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U.S./NATO Strategy in Afghanistan; Iran: Nuclear Solution?; Amazing Courage of Band of Sisters in Liberia

Aired November 1, 2009 - 14:00:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: It's been an extraordinary and difficult week in world affairs. Iran is struggling internally over whether to send its stockpile of uranium to Russia. And in Afghanistan, October has turned into the deadliest month for U.S. forces after eight years of war.

Welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

It's been the bloodiest of weeks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and still no decision on a new U.S. strategy. We have interviews with former U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and military expert Thomas Ricks, and former Australian foreign minister and nuclear negotiator Gareth Evans, who just hosted a secret meeting with, among others, Iran and Israel around the same table.

And later, extraordinary women in Africa. Where did they get the guts to literally hold their warring leaders hostage?

First, as the U.S. seeks clarification from Iran on the latest nuclear deal, a senior Iranian official tells me they don't want to send the bulk of their uranium out in one go. Rather, in batches, because, they say, they're not confident they'll get the enriched product back. And, that official tells me, they would rather not deal with Russia on this issue, but with the United States instead. Nonetheless, they say they're looking at all this positively.

We start our program with the latest from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


AMANPOUR: First to you, Mr. Evans. Terrible unraveling of the situation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan as, really, the world is waiting to see what is the U.S. and NATO going to do? What is the troop strategy going to be there?

GARETH EVANS, AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, this is as bad as it gets. And I think this latest horrifying manifestation of the capacity to deliver wanton violence is just a huge wake-up call for everybody to get the strategy right once and for all. And the core element of the strategy has to be, if nothing else, protecting the major cities, protecting the major U.N. presence there, protecting the population. You might not be able to do it in the country as a whole in Afghanistan, but you sure as hell ought to be able to do it in the cities.

So, this is an alarming new demonstration of the impotence of the present arrangements.

AMANPOUR: And people have been willing to give the new American president a chance, but the deliberations, very agonized, very public, and now very long.

Is that emboldening people like the Taliban in both those countries?

EVANS: I don't think that's a fair comment. This is a very tough thing to get right. And as I say, the core element of any strategy, whether it involves more troops or stabilizing the situation in major cities, has to be to be able to deal effectively with these kind of bomb attacks in the major population centers. And I think this is the sort of thing that almost any administration, with even the longest foresight and vision in the world, would have a great deal of difficulty wrestling with.

AMANPOUR: And I know that you're not in the government and you're not a spokesman for the government, but what do you think Australia's commitment will be going forward?

EVANS: Well, I think Australia well understands the long-haul nature of this exercise and the absolute necessity to deny Taliban, al Qaeda the capacity to reestablish a foothold or dominance in this territory. So we'll be there, I'm sure, for the whole. But this kind of event, I mean, it's just shattering for every policymaker, as it is obviously shattering for the people on the ground.

The only tiny comfort I suppose you can take from the Pakistan to mention of this carnage is that it really will be yet another way of concentrating the minds of the Pakistan military and population on the absolute necessity to get this cancer out of Pakistan society once and for all.

AMANPOUR: What tiny comfort can one get from also agonized deliberations, it seems, in Iran right now between what seems to be publicly squabbling factions about how they're going to respond to the IAEA and the U.S./Russian/France/British deal on transferring their low-enriched uranium?

EVANS: Well, it might sound naive, but I think quite a lot of comfort from the fact that they actually are wrestling with some kind of response, which is not one, clearly, of absolutely intransigence. Maybe they just want to buy more time, but this is time we all need and deserve to deal with this issue.

I think there is a possible negotiated long-term solution in Iran. It's not going to involve the complete abandonment of the enrichment capability for fissile material, but I think it can involve very serious disciplines on the misuse of that material. And I think there's every chance that we're seeing the beginnings of a quite serious process of accommodation -- and notwithstanding all the internal difficulties to which you referred.

AMANPOUR: That's interesting you say that, because Iranian officials who I speak to do believe that in the next year or so, the world will come to terms with the fact that they will continue enriching. But let me move on.

In terms of your initiative for a vast reduction of nuclear weapons, you did host a conference, a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, about this subject. And you invited not just Iran, but Israel as well, inter alia.

Nothing has been formally said, officially, about what happened there. But can you tell me what it was like with the Iranian representative and the Israeli representative sitting around that table?

