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One Year Anniversary of Earthquake and Tsunami; Interview with Stu Levy; Greek Bailout Deal; Rahul Dravid Retires; Kony 2012; How Kony Topic Spread; Controversy Over Kony Online Campaign; Ishinomaki Japan One Year Later; Venus Williams Returns to Tennis Circuit

Aired March 9, 2012 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, inside a disaster zone -- the everyday people cleaning up Japan's nuclear nightmare.

But at what risk to their lives?

ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Almost a year on from Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, what, if anything, the nuclear industry has learned.

Also this hour, how a viral video campaign meant to flush out one of the world's most notorious warlords is tonight sparking heated debate over whether it's doing more harm than good.



VENUS WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: Sjogren's Syndrome definitely changed my life. It changed everything. It changed how I eat. It changed how I - - everything.


ANDERSON: Well, it's been a painful rehabilitation, but tennis champion Venus Williams tells me she is back and she's determined as ever.

A year ago, life for many people in Japan was blissfully normal. The country had not been struck by a major natural disaster in decades. And although it was hit hard by the global recession, government stimulus spending was boosting recovery.

Well, that all changed on March the 11th, 2011.

The fourth largest earthquake ever recorded shook the sea floor northeast of Japan at 2:46 p.m.. The shifting tectonic plates unleashed a massive tsunami, sending 30 foot waves crashing into coastal towns.


ANDERSON: With the help of mobile phones and social media, videos like this one were broadcast across the world almost instantly. But nothing could stop the destruction. And in the blink of an eye, 15,000 people were gone.

In the year since the disaster, the country has struggled to recover. Fifty countries and countless individuals have offered assistance.

But with damage estimated at $300 billion, many towns still look like they did on March the 11th last year.

Well, the earthquake and tsunami weren't the end of that story. That huge wave crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, crippling the facility and sending radioactive material into the water and into the air.

Well, since then, the company that owns that facility has been working around the clock to get it up and running again.

Just who are the individuals risking their health and their lives to clean it up?

Well, Kyung Lah kicks us off tonight, telling us about one man who went undercover to find out.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside a nuclear disaster -- they are the nameless men cleaning up the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Author Tomohiko Suzuki decided to tell their stories by disguising himself as a fellow contract laborer.

He's looking into a small video camera.

(on camera): This is the lens.

(voice-over): Disguised as a wristwatch.

For six weeks, he captured images of daily life as a day hire -- the blown nuclear reactors, driving past tanks holding contaminated water, documenting what he saw and the workers he met in a recently published book.

(on camera): What's the primary message of your book?

(voice-over): "Stop lying," he says.

(on camera): What is this lie that you're talking about?

(voice-over): "There's no way you won't be radioactively contaminated if you work at the nuclear plant," Suzuki says.

He says despite disposable protective gear, daily decontamination and controls to check radiation, workers will be exposed to radiation.

The Tokyo Electric Company, or TEPCO, tells CNN it has nothing to say about Suzuki's book, but the company maintains worker safety is a high priority and protection from radiation exposure has improved since the early days of the disaster.

But Suzuki disagrees and says there's a reason why the men he met at Fukushima are average people, not nuclear engineers.

"The world is survival of the fittest," he says. "There are only weak people working at the plant, people who know nothing. There are no rich or politically powerful people working there."

TEPCO says 3,000 workers are at the plant, on average, every day. Seventy-five percent of the workers are contracted hires.

(on camera): We know little else about the workers cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear plant. Many we've tried to interview say that they're worried they'll lose their jobs if they'll talk. Suzuki says he's heard that again and again -- a fear that if the workers tell the public what it's like to work inside the plant, they'll be fired.

(voice-over): CNN was part of a recent media tour of the Fukushima nuclear plant, where TEPCO hand-selected workers for reporters to interview. Satoshi Tarumi is a contracted Toshiba worker for the nuclear plant.

(on camera): You're a young man. You're 33-years-old.

Why do you continue to work here?

(voice-over): "This accident happened at my plant," he says. "It's my mission to keep working here."

That sort of hero narrative is what TEPCO wants the public to hear, says Suzuki, not the real story.

(on camera): Why are people working there?

(voice-over): "For the money," he says. "They're not worried about the health risks decades down the line. Today's bread, tomorrow's meal, rent for next month -- that's what they're worried about. They," he says, "are the ones cleaning up the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years."

