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U.N. Government to Allow Aid into Madaya; "Mein Kampf" Reprinted in Germany; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 7, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: starving to death in a war zone. Desperate scenes from the besieged Syrian town of
Madaya spur some relief -- maybe.
Plus: "Mein Kampf," published in Germany for the first time since Hitler died 70 years ago.
The grandson of the Auschwitz commandant and the son of a Holocaust survivor debate this terribly painful past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAINER HOESS, GRANDSON OF AUSCHWITZ COMMANDANT & ANTI-NAZI CAMPAIGNER: it is important to know how a book can destroy human beings in such a way -
- well, it was -- it was a manual for crimes, for extermination people in the world.
ILAN GREENFIELD, ISRAELI PUBLISHER: I think having this book out is a shame to society and certainly something that the German people should not
permit in any manner
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Madaya: the latest byword for the horrendous crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime. More than 42,000 people besieged for the
last six months say that they are being slowly starved to death and they're sharing these shocking images of skeletal children and babies on social
And a small charity inside Madaya sent us these pictures, showing their desperate efforts to help people with what little remains, handing
out soup and milky porridge.
Although CNN cannot get in nor independently verify the situation, as these images as these pictures have become public, today the U.N. said the
Assad regime will finally allow aid in for the first time since October last year.
Britain has strongly condemned the regime, accusing it of starving its own people -- and not for the first time. Two years ago the regime
starved the Old City of Homs into surrender and CNN was there to witness an eventual truce and met people, like this woman and her brother, who said
they, too, had survived by eating leaves and grass for three months.
The World Food Programme is preparing to send an aid convoy into the besieged Madaya. Abeer Etefa is the Middle East spokesperson for the
organization and she joins me now from Cairo.
Ms. Etefa, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
Can you tell me, do you actually expect the regime to honor what it says, that it will allow you to take food and medical aid in?
ABEER ETEFA, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: Thank you for having me, Christiane. We're cautiously optimistic. We think we're going to get in.
We hope that we will be able to move in the next 48 hours with food into Madaya. And that's not just the World Food Programme but also all the U.N.
agencies with humanitarian supplies, such as medicine, water, food for babies.
This is part of the green light that we received, is for reaching Madaya as well as two other besieged areas by the opposition in rural
Idlib, that is Foua and Kefraya. So we hope and we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to get through.
AMANPOUR: Let's just be quite frank about this.
According to everybody's figures, there are 400,000, nearly half a million people, besieged in many different pockets around Syria, some by
the regime, some by the opposition.
Why is the regime and the opposition violating international law and not permitting these convoys to get through?
And why do you think you're only just getting the green light today?
Is it because of these images?
ETEFA: Well, as you said, there are 4.5 million people actually in difficult and hard-to-reach area. Hundreds of thousands of them are in
besiegement. I think that starvation and using this strategy of siege and cutting off aid and supplies is becoming an institutionalized weapon in
this vicious war in Syria. And it's used by all the parties to this conflict.
Now why Madaya specifically, I think that this is -- part of this, again, swap of access agreement between the opposition and the government.
But we need not to forget that there are others, hundreds of thousands of people, who are still in besiegement.
We should not forget Sharmoukh (ph) --
ETEFA: -- Muadamiyat, Routah (ph) and many other places around Syria.
AMANPOUR: Let's just talk specifically about Madaya. We've heard from doctors who have contacts inside, that there have been, for the last
several weeks, several cases of malnutrition per day, per week and now that number has skyrocketed to about 300 cases.
We understand more than 30 people have died over the last several weeks of malnutrition.
Can you paint us a picture, to the best of your knowledge, of what people are enduring there right now?
How are they even surviving?
ETEFA: What we're hearing from people inside Madaya is similar to the reports that we've received and witnessed ourselves with the people who
left the Old City of Homs. People living on grass, eating grass. People living for days eating nothing. Just some reports of severe cases of
We've seen children leaving the Old City of Homs, looking like they are only 2 years old while they are 6 years old. The same scenarios we're
hearing and we're probably going to be seeing coming out of Madaya. People are living off nothing.