EVANS: Well, the deal is that we wouldn't make any of it public, which is why we got people there in the first place. It's not unusual, totally unusual, for these guys to sit together in a...

AMANPOUR: Isn't it?

EVANS: ... multilateral room. I mean, the conference on disarmament, the Atomic Energy Agency meetings in Vienna and so on, they're there.

AMANPOUR: Israel as well?

EVANS: Yes. Ad this has been a little bit of a beat-up, frankly. But that said, I mean, there were sufficient exchanges across the room in the presence of 20 or 30 others to give me some encouragement that we might just be beginning to find the possibility of a dialogue that will get us towards where we want to go.

AMANPOUR: And what was their interaction?

EVANS: Well, it was tough. And each side states its own position.

But, I mean, what we're looking at are exploring, for example, the preconditions for a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East. We're not going to be seeing the negotiation of any such arrangement anytime soon, but getting each sides to articulate what its concerns are, what it would want as a precondition and element of that is important. And I think we made a small step in that direction.

AMANPOUR: And I also heard that the Iranian representative, who is the ambassador to the IAEA, Mr. Soltaneih, publicly asked Israel whether it did have nuclear weapons or not.

EVANS: I'm not going to confirm or deny anything that was said across the room, because that was the deal. And you're not going to get people there if you chat away to the media about what happens when you get them there.

AMANPOUR: So what are the stakes? Did they understand the stakes?

EVANS: Everybody understands the stakes. I mean, for Iran to really join the ranks of the proliferators will be fantastically further destabilizing that region. It will encourage a proliferation surge from elsewhere.

For Israel to stick to its guns and not to be prepared to get into a serious dialogue with neighbors about its security concerns and what could actually accommodate those concerns in the future is, I think, counterproductive. So, any kind of step towards some kind of rational dialogue about these issues is helpful. And that's what we all ought to be encouraging.


AMANPOUR: Next, what's encouraging about America's long war against the Taliban and al Qaeda? We'll take you to an Afghanistan that most people have never seen.


AMANPOUR: Despite the death and the disaster in Afghanistan right now, there was once, before the Soviets invaded, a golden age. This is a home movie of Kabul we found from 1976. It shows cars that are intact, streets that are orderly, and buildings that are in fact standing. It's an Afghanistan that most of the world might find hard to believe. In other words, it was once a normal place.


AMANPOUR: To rewind history and fast forward for a picture of the future, I'm joined by two people who have firsthand experience of living and working there.

From Washington, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the U.N., Zalmay Khalilzad, who was born in Mazar-e Sharif and raised in Kabul. And here in our studio, author and journalist Tom Ricks, who lived in Afghanistan as a teenager and has written extensively about the war.

Welcome to you both.


AMANPOUR: Can I start first with you, Ambassador Khalilzad?

Take us back. What was it like growing up in Afghanistan back then?

ZALMAY KHALILZAD, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ, U.N.: Well, it was a nice place. I remember my childhood very well.

I was born in Mazar-e Sharif, which is a lovely small town with one of Islam's best architectural monuments, the shrine for the fourth caliph, the first imam, Ali. And the New Year celebrations I remember fondly of Nowruz, March 21st.

The whole city looked red with red flowers, poppy flowers. I used to go away from Mazar for a while to school because my father moved around the northern part of Afghanistan. On a horse to school, came back from school on a horse. Never had any problems.

There were different ethnic groups -- Shia, Sunnis living together. It was poor, but it was relatively happy and harmonious and very different than what...

AMANPOUR: Than what it is today.

KHALILZAD: ... it is today. Exactly.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Tom. You were there when I believe your parents were working there in the late '60s, early '70s.

What was it like, particularly for an American?

RICKS: I loved it. It's a beautiful country.

I really found it more hospitable than almost any other country I've ever been in. Afghans knew that they had a unique place, a unique culture. They're very welcoming.

I was 13, 14, 15. I was knocking around the country by myself with friends, hopping on a bus to Herat or down to Peshawar.

AMANPOUR: So it was safe and stable?

RICKS: Yes. In fact, there's this whole myth that really bothers me -- oh, these people have been fighting each other for thousands of year. Actually, Afghanistan was very peaceful for most of the 20th century, with the exception of 1928.

