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American Superstar with Global Passions; Two Families Brought Together by Refugee Crisis; Europe "Caught by Surprise" by Refugees; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired November 12, 2015 - 14:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: Tom Hanks in "Bridge of Spies" and deep into the real world of war and refugees.


TOM HANKS, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: Well, yes, let's not demonize them. Let's humanize them. Let's not call them refugees. Let's call them men,

women and children.


AMANPOUR: Also ahead, those men, women and children keep coming and dying.

What is Europe going to do about it?

I asked the commissioner for migration, while an ordinary couple take matters into their own hands, offering hope and a warm home to one refugee



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Tom Hanks, an American treasure, whose film and personal interests revolve around history and global affairs, from World War II to Somali

pirates and now to his new film "Bridge of Spies." It's a legal thriller based on a true story. And Hanks plays an American lawyer who's made to

defend a Soviet spy at the height of the Cold War.


JOHN RUE, ACTOR, "LYNN GOODNOUGH": It was important to us -- it's important to our country, Jim, that this man is seen as getting a fair

shake. American justice will be on trial.

HANKS, "JAMES DONOVAN": Well, of course, when you put it that way, it's an honor to be asked, but, Lynn, I'm an insurance lawyer. I haven't

done criminal work in years.

"GOODNOUGH": It's like riding a bike, isn't it?

You distinguished yourself at Nuremburg.

"DONOVAN": I was on the prosecution team.


AMANPOUR: I sat down with Hanks to talk about the film and about his passion for the history that shapes our world then and now. Now the first

thing you'll notice is his looks. He's already prepping for his next role as Captain Sully Sullenberger, who's the American pilot who safely landed

his passenger plane on New York's Hudson River.


AMANPOUR: Tom Hanks, welcome back to our program.

HANKS: Always a pleasure.

AMANPOUR: So let's take this film because obviously your big World War II film was "Saving Private Ryan." This is after that, in the midst of

the Cold War. And right at your dinner table, you're having practically an existential discussion with your wife and your children. And they are

convinced that what you're doing, defending this Soviet spy, is really defending a traitor.

HANKS: Right.


AMY RYAN, ACTOR, "MARY DONOVAN": It's all about this man and what he represents. He's a threat to all of us, a traitor.


"JIM": The Rosenbergs were traitors.

"NOAH": Who were they?

"MARY": Let your sister have --


"JIM": They gave atomic secrets to the Russians. They were Americans. They betrayed their country.

But you can't accuse Abel of being a traitor. He's not an American.


HANKS: The Red scare was a nationwide phenomenon. And it did permeate our lives. This is when I was alive. I was 5, 6 years old. And

I remember distinctly my parents discussing Khrushchev when he said, "We will bury you."

But for a 5-year-old, 6-year-old kid, I thought he meant he was going to dig a hole and pour dirt on us.

The us-versus-them dynamic was so prevalent throughout daily life, it was in every newspaper every single day.

Now, the Red scare is also a version of a panic and the idea of defending, as a lawyer would do, someone who was quote, unquote, "a spy"

and therefore a traitor to our country, well, that was not what you were supposed to do.

You were supposed to instead dig a bomb shelter and be on the lookout for spies in your neighborhood. And so it did run -- Donovan did run

counter to the status quo at the time. And he did it through constitutional means. I mean, he was a lawyer. He had helped prosecute

the Nuremburg war crimes.

AMANPOUR: And it's quite clear, without being a spoiler, that Abel never gave up the story.

HANKS: He did not.

AMANPOUR: He was faithful to the Soviet Union.


AMANPOUR: And therefore, in the finale, in the actual courtroom, he was given a life sentence instead of a death sentence.



DAKIN MATTHEWS, ACTOR, "JUDGE MORTIMER BYERS": Pursuant to the verdict of guilty as to all counts, the defendant is committed to the

custody of the attorney general of the United States for imprisonment in a federal institution to be selected by him for a period of 30 years.