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


ANDERSON: Well, the International Atomic Energy Agency helps nuclear states with planning and safety. And it came under fire in the weeks following the disaster for failing to quickly rec -- recognize or -- or realize the severity of the situation. But the director of that agency now tells CNN while he can't guarantee an accident like this won't happen again, he is confident that Japan, at least, has made important strides in the past year.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Have there actually been any concrete steps that have been taken to prevent a catastrophe like Fukushima happening again tomorrow?

YUKIYA AMANO, IAEA GENERAL DIRECTOR: Yes. For example, a major cause of the accident, of course, huge tsunami and earthquake. But there are human elements and managerial elements. And some -- just for example, in Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, a tsunami wall of 80 meters is now being constructed. And at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was not ready for the prolonged total blackout.

But now, in many nuclear power plants, the emergency are -- are part of life is -- is prepared.

These are some of the examples of improvement.

CHANCE: Shouldn't the IAEA have the power to go in and to inspect the safety regimes of countries with nuclear power stations?

AMANO: We cannot guarantee that accidents will never happen, like in other industries. But what we can say is that our nuclear power is safer than before and can be even safer.

CHANCE: In the aftermath of the -- the Fukushima disaster, some of the criticisms were that the IAEA was not aware of the actual situation on the ground as it developed very speedily, and that it wasn't quick enough in delivering its own assessments of the -- the scale of the disaster.

Have any measures been taken here at this agency to address those shortcomings?

AMANO: I was also frustrated that we did not receive enough information from Japan. So one of the immediate actions on my part was to go to Japan and ask the prime minister to ensure the highest level of transparency. And after that, the flow of information improved a lot.

And we have distributed verified information to all the countries. But perhaps we could do more in the future, like providing the analysis of the information.

That was not the arrangement before the Fukushima Daiichi accident. We couldn't do that.

But in the future, we will be able to do that.

CHANCE: Do you acknowledge that the -- the Fukushima catastrophe has done massive damage to the image of the nuclear power industry around the world?

In fact, it's -- it's -- it's prompted many countries, including Germany and Italy, for instance, to pull out of nuclear power altogether.

AMANO: Yes. The biggest influence -- impact of Fukushima Daiichi accident was that it damaged the confidence in nuclear power. So we have to work to restore the confidence, and for that action is needed. It's not the work but action that counts.


ANDERSON: Well, action is what counts, of course, particularly when it comes to recovery from a disaster of this scale. And in the days following the quake and tsunami, thousands of people volunteered to help the victims.

Among them was Stu Levy, the founder of Tokyopop, which brought Japanese manga cartoons to an English speaking audience.

Have a listen to this.


ANDERSON (voice-over): We've seen the pictures, indelible images that told of lives destroyed. They stunned the world and, as documented in a new film, inspired many to act.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn't just sit at home and watch. I had to do something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to do something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt, as a human being, I had to come help out.

ANDERSON: "Pray for Japan" was made by one of many volunteers who made their way to the areas devastated by the March 11th ekaa. It offers intimate insight into the tragedy and how the community banded together to recover and rebuild.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My house is gone, which can't be helped. So I've set my feelings aside.

STU LEVY, FILMMAKER, "PRAY FOR JAPAN": When you're watching on television and you see the tsunami, you see the damage, you see the people, it -- it really does look like a disaster film. But when you go there in person and you're in it, the difference is, first, the scale. Everything around you is destroyed. Cars and trees, you know, little dolls mixed together with oil, just things that -- that -- that you cannot believe.

And so it's -- it's that overwhelming feeling. And then the -- the smell. It's -- it's days worth of rotted trash with fish, with just things, you know, frankly, death, you know. This is -- is hitting you in all your senses and -- and you don't get that in -- on television.

The other thing, though, that -- that is inspiring when you're there is when people are all walking around, even the victims, people who haven't eaten and other volunteers, everyone greets each other, even if you don't know each other, with the -- the phrase, "scarifamadis (ph)." And that's a word of encouragement to each other.

ANDERSON: Indeed, the documentary does not say much about despair, but, rather, hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so pleased that even in this era, people are willing to help others in need.

ANDERSON (on camera): What do you think the documentary reveals about the people and how they are recovering from this disaster?

