
groups involved. One is RAW [India's secret service]
and the other is Israel's Mossad. We don't do these kinds
of things, neither before, nor shall we ever.
SHARMEEN OBAID: [voice-over] I asked
him if he could ever accept a negotiated settlement for Kashmir.
JIHADI: [subtitles] We are connected
to the Kashmiris by blood. Our every drop of blood is
dedicated to the Kashmiri struggle.
SHARMEEN OBAID: I left worried that the chances
for peace were more fragile than I'd thought. What chance
do peace agreements have in the face of this level of conviction?
And there are thousands more just like him, ready to die for
To the west of Kashmir, the spring offensive will unleash its
hunt for bin Laden. Spring could bring yet more trouble
to my country and to President Musharraf. The pressure
is on him to keep all these forces in balance. And whatever
anyone thinks of the job he's doing, it's hard to imagine the
trouble that would come without him.
Back in Lahore, Basant was still going strong, filled with
the hope and promise of spring.
This is the border crossing with India, just outside Lahore.
Every day, there's an elaborate ceremony here. Crowds
gather on both sides of the border to watch the changing of
the guard, Pakistan's soldiers in dark green and India's in
khaki brown. Over time, it's become a ritualized shadow
play of the intense cold war the two countries have been fighting
for more than 50 years.
But on this day I saw something different. For the first
time, they shook hands. And the crowd broke out in cheers.
On both sides.
ANNOUNCER: Later tonight, in Kenya, the fastest
long-distance runners in the world.
But first, in Central Asia, young women struggle with an old
Reported by: Petr Lom
PETR LOM, Reporter: [voice-over]
For centuries, Kyrgyzstan was a remote outpost along the great
silk road to China. Under Soviet rule, few Westerners
came here, but now it's slowly opening up to the world.
My friend, Fatima, was born here. She grew up near the
capital, but now she's taking me deep into the country, to a
small village just outside the ancient city of Osh. A
wedding is about to get under way here. The groom is nervous
GROOM: [subtitles] I went to several
girls but had no luck. One seemed to agree, the other
refused. Nobody wanted me. This one will stay.
PETR LOM: The guests wait hours for the bride
NORKUZ: [subtitles] Leave me alone!
PETR LOM: Finally, at around 10:00 at night, she
is hustled into the house.
NORKUZ: [voice-over] Get away from
PETR LOM: The bride's name is Norkuz.
NORKUZ: [subtitles] I won't stay!
PETR LOM: She's been kidnapped from her home about
a mile away. Fatima had warned me the practice was shocking,
but I still couldn't believe what I was seeing.
WOMAN: [subtitles] We were all kidnapped.
PETR LOM: The groom and a handful of his friends
spent the day looking for a bride before they settled on Norkuz.
Now it's the women of the groom's family who try to get the
wedding scarves on her. When the kidnappers came to Norkuz's
house, they negotiated with her brother. But now Norkuz's
sister, a lawyer from Osh, is upset about it.
SISTER: [subtitles] Don't force her!
PETR LOM: She says that Norkuz was dating another
man and was expecting him to propose any day. She tells
Fatima she's angry that her sister is being forced to marry
SISTER: [subtitles] She did not know
of him. I don't know if Norkuz likes him or not.
PETR LOM: Ideally, a bride's family commands a
bride price, but at 25, Norkuz is considered old not to be married.
After about an hour, Norkuz's resistance begins to wear down.
Tradition says that once the bride accepts the wedding scarves,
it's settled and the wedding can go forward.
FATIMA: Norkuz was already 25. She was happy
getting married. She was resisting, but they were saying,
like, "Come on. We all came this way." In those
women's eyes, I saw the kind of attitude here, "Come on.
I know everybody resists. It's a custom."
PETR LOM: Fatima wasn't that surprised that Norkuz
stayed, but I was. We returned to Norkuz's new house a
few days later to see how she was doing.
NORKUZ: [subtitles] I couldn't marry
my true love. Only one in a hundred Kyrgyz girls marries
her true love. Our life is about kidnapping, accepting
and living on. Don't film me! After the kidnapping,
you've no choice. You start loving, even if you don't
GROOM: [subtitles] We're happy.