Marshals, you may take the defendant into custody.


"DONOVAN": No, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why aren't we hanging him?

In the name of God, why aren't we hanging him?

"BYERS": Sit down!



AMANPOUR: What does that say related to then but also to today about the notion of due process, about we're actually maybe better than them

because we have a Constitution, they didn't have the --


AMANPOUR: -- rule of law?

HANKS: Well, change the color of Rudolph Abel's skin to brown. Change his name to something with a dash in it in a Muslim-sounding name

and turn him into something other than agent provocateur but instead a person who just perhaps goes to the wrong place on Fridays and worships the

God that he wants to.

Now that man could have been born in America or he could have been nationalized as an American but there would be people who would say, how

dare you? How dare you go off and defend this Muslim for potentially being a traitor to the United States of America? That might be a much tougher

case for a lawyer to take.

AMANPOUR: And you're talking a little bit about Guantanamo.

HANKS: Well, OK. You could definitely take the case of, well, what if -- what if they are guilty, you know?

What if, in fact, there has been terrorism afoot?

AMANPOUR: In the film, you, as a lawyer, had to confront the judge.


AMANPOUR: You had to confront the CIA. You had to even confront the Supreme Court. And you made the moral case for the rule of law and for the

Constitution of the United States, which was the greatest rule book in the world.

HANKS: How do we define ourselves and when do we choose to define ourselves?

We have to be the best version of the United States of America, no matter who we're holding in our jails. We have to hold those people to

account by the same due process laws that have defined us since 1782.

AMANPOUR: Do you have a view on whether Guantanamo should be shut?

I say that because you're from California. Senator Feinstein has again come up to try to move the process along and to say it's counter to

our values and we need to shut it down in a sensible way.

HANKS: Bigger than my pay grade but I would have say that there is -- are we defining ourselves by the continuation of Guantanamo?

Are we saying this is what America does?

It's beyond me but I would just say I think that we should be holding our prisoners to the same accounts that we hold everybody else.

AMANPOUR: There's a scene in this film, which is so brutal and so evocative also today. You've got the destruction of East Berlin. You've

got refugees, people who are trying to get across.

HANKS: Yes, you do.

AMANPOUR: You have this scene where you're in the train and you look out and there are these young people trying to climb the wall and they get

mowed down by automatic gunfire from the East German border guards.

Obviously, we cannot help but think about what's going on right now. They're not getting mowed down but there are fences, there are walls, there

are refugees storming into Europe. There's the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

HANKS: Yes. After the fact, looking at what was going on, you couldn't help -- here's -- the big difference -- and this is in some ways

why the movie is almost -- our film is almost -- what's the word I'm looking for -- almost comforting in its nostalgia, is that we were dealing

with the other side that still had some semblance of modernity to it.

AMANPOUR: One of your most famous films, certainly abroad, you've said, is "Terminal," where you did play a refugee. Again, it was a Steven

Spielberg film, one you did together.

HANKS: Yes. In Europe, parts of it, many people have come up to me. I was "Terminal." I was "Terminal." You made my story. This was me.

And I think that what it is, it's holding up America to still some degree of the Promised Land. The United States of America is still held up

as this place where freedom reigns and they can be free from the degree of tyranny and there was -- even though -- look, life will be one damn thing

after another; they will not have the sword of Damocles hanging over their head throughout.

AMANPOUR: And you modeled your character in that after your own father --


HANKS: My father-in-law, yes.

AMANPOUR: -- Rita's father.

HANKS: Yes, who was -- who escaped every brand -- he escaped the communist camps. He was beaten and slapped and tortured and he was in

camps where people were hung for no reason whatsoever.

And he made five daring escapes, only the last of which succeeded, in order to get him away. And I cannot look at anybody who is not an American

who wants to come to America and not see it through my father-in-law's eyes.

AMANPOUR: So what do you say, then, in today's presidential race in the United States, demonizing immigrants?