LEVY: For instance, things like -- there's a long, long line of people who don't have food and they're -- they're all living in the shelter. But you can't have everybody line up. So there's little families and communities that have a representative get the food. And we'll be handing them the food as volunteers and they'll say how many people they have, two people, four people. And we put that food on the plate.

But we're trying to get the food as quickly as we can. So sometimes a volunteer will give, say, six, when the person asks for five. And these victims, every single time that there's been -- that too much food has been given, they give it back. They say, no, no, I only need five. No, no, I only need two.

And it's that level of community, that -- that look out for the person next to you before yourself, the Japanese are brilliant at that.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And Levy is following suit, donating all proceeds from his documentary to charity.

LEVY: Well, the scale of this natural disaster is unprecedented. This is not the type of disaster that you can recover from in a year. So the first year was really about the emergency phase. And we're moving now toward the recovery phase.

What that means is that all of the main debris in the city centers have been removed, but there's a lot of debris remaining in outland -- in areas outside. Then you have -- you have the challenge of work. There's a lot of people that don't have jobs. The industry, the fishing industry, the farming industries have been destroyed. There's loans that they now can't repay. They've lost all their equipment. They've lost all their inventory.

Then, of course, you have people who have lost their homes. Many thousands of people are now living in temporary housing. They were in shelters, but the problem with temporary housing is, one, it's not your own home, and, two, you lose that sense of community.

So people are lonely, especially, there's a lot of older people. And they can't necessarily look out for themselves. So these problems still exist. And so now, trying to go from a better life than the shelters to a life that they knew before is the remaining challenge. And I -- I think this can take years.


ANDERSON: This weekend, CNN will take you live to events in Japan marking the one year anniversary of the disaster. You can see that Sunday starting at 9:00 in the morning Abu Dhabi time, one in the afternoon Hong Kong and two in Tokyo. Work the times out locally for yourselves. That live coverage right here on CNN.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Still to come, a social media campaign ignites a mass movement to capture one of the most brutal warlords in the world.

And my interview with tennis star, Venus Williams, how she is serving up a big comeback after being diagnosed with a debilitating illness.

That and your headlines coming up.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN -- I think I'm in the dark, let's get some lights on this -- the world's news leader.

Welcome back.

Greece says a critical deal -- hello -- is done. The country's finance minister announced a debt restructuring agreement has been reached with the country's private sector lenders. That paves the way for the release of bail out money from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Now, Jim Boulden explains that Greece still has a long way to go toward economic stability.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was a very important step for Greece, to get an agreement with its private sector debt holders. Those who hold the bonds for Greece have agreed to this massive cut. So that's a good breathing space for Greece, but only a breathing space.

On Monday, we expect the Eurozone finance ministers to agree to begin to give Greece the second bailout, this tranche of money that Greece needs in order to start paying its bills in the next couple of weeks.

But every quarter, Greece will still have to meet the tough criteria of reforming its economy, of bringing in tax revenue, of reforming the economy by cutting jobs, by telling -- opening up certain sectors of the economy to competition.

There's a lot of steps that Greece has to take. And no one should think that this is just the beginning of the end for Greece. In many ways, it's just the beginning of the very tough austerity Greece will face for years.

The goal, of course, is to bring down the deficit and the debt overall in the next eight years. It's a tough task. Many people think Greece can't do that without a third bailout or more of this kind of cut for the debts that other people still hold from Greece.


ANDERSON: Jim Boulden reporting for you.

Let's get you a look at some of the other stories connecting our world this Friday night in London.

And there is good economic news for the U.S., as well. Farm economists say a new report suggests that the job market has actually turned a corner. The Labor Department says employers added 227,000 jobs in February. That was now better than expected. The unemployment rate itself remains at 8.3 percent. But three straight months of job growth over 200,000 is considered a strong sign of recovery.

Former U.N. Secretary-General and Special Envoy Kofi Annan is set to meet with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, on Saturday in Damascus. That as the opposition reports at least 70 people were killed on Friday. This video purportedly shows a mosque being shelled during prayers in a Homs suburb. Syria's government has agreed to allow an assessment of the humanitarian relief needs in the hard-hit areas. The UN's humanitarian chief met with government officials during her two day stay.


VALERIE AMOS, U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF: The government have agreed to a limited assessment exercise to be conducted by U.N. agencies and the Syrian authorities, which would give us some information about what is happening in the country.