They sat out World War II. They didn't have anything like a Vietnam War until the Soviet invasion in 1979.

AMANPOUR: We're looking right now at still pictures from the archives showing a poor, traditional, but what we know -- what we learned and what you're telling us, a stable time back then.

Ambassador Khalilzad, everybody says now, oh, my goodness, it's ungovernable, it's fractured, you can't get a grip with this country.

First of all, is that true? And why do you think people say it?

KHALILZAD: Well, it's very difficult right now, because what happened in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion, the country was devastated both in terms of its infrastructure, in terms of the psychological damage that it did, you know. About a million people died in that war, four million, five million people lost their homes.

The Afghan elite became those who were there in the area, Afghanistan neighborhood, had to survive by learning how to cope with the intelligence agencies of the neighboring states. They lost self-confidence and became very much of short-term thinkers. And, therefore, to put it together after the Soviet war, the civil war, the fragmentation that has taken place, it's going to be -- it's going to be hard. It's going to take time.

AMANPOUR: But is it governable? Is it governable?

KHALILZAD: It is governable, but state institutions have to be built, rebuilt. The Afghan army, the Afghan police, government institutions have to be built.

It has to be to be on a new basis, however. Because of the changes that took place, the balance of power among different communities in Afghanistan is not the same as it was in the 1970s. And, therefore, a new national compact, constitution, needs to be embraced by more and more Afghans.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Tom Ricks -- there was a period when there was that monarchy 40 years before the Soviet invasion. And there was an era of stability. There was progress for women. There was also, towards the end, some reform and modernity introduced into Afghanistan.

That collapsed.

RICKS: Kabul was a very cosmopolitan city in the late '60s, early 70s when I was there. I remember Benazir Bhutto told me once that when she was a teenager, she got a call to a party...

AMANPOUR: The late prime minister of Pakistan.

RICKS: Yes. And she knew how to party. But she'd go up to the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul when it opened, I think about 1970, and would throw parties for her friends there. It struck me, because I recently saw a terrific documentary movie, "Afghan Star," about the...

AMANPOUR: Of course, which we just covered.

RICKS: ... Afghan -- and its concluding scene is in the ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel, which is where my high school junior prom was held.

AMANPOUR: Well, listen, that's a very good place to talk about people and different ethnicities. "Afghan Star," which is the version of "American Idol," was really about people from all over Afghanistan, also different ethnicities and tribes, coming to compete for this one prize, to win most popular singer.

Zalmay Khalilzad, many people told us that this, today, in 2008, 2009, was a real lesson. If those people could get together across warring factions and accept the results, then it is actually a signal of hope.

KHALILZAD: It is a signal of hope. I think the Afghan people -- and I traveled a lot during my ambassadorship there -- are ready to go back to a normal situation. But the Afghani elite, the political elite, remain very divided, some of them under the influence of regional prayers or others.

It is the difficulty of the elite at this point to come together, to turn a new page, to forget and forgive and work to restore what Afghanistan was at one time, and to improve it on what it was that is a problem. But I think the ordinary people are yearning for normalcy. They have heard about what Afghanistan was through word of mouth.

Afghanistan is a very oral society. History is passed from one generation to another through stories that they tell. But it is very much the people's desire to move forward.

RICKS: Zal, given those divisions -- this is Tom Ricks here.


RICKS: Hi. Given those the divisions, is there any chance of you becoming the interim president while these divisions among the elites are sorted out?

KHALILZAD: Well, thank you, Tom. I think it would be inappropriate for me since I was the American ambassador to put myself forward as a candidate to lead Afghanistan.

There are a lot of very qualified people who could personify this desire for normalcy. You know, other countries that have gone through difficult periods have had a leadership then come to bridge to this new successful era. And Afghanistan, unfortunately, still is searching for that sort of leadership.


AMANPOUR: But leadership and possibility, like a phoenix, did rise from the ashes of war after 9/11, when the U.S. quickly defeated the Taliban.

I showed Ambassador Khalilzad and Tom Ricks a report I had done then in Afghanistan.


AMANPOUR: Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, will forever be a testament to the folly of war. Block after block was blasted to rubble six years ago when the warlords fought over this city. Thousands of years of history and 50,000 lives were obliterated in a hail of rockets and bombs.

