Read Full Transcript EXPAND
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We also spoke to some children up in Kaga Bandoro who had some really disturbing stories to
share with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Confronting a priest accused of abusing some of the world’s vulnerable children. We have a special report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA RESSA, CEO, RAPPLER: The minute you see the — average of eight people getting killed every night, that was what our reporter was coming
home with. That’s off the scale.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The journalist going toe to toe with Filipino president, Rodrigo Duterte, “Rappler” CEO, Maria Ressa, joins me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLAFUR ELIASSON, ARTIST: Suddenly, the experience itself, one could argue, is the art work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: As the Oxford English Dictionary makes climate emergency its word of the year, world renowned artist, Olafur Eliasson, on connecting
Plus, should the law encourage forgiveness? Harvard’s legal professor, Martha Minow, navigates this tricky subject.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in London.
Pope Francis makes a historic trip to Thailand this week where he’s holding his first mass in the country and calling for the protection of women and
children from abuse and exploitation, reaffirming his zero-tolerance policy in the Roman Catholic church sexual abuse crisis.
But, incredibly, the awful practice of moving accused molesters from parish to parish around the world continues where they are free to roam and prey
on unsuspecting new communities. They are even sent to areas in the developing world where children are even more vulnerable.
In her new report, Correspondent Nima Elbagir, tracked down and confronted one such priest who despite being convicted of child abuse was sent by the
Catholic Church to work at well-known Caritas Catholic Aid Organization in the Central African Republic.
Nima also traveled to the Vatican where she heard the shocking admission that even the pope cannot lay down the law on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We’re tracking down a convicted pedophile priest, Father Luk Delft. Delft abused two children
in a dormitory in Belgium. We’ve learned he may be abusing again.
Our investigation is zeroing in on a remote town in the Central African Republic, Kaga Bandoro.
It’s taken us about two days, three different planes, to get up here to the north of the Central African Republic. If you were trying to disappear,
this would definitely be suitably remote. UNICEF has called it one of the worst places in the world to be a child. It’s herein Kaga Bandoro that
Delft first worked for Caritas, the Catholic charity. Their mission, to protect the most vulnerable. It is also here that we are hearing whispers
of possible new victims.
At a camp for displaced people on the outskirts of town, Alba (ph) and his father agreed to speak to us about his alleged abuse at the hands of Father
Do you know who this man is?
ALBA (through translator): Luk.
ELBAGIR: Father Luk.
ALBA (through translator): We were friends. He would buy me clothes and he would often give me money. Every morning, I would greet him before he
would go to work. It was the basis for our friendship.
ELBAGIR: He became your friend. What happened?
ALBA (through translator): It was a horrible thing that he did to me. When you showed me his picture, it upset me. I don’t even want to see his
face. It upsets me very much.
ELBAGIR: It’s clear Abla (ph) is too upset to talk much more. So, we asked his father if he can explain what happened.
What did Father Delft do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What he did to my son is not a good thing, there are plenty of women he could had sex with. He preferred
to sodomize my son.
ELBAGIR: This was hard for both Alba (ph) and his farther but they said it was important for them to talk. They want justice.
We leave Kaga Bandoro. It’s time to track down Delft.
This is Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic. We’ve traveled here from the north where we met Alba (ph). Our contacts are
telling Delft regularly celebrates mass in the area. We try the churches, he’s nowhere to be found. We try him at his residence, but he hasn’t spent
the night. Nothing.
We spent the whole morning looking for Father Delft. It’s been a bit of a wild goose chase. But now, we’re hearing that he’s back at his office and
we are heading there now.
Hello, Father Delft.
We spoke to the prosecutor in Belgium. We want to ask you some questions, about breaking the terms of your sentence. We also spoke to some children
up in Kaga Bandoro who had some really disturbing stories to share with us. And, of course, we want to hear what you have to say about it, Father
LUK DELFT, PRIEST: Nothing.
ELBAGIR: What do you mean nothing?
ELBAGIR: You are a priest. You’re a man of God. These children are accusing you of abusing them and you have nothing to say for yourself?
ELBAGIR: Do you know Alba (ph)? Do you remember Alba (ph)? He said he was 13 when you abused him. Do you remember him?
ELBAGIR: Alba (ph)? Alba (ph)? In Kaga Bandoro, at the compound, the Catholic compound. He and his father spoke to us. He was crying. He said
that you told him you loved him and then you hurt him. You have nothing to say?
ELBAGIR: It doesn’t disturb you to hear that children said this about you?
DELFT: Well, no.
ELBAGIR: Do you want to say anything?
ELBAGIR: OK. Well, we will, of course, be speaking to the managers Caritas about our findings. Thank you for whatever this was.
Father Luk Delft’s religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, moved him multiple times. Each time to schools, campuses, even supervising children
before we were able to catch up with him. You may think you know this story, priests abusing children. But what you may not know is that there
are powerful institutions within the church who are free to self-police. In many cases, not even the pope can sanction them.
Father Luk Delft belongs to the Salesians of Don Bosco, the second largest of these institutions, a religious organization whose mission is to help
the most vulnerable children in the world.
Patrick Wall was himself a religious order priest. And to-date has helped investigate hundreds of clerical abuse cases.
