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Government Shutdown, About to be the Longest in History; Theresa May's Brexit Deal Going Down to Defeat; Afua Hirsch Comments on Brexit. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's New Film, "Never Look Away"; Fighting Extremism with Art; Charm City. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 11, 2019 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
He battled California's fires. Now, he's fighting to make ends meet without pay thanks to the government shutdown. We hear from the furloughed
workers for the U.S. Forest Service.
Then, leadership is no more steadfast on this side of the Atlantic, to two takes on brakes on Brexit. After a while, weakened parliament which is
nearing a crucial vote.
And the value of art in times of turmoil. The acclaimed German director of the lives of others on his new postwar epic.
And finally, the every day champions pouring their heart and soul into changing one of America's most dangerous cities.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The U.S. government shutdown is about to be the longest in history, surpassing the 1995 standoff between House Speaker Newt Gingrich and
President Bill Clinton. And it's important to remember that this is not only a political fight over whether to fund President Donald Trump's
southern border wall but a personal punch in the pocketbook for the many thousands of Americans who work for the government and who are now going
unpaid, either because their furloughed or because they've been forced to work without compensation.
One such person is Mark Munoz, he's a firefighter in California and he's working for the U.S. Forest Service and he puts his life on the line to
protect his fellow Americans including, of course, in the latest wild and deadly fire season.
The government shutdown means that he's sitting at home without pay, he's waiting for his representatives to sort out their mess. And he's joining
me now from Los Angeles to talk about what impact it's having on him.
Mark Munoz, welcome to the program.
So, I guess here, we are. It's about three weeks since this shutdown began. I mean, what are you feeling? Did you ever think it would get to
MARK MUNOZ, FURLOUGHED FIRE CAPTAIN IN THE U.S. FOREST SERVICES: You know, we definitely prepared for this when we got word that the government was
going to shut down. And day one, as soon as they let us know that the government was going to shut down, it has brought tremendous amount of
AMANPOUR: But tell me how, for you personally, I said that it's a punch in the pocketbook. I mean, your wallet must be hurting, every day efforts to
try to make end meet -- make ends meet. Is that the case to you?
MUNOZ: Almost definitely. Most folks are under the impression that, you know, all federal workers make a lot of money and that firefighters with
the federal government make tons of money and that's not the case. Already before furlough, a lot of our folks are working paycheck to paycheck.
So, with the furlough now involved with this, it's a tremendous amount of stress that's put on the shoulders of every worker here in the federal
AMANPOUR: And for you, specifically, there in Los Angeles, I mean, you have seven daughters and your wife is recovering from cancer. What does it
mean on the daily basis for you? How do you feed, clothe, house, send to school your daughters, keep caring for your wife?
MUNOZ: You know, a lot of it is from savings, which is already gone already within the first two weeks of the furlough. A lot of it is picking
up, you know, odd jobs, doing lawns, family support, we have also strong support from our union that's trying to end this shut down right now.
It's really -- it just comes down to support from your coworkers, your family and friends.
AMANPOUR: And how did you think you can survive on that kind of, you know, sort of ad hoc hand to mouth support?
MUNOZ: Maybe another week.
AMANPOUR: Wow. So, what would you say to your representatives, to your Congress and senators and to the president, what would you say?
MUNOZ: You know, both parties need to come together, come to an agreement, come to some common ground. This is affecting over 800,000 of your workers
that want to get back to the community in this country. They want to get back to work. The stress is unneeded, it's unwanted and it's not
acceptable. I think the sooner you guys come to an agreement and some common ground, we can get back to work and finish doing our job.
AMANPOUR: What do you make of the president's trip to the border, for instance, and the issue of the border Wolf in this fight?
MUNOZ: You know, I think the whole issues with the border wall, do you support the wall, do you not support the wall, do you support our
president, do we not support our president, I think that's bringing the biggest division right now and the biggest focus when the focus should be
on the employees that are not working right now. I think all that focus needs to be on to the employees that are furloughed at this time and that
need to get back to work to support their families.
AMANPOUR: Well, you're absolutely right and I'm sure every single one of them listening to you will agree with you because they just want to get to
work. And I did mention, obviously, that you work for the Forest Service and that you have been battling those calamitous deadly wildfires that
we've seen all over the world, we've seen the pictures emanating and we've been watching the heroic work that you and your fellow firemen have been
I mean, what happens if one of these breaks out right now?