(voice-over): But now, almost miraculously, Kabul is springing back to life. Hundreds of small businesses have popped up. And for the first time ever, the country even has a fledgling mobile phone system. Dollar bills are rapidly changing hands as people rush to get connected.

But many here worry Kabul's boomlet won't last without a long-term commitment from America.



AMANPOUR: That was back in 2002, one year after the U.S. invasion. You could see life springing back then. And even then, we were all talking about what it would take to really win. And you heard us all talking about a long-term American commitment.

So, joining me again is Zalmay Khalilzad and Tom Ricks.

What do you see as the immediate future there? What do you think is going to happen there in terms of troops on the ground, Tom?

RICKS: I think you will see an escalation by the Obama administration. The key question is whether the president can sell it to the American people, I think.

AMANPOUR: Zalmay Khalilzad, do you believe that it is in the U.S. interest, or, rather, that vital interests are at stake there in Afghanistan?

KHALILZAD: Yes, I do. I think it's not only about extremism and terror, but it's also about the future of that region.

At any one point there is one issue that geopolitically is more important than all others. And right now, the future of this region, including extremism on terror, is the most important, the most difficult issue facing the world. And success or failure in Afghanistan would have the most serious consequence for the United States and for the world.


AMANPOUR: And to see more about Afghanistan, including their version of "American Idol," "Afghan Star," go to our Web site, We followed the contestants in the documentary we did, "Generation Islam."

And when we come back, we have something extra for you -- what we learned from Zalmay Khalilzad during a commercial break. A little bit of news.

So stay with us.


AMANPOUR: A runoff election is scheduled in Afghanistan on November 7th. Will it happen, and who will run? And what about reports that President Karzai's brother was on the CIA payroll?

I got some answers from Ambassador Khalilzad during a break.


AMANPOUR: We are on the record, although we're not on the program right now.

Was Ahmed Wali Karzai on the U.S. CIA or Pentagon payroll?

KHALILZAD: I cannot comment on that.

AMANPOUR: Yes, you can. You were the ambassador. Do you know?

KHALILZAD: Well, I know, but I cannot comment on intelligence matters. Still, I'm bound by my responsibility.

AMANPOUR: OK. Forget the CIA. What about the Pentagon?

KHALILZAD: I do not believe that he was on the payroll of the Pentagon. I'm not aware of that. He may have done some specific tasks for the Pentagon on contract, but was not on a regular payroll as an agent or as an employee or as a contractor full time for the Pentagon.

AMANPOUR: But he might have been for the CIA?

KHALILZAD: I cannot comment on that.

RICKS: Hold up one finger if you think it's true.


RICKS: Do you expect Karzai will win the runoff?

KHALILZAD: Oh, yes. I think Abdullah may not stay in the race.

AMANPOUR: That means there'll be no runoff.

KHALILZAD: Well, he could be on his own, or the number three guy could take...


AMANPOUR: Why would Abdullah not?

KHALILZAD: Because I think he's -- first, he doesn't have much money left. Second, I think that he thinks that given the situation, he's likely to lose, and maybe get less votes than he did in the first round. So that would be embarrassing.

AMANPOUR: Yes, but listen, they can't monkey with the fate of the Afghan people. If the number two guy is not going to be running, then they can't have a runoff.

KHALILZAD: Well, what could happen constitutionally, some tell me, is that number three then would become number two if he was to pull out.

AMANPOUR: But you wrote the constitution. Is that true?

KHALILZAD: That is true. You could interpret it that way, that the number three will become number two then. And (INAUDIBLE), this gentleman from central Afghanistan, will then become the competitor.


AMANPOUR: In a moment, the latest news headlines, and the amazing courage of a band of sisters who literally besieged their warlords until they made peace.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

Our mission on this program is to try to tackle some of the critical issues of our time. Among them, the perils faced by women and girls at war.

And today, we examine the legacy of a brutal civil war in Liberia, a country that was formed by slaves returning from the United States.

After 10 years and 250,000 dead, a remarkable group of women helped force the government and the gunmen who had torn their country apart to finally make peace, as was chronicled in the documentary "Pray the Devil Back to Hell." The women, led by Leymah Gbowee, surrounded the peace-meeting hall and wouldn't let their warring parties out until they came to turns.


