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Replays of the Week's Top Interviews

Aired August 3, 2012 - 15:00:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, I'm Christiane Amanpour, and welcome to the special weekend edition of the program, where we'll take a look at one of the biggest stories that we've covered this week, the undeniable links between us and global climate change.

And we'll also show you a devastating and all-too-common practice that strips young girls of their innocence all around the world. Photographer Stephanie Sinclair has been documenting child brides, some as young as 5 years old. She's been doing it for nearly a decade and she'll join me in a moment.

But first, my brief tonight, the weather is telling us that climate change is real, it's here and we are causing it. Regardless weather swings this summer alone, droughts, wildfires, melting glaciers, unprecedented storms, all are happening at the same time. And around the world, people are demanding that something be done about it.

Even in the United States, ground zero for climate change denial, six in 10 Americans say that they believe it's happening. But political leaders seem to be missing in action, cowed by a vociferous climate change denial club that's actually now shrinking faster than the polar ice caps themselves.


AMANPOUR: So now to get to the hard facts and science, we turn to Professor Michio Kaku from City College of New York. Thank you for being here with us.


AMANPOUR: What is going on? Let's look at our magic table, where we can see what happened in Texas last year.

And the science is telling us that this is connected to global warming.

KAKU: Well, first of all, there's no smoking gun. You can't simply point to one thing and say, aha, that's global warming. But you look at the whole picture. The Southwest is being hit with a triple whammy: high temperatures, low rainfall and also a very dry winter. So the reservoirs are drying up.

All of that is consistent with global warming.

AMANPOUR: And we saw some pictures of these crops. This is also going to cause real pain to individuals. Food prices are going to go up.

KAKU: It's going to hit us in the pocketbook come fall when food prices begin to skyrocket. And remember, about 60 percent of the country is either in drought or near drought conditions, things that we haven't seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

AMANPOUR: You describe yourself as a climate skeptic who's converting to a believer in the human factor when it comes to global warming. What is it that caused you to change?

KAKU: I used to say, "Give me a break. I mean, come on. Global warming? Human activities drive the temperature of the planet Earth? No way." However, I'm not laughing any more because if you look at the sheer amount of data from ice cores, from glacier recession, from increasing sea level rise, all the indicators point in the up direction. There's not a single indicator in the down direction.

AMANPOUR: In fact, there's a very interesting new study that's come out, that shows a carbon curve. As the carbon emission increase, so does the temperature.

KAKU: In fact, that's really scary. This is scary stuff, because it shows that, like two roller coasters in synchronization, when carbon dioxide levels go up, temperature rises also in synchronization.

So we're playing with fire. We're playing with the planet Earth. As humans drive the temperature of the Earth by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from home heating, from transportation, from cars, fossil fuel burning, all of that is driving the temperature of the Earth.

AMANPOUR: And we just saw that graph behind me as we were talking. And let's go to what's also happening around the world this summer. And those are floods. We've seen these terrible floods in Russia. We've got fields that are covered with water. I guess it's too early to know what caused that.

KAKU: Well, some people say it can't be global warming. Increased rainfall? Come on. Give me a break, right? However, realize that global warming is a misnomer. It should be called global swings. You can have drought in one area and next door you can have 100-year rainstorms and flooding in the next area.

And as you've noticed, we have all these 100-year floods, 100-year droughts, 100-year floods, 100-year rainfalls. I mean, give me a break.

AMANPOUR: All happening in obviously --


KAKU: All happening --

AMANPOUR: -- years.

KAKU: Get used to it. We're going to have 100-year this, right next to 100-year that because of the fact that is global swings.

AMANPOUR: You say get used to it. But if we go back to our map and look at Italy, look at Venice, which were pictures taken back in 2008, this was the famous St. Mark's Square, which is flooding. What was the analysis of why that was? Global warming?

KAKU: Take a look at sea level rise. For the last 100 years, we can measure the sea level rise going up 8 inches in the last 100 years. And it's accelerating. So we're going to have to get used to the fact that Wall Street may be underwater in part; parts of Boston by mid-century could be underwater because it's basically a landfill.

And look at Venice. Look at all the hot spots. Realize that many of our coastal cities is where people live. And with the sea level rise, it means we're going to have flooding and perhaps dikes around Manhattan.

AMANPOUR: Well, let's look at the simulation. Obviously, this is real in St. Mark's Square, but you were just talking about Wall Street and dikes around Manhattan. This is a simulation taken from Al Gore's famous film, "An Inconvenient Truth," which shows that if the worst case does happen, this is what's going to happen, the black being the sea.