MUNOZ: It's hard to say. You know, I don't want to speculate too far. But for Service firefighters, we are the backbone of the wildland fire
community. And a lot of other agencies look up to us to get the job done if a wildland fire hits Southern California or actually throughout
California, period, is -- the fire danger is very high year-round.
So, for us to get a fire and us not being there, it could get pretty bad.
AMANPOUR: You know, you said that you have been planning for this, you heard about the possible shutdown. But I guess -- I mean, it must go to
the gut of your emotions when you think what you do for this country, what you do for your community and how you risk your life on a daily basis, you
and your fellow firefighters and many people in other professions, similar professions, front line professions.
What do you say to your girls? What do they say to you? What is it like around the breakfast table or the dinner table of the Munoz home?
MUNOZ: It's stressful. You know, my daughters are at age. I have -- my oldest is 19, my youngest is 12. So, they understand what's going on and
they can read me pretty well better than anybody. And it's pretty stressful for them. I can see the heartache they have for me because they
know that I love my job and love what I do. So, it's a pretty stressful environment even in the home for my daughters and myself and my family.
AMANPOUR: Well, you're being really stoic and we thank you for talking to us. But all our hearts go out to you, you know, for trying to continue
doing such valuable jobs and jobs that you desperately need to make ends meet. We do hope for your sake that this is resolved.
Mark Munoz, thank you for joining me from California.
MUNOZ: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: Government dysfunction is a common affliction here across the pond in the U.K. as well where after the weekend, parliament will vote on
Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed E.U. Brexit deal. Getting deja vu? Well, you should be.
The House of Commons was meant to vote on this very bill last month but the prime minister pulled it at the last minute rather than see it go down to a
certain defeat, and it still looks destined to fail in parliament, nothing has changed about this bill. And anyone who says they know what comes next
is surely kidding themselves, and all of us too.
The only certainty is that with no parliamentary action, this country will crash out of the European Union at the end of March with no clear plan for
In a moment, I'll speak with the acclaimed author, Afua Hirsch, to understand how this madness is affecting average Brits.
But first, Conservative MP Rory Stewart who is a minister in May's government and who steadfastly backs her unpopular deal because he says
it's the best of a bad situation. I spoke to him earlier this week as he was standing outside parliament while this debate was ongoing and while
protesters continued to drown out the sides that they didn't want to hear.
Rory Stewart, welcome back to the program.
RORY STEWART, BRITISH JUSTICE MINISTER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: There you are outside the Houses of Parliament, a lot of debate going on before this crucial vote. You're a loyal Tory, you're a supporter
of the prime minister and yet she has lost, I think, two important votes this week in the space of 24 hours on Brexit related matters and it looks
like the vote on her deal is going to go down to defeat. What can you say at this point to reassure the nation, the world that the government knows
what's going on?
STEWART: Well, I think the first fundamental thing which underlies all of this is that the government doesn't have majority in parliament. So, all
of this is happening on a knife edge. If even the half a dozen MPs go one direction or another, the government can always lose the vote. And this
Brexit debate is so fractured, it's so divided between people who either want no deal or no Brexit. It is very difficult to get a stable deal
So, what we have to keep arguing for is the merits of the deal, and that's proving difficult.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's proving very difficult. And I mean, to be honest with you, this is what you and all the others said to us before when
Theresa May was about to put the deal to Parliament and she then had to pull it knowing that it was going down to defeat.
To your mind, has she or have the negotiators or has anything changed about this deal that would make it more likely to pass or make any difference in
the month that there's been a sort of a hiatus on the vote?
STEWART: I think there are two things which have changed a bit over Christmas. Some colleagues are beginning to recognize that this is
actually the only deal on the table and that the only alternatives to this deal are either trying to remain in the European Union or doing the really
catastrophic thing of crashing out with no deal at all.
So, at least it's clear at the air from people who've had fantasies that were some alternative Brexit deal out there, that's gone. The second
change is that you're beginning to get a little bit of movement from the European Union but still not in the legal text, mode of the movement so far
has been reassuring language, reassuring secondary letters, that may not yet be enough to bring colleagues across the line.