What I want to do today is to send out a signal to the world that we, the Liberian women in Ghana, at this conference, we are fed up with the war, and we are doing this to tell the world we are tired of fighting the killing of our people. We can do it again if we want to. And next time, we will be more than 1,000.


AMANPOUR: We welcome Leymah Gbowee, whom you just saw in that clip. And we're also joined by Angelique Kidjo, one of Africa's best-known musicians who's used her fame to campaign for human rights.


ANGELIQUE KIDJO, MUSICIAN: Once you've been to a war zone, you understand the importance of the peacekeepers.


AMANPOUR: Here, she was performing at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Welcome to you both.

And also, Angelique, you provided some of the music for the documentary.

Let me turn to you first, Leymah.

First of all, why "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"? That name has always been a mystery to me.

LEYMAH GBOWEE, LIBERIAN PEACE ACTIVIST: Well, the name came from a quote that I gave during my interview for the documentary that President Taylor could "Pray the Devil Out of Hell." So the producer and the director of the film were, like, if he could pray the devil out of hell, let's pray him back to hell. And that's what we think the women did.

AMANPOUR: And why did you lend your music to it, Angelique?

KIDJO: I lent my music to it because I think music is one of the universal language that link all of us, and because I'm more for peace than anything else. We cannot achieve anything without peace on our continent, in the world.

AMANPOUR: What you did is actually quite extraordinary. What gave you the courage or even the idea to confront the warring parties in Liberia?

GBOWEE: Well, a group of us, group of women, Christian-Muslim women, have been working over time. What you see in the documentary is three years of hard work, trying to build coalition, trying to build capacity.

And we have gotten to the point where these women had signed a memorandum of understanding that anything that tends to impact our communities adversely, we'll fight against it. And it was at that time that, in 2003, all hell broke loose.

So they called me and said, can we come together? And I was like, sure. I will just lend my voice, give you technical support.

And they were like, no, we need you as the leader of this group. And you can move things forward. So, it was just years of rape, abuse. And one mom gave this analogy of Liberia at the time, that we had gone from bad to worse to ridiculous. So we're at the ridiculous point.

AMANPOUR: Tell me about how it was when you were growing up.

KIDJO: I mean, when I was growing up, I was lucky to grow up with seven brothers, which were really my bodyguards, if you want to. And my father was always telling us, anything happens that you don't understand, come and talk to us.

I refuse any man to stand here and justify rape to me, because every girl, every woman that is raped, is their mother, their grandmother that they are raping -- their sister and their daughter. And we cannot sit back. I can't just accept it, and I'm never going to accept it until my last breath. If I have to fight them and pray them back to hell for that, I will do so.

AMANPOUR: And just to jump off on what you are doing now, this whole notion of the abuse of sex, rape and sexual harassment of young girls in schools, that's what you're lending your work to now, right, in trying to...

KIDJO: Absolutely.

AMANPOUR: ... build schools and keep girls in school.

KIDJO: Absolutely. I'm trying to build schools and keep girls in school. Especially, I'm more focused on secondary education, because we need highly educated women to change complicated tide.

We cannot achieve clinical growth, reduced child mortality that is reducing right now. We cannot achieve anything without women being educated. It has been proven.

I'm a living example of that. My mom, because she has been to school, she fought, with my father on her side, to keep three of the girls that she had in school. And she will kill anyone that would come to our house and take any girls out.

AMANPOUR: Take them for what? For marriage?

KIDJO: For marriage. For early marriage. And that's what I'm facing with my foundation, Batonga, where I'm putting girls to secondary schools.

The mothers were the ones that come to me and say the men (ph) have let them go. We have seen you on TV talking about it.

We send our girls to primary school. Please help us keep them in school to avoid the father to take them for early marriage.

We're not only facing early marriage, we are facing female genital mutilation. We are facing child trafficking. We are facing so much stuff that, if we keep the girls in school, we give them a future and they can take a leap in their life.

We need people like Leymah and myself more in Africa. The men need to realize that without us, they do not exist. There's no men without women.

AMANPOUR: Well, I actually want to know where you got your courage, because at one point in the movie -- and we're going to play this right now -- you actually take your petition and you confront power. You speak truth to power.

Let's look at you confronting Charles Taylor.


GBOWEE: We ask the honorable Protem of the senate, be a woman and be in line with our cause. So let me extend (ph) this statement to his Excellency, Dr. Charles Taylor.