We continue to need a more robust engagement that would enable us to have more information about what is happening.


ANDERSON: Italy wants clarification from Britain on a failed rescue operation in Nigeria. Now you'll remember that two European hostages were killed yesterday when British and Nigerian forces tried to rescue them from their captors. Italy says Britain did not consult Rome before the rescue attempt. Nigeria's president blames Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group, for the kidnappings and the killings. Suspects are now being detained.

Well, one of cricket's greatest batsmen ever has played his last international match. We're going to hear from Rahul Dravid as he leaves the crease and heads to the pavilion. Your sports headlines are next.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Welcome back.

I'm Becky Anderson.

Twenty-five past nine here.

Now, the second most prolific batsmen in test cricket history is retiring. During a 16 year career Rahul Dravid also captained India and set a record for test matches, or catches, even.

Though his international career ends, he will still play in the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals.

And why wouldn't he, because he's getting an awful lot of money for that.


ANDERSON: Don is here with me tonight.

Let's get a sense of this guy and his legacy, really. I mean his accomplishments are, for those who -- who don't know anything about cricket, let's remind them why we should all care.

RIDDELL: Well, you know, this guy really is one of the all time greats. He's retiring at the age of 39. I feel like this is the second bit sports retirement story we've had this week. Peyton Manning the other day. And he said (INAUDIBLE)...

ANDERSON: Both of them...


ANDERSON: No, go on.



RIDDELL: I'm the same age as Rahul.

Nothing lasts forever. And, you know, he -- he can't continue. But he really has been an absolutely brilliant ambassador for his country, India, and for the sport, too.

To score as many runs as he did is just incredible. Only his teammate, Sachin Tendulkar, has scored more. All those catches, he's the only test player to have scored a century in each of the test playing countries. The list of achievements goes on and on and on.

He thought long and hard about when he would announce his retirement. He did today.

And this is what he had to say.


RAHUL DRAVID, RETIRING AFTER 16 YEARS: Well, I'll say that there have been many disappointments in my career and there have been some great highs. You know, I think in the end of the day, there's a huge sense of satisfaction that even though I might have failed in certain times or failed in achieving certain things, I have always given it my best shot. And I've tried my very best. And I've left no stone unturned to try and become the best cricketer I could ever become.

And I think that leaves me with, you know, a huge amount of satisfaction. So there are absolutely no regrets.


ANDERSON: They call him "The Wall".


RIDDELL: What are walls for?

To keep things out.



ANDERSON: Thanks, yes.

RIDDELL: You just couldn't get past him. He's Mr. Dependable. They'll miss him.

ANDERSON: Amazing stuff.

Coming up a bit later in this show, tennis ace Venus Williams opens up about her illness, one which threatens to destroy her career.


WILLIAMS: It's easy to say, you know, I've done enough or it would be easy just to go on a permanent vacation. But I need to look back and know that I gave everything.


ANDERSON: Refusing to give up, Venus Williams is serving a big comeback. That's up in around 25 minutes right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

"WORLD SPORT," of course, is on an hour from now.

Also ahead this half hour, his crimes have been documented for decades, but the world largely overlooked Joseph Kony -- until this. This video went viral. Why critics say demands for the warlord's arrest are too little too late.

One year on from Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, why this woman is haunted by the memory, but unable to leave.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Let's check the world news headlines for you at this point.

Greece says its private sector creditors have agreed to a restructuring of the government's debt. The agreement allows a second bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to proceed.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is set to meet Syrian president Bashar al-Assad on Saturday. Annan is working as an envoy representing the UN and the Arab League pushing for a peaceful end to the conflict in Syria.

Palestinian medics say Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed five Palestinians today, including two prominent militant leaders. Israel confirms the strike saying it targeted terrorists who were planning attacks.

Italy wants an explanation from British officials about a failed rescue attempt in Nigeria. Two engineers, one Italian and one British, were killed Thursday as Nigerian forces attempted to rescue them. The British military was involved. Italy says it wasn't consulted.

From relative to obscurity to global infamy in the span of just a few short days. Tens of millions of people around the world now know who Joseph Kony is after a video calling for his arrest went viral.

Now, the story dominated social media this week, bringing extraordinary attention to what some have called Africa's forgotten crisis.