HANKS: Well, yes, let's not demonize them. Let's humanize them. Let's not call them refugees. Let's call them men, women and children.

AMANPOUR: I just want to go back to "Bridge of Spies."

HANKS: Sure.

AMANPOUR: A truly gee-whiz moment comes after the film during the credits, when you realize that James Donovan not only negotiated this

exchange successfully but then went on to be asked by President Kennedy to talk about to exchange prisoners from the Bay of Pigs, that invasion of

Cuba, shortly after --

HANKS: From "Bridge of Spies" to Bay of Pigs.

AMANPOUR: -- well, there you go. And when you see 9,000 people your character managed to get back to the United States it's breathtaking.

HANKS: It really is. And I think it goes -- again, here's a fellow who utilized all of his skills as a negotiator, learned as everything from

a prosecutor to an insurance lawyer --


HANKS: -- in order to make the other side feel as though they were getting something out of the deal as well. And I don't know how anybody

puts on a light shirt, goes down to Cuba after the Bay of Pigs invasion and says, you know what, Castro? I've got a great deal for you. You let 9,000

people come home with me and we'll get -- I don't know, you'll get some cash. You'll get some trade deals. You won't get another invasion.

I don't know how he did it. But it's funny, as an actor, I find myself learning skills that I do not have instinctively by some of the

roles that I play, some of the research I end up doing. And I must say, the next time I'm in any brand of a negotiation of any sort, I'm going to

do what James Donovan does, which is make the other feel like he wins, too.

AMANPOUR: And are you surprised to see Cuba and the United States reopening diplomatic relations?

HANKS: Dear Lord. Now there's a number of things in my lifetime I thought, well, just kiss that good-bye because that ain't going to happen.

One of them was, of course, the Berlin Wall coming down. That wasn't going to happen. If you would have told me that in 1966, I would have -- and

here's what was so magnificent about re-establishing ties with Cuba.

It happened in the wink of an eye and everybody said, oh, yes, I guess, yes, of course. It's just time. It was just time to do that.

Now look what can be done when some degree of -- what's the word I'm looking for -- oh, let's just call it common sense -- reigns and there's no

reason to continue along in this way anymore because, at the end of the day, everybody just wants to be able to sleep a little bit better and eat a

little bit better and make sure their kids can have a slightly better life than we had. And that's what's happening now.

AMANPOUR: Tom Hanks, thank you very much.

HANKS: Christiane Amanpour, always a pleasure.


AMANPOUR: And from the Cold War to a cold, hard winter. Freezing temperatures descend on refugees still streaming into Europe. Next, the

E.U. migration chief admits Europe was too slow to act.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. European leaders are meeting in Malta, trying again to find a solution to the river of refugees still

pouring through the winter freeze.

First off, leaders are giving nearly $2 billion to help African nations take back their migrants.

But what about the majority?

They are Syrian refugees fleeing their brutal war. As European leaders try to unite, ordinary Europeans are figuring it out for themselves

as Atika Shubert found out in Vienna.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael and Kathryn Platzer are retirees in Vienna, the picture of doting grandparents, except

that these are not their grandchildren.


MICHAEL PLATZER, HOST TO SYRIAN REFUGEES: I guess they're my in-laws, my son-in-law and my daughter-in-law.

SHUBERT (voice-over): They also are refugees from Syria. Mahand al- Mali (ph), Noor al-Dagli (ph) and their three daughters, Anais (ph), Lilie (ph) and Lamise (ph), with another baby on the way, just one family among

the tens of thousands of people who trekked across Europe this summer.

Watching these scenes on their TV, Michael and Kathryn decided to help. So they drove from their home in Vienna to the Budapest train

station. And that is where they met Mahand (ph) and Noor (ph).

KATHRYN PLATZER, HOST TO SYRIAN REFUGEES: My first impression was the mother crying. I think they had to sleep out --


KATHRYN PLATZER: -- rough after crossing the Hungarian border. And they had to sleep on the ground without any cover. And they had no food,

not even any water.