PATRICK WALL, CO-AUTHOR, “SEX, PRIESTS AND SECRET CODES”: My experience has been that Salesians have the highest percentage of perpetrators of any
religious order across the world. Because of their focus, if a priest is allowed to go 20 to 30 years, there are several hundred victims per priest.
ELBAGIR: We came to the Vatican to share the evidence we were able to unearth over a yearlong investigation, and it’s not just Father Delft. We
found evidence of abusers being moved, evidence of a refusal to defrock convicted pedophiles.
Caritas Internationalis’ new head of safeguarding says the Salesians did not contact them about the current allegations against Caritas’ former
director, Luk Delft.
So, you were only made aware when we contacted you?
ANDREW AZZOPARDI, HEAD OF SAFEGUARDING, CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS: Yes. And from what information you shared with us, there are new allegations there
which need to be investigated hopefully by the police or at least internally by the church to take action against Father Luk and any other
person who is responsible for Father Luk’s behavior.
ELBAGIR: The Salesians appear to have withheld information even from others in the church. We are still looking to understand how this is
Father Hans Zollner was one of the few people at the Vatican willing to answer questions. He says the new papal guidelines are progress.
FATHER HANS ZOLLNER, PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS: This is a very important step forward in the development of a culture for
ELBAGIR: Does this apply, though, to the Holy Orders? Because the Holy Orders will not directly fall under that bishop.
ZOLLNER: Now, the congregations and religious orders follow a different type of structure and legal procedures. Maybe people think the Catholic
churches are monolithic block with one CEO, who is pope, and he presses a button and every bishop and every priest and every Catholic actually salute
and they follow what he does, and that is not the case. In some cases, in way too many cases, the religious superiors did not follow
through canon law.
ELBAGIR: But the fact is that they did not follow —
ELBAGIR: — your cannon law and there was oversight mechanism that made any note of that. So, there are no sanctions? There have been no
sanctions for that?
ZOLLNER: If there are no sanctions within the community, which is, in that case, an order or a congregation, then there is almost no possibility to do
ELBAGIR: And I think that’s the heartbreak for those survivors.
Until this blind spot is addressed and the religious orders brought under the same guidelines as under priests and bishops, many survivors believe
the cycle of clerical abuse will only continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And as a result of Nima’s reporting, Luk Delft has been recalled to Belgium and he’s under investigation by local authorities based on new
Now, to another reporter talking truth to power. Correspondent Maria Ressa, has been working for organizations like CNN and others for the past
30 years. But it’s the work she’s doing in the Philippines, her home country, a CEO of “Rappler,” one of the country’s biggest news sites what
she calls the most dangerous assignment of her life.
Reporting on the brutal realities of President Duterte’s infamous war on drugs, a bloody campaign which the Filipino Commission of Human Rights says
has claimed over 27,000 lives.
Now, Ressa finds herself in the firing line facing criminal charges including cyber libel and tax evasion. I have been speaking to her here in
London to discuss what she’s up against and why she continues.
Maria Ressa, welcome to the program.
MARIA RESSA, CEO, RAPPLER: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, you have been a longtime CNN correspondent based in Asia, of course, in the Philippines. And now, for many years, you have been the
founder of this site, “Rappler.” For those who don’t know, what is “Rappler”? How does it operate?
RESSA: So, the elevator pitch has always been that we build communities of action. And the food we feed the communities is the journalism. I talk
investigative journalism, technology and then the last part is community. And that’s the whole idea.
The first big test is actually climate change because that was our first community that with built. I think these are the two biggest issues of our
And the Philippines has an average of 20 typhoons every year. So, starting in 2012 when we began “Rappler,” we focused on how do we use this
technology to help get people aware of climate change, and then beyond that, to act together, right, to connect them better, the government. So,
we did that.
And then, the other communities that we have built are around corruption, anti-corruption campaigns, and we worked with government to do this. So,
this was also unheard of, right, to try to use the power of media to actually have real change happen in the world.
AMANPOUR: Yes. It is pretty extraordinary actually. I mean, it’s a real groundbreaker in that space. Then comes Duterte.
RESSA: Oh, yes. I better go there. Yes.
AMANPOUR: Well, because this now has become the all-enveloping situation you find yourself in. Let’s just go back to the beginning when he was
running for election, almost no if not no other mainstream media site would entertain him, would have him on. But you did and you reported on him.
You let him come on the platform. And I want to read what, as you know, Peter Pomerantsev, who wrote the great book, “This is Not Propaganda.”
AMANPOUR: “”When Duterte decided to stand in the presidential election of 2015, he and “Rappler” seemed made for each other. A mayor from a
provincial town. Duterte got relatively little TV time and so focused on social media. When “Rappler” hosted a Facebook presidential debate, he was
the only candidate to turn up. It was an overwhelming success. His message to vanquish drug crime was catching on. “Rappler” reporters found
themselves repeating his soundbite about the “war on drugs.” When Duterte later went on his killing spree, they would regret using the term war.”
So, that’s Peter Pomerantsev using Duterte and “Rappler’s” sort of interlinked there —
AMANPOUR: — as an example of what then went wrong.
RESSA: I don’t think that we did anything differently. We were reporting his campaign as we always have, right? He was one of five candidates. We
had no political agenda. I think where it came together is that he says things candidates shouldn’t say, like in one interview he told me he killed
three people. Who says that? And who’s running for president, right? And when he went to this presidential debate, it was maybe 1,000 students
there, 1,000 audience, it was the kick off to his presidential campaign outside of Mindanao, because that was January of 2016.