This is an area that is completely besieged and surrounded by mountains, covered in snow. So the little food that gets in is through
tunnels and is extremely expensive. And we expect also that irreversible damage to some of these children, who've witnessed some of the worst
weapons of war, which is starving them.
AMANPOUR: You are a spokesman, you're a field worker, the United Nations has passed a resolution more than a year ago, ordering all sides,
including the regime, to allow food and basic aid to get through to the people.
As you know, starving civilians is a violation of international law.
WFP is part of the U.N.
Why hasn't the U.N. enforced this resolution?
ETEFA: Well, we are using this resolution and we do cross-border deliveries on a daily basis, whether it is from the Turkish side or from
the Jordanian side, reaching many of the communities that are in difficult- to-reach -- difficult and hard-to-reach areas.
However, as we all know, when an area is in besiegement, there are checkpoints. There are people blocking access. You cannot force yourself
into a community that's besieged. It has to happen with all the parties on the ground agreeing to you.
You need to get these permissions so that trucks can pass from one checkpoint to the other.
AMANPOUR: But you agree that this is a violation, therefore, and you could actually hold a government, who claims to be in charge, accountable.
Why has the government not allowed WFP into the areas that it is besieging?
ETEFA: Well, as a humanitarian agency, we are on standby and ready to deliver the food when we get the permission and the clearances. We
negotiate on daily basis and we put pressure at the local level so that we can push our way into these areas.
However, at the end of the day, this is a conflict that is just incredibly vicious and difficult and all the parties are incriminated into
that. Now it's up to, you know, the international community and the Security Council and all the parties to put the pressure and, at the end of
the day, it has to happen from decisions on the ground.
AMANPOUR: And what about the fact that only a certain percentage of what you're trying to get there gets there anyway?
I know you've described this. But you're about to send in what you hope will be a month's worth of supplies.
Do you think that you'll have extended access?
Or will it be a one-off only?
ETEFA: We hope that this will be extended access.
The story of Madaya did not start today. There was a locally negotiated agreement that was reached between the different parties to the
conflict in October.
According to this agreement, we were supposed to reach Madaya, Foua and Kefraya on monthly basis. There were other terms to this agreement,
including the evacuation of injured and civilians. Since then, we've only reached these areas once, which is in October.
And people need food every month to survive on. And especially that this is the coldest month of the year. So we certainly hope and we will
push as much as possible to get food on a regular basis to these areas.
One time off is not enough. People need to survive on food. We don't want to, you know, diffuse the pressure now by just one-time convoy. We
hope that this access will continue and these people can be reached by the basic humanitarian supplies on a monthly basis.
AMANPOUR: You know, as if this wasn't bad enough, not being able to get food --
AMANPOUR: -- you've described how expensive food is.
But also isn't WFP itself facing a funding shortfall?
ETEFA: The World Food Programme is helping 4 million people displaced inside Syria, in addition to over 2 million people, refugees, Syrian
refugees, who are in neighboring countries.
Certainly we've had ups and downs in our funding and this is an operation that needs constant supplies of support, as we are voluntarily
funded and we need $300 million in the next few months so that we can continue to provide aid just in the next two months.
AMANPOUR: And, finally, of course, it is winter and snow is falling. And as you've said and others have reported, that many of these places are
in hard-to-reach, snowy areas.
What is your worst-case scenario?
What do you expect to find when you get into some of these places, if you ever do?
ETEFA: Well, we expect to see high rates of extreme and severe malnutrition. We expect to see stunting. We expect to see extreme, you
know, food insecurity among some of these people.
It's -- I've been myself to Syria and I know how harsh the weather can be. Some of these areas are extremely difficult in terms of the harshness
of the winter. People need to consume more calories to cope with this kind of weather.
And we -- what we've seen in other places, when there was a siege and people were able to flee, is that we've seen very weak people, stunted
children, malnourished and food-insecure people, who are suffering.
Abeer Etefa, we hope your words will be heard. Thank you so much for joining us, spokeswoman in the Middle East for the WFP.