AMANPOUR: Well, you're saying might not yet be enough, but do you have any instinct that European leaders are nothing but weary and just don't have
any stomach or much less time to have any more meaningful negotiations?
STEWART: You're absolutely right. European leaders will, by this stage, be wary, they've been through two years of negotiation, as of course, has
the prime minister. But they, like prime minister, are facing the fundamental fact that there isn't a majority in parliament and, of course,
the British public is divided, this was a close vote, 52 percent for Brexit 48 percent for remain, and that division goes through the heart of this.
So, the prime minister and European leaders are just having to be pragmatic and, in the end,, trust that we need a deal, and that deal needs to be a
moderate deal, it needs to pragmatic deal, it needs to deal that heals the country again, that brings together the 52 percent who voted for Brexit and
the 48 percent who voted for remain. And that can only be a deal somewhere in the middle, a deal that is a Brexit deal, so it leaves the European
Union but remains very close connected to it, economically, politically, diplomatically.
So, as Britain looks at Europe changing over the next 5 to 10 years, it has options of reengaging at different levels.
AMANPOUR: You have talked about trying to heal this rift. I mean, it is a really, really big rift and we've had and we can show pictures of one of
your own colleagues, Tory M.P., Anna Soubry, who has been harassed in the most violent and with terrible violent threats against her, another M.P.
has had death threats against him and this does not look like a country or, in fact, a debate or a leadership on both sides of the aisle that has any
notion of how to bring the country back together again. Does that bother you? Does that worry you?
STEWART: It does worry, of course it does. And we've had colleagues who've been screaming Nazi and the pieces at them, we've had very
unpleasant incidents. Part of this, of course, it's not just Britain, you can see in the U.S., you can see across Europe new forms of populism, some
of this is driven by social media. To some extent, it's difficult to disentangle the people that are here in parliament who are very vocal from
the country as a whole.
I did a debate in my constituency where I got Brexiteers and Remainers together in a room, nearly 350 people, I was very, very worried it was
going to be an extremely violent difficult debate. We talked for an hour- and-a-half and it was quite calm.
So, I don't think we want to exaggerate this. But you're actually right, there's something nasty happening. There's an increasingly toxic
polarizing tone coming into this whole discussion of Brexit. And as you say, these slightly comical idiots behind me trying to hit bells in order
to prevent us discussing this are one example of one of the problems about having a grown up mature constructive discussion, a very technical issues
in the 500-page document while some lunatic is banging a bell.
AMANPOUR: Now, Rory Stewart, we'll be watching. And, of course, next Tuesday is the vote and we will no doubt have you back to discuss what
happened there. Thanks a lot, Rory.
Next, we're going to talk to Afua Hirsch. She is a writer, she's a social commentator, she's the author of "Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and
Afua, welcome to the program.
AFUA HIRSCH, AUTHOR, "BRIT(ISH): ON RACE, IDENTITY AND BELONGING": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You've been listening to Rory Stewart, put on the best face on what is an untenable situation. He would be a Tory moderate.
AMANPOUR: And he is trying to kind of knit the country together again. But behind him, you heard these bells, this is now the protesters deciding
that this is their latest tactic, to shut down any debate with the press by any M.P.s who are not hard line Brexiteers. What's your comment on that?
HIRSCH: It's a difficult climate. We have got a surge in protests. I think tensions are extremely high and the stakes are getting higher the
closer we're getting to the date that we're meant to be withdrawing from the E.U.
It's very difficult to draw a line between legitimate protest, which is something that we value as a constitutional principle, part about
parliamentary democracy and which can be annoying, like the bells we had behind Rory Stewart to the other side of that order which is aggressive
behavior designed to intimidate, scare, even attack people carrying out their democratic duty as M.P.s. and those of us in public as well who have
vocal views that also appear in the media.
And I think --
AMANPOUR: Such as yourself.
HIRSCH: And I have also -- I mean, not a day goes by when I'm not the target of hate, some of it is violence and threatening. And actually, what
I fear is that this has become so normalized in the past two years that we rarely speak about it, I rarely report people to the police because it's so
frequent. And I think there was a change this week because that kind of behavior, which has been happening to many commentators, which has been
happening to many Black M.P.s, David Lammy, Diane Abbott, among those who have had horrifically violent messages.