AMANPOUR: Which was the province where he’d been governor — mayor.
RESSA: Right. And I think he also realized the power of “Rappler,” because what made us different was unlike the traditional news
groups, we had the millennials. Our main base, because we went on social media, that was our primary distribution. Our age was 18 to 34.
And then, of course, when we continued reporting the way we have been reporting, the minute you see the — an average of eight people getting
killed every night, that was what our reporter was coming home with. That’s off the scale. And we kept doing it.
AMANPOUR: And so, what happened? Because then he turned on you and the community turned on you or appeared to. What happened?
RESSA: So, these are familiar tactics, right? I mean, the first thing was the social media attacks. So, Mayor Duterte used social media successfully
to get elected. At the beginning, you know, I was clapping because they actually did that. But the weaponization of social media happened after he
became president, not coincidentally with the start of the drug war.
And they went after, not just journalists, and this is very personal, this a new weapon against journalists, but they also went after anyone who
questioned the drug war. Then after that, this — they systematically attacked traditional journalists. We weren’t first in line. We were
third. The largest newspaper, the largest television station. We were third in line. And I think we just pushed back.
AMANPOUR: How did you push back?
RESSA: We wanted to continue doing the story and it was clear that the government was fudging numbers. The first casualty in the war for truth
was the number of people killed in the drug war. Today, the government will say — will admit to killing almost 6,000 people. That number alone
is insane. But if you compare it to what the Philippines Commission on Human Rights and the U.N. says, it is more than 27,000 people killed.
That’s genocide, right?
So, we did that. We went after the impunity that was happening. People getting killed without any due process. And then, we then started looking
at the disinformation networks, the propaganda war. In the Philippines, not only is Facebook our internet, right? Today, 100 percent of Filipinos
on the internet are on Facebook.
AMANPOUR: Let’s just get to the Facebook thing and the — and how it came to a perfect storm in the Philippines. It knows that Duterte routinely
uses the site to flood citizens with the information, right?
RESSA: That’s correct.
AMANPOUR: What’s Facebook doing about it?
RESSA: Very little. Up until the time when Mark Zuckerberg was called — was in front of Congress testifying. I think Facebook has known the
problem in the Philippines. Even in their disclosures before that, they would actually say that the Philippines has a higher than average number of
fake accounts. But we have seen phases now.
So, the first were these fake accounts that come and attack you. Now, it’s seeped over because Facebook did three takedowns. A significant chunk of
the disinformation networks. So, now, they are actually getting people who have — real people who are coopted.
AMANPOUR: What happens though in a country where everything is on social media, where everybody is on Facebook? What happens to the dissemination
of real facts and information?
I mean, I’m just mindful that the “The New York Times” did sort of a spreadsheet and they found that in response following the fact that
President Trump uses the words fake news so often they counted over a period of time 50 heads of state, government, military leaders, others. I
mean, people in positions of power all over the world who are using the same term and using it often as a bludgeon.
What does it look like to be a country that’s entire diet is Facebook and social media?
RESSA: Democracy crumbled quickly. Six months I watched not just my — the body of work, my career, the kinds of attacks that we lived through.
It’s very like Nazi Germany. If you repeat a lie a million times, it is the truth. Now, I’m under attack, right? And —
AMANPOUR: What does it look like? What kind of attacks are you getting, the threats?
RESSA: So, corrupt — so, aside from the threats, it’s a repetition, because when you say a lie a million times and it becomes the fact, when
you attack a million times, you achieve four things. The first is that you pound your target to silence. Most people retreat. The second is you
overwhelm the narrative, you take over, you create new realities.
In my case replace journalists with criminal. Replace journalists with tax evader. None of these are true, but repeated so often, that takes over the
psyche. The third part of that is once they have the narrative, it’s like astroturfing, right? They build the narrative so that that
replaces reality completely. And then the last chunk is repeat that, but with the loudest megaphone, which is when the president repeats it, then it
becomes — that is it.
AMANPOUR: I’m going to play a little chunk of something President Duterte said in 2018, speaking publicly about extra judicial killings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT (through translator): What are your sins? Me? I asked the military, “What are my sins?” Did I steal even one
peso? Did I prosecute somebody that I sent to jail? My only sin is the extrajudicial killings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, is he really admitting it?
RESSA: He did in that case, right. And that —
AMANPOUR: And you say he did say it to you.
RESSA: He did. He — yes. He admits he’s killed people.
AMANPOUR: So, is he able to continually carry on impunity?
RESSA: Yes, absolutely. Because he owns the levers of power. And when they want to change something, they use social media. This is why what’s
happened in the Philippines is important to everyone else. Our dystopian president is your future. It’s happening already.
AMANPOUR: Do you think that all you have done and, you know, the more people are pushing back against the extra judicial killings, against
President Duterte himself, that there is a bit of a shift? And I ask, I mean, obviously the U.N. and the International Criminal Court are examining
these allegations of extra judicial killings.
And he, the president, recently appointed somebody who was actually opposed to his program, Vice President Leni Robredo, to take over his war on drugs.
She was one of his fiercest rivals.