Let's kick off this part of the show with CNN's Brian Todd, joining us from Washington. Brian, what are the details, as they stand?

BRIAN TODD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, there are two central characters in this story, the maker of this video, who's gotten more attention for this than anything we've seen on YouTube recently, but who's now drawing fire for being misleading.

And you've got the subject of the video, a violent warlord who many in the West have never heard of until now. We have to warn viewers, this story contains images some might find disturbing.


TODD (voice-over): He's a warlord who experts say is responsible for the kidnapping of up to 70,000 people, many of them children. Operating first in Uganda, now in three other African countries, he and his militants have killed and disfigured tens of thousands of villagers, forced young boys to become child soldiers, forced girls into sexual slavery.

Joseph Kony and his so-called Lord's Resistance Army have been doing this for a quarter century, trying to overthrow the Ugandan government in favor of a regime based on the Ten Commandments. He's on the run from African forces and their American advisors.

But Joseph Kony's getting more attention now than ever.

JASON RUSSEL, FILMMAKER, "KONY 2012": Stop the rebel group the LRA and their leader, Joseph Kony.

TODD: That's thanks to a new video called "Kony 2012." A half-hour long, it's gone viral, tens of millions of views on YouTube in just a few days. The filmmakers used the hacktivist group Anonymous and others to blast it out over the internet. They sent tweets to celebrities like George Clooney, Rihanna, to American lawmakers.

The film highlights Kony's atrocities, partly through the eyes of a former child soldier who, according to the video, saw his brother murdered.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because if I saw my brother once again -- I don't --


TODD: The video's produced by a nonprofit activist group called Invisible Children. Filmmaker Jason Russel's goal, to gather momentum for Kony to be captured and brought to justice at the International Criminal Court.

RUSSEL: He's been getting away with murder, and what he does is, he brainwashes them, makes them kill their parents, slaughter people, cut off people's faces.

TODD: But some say this popular crusade is misleading.

TODD (on camera): Critics say the film manipulates the facts, ignoring the Ugandan military's human rights abuses in its war with the LRA, ignoring the fact that Joseph Kony and his forces have been significantly reduced in number in recent months, and have committed far fewer attacks.

TODD (voice-over): The head of Invisible Children responds.

BEN KEESEY, CEO, INVISIBLE CHILDREN: The scale of LRA violence has decreased, which is a good thing. And it's a result of this effort.

TODD: Analyst Richard Downie applauds the group's effort to call attention to Kony, but --

RICHARD DOWNIE, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I take issue with their approach, very much focused on the white Westerners' ability to parachute in and resolve a problem that Africans are unable to deal with themselves.

I think by portraying Westerners as the only people who can crack this problem of Joseph Kony, it's simplistic, it's naive, and it's a little bit condescending, as well.


TODD: Invisible Children issued a statement saying they're not naive, never claimed a desire to save Africa. They just want young people in the West to do more than just watch. Becky?

ANDERSON: All right, Brian, thank you for that. Let's take a look here at how "Kony 2012" became such a huge hit online. Right now, take a look at this. It's still one of the world's trending topics on Twitter.

But to get this kind of exposure, it all began days ago. The first account with a large following was this one, from the VansWarpedTour. They tweeted the link out on Monday to their 180,000 followers.

But it was when Oprah Winfrey tweeted out the hash tag #Kony2012 to her 9 million followers that it really started to gain some traction. Let's get rid of that one, shall we.

Wednesday, though, Kony 2012 a global trend. Justin Bieber tweeted to his 18 million followers to get involved and they did.

So, Kony, LRA, and Uganda were all trending topics for these days, March the 5th, Monday, from 50,000 tweets with the word "Kony" in it. March 7th, two days later, there were 5 million tweets. So we're nearly 9.5 million tweets by March the 8th.

And when it comes to video, the story is much the same. It was the fastest rising video online in just five days, "Kony 2012" had 53 million hits.

So, there is no doubt that the story has gotten the world's attention. But of course, the crimes are nothing new. CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reported from Uganda on Kony's army of abducted kids back in 1998. She says the viral video has played a crucial role in raising awareness.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's really important is that this 52 million and counting viewership hopefully will not just sensitize people about war criminals like Kony, but in general, try to get society onboard to really press their governments to do something about these war crimes that they are mandated to try to solve.