Keep visiting and we'll be happier.
PETR LOM: The origins of bride kidnapping are
murky. Some say Kyrgyz men used to snatch their brides
on horseback. Now they use cars. And if a villager
doesn't have a car, he hires a taxi for the day.
[www.pbs.org: More on bride kidnapping]
Fatima asks these taxi drivers if they've heard of any kidnappings.
One says he helped snatch a girl a few hours ago. They
all agree that kidnappings usually happen on the weekend.
During Soviet times, bride kidnapping was banned. But
in the 10 years or so since Kyrgyzstan became independent, the
practice has come back, especially outside the cities.
Jumankul is 19 years old, and his parents are pressuring him
to marry. He's got a girl in mind.
JUMANKUL: [subtitles] I'll kidnap
her today, by evening. There will be three of us.
We live in the mountains, so I need to marry.
FATIMA: [subtitles] Do you like her?
JUMANKUL: [subtitles] She'll milk
MAN'S VOICE: [subtitles] You'll get
PETR LOM: On the afternoon of the kidnapping,
Jumankul's parents start to celebrate.
FATHER: [subtitles] We can't afford
the bride's hand.
FATIMA: [subtitles] So you're kidnapping
FATHER: [subtitles] They wanted too
MOTHER: [subtitles] I need a bride
to tend sheep.
PETR LOM: Jumankul's father is excited about the
kidnapping, but it's his mother who's really going to benefit
from the extra help.
MOTHER: [subtitles] We'll kidnap.
We're ready for her. We have money and a car.
TAXI DRIVER: [subtitles] We're going
to Osh city. Jumankul likes a girl there.
PETR LOM: In the city, Jumankul goes looking for
the girl he likes. He's heard she works in the Osh bazaar.
Meanwhile, his friends try to get information about her at a
ULAN: [subtitles] Tell me her address.
GIRL: [subtitles] Whose address?
PETR LOM: Suspecting a kidnapping, the girl doesn't
want to give up her friend's address.
GIRL: [subtitles] Find it yourself.
I don't know where she lives.
PETR LOM: Jumankul can't find the girl he came
for. He and his friends don't want to return home empty-handed,
so just before we leave them that night, they consider a new
plan, kidnapping the girl at the vodka stand.
JUMANKUL: [subtitles] I liked her,
her looks. I couldn't get close. She'd be suspicious.
FATIMA: [subtitles] Do you know her
PETR LOM: The next morning, Fatima and I return
to the vodka stand.
FATIMA: [subtitles] Where's the girl
who was here yesterday?
GIRL: [subtitles] She was kidnapped.
That's the rumor.
FATIMA: [subtitles] Is she ever late?
GIRL: [subtitles] Never.
WOMAN: [subtitles] You'll stay.
We'll bring your parents.
PETR LOM: Her name is Ainagul. She's been
at Jumankul's house for more than 10 hours by the time we get
ULAN: [subtitles] We followed her
last night and kidnapped her.
PETR LOM: Jumankul's older brother says Ainagul's
parents have already agreed to the kidnapping, but Ainagul is
putting up a strong fight.
WOMAN: [subtitles] Cry all you want.
You'll wear it.
PETR LOM: Ainagul is 17. She left her village
a month ago to make a life in the city and perhaps to get a
degree. She doesn't want to live in the mountains with
AINAGUL: [subtitles] I won't live
WOMAN: [subtitles] You will.
You'll never go. They're all watching you.
PETR LOM: To finally get the wedding scarves on
Ainagul's head, the women step up the pressure. As Ainagul
continues to resist, we're told to stop filming.
A few minutes later, to our surprise, Ainagul is free to go.
Later, the women curse Ainagul, saying her child will be a drunk
and her mother-in-law will be cruel.
WOMAN: [subtitles] She'll go hungry.
She didn't obey. She'll never be happy.
PETR LOM: We found Ainagul a few weeks later,
living with relatives in Osh, still shaken from the experience.