Now, that it's happened to somebody who's a well-known member of the conservative party --
AMANPOUR: So, let's just say who it is. It's Anna Soubry.
HIRSCH: Anna Soubry.
AMANPOUR: We've got the pictures. She's the M.P. She's a Remainer.
HIRSCH: She's a Remainer and also a moderate voice in the Conservative party. She was surrounded by extremely violent threatening people who call
themselves protesters but I would say more were fog-ish intimidators, on her way into Parliament. And I think for many people, that image really
took them over the line and made them realize the state of things in the society that hostile behavior has become part of daily life and it cannot
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's just broaden that out before we get back into the sort of specifics of the Brexit in due social sort of dysfunction in this
country right now.
You have this kind of tribalized, highly politicized debates, which are not debates, they are, as we've just described, either insults, intimidation,
bells, whatever, trying to shut down debate rather than having a debate, but it's not just here it's in the United States as well. We're in the
midst of a government shutdown there. Do you see the parallels?
HIRSCH: Oh, absolutely. These are cultural phenomena. And Brexit is actually very complicated process, the debates going on in parliament are
complex but that's not what we're seeing reflected in these movements. This is actually -- these are much broader existential questions about
identity, who gets to be British, what our vision for the future of the country is.
If you look at the people who are surrounding Anna Soubry, they are people who have been publicly calling for Muslims to be deported, for us to take
the land back coded for removing people of color from England you have the sense that, "If you look like me, you are not a legitimate British person
regardless of your legal status whether you were born here, whether you're second or third generation."
And I think that the Brexit identities that we've become familiar with, Brexiteer or Remainer are often a package for a host of other things.
That's not by any stretch of the imagination say Brexiteers are a necessary race, this most -- the vast majority are not.
But what is often shared on the Brexit side is this idea of Britain as a nation or a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era when Britain was an
imperial nation and, you know, for people who have a direct relationship with that imperial history, people like me whose mother was born in a
colony, that is not an era I look to with very sensitive lenses.
AMANPOUR: But it is very interesting you say this because I've heard it now from the American side as well and other places where there's sort of
social dislocation that it is this nostalgia, even in the climate debate, we just had a great climate scientist on this week, who is explaining that
some of the resistance in various communities across America to climate change is the resistance to solutions that they feel will disrupt their
nostalgia, their quality of life, their identity and all the rest of it.
Given that, how in this country do you think they will be able to knit together all the fabric of a 42 -- 48 percent who voted remain, 52 who
voted to leave can be knitted back together?
HIRSCH: I think it takes leadership. And we have seen a massive and catastrophic failure of leadership. So, I don't dismiss the concerns of
people who have been buying into this nostalgia because what they are reflecting is a very real sense of decline of being left behind, both here
and the U.S. and all the countries facing populism. There is a real concern, legitimate concerns.
But what we've seen is political leaders capitalizing on that, who don't have the actual solutions but are instead offering a quick fix by building
a wall, by leaving the European Union, by deporting people who have a right to be here.
And even Theresa May has spoken about citizens of nowhere, you know, people who ironically were created by the British Empire. Many of us have
multiple heritages because of Britain's expansionist project but suggesting that we are somehow a problem. And I think that when we see that kind of
rhetoric embraced by leaders it seriously compounds the problem. What we need is our leaders to be honest with us, that the solutions to our
problems, whether it's industrial decline, automation, growing inequality caused by globalization, the solutions to these problems are not going to
be in any short-term policy answer that they take long-term planning and difficult conversations, and we haven't seen leaders with the courage,
frankly, to take that on.
And I think it also reflects on the structural problem with our democracy. We have leaders who are elected for four, five subperiods, they don't have
an incentive to take on difficult challenges that will affect a generation down the line.
And one of the things about Brexit that's very sad is that young people sense that this is bad for them, 75 percent voted to remain in the U.K., in
the E.U. They do not have a say and they have -- hasn't manifested in the national outcome and it doesn't feel as if their concerns are being
addressed either when it comes the E.U. or these border existential questions.