So, let us just play a little bit of what she said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LENI ROBREDO, PHILIPPINES VICE PRESIDENT (through translator): We received a letter from the president that tasks us to lead to the campaign against
illegal drugs in his terms remaining two-and-a-half years.
Many have expressed their worries that the offer was not sincere, that this is a trap. The president knows what my position is on the drug war. I am
opposed to the killing of innocents. I am against the abuse of officials. He knows my criticisms. He knows what I plan to fix. So, if he thinks
that in my accepting this offer, I will become silent, he is mistaken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that’s quite bold. But what is Duterte doing? I mean, he’s canny like a fox, right? What is he doing? He — she’s saying he can’t
AMANPOUR: Have things changed? Have things gotten better?
RESSA: I think — yes and no. For the very first time, our midterm elections in May, for the first time since we were a commonwealth of the
United States since the 1930s, no opposition candidate won a seat at the Senate. He’s consolidated power. He is the most powerful leader this
country has ever had.
Leni Robredo is head of the opposition. She was in an impossible situation. He threw a gauntlet down. Is she going to let it go or is she
going to pick it up? And you know, we — on both sides, she was advised by her own party not to do it because many thought she would be seen as a
deodorant, right, especially with the international community, the ICC, looking at these types of — at the extra judicial killings.
At the same time, she also felt that she wanted to save a life. It could be naive —
AMANPOUR: Have any lives been saved? Has the —
RESSA: It’s too soon.
AMANPOUR: — killings slowed?
RESSA: It’s too soon.
AMANPOUR: Too soon to say.
RESSA: Yes. What’s really happened now is that after we have seen the casualties go kind of underground, we now have no idea how many people have
really been killed. And the killings continue, but they are not being admitted in public as brazenly as they were before.
We won a prize this year for the Global Investigative Journalism Conference on a seven-part series that looked at vigilantes who were hired by the
police to kill. People who are on the kill list for the drug war. This obviously shows the rule of law doesn’t exist for victims of the drug war.
AMANPOUR: And you, the personal cost that you have endured, what are they and are they worth it to you?
RESSA: At the beginning we challenged traditional media. We were able to grow fast because of Facebook. Now, we hold the line. Because “Rappler,”
you know, it’s in our shareholder’s agreement that the journalists in “Rappler” not only have the editorial power but we also have commercial
power. So, we pushed back. And we did things that seem suicidal for news businesses.
But you know what, we’ve stood behind it and we’ve seen our people, our community rally behind that. The values and the principles,
these are still important. And this is a time and a battle that matters. So, we held the line and we continue to hold the line. The fact that we
survived, the fact that we’re open, the fact that we continue doing investigative stories, this is good.
AMANPOUR: Yes. It is good. And it’s pretty extraordinary given the context and given the environment over there.
Maria Ressa, thank you very much, indeed.
RESSA: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: As you heard, Maria says climate was one of the first investigations she undertook with ”
“Rappler.” Now, the Oxford English Dictionary has made climate emergency its word of the year, well, two words actually.
All week, we have been delving into some of the solutions to this existential crisis, whether it’s better water management in cities like
Venice or seeing how activist shareholders can change the practice of fossil fuel companies. Today, we look at how art can connect us to nature
and the climate with artist, Olafur Eliasson, whose new exhibit is taking London’s Tate Modern museum by storm.
He took a break from hanging another show, his photos of the devastating impact on glaciers over 20 years to come into our studio and talk about
giving people a positive experience by connecting them with nature.
Olafur Eliasson, thank you very much for joining us.
OLAFUR ELIASSON, ARTIST: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: I want to know first what inspires your art?
ELIASSON: Well, I was interested in, as a student, dematerializing. And that, I think, created a situation where the author or the view of the user
of a museum will have to work. Is this now a work of art or is it — I mean, what am I looking at? And suddenly, the experience itself, one could
argue, is the art work.
AMANPOUR: So, here is the experience we are having now. This is your latest big exhibit at the Tate Modern. There are a lot of very, very
interesting rooms and the art goer really does have fun. Here, what would you say that is?
ELIASSON: Well, what it is, in fact, is Drizzling water. And I don’t know if you can see, there’s this sort of spectrum of — color spectrum like —
ELIASSON: — like a little bit of a rainbow, one could say. And as we know, a rainbow, it really depends on the light, a drop, which is what is
in the room, and then eye. So, when I look, that angle that creates the rainbow. But if I look away, obviously, the angle is not there. So, one
could really argue that it’s a room with a rainbow once there are people there. If there are no people there, there is no rainbow.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Beside the tree in the forest if it drops and nobody is there, nobody hears it.
ELIASSON: And, obviously, it’s really also about the authority. I mean, who is important here. Is it the artist, is it the museum, is it the
rainbow or is it the people who come? You know, so I was hoping to suggest, well, it is the thing or it is the engagement that creates the
So, the rainbow for me is, obviously, is both of beauty and about a work of art but it’s also about once we see something, we also constitute it. We
are not consumers. We are, in fact, producers if we dare to own it.
AMANPOUR: Oh, this is the fog. This is actually, for a lot of people who I have spoken to, a little bit scary, a little bit claustrophobic. That’s
you obviously there. But we have to go through a room that we don’t know what’s in there, what’s not. Just that we know that it’s the fog room.