So I just said to the father, "Do you want to go to Vienna driving?"

And he said, "Yes!"

SHUBERT (voice-over): Mahand (ph) and Noor (ph) never wanted to leave Damascus. Mahand's (ph) first wife was killed in a bombing. And he met

Noor (ph) at the bank where they worked. But when the Syrian government demanded that he serve in the Syrian army, they decided to flee.

The family fled to the squalid refugee camps of Jordan and Lebanon. They decided to join the thousands risking it all to be in Europe. So they

paid $6,000 for space on an inflatable dinghy crammed with 60 people aboard.

NOOR AL-DAGLI (PH), SYRIAN REFUGEE: Sometimes I don't want to remember that because, really, it was thrown on the sea and further it was

full of people. No place to put your foot.

SHUBERT: So Lilie (ph) fell overboard into the water?


SHUBERT: And you went in to get her.


SHUBERT (voice-over): But the journey across the sea was not the worst part. That came in Hungary.

The family was among the crowd that surged across the border, chased by Hungarian police. Unable to run with their children, the family was

herded to a camp.

AL-DAGLI (PH): This day, it was the worst day in my life, really. I saw the children so cold, I can't do anything.

SHUBERT (voice-over): They have applied to stay as refugees. But according to E.U. law, they must apply in the first country they

registered, Hungary.

KATHRYN PLATZER: The children are so traumatized by what happened to their mother and to them in Hungary that you only have to mention Hungary

and one of them will start to cry.

SHUBERT: So they're in a kind of limbo right now.

MICHAEL PLATZER: They're very much in limbo and it's not just these physical things. It's also psychological. It's about careers.

Where do I make the rest of my life?

They're young. They're 30 years old. They have children. They want a future.

SHUBERT: If they're forced to be deported back, what will you do then?

MICHAEL PLATZER: We will resist.

KATHRYN PLATZER: We will resist.


AL-DAGLI (PH): It was really a nice life before the war. Even now when I saw a picture of Damascus, I cry. Really I just dream and one day I

can go to Damascus and everything will be OK.


AMANPOUR: Atika Shubert on the compassion of one family and it's the family of our own producer, in fact, really impressive.

And so I asked Europe's commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, how leaders are going to deal with the 5,000 who are

projected to trudge here every day this winter, how they're going to avoid mass deaths in the cold?


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So we're seeing, even as we speak, that these Syrian and other refugees seeking asylum, running from Syria for their lives, landing

in Lesbos again; many over the last few days, weeks and certainly the last year have drowned on the Mediterranean.

What is this winter going to bring?

AVRAMOPOULOS: Our priority right now is to save lives. And I don't want to be very optimistic. The situation might be even worse in the

future. The flows will not subside as long as this part of the world is on fire. And we know the reasons and the root causes of these flows is double

zero. So Europe must be well prepared.

And this is what we have done recently. I want to be frank with you. It took some time to understand how tragic the situation is in the area --

AMANPOUR: So you were late coming to this conclusion?

AVRAMOPOULOS: It is obvious because Europe, as member states, we are all caught by surprise.

AMANPOUR: Commissioner, you talk about realizing finally the responsibility and coming late to that.

But why is it, then, that we're seeing the E.U., which has promised amongst each other to relocate 160,000 refugees and today they've only

relocated 147?

I mean, really, I'm staggered just to look at it.


AVRAMOPOULOS: It is easy to say that we have a long way to run but we started. You know --


AMANPOUR: -- money, you say you started, sir, but even the money. Let's look at the money. For instance, $2.4 billion, $2.46 billion pledged

by European governments and less than $536 million have been received.

Look, it sounds to all of us that Europe talks a good game but doesn't actually deliver.

AVRAMOPOULOS: This is what I want to tell you. Now it is the moment that we have started delivering. We -- the participation of all member

states --


AVRAMOPOULOS: -- it took some time, yes. But on the other hand, it's not only about money. It's about human beings and we have to defend and

protect their dignity and their lives. And this is what we are doing right now.