KAKU: That's right. And you have to take a look at the big picture. This is not going to happen soon. We're not going to see this tomorrow. We're talking about decades. But this is a legacy we're going to leave our children. Plus think of the economic impact, because the seasons are being disrupted. Agriculture is being disrupted right now.

AMANPOUR: We've got Greenland right here. What does happen when you say it's not going to be tomorrow? Dramatic pictures of this summer, tourists just, you know, going past this land mass and part of a whole iceberg (inaudible).


KAKU: What's happening right now is the recession of every single major glacier on the planet Earth. And the polar ice caps are thinning by 50 percent just in the last 50 years. Realize that our children are going to say, there's no Santa Claus because there's no North Pole. Santa Claus has to be a myth because there is no North Pole. And every kid is going to know this in the coming decades.

AMANPOUR: We're talking about the North Pole, the Arctic, the Antarctic. But one of the things that really struck me was these summer storms that we've had; we've seen them here in Manhattan, lightning and thunder and torrential rain, which they say are punching into the ozone layer and perhaps thinning it, just like has been happening at the Arctic and the Antarctic.

KAKU: We're being hit with a double whammy. We thought global warming was just global warming and ozone depletion was ozone depletion. And never the twain shall meet. However, now we realize that the two could actually come together. And with this increase in temperature, we could have a larger ozone hole over the South Pole and over the North Pole.

I mean, we're playing with fire. We're playing with the integrity of the planet Earth. The ozone layer makes life on Earth possible. And if we deplete the ozone layer, we're going to be hit with x-rays, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which means increased cancer, the disruption of agriculture on the planet Earth. We're playing with fire.

AMANPOUR: You've given us the facts, Professor, and we are going to turn next to some of the struggle to come up with some of the solutions. Thank you for being with us.

KAKU: Yes.


AMANPOUR: And if few would doubt now the importance of protecting our Earth, when it comes to protecting our children, we often neglect the most vulnerable.

In many parts of the world, girls face a form of exploitation that's as ancient as a marriage vow. A bridal portrait you won't forget when we return.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Take a look at this picture. He is 40 years old and she's 11. And they're married. Indeed, there are over 51 million child brides around the world today. And it's not just Muslims, it happens in other religions and across cultures and regions.

Photographer Stephanie Sinclair has gone around the world investigating and documenting these phenomenon which is, of course, often a crime. I recently talked to her about the incredible stories featured in the book called, "Questions without Answers: The World in Pictures by the Photographers of VII."


AMANPOUR: Stephanie Sinclair, thank you for being here.


AMANPOUR: So let's go to Yemen and let's go to this picture. It is actually startling. You see these much older people with these children. Describe what's going on here. Who are they?

SINCLAIR: These are two young girls, Tehani and Felada (ph). They're sisters-in-law in Yemen and these are their husbands. And this was during a day that the husbands had come home in Yemen from working. They were both in the military. And so they came home and they were spending time with their family. And I was able to photograph them.

AMANPOUR: I think you recorded one of them. We're just going to play some of what one of these little girls -- this little girl told you.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): (Inaudible) my hands with (inaudible) but I didn't know they were going to marry me off. And my mother came and said, "Come on, my daughter." They were dressing (ph) me up and I was asking, "Where are you taking me?"


AMANPOUR: And I think that's what's so heartbreaking about this, that they often don't know what's happening to them, and they're told that we're going to a party or we're going to a celebration. And then this happens.

Do they express how they feel about it?

SINCLAIR: Well, most of the young girls, particularly like these two girls, who are preteen, I mean, that's where you really see that they don't know what's happening to them. And the only time they really understand what's happening is on their wedding night, unfortunately.

And, you know, I think that it's just these -- this harmful (ph) traditional practice of child marriage is just so embedded in some of these cultures that the families don't protect them as they should.

AMANPOUR: And they -- as you said, they don't know anything and then here's this young, young girl. How old is she?

SINCLAIR: This is a young girl named Azia (ph). And she's 14 here. She already has two children in this photograph.

AMANPOUR: Two children. Well, here's the newborn.

SINCLAIR: Yes. And --

AMANPOUR: And there you have in the corner there, yes.

SINCLAIR: And she was still actually, you know, was bleeding still from her birth and the child, and she didn't really know what was happening to her body. And you know, it just shows that there wasn't -- there wasn't a lot of education out in these villages to tell them what was happening and what to expect.

AMANPOUR: When you went to do this session, I mean, they must have known that, you know, you didn't approve of it or this was something that wasn't right.

Was there a sense that they got it, that this wasn't right, their parents or the kids?

SINCLAIR: Absolutely. I think -- I mean, this whole project, I've been working on this for about nine years now. And this whole project was done with the help of the people from these communities. So all the access I got to each of the families was through the people who wanted this to stop, because they could see the harmful repercussions.