ELIASSON: Going through a room where you can’t see because it is densely full of fog, quickly you think, I’m lost. I have lost my vision. But it
turns out that we are not as lost as we think because we start to use the ears, go into some kind of alert and we start to touch, you know, we hold
our hands out. And it just means that what we think is our way of navigating or orienting is not something static. We can reorient, we can
renavigate or we can recreate how we see the world.
AMANPOUR: This is a lot. Isn’t it inspired by your climate activism?
ELIASSON: For me it’s just like art that deals with the subject matter which happens to be environment. And here, there’s this — so, we have a
lot of fear-based there. I mean, we see fear-based narrative especially from (INAUDIBLE) and from parts of the world where, you know, people are
trying to promote change by sort of threatening. And I really trust the people to be able to react in a positive, a hopeful message, not as fear-
AMANPOUR: One of the huge pieces of works you have done over the last several years is importing great chunks of glacier from Greenland, right?
Two big metropolitan cities, to Paris and to London. For instance, this is now being brought to install outside the Tate Modern. You’ve got the
beautiful St. Paul’s in the background there. What are you trying to tell people?
ELIASSON: I have been many times on glaciers. I have touched them. I have laid on them. I have been, you know, climbing on them and so on. So
— and there is something profoundly beautiful about great glaciers. And obviously, we can’t all go in and touch and see the glaciers.
These projects are been done on the location of the cops, the cop —
AMANPOUR: Which is the climate change? Sorry, the climate conference.
ELIASSON: The summits where we talk about how to do things in the future, right?
And the COPs are based on scientific reports. And the reports, they’re full of papers. So, suddenly, we have the scientists and the politicians.
And they all are talking about data, which is necessary also, but we need to translate data into, well, what are they talking about?
So, the idea is here that you can walk up, see the ice, and on top of that, it is amazingly beautiful. And you go, oh, so this is what they are
And I’m not saying this is as didactic as that. But, quite honestly, I think, looking at the ice melting like this is very touching. So to sort
of kind of say to people, well, here’s something that you can touch, you can even smell or listen to it.
You know the small air bubbles contained 20,000-year-old air? This is how we know what was the weather, how much carbon was in the air 20,000 years
AMANPOUR: The air bubbles in those pieces of glacier?
And they’re kind of…
AMANPOUR: Twenty-thousand-year-old air?
ELIASSON: … 15 or 25.
AMANPOUR: But, still, I mean, it’s massive.
So — and the funny thing is, or the interesting thing is, if you listen really carefully, they are under a lot of pressure. You can hear the other
pop, pop. So there’s like a tiny little concert, like, on the surface of the ice.
And you can see, when kids come around, they — suddenly, they realize, this is alive. It is — you see the small bubbles coming up to the surface
as it melts.
AMANPOUR: There’s a hall of mirrors there, sort of, a hall of mirrors. There is a tube of mirrors. And you step up and walk through it. And you
can see all these different cut mirrors, and it distorts your image.
You’re quite famous for talking about the body and the space and what we have all just been talking about. What did you make of the “Irish
Independent” columnist was differently abled and couldn’t get through, and she was pretty angry and complained, and the Tate apologized?
ELIASSON: Well, this work is 20 years old. And I can be totally honest and say, I did not think about it. That’s how it is.
And I was — I was like working with what does the world takes as a reaction to sort of modernism and how modernism did not see our senses, and
I wanted to do — and I made various works where we’re kind of disoriented.
And this is a very good point. This work is not accessible for all. And had I made this work today, I would have prioritized that differently.
There’s no doubt about it.
I also called her. And I said this, let’s talk about it. And she was wonderful. And she had a good — there was, like, no doubt about it. She
was right. And it just so happens there are works that I did in the past that didn’t meet the same level of considerations that I have today.
AMANPOUR: It’s really interesting, because everything changes, the artist’s work, the subject matter, the way people look at the world.
One of the most amazing pieces of work — and I think it’s your first exhibition at the Tate — was The Weather Project.
AMANPOUR: And that was remarkable. I don’t even know whether you expected it. Maybe you did. But it was practically at the turn of the century,
right, if I could put it that way.
And it was in the big, big hall. And you sort of simulated the rising or the setting sun. And you found that people started to react to it in weird
ways, like sitting there — quote, unquote — “sunbathing.”
Was it hot? I mean, did it give off the impression of being on a beach?
ELIASSON: No, no, it was cold. It was from October, I believe, as they are, these projects, until through the winter.
And, no, what I think happened is that people became conscious about a narrative where you collectively could start behaving different. There’s a
quite normative idea about, how does one behave, right?
And so I think people sort of welcomed the fact, OK, here’s a space. This is different. And I aim to create sort of a public space inside the
museum, because that particular Turbine Hall space at the Tate Modern is free of charge.
So there’s something there was where you’re not quite into the museum, you’re not also on the street, but there’s this space in between. And I
did not see this happen at all, but I hope to create a kind of a safe space to have difficult conversations.
And there is this notion of sharing without having to agree. It’s sort of fundamentally a very democratic idea. And as we know, art can be —
occasionally, well, art can be very elitist sometimes.
And that’s why I am very interested in this sort of welcoming people and also non-professionals or first-time visitors and say, OK, let’s see if we
can have a singular, my personal experience, but let’s also share the experiences. Let’s be together.