AINAGUL: [subtitles] Because of what
people say, you think you should stay. But no one lives
your life. You build your own future. Follow others
and you'll be unhappy. I'd have lived in the mountains
and tended sheep. I'd be a sheep, too. I'd be wasting
PETR LOM: The town of Balykchy is at the other
end of the country from Osh. This is where Fatima grew
up. Her mother is still a school teacher here. One
afternoon, Fatima asked her about bride kidnapping.
FATIMA'S MOTHER: [subtitles] It's
a bad phenomenon. But we still follow Kyrgyz customs.
Though we want to stop violence against women and support gender
rights, we still practice bride kidnapping. My parents
blindly followed the custom during Soviet times, as well.
PETR LOM: Fatima's mother was kidnapped herself.
It was an unhappy marriage, but until very recently, she said,
she planned to have Fatima kidnapped, as well.
FATIMA: I had an American boyfriend, and still
my mom wanted me to be kidnapped by a Kyrgyz boy because from
the very beginning, she didn't want me to study at the university,
so she just wanted me to go back to the village and marry a
Kyrgyz boy and have babies and make bread.
FATIMA'S MOTHER: [subtitles] If my
daughter was kidnapped by a man I didn't want or she hadn't
dated, of course I'd suffer, but I wouldn't go against it because
it's in our blood, Kyrgyz women's blood. It's a custom,
a mentality, that bride kidnapping is normal for us.
PETR LOM: Fatima was not kidnapped. Last
summer, she married the man of her choice, an instructor at
the American university.
FATIMA: I realized how lucky I am, that these
girls, they don't have any opportunity. The only way for
them to be treated as an equal member of the society is just
to get married.
PETR LOM: Fatima escaped, but many Kyrgyz girls
are not so lucky. Just a week before we arrived, one girl
in her mother's high school class was involved in a kidnapping
that went very wrong.
MOTHER: [subtitles] Kyal was kidnapped.
They took her in a car. They said they were classmates.
We brought her body home. They told us she killed herself.
She'd never do that. What happened is a mystery.
PETR LOM: Kyal was snatched from outside her home.
Four days later, her father retrieved her body from a village
a few hours away. She'd hanged herself.
FATHER: [subtitles] I'll tell you
what I think. I think they kidnapped her and she refused
to stay. Maybe she resisted and was raped. So she
PETR LOM: No one knows what happened, and the
kidnapper's family says they did nothing wrong. But Kyal's
father is pushing for an investigation.
FATHER: [subtitles] She killed herself,
but they had broken the law. Instead of an investigation,
they ruled it a suicide. I only have her body.
PETR LOM: Since 1994, bride kidnapping has been
illegal in Kyrgyzstan, but the law is almost never enforced.
In one of the poorest countries in Central Asia, bride kidnapping
is not high on the agenda for reform.
Near the end of our filming, Fatima and I witnessed a kidnapping
firsthand. It was hard, especially for Fatima. She
talked to the girl off and on for hours. And in the end,
the girl was let go. The groom, Ulan, kidnapped another
girl the next day and she stayed. They'd been married
for four months when we caught up with them at their new home
in the city.
WIFE: [subtitles] I have a husband.
Before I got married, I was alone. Now I have someone
to take care of and to dream with.
ULAN: [subtitles] She's two months
PETR LOM: Fatima told me she felt torn.
She was against bride kidnapping and hoped the practice would
change. And yet, as we left Ulan and his wife, Fatima
felt something else that was much more complicated to explain.
This couple seemed happy.
ANNOUNCER: Finally tonight, in Kenya, women running
for their lives.
Kenya: Run, Lornah, Run
Reported by: Alexis Bloom
ALEXIS BLOOM, Reporter: [voice-over]
The farming town of Iten, in the northwest highlands of Kenya,
perches 8,000 feet above sea level. Iten is like any other
Kenyan village, except for one thing. The people here,
the Kalenjin tribe, are some of the best runners in the world.
Kenya holds more records in long-distance running than any
other country. Kenyan men have been competing internationally
since the 1960s. Women, until recently, have been sidelined.
Now, breaking with tradition, more and more women train to become
We came to Kenya to meet these new athletes, to see an unusual
training camp for women, the only one in the country.