With this message, that the women of Liberia, including the IGP, we are tired of war. We are tired running. We are tired begging for (INAUDIBLE). We are tired of our children being raped.


AMANPOUR: That's pretty remarkable piece of film. That really is you taking your courage into your hands and confronting the president of your country, knowing the violence and the abuse and the atrocities that he had been capable of.

What were you thinking when you did that?

GBOWEE: One, I was angry. I was really angry. Just looking at someone who had done so much to the Liberian people and to the region sitting there so calmly and trying to be cool, that was the first thing.

The second thing was I kept reminding myself as I went up there that you do not represent Leymah. You do not represent the children. You represent thousands of voiceless women, women who have been raped internally, displaced, those who are in refugee camps. And your ability to speak the truth to this, whoever he is, is going to either make or break all the work that you've done over the last few weeks.

AMANPOUR: You said he was sitting there looking cool. I noticed in that picture that he's looking down. He looked ashamed.

Do you feel you broke him a little bit there? You cracked the surface?

GBOWEE: I think we did. We were just there to give a message, but to also speak to whatever was left of his conscience, because as far as we were concerned, maybe there was none.

AMANPOUR: And it worked.

When we come back, we'll continue this conversation.

And next, the power behind the first female head of state in Africa and the future of African women as a force for peace and security.





ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF, LIBERIAN PRESIDENT: I want to, here, now, gratefully acknowledge the powerful voice of women from all walks of life whose votes brought us a victory. They defended me, they worked with me, they prayed for me. It is the women who labored and advocated for peace throughout our region.



AMANPOUR: That was the Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at her inauguration three years ago praising the role of women as advocates for peace. And she was, as we said, the first ever woman head of state in Africa.

Joining me again, Leymah Gbowee and Angelique Kidjo.

Did you think that it would work? I mean, you got Taylor out. You got the gunmen to put their weapons down. You got a U.N. force in, and an election that brought you a democratically-elected president who was a woman.

Was there any doubt that it would work, what you were doing?

GBOWEE: Well, I never -- after we got the signing of the peace agreement, after all of those hurdles, I became overly optimistic at what the future of Liberia and the role that women could play. So we went back, and usually after the signing of peace agreements women would dance and celebrate and just go back to their little corner. But we thought it's time to be strategic, so we just thought there is no way that we can labor for peace and be out of the government structure of this country, that we would get a female president. One of the quotes I use in the film is that our peace work was the cake, the female president was the icing.

AMANPOUR: And I want to talk to you about the whole notion of leadership and accountability. Leymah confronted Charles Taylor, her president. You have said music is power.

And you were asked recently to go to Zimbabwe. And that caused a lot of consternation and some controversy.

What was your decision when you went there?

KIDJO: I reached out to UNICEF and I reached out to human right organizations to know what I have to do, because I receive e-mails from Zimbabwean fans of my music that said, "You speak so gratefully about our continent. If you come here, it means you're lending your voice to Mugabe."

And it was tormenting me a lot. But I said to myself, music is the only thing that brings people together. Through music, we were able to free Nelson Mandela. I'm going to go there and I'm going to give my little piece (ph) into Mr. Mugabe.

And we went there. We did a press conference. The Secret Service were there. We couldn't speak. So, I knew that my platform was going to be on the stage.

When I reached the stage, this song that we just hear at the beginning about Africa, it was -- it's a song that I wrote, a blessing song that I wrote for my continent but, by extension, to every single human being on this planet. So I went on stage, and I said, "We cannot, Africans, be sitting and standing every day asking for help from other people and blaming other people for our problems when we are ourselves the problem. When our leaders becomes our butcher, and he becomes our jailer, we cannot sit here and say it's OK. It doesn't matter the reason that they have to be doing that. We, the people of Africa, we deserve the best and we deserve peace."

AMANPOUR: The end of the film was really a high point, and the election of the president in Liberia. But is it just a fluke, or do you think this can be repeated? Was it a fluke that just you happened to be there, you had the courage and the stamina, or can this be repeated?

GBOWEE: I think, definitely, this can be repeated. And one of the things that I'm grateful for the documentary for is that it emboldens women in every part.

You know, the first thing that happens when you start doing work like this, like we did, is you question the authenticity. You question whether I'm doing the right thing.