Now this war has raged on for so long that the fallout is being felt everywhere. Many refugees have found their way to Germany, fueling a surge
in the nation's Far Right.
Now amid raging Islamophobia, for the first time since the end of World War II, Germany this week republishes an evil manifesto that led to 6
million Jewish deaths.
Adolf Hitler's annotated "Mein Kampf": hate speech or free speech?
You decide. Next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
After World War II, Germany went through a thorough cleansing. Draconian denazification transformed the nation from the darkest of
tyrannies to the strongest of democracies.
But this week "Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler's personal manifesto, is being republished in Germany 70 years after his death. It's always been
available in other countries and, of course, online.
But the copyright ban in Germany has now expired and a respected historical institution is putting out a heavily annotated version,
explaining the truths, the lies and the half-truths.
Heated arguments have erupted, as you might imagine, and I've been speaking to Rainer Hoess, who's devoted his life to combating his own
grandfather's poisonous ideology. He was the Auschwitz commandant, Rudolf Hess.
AMANPOUR: I also spoke to the Israeli publisher, Ilan Greenfield, whose mother was a Holocaust survivor.
AMANPOUR: Gentlemen, welcome to you both.
This is an extraordinarily sensitive matter.
And I want to first ask you, Rainer Hoess, particularly with your family's background during World War II, Germany has been widely admired
for building a robust democracy out of the ashes of this hateful ideology, including denying hate speech and prosecuting people who conduct that.
Why do we need a republication of "Mein Kampf" 70 years after Hitler's death?
HOESS: I think it's -- that kind of book is overdue to reproduce but not in the original -- I think not in here, not in the original version.
It should be done like the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich and Berlin did it right now, to show how such a book can lead people to
such a sadistic cruelty period of time, like we had in the Nazi -- in the Nazi area, in Germany.
AMANPOUR: Let me put that to you, Mr. Greenfield. Your mother is a Holocaust survivor. You obviously disagree with the publication of this
And do you not think that, annotated, and the lies that Hitler wrote being actually explained in the new version of "Mein Kampf," might actually
contribute to the educational pool of all of this?
GREENFIELD: I believe that the freedom of speech is very important to us all. But sometimes we also have to realize that we have the freedom of
not knowing certain things.
Unfortunately, in past history, this book, amongst the people who have worked around it, succeeded immensely. And their success caused the murder
of 6 million Jews and many, many others.
I'll remind, they murdered many homosexuals, many Gypsies and many other people around the world. I think having this book out is a shame to
society and certainly something that the German people should not permit in any manner.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Hoess, I mean, that's a pretty unimpeachable argument, isn't it?
We know this book; it's available online. It's available in every other country.
Why should it go to be republished for the German people, who have already made a decision not to revisit that ugly past?
HOESS: All these historians did in the last 3-4-5 years, it is a huge amount and a powerful way to give the lecture, to see, to destroy all these
lies and what Hitler committed in that book.
And I think it's -- we should use it for schools as well. It is a manual of how we can hate. And it's as well for modern times, if you can
see what happens right now in the world with Muslims or refugees.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me actually put that to you, because it is being published at perhaps one of the worst possible times, this huge hate of --
this huge resurgence of hate, of hate crimes, of racism, not just in Germany but elsewhere around the world.
We have articles that we can quote ad nauseam, the rise in hate searches on Google, corresponding with a rise in hate crimes. That's
basically around the world, including in the United States.
In Germany itself, we have one of the leaders of this populist party, the Alternative for Deutschland, who recently gave an openly racist speech
on the differing reproductive strategies of Africans and Europeans.
I mean, this kind of stuff is happening right now.
Won't another publication after 70 years of "Mein Kampf" simply feed that beast?
GREENFIELD: I don't think it's a matter of today or a matter of two weeks ago or two months ago. I think we should be very careful of what we
publish and what do we spread out to the youth around the world.
The picture, the surrealistic picture of going around Germany, of all places, and suddenly seeing this book in every window of a bookshop and
saying, "The bestselling book by Hitler, '"Mein Kampf",'" to me, it's something Earth-shattering. It's something that every German should go out
in the street and demonstrate against.