RUTH CHEBBI: We are lucky in this area because
we have a ladies' camp.
ALEXIS BLOOM: Just a few years old, this high-altitude
camp attracts talent from villages all over the highlands.
This is where they start to shine.
RUTH CHEBBI: If you train at home, you cannot
get time to train like that. You can go to the river.
You fetch water. You go for firewood, struggling hard.
But here, only your work is to go for training. After
training, you can relax, concentrating only for your training.
ALEXIS BLOOM: The camp provides for those without
shoes or a tracksuit, three meals a day, the freedom to run,
and the chance to succeed. The camp was started by one
of Kenya's most famous runners, Lornah Kiplagat.
Lornah caught the world's attention when she won the L.A. marathon
back to back in 1997 and '98. She's broken four world
records, and broken social barriers, too.
LORNAH KIPLAGAT: I think what I've shown them,
the girls, is I've given them a lot of courage because without
courage, you can't stand and talk. "Yeah, Lornah did it.
Why not us?"
ALEXIS BLOOM: Lornah's training in New Mexico
for the Olympics. She built her camp in Kenya race by
race, funded entirely by her prize money. Lornah's created
an oasis outside the strict defines of traditional roles.
LORNAH KIPLAGAT: [subtitles] Take
care that the house is clean. Take care that the farms
are digged. Take care that the lunch is ready. Take
care that the laundry is ready. Take care that the cows
have their own food. And take care that your husband has
food. That's our life, every day, throughout, 365 days.
[www.pbs.org: Read the full interview]
ALEXIS BLOOM: People didn't think this village
girl's career - or her camp - would last.
LORNAH KIPLAGAT: And they would say, "Forget about
Lornah. She is too busy building up camps for women in
Africa." But I'll tell you, since the moment I started
to build up the camp in Kenya, I won every race I entered.
But still, they think I'm crazy anyway, so- I don't mind.
ALEXIS BLOOM: Lornah's camp has changed the lives
of many young athletes in Kenya. Twenty-five-year-old
Nancy Kiprop is the most recent arrival. Nancy's goal
is to make the Kenyan National Team.
NANCY KIPROP: Here women run to stop asking your
husband each and every day, "Give me something. I need
to buy this. I need that," because as women, we have some
other things that maybe men - we don't like men to know.
Maybe I run, I get my own money, I am free. I can get
whatever I want. Yeah.
ALEXIS BLOOM: Another woman we met was Ruth Chebbi.
Her mother raised eight children alone.
RUTH CHEBBI: I hope to be a good runner in future.
I get my own properties, so that I can be independent of myself,
not depending on my parents.
ALEXIS BLOOM: Nancy invited us back to her village,
a two-hour drive along bumpy tracks skirting the edge of the
Great Rift Valley. At home, Nancy has a husband and a
baby named Victor.
NANCY KIPROP: The biggest challenge now, as a
runner and being a woman, is maybe the burden of bringing up
children, and at the same time taking up the career of being
ALEXIS BLOOM: [on camera] You don't
remember? She's been training for so long.
NANCY KIPROP: So that's a great challenge.
ALEXIS BLOOM: [voice-over] Seven
people live in this two-room house. Pictures of champions
adorn the walls. Nancy's husband is the rare Kenyan man.
He cares for their child and lets Nancy run.
[on camera] Do you feel proud of Nancy when she's
HUSBAND: [subtitles] Sure, I am very
ALEXIS BLOOM: So it's OK with you that she will
run and you look after Victor at home?
HUSBAND: Yeah. It's difficult to refuse
somebody to go with this talent. That's a gift from God.
Who am I? Am I God? I'm not God. Let somebody
go and use their talent.
ALEXIS BLOOM: [voice-over] Back in
Iten on a rainy Saturday, it was the first qualifying round
for the national team. People speculate wildly about why
Kenyans are such good runners, but Nancy believes running is
just a way of life.
NANCY KIPROP: Why Kenyans are running so fast?
Because our schools were located very far away from our homes.