AMANPOUR: Well, it's mobilized. But sir, when you talk about dignity and human rights, you have European nations putting up fences. And not

only Hungary and other outliers on the far east of this continent, but now you've got even Sweden, which has been very generous, having to maybe put

up barriers for a period of time.

You've got Germany, the most generous of all, who's having to maybe rethink the speed with which it brings refugees in.

AVRAMOPOULOS: First of all --

AMANPOUR: What does this say about European values?

AVRAMOPOULOS: -- Sweden is not erecting fences. They just reintroduced borders control and it is their right to do so in order to

better administration within their country.

And we shall never permit fences to be erected again within Europe. And Schengen will never put at stake, I am responsible for that, I can tell

you, I will never put my signature under such an act.


Because Schengen is the greatest achievement of the European integration.

AMANPOUR: Schengen, this amazing achievement for Europe, is being under threat by the rise of right- and left-wing --


AMANPOUR: -- xenophobia, people who say, no, no, no, we don't want these people.

AVRAMOPOULOS: You touched the hot point. What is so greatly concerning now is the rising of xenophobia, nationalism and populism in


AMANPOUR: Why is it that governments are unable to stand up and tell their people that actually refugees and, indeed, migrants, will be better

for their economy?

And actually this continent needs them. We're seeing those facts and figures. But governments are all, you know, playing to the crowd.

AVRAMOPOULOS: Yes. This is what we do really good now and this is our narrative towards national governments because, very soon, Europe will

be in need of migrants.

You know, Christiane, what is happening, Europe, as we said in the beginning, is formed by nations of migrants and the refugees. It is in our

DNA. What you said before, I fully agree with you, it is part of what we try to tell everybody.

And if we do not behave in that like this, the European project will be at stake and we shall never permit it to happen.

AMANPOUR: You're saying all the right things. But others are also saying that you don't even know what's about to hit you in the months and

years ahead; it could get even worse.

Look at this quote, "The global north must be prepared that the global south is on the move, the entire global south."

AVRAMOPOULOS: Yes. It's not far away from being true. I'm afraid that we are going to be confronted with even more difficult situations in

the future. Let me tell you one thing. I think this era will be defined by the historians of the future as the year of human mobility. A lot of

displaced people will comment in the future for other reasons, war, persecution, environmental problems.

So we must be well prepared. That's why the commission has taken the initiative to put this issue, the United Nations and all the national

organizations, to make it a global issue.

AMANPOUR: Commissioner, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

AVRAMOPOULOS: Thank you for having me here.


AMANPOUR: And Tom Hanks stars in our "Imagine a World" next.

But first, look at the human cost of what we've just been talking about, war and the desperate flight to safety.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where two very famous entertainers act like third graders to make a point, sometimes even a

political point. That was Tom Hanks and Stephen Colbert on the comedian's late night show recently.




COLBERT: What would you do with a time machine?

HANKS: What would anyone do with a time machine?

Go back in time and hold myself as a baby.


COLBERT: And kill Hitler, right?

HANKS: Oh, kill Hitler, yes.


HANKS: Oh, yes, the kill Hitler thing, did somebody say in a debate that he'd go back in time and kill Hitler?


JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: I'd say that if you could go back in time and kill baby Hitler, would you? I need to know.

Hell, yes, I would.


HANKS: OK. Let's understand there's no such thing as a time machine. But if there was, I think -- would you not have to go back in a little bit

farther ad kill the guy who wrote all those anti-Semitic tracts that Hitler read in Vienna or something like that?

No one's going to disagree with the idea of going back in time and killing Hitler.

Good idea. Good idea.

As a matter of fact, let's make that a practicality. Let's make it happen now. I am going to vote pro-going back in time killing Hitler

ticket between now and next November.


AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always see all our interviews at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.