ANDERSON: All right, that's one view. Critics, though, say the social media campaign about Kony oversimplifies what is a very complex situation and can actually do more harm than good. There are other parts of this debate. We want to get both sides of what's going on, now.

We're joined by Susan Davis, president of the nonprofit group BRAC USA. She's visited Uganda numerous times to work with former child soldiers. We've also got Ismael Beah, a former child soldier himself from Sierra Leone. Guys, we do really appreciate your time tonight.

Before I talk to you, I want you to hear the Ugandan government's response to this -- what has been one of the slickest and cleverest media - - social media campaigns ever. Have a listen to this.


FRED OPOLOT, GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN, UGANDA: There has been an outrage. As I've already mentioned, the country is completely peaceful. And what Invisible Children is doing is to castigate, or rather, reflect Africa as a dark continent where there's always unending trouble.


ANDERSON: Susan, the Ugandans say this is an absolute outrage. And to a certain extent, they've got a point. Joseph Kony was a menace, but he is certainly not the menace that he was back in the mid-2000s. In fact, he's not even there anymore. So, what's the point of this at this point?

SUSAN DAVIS, PRESIDENT, BRAC USA: I think the point is about waking people up. The -- it's great that we're having this conversation. It's taken a long time to have this kind of response from people in this country, in America and all over the world.

I think the narrative has shifted, though. The world has changed. I first found out about this video from a 12-year-old girl yesterday as a BRAC delegation was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge for International Women's Day.

And the key point here is that Ugandans have been leading the charge to deal with this situation, and now after the war, to rebuild. Sometimes with the help of others, like the Bangladeshis that are now building BRAC Uganda with the MasterCard partnership, touching the lives of 2 million.

But if you look at the voices of the Ugandans who are speaking out, whether it's on my website, BRAC USA -- there's 462 hits. Or the Northern Ugandan Women that Peter Gabriel's group, Witness, put up, it's only 960 hits --


ANDERSON: But I wonder, Susan --

DAVIS: So, that's the problem.

ANDERSON: I wonder what -- what your response is to the criticism that this film isn't even factually correct. The video makers admit it was nuanced, but they say they're just giving a sense of what was going on at the time.

Ishmael, is this acceptable? What's your -- what's your response to what you've seen?

ISHMAEL BEAH, FORMER CHILD SOLDIER: Well, first of all, I think it is incredible that this has gained a lot of attention, a lot of people have -- now know about the issue than before. You cannot deny that at all.

But to have millions of well-meaning but uninformed and misleading people who think about this issue, it's not really something that can have the kind of policy shift that is needed to accomplish anything that's sustainable in Uganda or in that area.

So for me, I think the whole thing has been uninformed and oversimplified advocacy that will not really do much at all.

ANDERSON: All right.

BEAH: If you look at -- yes.

ANDESON: Sorry. You're a former child soldier yourself. What you say is incredibly important. Susan, you listen to what Ishmael says, you've got to buy what he says. There are many people out there insulted by what they've seen. Is this activism, or is this PR? Because that's certainly one of the criticisms that has been thrown at these guys who put this together,

DAVIS: I'm not defending the film. I'm defending the principle of everyone being able to be a change maker. Everyone's part of the conversation. And I think the brutalities that are going on in the world that happened in Ismael's case or other -- it's shifting from me to we to all of us activism.

And once we recognize that all of us have a stake in solving the problems, then we bring about a different world.

The problem, I think, is that many Americans are just starting on this learning journey. And so, like Bono, when he was facing entrepreneurs from Africa, TED Africa, a couple of years ago. They blasted him in the same way because we don't quite understand how to accompany people in a dignified way.

ANDERSON: Right. But getting -- but Susan, getting basic about things to get a message out is one thing. Being factually incorrect and confusing an issue, I think, is quite something else.

We've got a tweet here tonight from somebody who says, "I support the Stop Kony campaign, but make sure you know where Uganda is on a map before you start acting like you're its biggest supporter."

These guys talked about Uganda being in Central Africa. When you see factual inaccuracies like that, Ismael, what does it make you feel? How does it make you feel? Does it make you feel there are these white Westerners sort of getting on a bandwagon, and actually, they haven't got a clue what they're talking about?