And let’s say, I wouldn’t say train, but how should I — let’s exercise togetherness. Connectedness is so difficult if we don’t rehearse
somewhere. And the street outside, the public street, I would argue that there’s a limit to how public it actually is, because the storefronts,
everything, it’s like controlled, right?
Where do we go to be together now, and with people we are not normally together with?
So museums and cultural institutions has that, I think. It’s a kind — also about inclusion.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you about this, because you’re not just an artist, but you have used design for a very, very, very practical purpose
So this is, what, you have got a little sun. You have a little sun enterprise. And it’s a solar-powered lamp.
ELIASSON: But I look at it as a little work of art, like a little sculpture that I did. And it’s sort of a sculpture that works in life, you
could say, and such a social and such a (INAUDIBLE) project.
And as we speak, or maybe now beginning of December, I believe we are delivering lamp number one million.
AMANPOUR: One million. Wow.
ELIASSON: I’m so proud.
And the solar lantern, essentially, a lantern with a solar panel, rechargeable battery and a little LED. So it’s very straightforward.
And what you do is, you hold it out in the sun. You sort of harvest your energy. It’s great for a child. So, you go out, and then you have light
And, obviously, I think, oh, but that’s not allowed. It’s like, that’s basically — you cannot measure how little carbon that actually is and CO2
and so on. But you can. If there’s one million that is not in — off the electrical grid in East Africa, where I spend a lot of time.
You have 80 million people in Ethiopia who are off the electrical grid. And this is changing also because of other larger projects. But if they
all buy a little bit of petroleum every day, that’s a lot of petroleum.
So my point is that selling or sharing this lamp through NGOs and other projects, selling it online in the global north, and the resources and the
profitability goes into driving lamps into projects, into refugee camps, into schools, educational projects, women’s education projects and so on in
areas where there’s no electricity.
AMANPOUR: What message do you want to give?
ELIASSON: No, I don’t — I don’t think I’m like a kind of protagonist with a single message.
I am so happy to take part in a dialogue. I’m so excited. Is about being here and discussing things. I don’t see myself as anything different than
What I think is important is to feel that you are a part of the discussion. The worst thing you can feel is that: Nobody’s listening to me.
It’s the worst thing, because then I — then I go out and do silly things. I radicalize myself. I become a populist. I don’t vote, or I vote on the
wrong — you know, as long as people feel they are good enough and they are being listened to, I think that there is a common sense that is going to
drive everything I have.
AMANPOUR: Olafur Eliasson, thank you so much, indeed.
ELIASSON: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: And when it comes to sharing important experiences, our next guest asked whether forgiveness has any chance in this age of resentment.
Harvard Law School professor and former dean Martha Minow has taught generations of lawyers, including former President Barack Obama, about the
power of the law and how a sentence can best match a crime.
That question is at the heart of her new book, “When Should Law Forgive.”
And she sat down with our Michel Martin to discuss how the American legal system, whose rate of incarceration is the highest in the world, could use
a little compassion.
MICHEL MARTIN: Martha Minow, thank you so much for talking with us.
MARTHA MINOW, AUTHOR, “WHEN SHOULD LAW FORGIVE?”: Thank you for having me here.
MARTIN: You point out in the book that every major religious tradition that we know of has some tradition or acknowledgement of forgiveness as a
But what does it mean to you? What does it mean in this context?
MINOW: To forgive is to let go of justified grievances.
And I think all of that is important, that it’s to let go. It means the person who’s been harmed is the one who’s letting go. And it also means
that the grievances are justified.
And I think, if there’s not been an acknowledgement of a wrong, then we’re not in the land of forgiveness.
MARTIN: I think that you have been thinking about this for a long time. Why is that?
MINOW: I have been thinking about whether law itself can and should forgive, in part because we’re living in the United States in the most
punitive country in the history of the planet, most incarceration.
And I have been wondering, are there any resources that we have as a people to deal with this?
MARTIN: You said the United States is, what, the most punitive…
MARTIN: … country in the history of…
MINOW: Of the planet.
MARTIN: Of the planet. And that’s a pretty powerful statement.
Why do you say that?
MINOW: Well, I — 2.3 million people in jail or prisons, more than in the history of the United States, and the United States more than anywhere
else, per capita more than anywhere.
Why do we do that? And it’s not even just the criminal justice system, which is extraordinarily punitive. The same crime in other countries does
not generate the same length of a sentence. But it is through the rule of law that we have so many incarcerated people.
And it distances people from the ability to criticize it, because it was lawful.
Why has it happened? Some people say it’s about the puritan background in the United States. Some people say it’s got to be about our racial
conflicts, because the disproportionate impact, particularly on African- Americans, is so huge in our criminal justice system.
And yet it’s also kind of curious, because, in other domains, we are more forgiving.
MARTIN: So, how do you want us to think anew about this?
I mean, you have identified a number of areas in which you feel the society needs to take a fresh look at the concept of forgiveness.
MINOW: Well, on the one hand, we all, I think, learn about the possibilities of forgiveness interpersonally.
And that’s, I think, a great benefit, that we can let go of a grievance and move on with a friend, with an intimate partner over time.
I’m interested in the legal system. Can the legal system do that as well? Shouldn’t it do it? And when you start looking at it, as I have done as a
lawyer, there’s places for forgiveness all over the legal system, whether it’s the pardon power that’s given to executives, including the president,
the bankruptcy power, the discretion that a police officer or a prosecutor has to go ahead or not go ahead.