You run very many kilometers away from your home, maybe six
kilometers. You run lunchtime, then you come back six
kilometers again. And then you go back to school for classes,
evening classes. And evening, you come back again.
So we used to run, run, run in order not to miss the lessons.
ALEXIS BLOOM: For Nancy and Ruth, both running
today, there's much at stake. A top runner can win thousands
per race, huge rewards when over half of Kenyans live on less
than a dollar a day. The winners of this 8K race will
move one step closer to the national team.
[on camera] Go Nancy! Come on Ruth!
Nancy's just been overtaken. But it's really, it's neck
[voice-over] Running with the best in the district,
Nancy places third, qualifying to move on. Ruth comes
in sixth, also qualifying, but just barely.
RUTH CHEBBI: I have some worries about my future,
if I cannot train hard. So I have to struggle hard because
if I have nothing, what kind of a life am I going to live?
So I am worrying about my future.
ALEXIS BLOOM: Back at the camp, Ruth struggles
to keep up, while Nancy pushes forward.
NANCY KIPROP: To run, you have to sweat.
You will not win if you will not sweat. You have to sweat
because you have to train hard to win easily.
LORNAH KIPLAGAT: The girls will not all make it.
The girls at the camp, for sure, not all of them have good talent
for running. But the good part of the story is they have
talent for something else, so that at the end, it's not only
about running, it's a way of changing the whole lifestyle of
women in Kenya. At the end, all of a sudden, you see a
different face, a different life. And you're, like, "Wow.
It's possible." Yeah.
ON A RAZOR'S EDGE
Reporter and Co-Producer
Special Thanks to
JALAL AND SATTI
Director of Program Production
Produced in association with New York Times Television
THE KIDNAPPED BRIDE
Reported, Produced and Filmed by
MICHAEL H. AMUNDSON
SOROS FOUNDATION OF KYRGYZSTAN
OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE
CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY
AKTAN ARYM KUBAT
RUN, LORNAH, RUN
Produced and Reported by
LOS ANGELES MARATHON
"BOMAS OF KENYA"
PROVIDED BY ARC MUSIC INTERNATIONAL, UK
UC BERKELEY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
Web Associate Producer
Web Site Design
SUSAN HARRIS, FLUENT STUDIOS
ERIN MARTIN KANE
BRENT QUAN HALL
MICHAEL H. AMUNDSON
Post Production Supervisor
Post Production Assistant
FRONTLINE Coordinating Producer
FRONTLINE Production Manager
FRONTLINE Series Manager
FRONTLINE Series Editor
Executive in charge for KQED
SUE ELLEN MCCANN
Executive in charge for WGBH/FRONTLINE
WGBH AND KQED
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FRONTLINE/WORLD IS A COPRODUCTION OF WGBH BOSTON AND KQED
SAN FRANCISCO, WHICH ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONTENT.
ANNOUNCER: There's more of the world to explore
on our Web site, including interviews with leading Pakistani
political figures on the pressures facing Musharraf; a photo
essay of life in Kyrgyzstan; a chance to step into the shoes
of a Kenyan woman runner in an on-line game, and a guide for
teachers. Discuss the world and tell us what you think
of our Stories From a Small Planet at pbs.org.
Next time on FRONTLINE:
VOICE: Everybody knew what was happening in Rwanda.
ANNOUNCER: They watched while nearly a million
people were slaughtered.
VOICE: It made no difference what you said or
how you said it, the world just didn't care.
ANNOUNCER: They watched while the world looked
VOICE: When the genocide was over, I was so angry
at America- America the beautiful, America the brave.
ANNOUNCER: Ten years later, why are they still haunted
by The Ghosts of Rwanda? Next time on FRONTLINE.
Educators and educational institutions can purchase a tape
of FRONTLINE/WORLD by calling PBS Video at 1-800-PLAY-PBS.
[$59.95 plus s&h]
FRONTLINE/WORLD is made possible by
ABB, a global provider of power and automation technologies.
We enable our utility and industry customers all over the world
to find solutions in their quest to improve performance and
lower environmental impact.
And by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, from Tom Steyer and
Kat Taylor, and Carnegie Corporation of New York.