BEAH: Well, I've been tweeting about this, and one of the questions I've been asking is that this approach, there's no respect and dignity of people who are coming from this experience, who have suffered through this, and it doesn't -- as you mentioned, it's not correct at all.

And also, if you look at, there's a young blogger called Rosebell Kagumire, who has been talking about this from Uganda, talking about how the war in Uganda is not just about one man, it's not about Kony. It's about the marginalization of the north.

And I want to go about what Susan just mentioned is that if you want to become a change maker in this world that we live in, you've got to be willing to dip into the complexities, the geographies, the histories, of the places you're interested in making a change.

You don't want to be handed to you just because it's cool. So definitely, war is not cool, as Jason Russel mentioned it. You have to find a cool way -- war is nothing cool.

If you're not interested in the geographies and the complexity of it to know that it's not black and white, to delve into the fact that you can't glamorize this stuff, then I think you have no business in being a change maker. It's not an easy thing that you can do, feel good about it today, and then tomorrow, you forget about it. That's not how it works.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right. Listen, keep an eye on Ismael's tweets. Susan, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

I just want our viewers to take a look at this picture. I'm going to leave it up to you. This is a picture that was published today of the filmmakers. Now, they were posing with guns somewhere in Africa. These are the guys who put this film together.

I want you to tell me what you think about that picture, @BeckyCNN is my tweet. Get in touch. The -- stop Kony tweets still out there, of course, as a hash tag, but I think it's interesting. I'd just like to get your response to what you see on the screen there this evening. The filmmakers of "Kony 2012."

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, from a thriving community to a ghost town. We return to Ishinomaki in Japan. Find out how people are coping a year after the devastating tsunami there. You're with CONNECT THE WORLD, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Japan's earthquake and tsunami a year ago almost to the day didn't just destroy lives and families, it wiped out entire towns. One of them, Ishinomaki, where CNN's Anna Coren reported from a year ago.

Well, a year on, she's gone back to talk to the people who were left behind, and these are their stories.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A year ago, when the disaster struck, my crew and I came straight here to Ishinomaki, one of the worst-affected areas. We were following the army, which was going from house to house, searching for any bodies.


COREN: The wall of water that roared through here within seconds collected everything in its path, and from the rescue workers that we have spoken to, the bodies that they are retrieving are those of the elderly people who could not get out in time.


COREN: Now, we came to this neighborhood, and there was rubble and debris as far as the eye could see. In fact, where we are walking used to be the foundations of people's homes.

Now, we have decided to come back here and speak to the residents and see how they are coping one year on.

COREN (voice-over): What was once a thriving coastal community is now a ghost town, except for a few residents.

Kimi Akoyama (ph) was at work when the earthquake struck. Her boss sent her home, thinking she'd have enough time to collect her possessions. "When I saw the tsunami, I had no where to go," she explains, "so I ran upstairs."

As the water was swirling around her feet on the second story, she watched with horror as her neighbors were swept away.

"The waves came from two directions, there and there," she says. "First cars, then houses. I even saw cows get washed away."

More than 3,000 people lost their lives in Ishinomaki, 30,000 homes were destroyed. Kimi Akoyama says it haunts her to stay here, but she can't afford to move. No one would buy her home so close to the sea.

"I hear it's possible there could be another earthquake a year for now," says the 47-year-old. "That scares me. I just hope it's not like the one that came before."

While fear is ever-present in Japan, pain and suffering hovers over this makeshift village in the hills. Sixty-three-year-old Fuji Osato (ph) lives in this temporary housing with 170 other families and remembers everything about that fateful day.

"The waves came up to my house," he says. "I shouted, 'Run for your lives! A tsunami is coming!'"

He carried his elderly parents up a steep hill to higher ground, but his wife and two grandchildren thought it would be safer at the tsunami shelter in town. When he went to find them, the shelter had been swept away. Sixty people were inside, only two survived.

"I was very fortunate," he says, "because I found their bodies. I sleep with their photos laid beside me each night, as if I were sleeping with them. I sometimes pray they come to me in my dreams, but it doesn't happen very much."

Fuji Osato's home is surrounded by photos of Seiko, his wife of 36 years, and his two grandkids, seven-year-old Anji (ph) and ten-year-old Hodaka (ph).

"It's OK during the day when I'm with people," he explains, "but at night, I realize it's been a year since it happened, and the sadness overwhelms me."