AMANPOUR: That's kind of interesting, because usually you might find yourself sort of blocked out from the community. I mean, so did -- I mean, did the men know? Did the parents know? Did -- how did -- how did that work? How did they give you permission to do it?

SINCLAIR: I was very straightforward. I mean, you know, I went to them and I told them what I'd been working on. I've shown them pictures that I had -- I'd made previously on the topic. And I was just very honest with them, that, you know, we're working together, hopefully, to bring solutions and to help their communities prosper.

At the same time, we also have serious issues in our country. And I was -- you know, I made sure to point that out, you know, for them, we have kids who get pregnant at 13 and aren't married. That's even worse.

AMANPOUR: You mean here in the United States --


SINCLAIR: Here in the United States, exactly. So they think that that's even worse, because there's nobody to protect them. So you know, I was very candid with some of the issues we have as well.

AMANPOUR: And then this is an amazing picture, this young girl. She actually got a divorce. I mean, look how young she is. Tell me about her, how old, how she managed to get rid of this man.

SINCLAIR: This is Nujood Ali, and she was married when she was 10 years old. And this is just a shocking story, because she went, a couple months after she was married, she went to the court and found a lawyer, a woman named Shada Nasser, and asked -- and asked her to help her get a divorce, and she was granted.

AMANPOUR: How rare is that? I never, ever heard of something like that.

SINCLAIR: Absolutely. It's definitely, definitely rare and it basically, I mean, Nujood became kind of a international symbol of child marriage, because she was -- she was able to do this and found it within herself. And I think she's inspired a lot of other girls. And also other organizations to support these girls, to have a stronger voice.

AMANPOUR: Well, this is Afghanistan. I mean, again, you know, you can hardly believe this is real, this ancient man with this child that barely looks like she's 5. How old is this girl?

SINCLAIR: She's 11.

AMANPOUR: Eleven years old?


AMANPOUR: And what's expected to happen? Are they meant to consummate the union? Is the girl a slave in the house until she becomes - - comes of age, or what?

SINCLAIR: Yes, on both accounts. I mean, you know, what I was told when I was there is that people, that the girls would -- they would wait till puberty and they wouldn't consummate the marriages. But the women brought me aside and said, you know, they will. Once the girls are their property, there's nothing they can do.

AMANPOUR: They're forced --

SINCLAIR: They're forced. And the bigger tragedy, I mean, not that that's not a huge tragedy, but the biggest tragedy is that this young girl, she wanted to -- she was still in school. And this is like rural Afghanistan, where we've been pushing so hard and people want education for these young girls.

And this was in a very rural area. So something good was happening. And then she was pulled out of school as soon as she was married -- I mean, as soon as she was engaged, not even married.

AMANPOUR: But here, this is really interesting, I think, because there are some brave people in Afghanistan who simply won't tolerate this. And this was the -- one of the police commanders, a rare female police commander. Tell me about this story, because she's obviously come after this guy.

SINCLAIR: Yes. This is Malalai Kakar. She was a very, very special woman. And she knew the project I was working on, and called me when she got this case. I was actually in Kandahar here, and this young girl -- her name was Jamila, and she had been stabbed several times by her husband and just for trying to go visit her mother without his permission.

AMANPOUR: That's it?

SINCLAIR: That's it. That's all she did. And --

AMANPOUR: And this being the husband?

SINCLAIR: And that's the husband. And so I actually sat down -- I was sitting there, talking to them, and I asked Malalai, I said, "What are we going -- what's going to happen to this man?" And she just kind of laughed and went, "Nothing. Men are kings here."

AMANPOUR: Malalai said that?

SINCLAIR: Yes. And she couldn't really do anything. But --

AMANPOUR: Not even arrest him?

SINCLAIR: She couldn't even arrest him. But she was very --

AMANPOUR: With blood all over the scene of the crime?

SINCLAIR: Yes. And he also stabbed her grandmother. But she was happy to just have him out there. You can see by the way she's holding him that she's like at least you can photograph him and show everyone what's happening.

AMANPOUR: But here also, this touched me very, very deeply. This young girl has obviously been rescued.

SINCLAIR: Yes. This is at a shelter in Afghanistan. And this was actually one of the moments where I was like, "I'm going to work on this project for the -- as long as it takes." This is a young girl; her name's Meshgon (ph), and she was married at 11 years old. Her father was a drug addict and sold her for heroin. And she --

AMANPOUR: Her father sold her to get a fix?

SINCLAIR: Yes. And so she was married and obviously treated very terribly and ended up running away. And she ended up at this shelter in Haraq (ph) . And I was just talking to her -- and these girls just wanted to share their stories.