But this documentary is like -- it's like a landmark or something that tells other women, people did it before we came. We've done it. And they can also do it.

So, it's not a fluke. It can happen. People just need to rise up, and rise above the politics that so deeply divide us as women.

KIDJO: But the thing is, we women of Africa, we have the power. We women of the world, we have the power. But we don't know the power we have.

I believe that if we want to resolve some more problem everywhere -- I've been thinking about Israel and Palestine for so many years. Who's paying the highest price for this? The mothers crying for the son dying.

How can we help women? How the women coalition can be formed? And then we say to both sides, enough is enough.

We are tired of war, as you said. We are tired of our children not being safe. Without peace, our children can't go to school. We can't have health care.

I mean, we women, we have the power. We've got to be absolutely in power.

GBOWEE: Angelique, I'll just jump into what you said -- we have the power but we don't recognize it. I disagree a bit.

I went to a little village in Liberia. We were doing some work with the community. And we asked the women to come and sit with the men as we were talking.

And these women are just standing in the back. And then they said, no, they can't sit with us. You know, the usual thing, the others are speaking.

And one of the women with her wrap around her standing just looked, and she was actually a wife of the chief. And she smiled and whispered to me, "He's pretending to be powerful. But at the end of the day, our decision is the one he'll bring out here."

KIDJO: Absolutely.

GBOWEE: So they really understand and recognize that they have power. What we need to do and what we've done, what we did in Liberia, was going back into the communities and really just reassuring these women that it's OK to step out with that power.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, because obviously you proved that in Liberia, and all of you certainly who worked on this. But look at Democratic Republic of Congo right now, this appalling war that's going on, this appalling abuse and rape of the women there.

How does what you've done really become something where women are protected, are able to stand up, or the men, the peacekeepers and the government soldiers are held account accountable? Is that the next step?

GBOWEE: I think, definitely, that is the next step. And it's going to take a lot of local community initiative to bring it, because as far as I can see, 10 years after U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, the international community, the national government, regional economic communities, or regional communities, have failed the women of this world. They've come up with all of these exotic resolutions, but they lack accountability, mechanism. And they're almost like toothless bulldogs. Talk about toothless bulldogs...

AMANPOUR: Toothless bulldogs?

GBOWEE: Toothless bulldogs. 1325 is one. 1820 is one.

I mean, one year after 1820, you have what happened in (INAUDIBLE) a few days ago. No one is compelling that military government to court-martial all of those who raped women publicly in the street.

AMANPOUR: To be continued. That's a very strong way to end this program.

Angelique, Leymah, thank you so much for joining us.


AMANPOUR: And to see more about Leymah Gbowee and watch more of Angelique's concert at the U.N., please visit our Web site,

And next, in our "PostScript," we'll have another remarkable story of war and courage, one right here in New York, where runners from around the world are taking part in this year's marathon. And we look back at the race run by a Vietnam War veteran. A double amputee.


AMANPOUR: Now our "PostScript."

We've been talking about war and courage this hour. It also happens to be the world famous New York Marathon this weekend.

So I remembered a story that I had done 22 years ago about war and about courage and about the marathon. It's about a Vietnam veteran named Bob Wieland.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): They were taking down the flags along New York's marathon route three days after the hordes had finished running. But a race isn't over until it's over.

BOB WIELAND, MARATHON RUNNER: On June 14, 1969, I ran up to assist some of my fallen comrades out and I detonated an .82-millimeter mortar round, was initially pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. So, today, I'm alive on arrival, running the New York City Marathon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He makes me cry. This man's indomitable courage is something else.

AMANPOUR: (INAUDIBLE) that have won him plenty of hearts.

At the end of the homestretch, the crowds got bigger and louder. Who says New Yorkers don't give a damn?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People here, through the boroughs of New York City, who have come out and encouraged the whole team along the way, the hospitality extended to us...

AMANPOUR: Three days, nine hour, 37 minutes and 45 seconds from the starting line, Bob Wieland finished the New York Marathon. And on the 21,144, setting a new personal best.


AMANPOUR: His time the year before had been just over four days.

He told us this year that he's not running the marathon. But since that story 22 years ago, he has developed his own Web site and motivational speaking tours.

And that's it for now.

For all of us here in New York, goodbye.