While he will forever carry a heavy heart, rebuilding his village has given him a new purpose. Only this time, on higher ground.

Anna Coren, CNN, Ishinomaki, Japan.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Still to come, the tennis ace set to return. Venus Williams tells me how she is overcoming a debilitating illness to chase more Grand Slam and Olympic glory.


ANDERSON: She has been one of the most dominant forces on the tennis court for the past decade, until it appeared her career would be cut short by a debilitating illness. But as we know, Venus Williams is not easily defeated.

The former number one is returning to the circuit after almost a year and told me how a change in her diet is behind her comeback.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Since her debut on the Grand Slam stage in 1997, the trophies have been mounting for Venus Williams. In the space of 14 years, the towering tennis player won 43 singles title, including 7 Grand Slams.

And let's not forget the 19 titles she's also won alongside her doubles partner, sister, and fellow champion, Serena.

With such success, Venus could have been forgiven for feeling exhausted, and she was tired. But not because of the tennis.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two-time champion Venus Williams has withdrawn from the tournament before playing her second round match.

ANDERSON: Williams' shock exit was due to Sjogren's Syndrome. She'd been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease a month before the US Open tournament last year, but had kept her condition secret, hoping to battle through.

VENUS WILLIAMS, TENNIS CHAMPION: The beginning of the tournament, I wasn't sure how far I would get or what I would do. I was kind of living on a hope and a dream, and finally I just didn't feel well before my second round match, to the point where I couldn't play, and haven't played since.

I'm looking forward to coming back. And Sjogren's Syndrome definitely changed my life. It changed everything. It changed how I eat, it changed how I -- everything. It's changed my whole life.

ANDERSON: For years, Williams had unknowingly been suffering from the condition, which attacks the body's tear and saliva glands, causing fatigue and arthritis. An incurable disease, Venus wasn't sure if she'd ever be able to return to the circuit.

ANDERSON (on camera): How do you mange it and prevent it from getting worse? And as you say, not changing your life completely.

WILLIAMS: Sjogren's Syndrome is something that I have to live with. My hope is, of course, to be symptom-free one day. Of course, I work with my doctors on that, but also I work on my diet, which I have found has been huge. I've seen big differences.

With Sjogren's, you deal with a lot of fatigue and joint pain and inflammation, so I've seen a lot of that become reduced because of the things I'm eating. I've started eating raw and vegan and unprocessed foods and doing lots of juicing. I juice twice a day, and I drink wheat grass. For me, it's worth doing everything that I can in order to go back to what I love doing.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Now, the 31-year-old says she is set for her comeback.

WILLIAMS: I want to play in Miami, I'm all signed up, I'm training. After I talk to you, I'm going to go hit some balls. So, that's my go, is to come back in Miami and then see you again in London, actually, at the Olympics and at Wimbledon, so --

ANDERSON (on camera): Excellent! We're going to see you at Wimbledon, good stuff! Well, that's not very far away. You've already achieved so much in tennis, and you've been such a dominant force, Venus, on the circuit for more than a decade. Are you going to be able to get back to the level of your game that you know you need to be right at the top?

WILLIAMS: That's my goal. That's definitely my goal. I don't think the road will be perfect, but I think I can get it as close to perfect as possible.

ANDERSON: But I get the feeling that you are never going to let this defeat get to you. How much of a role does attitude play, do you think?

WILLIAMS: Definitely, attitude is huge because when you don't feel well and things are taken away from you, it's hard to stay positive. But for me, it's not an option to get negative or to feel sorry for myself. It's easy to say, "I've done enough," or it would be easy just to go on a permanent vacation, but I need to look back and know that I gave everything.

And I know I still have so much more. Before I was sick, I was on top of the world in singles and doubles. So, that's my goal, is to return to that.

ANDERSON: How important are the Olympics to you?

WILLIAMS: For me, the Olympics have been the pinnacle of my career. Playing already in three Olympics, this will be my fourth. Serena and I talk about playing in every Olympics possible. We'll say -- we keep saying that we're going to be taking Olympic spots on the team forever, so --

It's just our dream. It's beyond our dreams, and hopefully, to participate will be great. To win something would be amazing.


ANDERSON: Venus Williams, congratulations. She's back!

I'm Becky Anderson, that was your world connected. The world news headlines and "BackStory" up after this. Stay with us.