This must never happen again. There is no reason to let anybody read this book. And the umbrella of the academic aspect of it, in my mind, is a
farce. It's a matter of people who want to bring anti-Semitism and hatred back into this world, in the front window.
AMANPOUR: Let me just ask you, though, one further comment, because obviously your feelings are probably very widely shared. But the
historians who are doing this are very respectable.
AMANPOUR: The chief annotator has said that they are busy exposing the lies of what Hitler wrote. These lies that are right now available,
unannotated, all over the Internet and in other publications of "Mein Kampf," unaltered publications of "Mein Kampf," he says this is about
destroying that symbol.
Do you think this annotated book could destroy the very symbol that you rightly condemn?
GREENFIELD: I think it is maybe important that some people study the book. But I think we can't let it go out. Whether it's going to ruin
something or not, all the condemnation, I'm not sure. I believe that enough is known about it; too much is known about it. The hatred that it
spreads out is wide and clear.
I don't think we have to study it more in order to know.
AMANPOUR: Again, Mr. Hoess, this ideology, which your own very grandfather was part of propping up as the commandant of Auschwitz, you
know, from a personal perspective, how does it make you feel?
HOESS: Like Mr. Greenfield, we all had mixed feelings. So it's a long -- a long discussion as well with my team, the Footsteps team, and
we're mixed up in America, in London and good friends in Israel.
So it -- yes, it was a horrible feeling on the -- on first-hand to get the information, that they published a book again.
But after all, I work very closely, as I have said, in Munich, about the estate of my grandfather. So I know how the -- how perfect these guys
work with things like that.
Of course I can understand Mr. Greenfield, as a survivor, second or third generation, about it, that they have fear that it spreads hate and
cruelty again on our planet.
"Mein Kampf" was published until the war every year in several countries, including America, including Sweden, so it is not -- the Germans
made a secret out of it. And I agree as well with Mr. Greenfield. It is not the time if we do it yet or half a year ago or next month.
But I think for the growing youth -- and they have more distance to what happened in the Second World War or in the Holocaust at all -- I
think, for these young people, it is important to know how a book can destroy human beings in such a way -- well, it was -- it was a manual for
crimes, for extermination people in the world.
GREENFIELD: OK, Mr. Hoess, if I may answer, I think that it is important to teach what a book can do. I don't think it is necessary to
publish that book again. I think that if someone would publish a book today about why Muslims should not be living in this world, for whatever
reason it is, I think the whole world will go up in arms against it.
And no one would say, well, it is very interesting for us as humans to learn how can we, by writing certain things against the Muslims, can we
God forbid, I don't think anybody should be able to teach and spread hatred against any other people.
When you look what's happening in France, with "Charlie Hebdo," when they put out a caricature of a pig, the pig being Muhammad, I don't think
anybody said that that's something right that should be done.
People have feelings and we should respect those feelings.
AMANPOUR: I know you are agreed on that particular issue. Thank you both very much indeed, Ilan Greenfield and Rainer Hoess, thank you for
GREENFIELD: Thank you.
HOESS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now after a break, imagine a world where love and determination can overcome the horrors of war. A Syrian love story and a
very long engagement, next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, earlier in the program, we showed you Madaya, a town suffering and starving under siege. Now imagine a world
where love can bloom even in the worst of times.
This image of a young Syrian couple's joyful reunion in London went viral over the weekend. Rose and Ahmad found each other at the end of a
journey that spans the Syrian conflict.
Originally meeting as students, romance took a sideline to education only for them to reconnect again years later as Syria became a
Rose was working for a Syrian media center here in London, while Ahmad worked in a field hospital in the midst of the conflict. They stayed in
touch until Ahmad was jailed by the Assad regime in late 2013 and held until March of the next year.
Ahmad fled Syria and became a refugee in Lebanon, finally making it here to the United Kingdom this New Year's Day.
But no honeymoon for these lovers. They tell us they hope to marry soon but first they're in the streets of London, protesting the plight of
their fellow citizens starving in Madaya.
That is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can now also listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com and of course follow me on
Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.