So we allow for it. Why don’t we use it? Why don’t we use it more? And it’s beginning to happen. There’s a — more and more jurisdictions are
electing prosecutors not because they’re going to lock them up, but because they say, you know, we really shouldn’t be locking people up simply because
they had a drug offense.
I think that there is a beginning of a bipartisan view that we have become too far on a spectrum and it’s time to swing back. And I’m trying to
justify that. And it’s not just that it’s too expensive, which it is, but it’s also too expensive to our moral being, not just to our pocketbooks.
MARTIN: Why do you say that?
MINOW: Because each of us is frail. Each of us makes mistakes. punitiveness that we have so much dumped on the people who get caught and
get prosecuted, I think, in part is a way to fail — to deny the contribution of the entire society to the problems of the people who are in
And it’s not to excuse people. Someone who breaks the law breaks the law. There should be consequences. But it — almost always, there’s a larger
And to understand that larger story is to see that we’re all involved and that, therefore, we should come up with some better solutions. We’re not
going to lock ourselves away out of the problems of this society.
MARTIN: Give me a sense of what this would look like. And why don’t we start with juveniles?
Because there had been a trend and still continues to be a trend of treating juveniles, particularly those who’ve committed certain crimes,
violent crimes, of treating them like adults.
MINOW: We created a juvenile justice system, started 1899, with the idea that it shouldn’t be like the adult system. We should have rehabilitation.
We should have social services.
Over time, it became actually very punitive without even the guardrails of due process. And these days, in most parts of the country, based on the
seriousness of the offense, not the age of the young person, the individual can be transferred to adult court or treated as an adult for purposes of
the punishment, sometimes even sent to an adult prison.
So how could it be different? The District of Colombia has come up with a diversion system where it is, instead of actually treating a young person
as if they’re an adult, and putting them through the process of the criminal system, instead has a restorative justice system, where those who
are actually violated are part of a process of identifying, what was the harm?
And the one who committed the harm is part of that process as well. And they come up with a plan. And the plan may include community service,
reparations, other kinds of activities. And the rest of the community, actually, members of the community can also take part and agree to help.
MARTIN: What about adults?
MINOW: I think that, once we start to see the promise of this strategy, it could be used in some cases with adults as well, maybe even in many more
cases than we currently imagine, again, to identify, why did this person engage in this conduct, whether it was theft, or it was assault?
Is there some way that person can make repairs, but also work on themselves, get some help, get drug treatment? Vast majority of people who
are incarcerated in this country actually have a drug problem or an alcohol problem.
It’s not to excuse them, but it is to say, we’re not going to get our — any way out of this until, actually, we deal with those problems.
MARTIN: How do you persuade people to adopt that point of view, even to entertain this idea, given that you have pointed out, and you have reported
in your book, just how resistant this culture is to these concepts?
MINOW: The method of persuasion that I use it is what I actually teach my students, which is, we persuade through comparisons and we persuade by
finding what people value and showing how their values actually support the purpose that I’m advocating for.
So, to see the fresh start that’s allowed for people in financial situations where they have breached your promise, how come we don’t have a
fresh start after people have served their time in a criminal sentence? And they still don’t have a fresh start because we have the collateral
consequences of crime, where people are barred from getting a loan, getting a job, getting housing, having a professional license, even keeping their
children being able to vote.
What about a fresh start after that? I think comparisons can help people see, oh, well, why do we do that? There’s something off here.
And to see that around the world we have lessons that we can share and we have lessons that we can learn. So, the use of amnesties after there have
been civil wars. Maybe there are amnesties that we have had here, for example, after the Vietnam War and the draft resistors were able to be
forgiven and brought home, maybe there’s — it’s time for amnesty in our immigration system.
I think that we can learn by comparison, and we can see through history, and we can also see oh, I value peace, I value a constructive future. We
share those goals, even if we actually initially think we’re on opposite sides.
MARTIN: What about financial crimes?
I mean, it is a continuing source of irritation and more for some people that after, say, the mortgage industry fraud, the equity-stripping schemes
that were perpetuated during the last recession, nobody went to jail, or maybe very few people went to jail, especially compared to the number of
people who lost their homes.
And for some people, that’s a deep source of grievance. But other people say, well, what would that accomplish?
So, what is your take on that?
MINOW: You know, I have had the privilege of serving as the vice chair of the Legal Services Corporation, which is the federally funded program for
legal services, for lawyers for poor people.
So I have traveled around the country. I see to this day — here we are, 2019 — communities that are still struggling to come out of that financial
disaster, so — where there’s just blighted blocks after block and people who had abandoned their homes.
And I feel that fury and outrage as well about the bankers, who not only didn’t face sanctions, but who actually reaped all kinds of financial
benefits and are still enjoying those benefits.
I will tell you, honestly, at the time, I thought, and I wrote the White House, I think there should be a truth and reconciliation commission. I
think we should take a page from South Africa. I think that we should actually document in the most detailed imaginable what happened, why, how
did we get to this point?
I think that the people who actually induced people to take mortgages that they knew could never be repaid should actually explain, what was the
incentive structure? Why were they thinking that short-term benefit was so good, destroying finance and the livelihoods of ordinary people?