And she said to me, "In my whole life, I have never felt loved." And I was just like -- I couldn't even imagine what that would be like. She was so beautiful and so sweet. And they actually, you know, there still -- there needs -- more solutions need to come, because they ended up having to send her back to her father.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, it's not just in the Muslim world that this happens. You went to India. These are Hindus.


AMANPOUR: What is happening to this little girl?

SINCLAIR: This is a really sweet young girl named Rajni. She was 5 years old. And they had a marriage in the middle of the night --

AMANPOUR: Literally under cover of night?

SINCLAIR: Literally at 4 o'clock in the morning, actually. And her two older sisters were married to two other boys. The three siblings marrying three --

AMANPOUR: And for what reason? Is it tradition? Is it for money? Is it to get rid of the girls? What is it?

SINCLAIR: It's for tradition. It's -- often you see these group marriages because the girl -- the families can't afford to have three weddings, just like here. Weddings are so, you know, take all the expenses people have.

AMANPOUR: And here's the wedding.

SINCLAIR: Yes. And so -- and it's very, you know, for them, even though this is at night by a fire, it's still a lot of, you know, expenses --

AMANPOUR: For the clothes. But look, it's not -- this is -- this is a small boy as well. It's not like one of those old men in Afghanistan.

SINCLAIR: No. And that's one of the main things I wanted to cover in India and Nepal, was that some of the times the boys are also young, too. And often they're victims just as much of this harmful traditional practice.

AMANPOUR: And then finally, I mean, of all these wonderful pictures of yours that we've selected, we selected some from Ethiopia because, again, this just looks like an abduction. This girl is wrapped up, put on a mule and taken away in the desert. Is that what you found there?

SINCLAIR: Yes. And this case was interesting because this girl actually kind of accepted her fate. And she said, you know, she was -- she was excited about being married. She was also 14. But at the same time, she also didn't know what that totally entailed. And so they did. They wrapped her up and they took her away by mule.

And I asked the groomsmen in this wedding, I said, "Why do you cover her face like that?"

And they said, "Just in case she wants to run away, she won't be able to find her way home."

AMANPOUR: Wow. What do you hope to achieve with this reportage?

SINCLAIR: I think it's matter of just -- of showing them that they're -- that these girls aren't educated, if they're taken out of the population and just forced to work at home, that they -- their communities suffer as a whole.

AMANPOUR: And of course here, so much of what happens, the rapes, the abuse, I mean, these are crimes. It goes beyond culture.

SINCLAIR: It is. But at the same time, I want to point out that this is an issue of more than 50 countries around the world. And even in our own country, we have had issues of it as well, and still do. And so nobody's really exempt from it. And so it's really, it's a harmful traditional practice that is slowly changing. We just want to have it change even faster.

AMANPOUR: Stephanie Sinclair, thank you very much for joining me.

SINCLAIR: Thank you. Thank you for having me.


AMANPOUR: And it might be hard to imagine, but here in America, in at least one state, New Hampshire, a 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy can actually marry if they first obtain permission from a court of law.

And we just want to update you on a story we did yesterday. That teddy bear invasion, those toys bearing pro-democracy slogans that were dropped by a Swedish group into Belarus, well, it sparked a crisis as we said, a scandal.

The president of Belarus has now expelled the Swedish ambassador, not for violating national security or endangering the airspace, but, he said, for paying way too much attention to human rights.

And when we come back, remembering the last time London hosted the Olympic Games as it was digging out of the rubble after World War II.



AMANPOUR: And finally, the London Olympics have gotten off to a rousing first week, with world records shattered all over the place. But the last time London hosted the Games, the ceremony and the setting were vastly different.

Imagine a world of ration books and bread lines hosting the Olympics. They called them the Austerity Games, and with good reason. It was 1948, just three years after the end of World War II. And London was still digging itself out of the rubble of the Blitz. And Londoners were queueing up for everything, from gasoline to candy bars.

Even as pigeons took flight as a symbol of peace, the scars of war remained. There was no special fancy athletes' village. Instead, the athletes had to stay in converted army barracks.

Still, London pulled it off. The opening ceremony didn't have Paul McCartney or James Bond; what it did have was heart , courage and hope.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it is our firm belief that you are kindling a torch, the light from which will travel to the uttermost corners of the Earth, a torch of that ageless and heartfelt prayer of mankind throughout the world for peace and goodwill amongst men.

Your Majesty, I humbly ask you to declare the Olympic Games of 1948 open.

GEORGE VI, FORMER KING OF ENGLAND: I proclaim open the Olympic Games of London celebrating the 14th Olympiad of the modern era.



AMANPOUR: And that is it for the weekend edition of our program. Meantime, our inbox is always open, Thanks for watching and goodbye from New York.