I think we should have done that. We didn’t do that. As a result, we never acknowledged everything that happened. And I think that’s a serious,
MARTIN: OK, but that’s where the law comes in, because a lot of the people who benefited from these schemes, mechanisms, whatever they want to call
it, are living quite well right now. They still have their second and third homes, whereas other people are completely broken.
Their retirements are destroyed. Their sense of dignity has been destroyed. And that’s where some people say, you know what, I want these
people to go to jail. I want them to suffer.
MINOW: Sure. Sure.
MARTIN: And you say to that what?
MINOW: Well, you know, similar arguments were made about the transition from apartheid to democracy. Why don’t we prosecute everyone?
Well, some of it is just practicality, the cost of that. There just wasn’t a capacity in that country at that time to do that. And there’s not a
capacity, frankly, to turn all of the criminal justice system’s resources over to documenting these crimes.
But I don’t think that’s the best reason. The best reason is, don’t — what kind of society do we want to build? How can we shift from looking
back to looking to the future? How can we build the foundations for prevention and for actually allowing for fresh starts for people who have
been so injured?
MARTIN: There have been a number of people who’ve championed your work and who have tried to share this concept.
I know that former President Barack Obama, for example, was very moved by the — your work and your thinking in this area. I know that, this year,
for example, a number of people who’ve been working in the restorative justice area have been acknowledged for their work by some prestigious
So, do you feel that your work is being heard? Is there a constituency for this? Are people interested in this?
MINOW: Well, I don’t think it’s just my work.
I do think that the restorative justice movement — and it is a movement, and it is a global movement going on for maybe 30 years, drawing on
traditional roots of justice, indigenous peoples all over the world, American Indians.
Many people in many traditional societies have a conception of justice that is more inclusive and more forward-looking than the adversarial justice
that dominates in the West and dominates in the United States.
But you mentioned President Obama. President Obama actually looked at the pardon power that the president had, and he said, I think I should use it
more than I have. This was in his second term.
So he set up a commission to actually develop criteria for granting pardons. And by the end of his time in office, he had commuted more
sentences — that means to let people out before the full sentence is done — more than any other president in the history of the United States.
And he did so in part with a view that we have become too punitive, and also that there was an inequity. People were being held in jail for long
sentences, even though the law had subsequently changed.
And so it wasn’t fair to have them punished for so long. I think the fact that he pursued that shows that there is an appetite, a desire, a vision
for a more considered justice.
On the other hand, I will be frank — and not to be partisan, but President Trump’s use of the pardon power is something that made me realize,
actually, I need a chapter in the book on when not to forgive, because I think that the undisciplined way in which he’s used this power is
The very first pardon he gave was for Joseph — for Arpaio, the Sheriff Arpaio, who had been convicted, not only of civil rights violations, but of
contempt of court, for continuing to violate the civil rights of people based on their ethnicity and their appearance.
And to pardon someone for violating contempt of court is itself to express contempt of the judiciary and contempt of the rule of law. If we don’t
have respect for the rule of law, then that’s the end of any chance of constraining abuses of power.
MARTIN: I know that, for many people, this whole question of forgiveness is in the public domain again in part because of this extraordinary scene
in October of the brother of a man, an innocent, unarmed man, who was killed in his own home by a police officer.
The victim in this case was a man named Botham Jean in Dallas. And the brother of the victim said publicly, “I forgive you,” and actually asked to
hug her. And it was a very profound scene for many people, and just really pushed a lot of people’s buttons.
But you have been thinking about this for so long. Does it just make you crazy, or do you feel…
MINOW: Well, it does. It does.
And how about Dylann Roof’s assassination of people at a prayer session, a study session at Mother Emanuel Church?
MARTIN: To which they had invited him and welcomed him.
MINOW: And they — and welcomed him, because he looked like he was coming to study and join them.
And he opened fire on them, and unrepentantly said white supremacist, hateful things. And several members of the families of those who were
killed, at the arraignment, said, we forgive you.
And I certainly have been thinking about this ever since. And on the one hand, I am astonished. I am in awe of that. Can’t imagine it myself.
On the other hand, are black people expected to forgive? Is there a racial dimension here? Are women expected to forgive? If you don’t have much
power, is forgiveness a kind of, this is how you get along in the world?
So I worry about that a great, great deal. Yes, I have been thinking about this for a long time.
For — almost — over 20 years ago, I wrote a book about responses to genocide and mass atrocity, and looking at the limits of law and the limits
of indifference. If you do nothing in a society, and you have mass violence, how about slavery in the United States, you will actually lay the
seeds for future violence.
That — I’m convinced of that. We see it all over the world. Law is one of the tools. Art, memorial is another tool. That’s what I tried to
explore. And I wrote a book that was called “Between Vengeance and Forgiveness,” looking for alternatives.
And I will tell you, I have had the chance to talk with people in many parts of the world, in China, in Argentina, about these issues. And
everywhere, people say to me, why are you looking for an alternative to forgiveness? Why can’t we have more forgiveness?
That’s what really led me to look. So, I think we could have more forgiveness, but I worry about racial bias, about economic bias and who’s
expected to forgive and who gets forgiveness.
MARTIN: Martha Minow, thank you so much for talking with us.
MINOW: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: An important take there.
But that’s it for now. Remember, you can follow me, Michel and the show on Twitter. Thank you for watching “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and join us next time.