AMANPOUR: So, as I said, you're a social commentator as well, you're looking at the debate around this as it royals along. One of the big
issues is, is there going to be a second referendum? And if so, what are the questions and what are the the polling on that right now? Where does
that stand? Do you think it's likely? Do you think it's unlikely? What do you think will happen if and when Theresa May's vote -- Theresa May's
deal is voted down?
HIRSCH: I think it is becoming increasingly likely that we'll see a second referendum. And one of the reasons I say that is that I have been speaking
to a lot of Brexiteers. And we have to remember, most people who voted Brexit are reasonable people, who made a vote that they thought was
genuinely in the best interest of the country, who are now seeing things that were never on the table crashing out without a deal.
We are now the biggest purchaser of fridges in the world because we have to stockpile medicines. This is not something that was promised during the
referendum campaign. And people who are very to leave now are saying, some of them, that they want another chance to cast their vote based on the
facts as they are now.
The reason that people suggest this is a bad idea or is that it will somehow unleash the gates of hell of people who feel their voice didn't
count the first time around, I wonder if those people know what it's like to be a Black woman in Britain today. Because the spike in abuse and
hostility that I and many other people I know have faced make me wonder how much worse it could really get, you know, it's already at rock bottom. I
have never experienced a climate like this in my lifetime in Britain.
AMANPOUR: It is really very worrying. Afua Hirsch, thank you so much for joining us/
HIRSCH: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: It is indeed an era of extremes all over the place it seems, and that's a fact. My next guest tells me he is obsessed with trying to figure
out. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, he directed "The Lives of Others," which was the Cold War film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign
Language in 2006.
And now, he's turning the clock back even further. To his native Germany's most tumultuous time, World War II and its aftermath. This film is called,
"Never Look Away," and it follows a young German's path to freedom during this upheaval through his art. Here's a clip from the trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't her just leave us alone?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Escape to the West?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By freeing ourselves, you are liberating the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the Nazi catastrophe, only the artist can give people back their sense of freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Their many incredible lines like that throughout this film and Germany has submitted it for Oscar consideration again and the director
walked me through his breathtaking new epic when he joined me from New York.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, welcome to the program.
FLORIAN HENCKEL VON DONNERSMARCK, DIRECTOR, "NEVER LOOK AWAY": Thank you very much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Now, firstly, that is a heck of a name. Does it get mangled a lot?
DONNERSMARCK: You know, it's very rare for anyone not to mangle it. So, I must say I'm very impressed. Only someone only with a name as complicated
as yours and let it go.
AMANPOUR: Well, there you are. And, you know, not to put a finer point on it, but you are exploring a really complicated era in the life time and the
history of your own country, Germany. And here you are after the lives of others, which won the Oscar, which won all the major awards, all these
years later, turning back to East Germany, let's face it. It is East Germany. That one was the fall of the wall. This one was just about as
the wall was going up, right at the end of World War II and beyond.
So, what is it about this history, this moment, this time in your country that so fascinates you?
DONNERSMARCK: I feel that in a way as the Germans were in a unique position to tell the story of the 20th century because all the craziness
and all the extremes happened in an intensified form in Germany, you know, the world was divided into two blocs. Germany was divided into two parts.
There was even a city within Germany that was divided into two parts.
So, you know, it's almost as if we experienced it in an intensified form, and I find that makes for an interesting backdrop for stories, and this is
about how art maybe can help us overcome political extremism and I thought it would be interesting to put it into a German background.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let us talk about what promoted you or what prompted you to do this. It was, as you say, the discovery, trying to explore the
origin of artistic creativity, especially in those circumstances. in East Germany and that part of your country at the time. And you talked about it
was a line in Elia Kazan's autobiography where he talked about his work with geniuses, talking about, you know, Miller and Brando and Tennessee
Williams. He felt that working with them was, you know, the scab that formed on the wounds that life had dealth. It's interesting to think up on
that. Explained that.
DONNERSMARCK: You know what, it's -- you know, he said, you're right, that somehow their artistic geniuses was the scab that had formed on the wounds
of their life. And, you know, I think it's a very apt metaphor because if the wound was major then the scab will very big and then the talent will be
And here you have the story in my movie of an artist who was first shaped by the Nazis and experienced terrible things under that dictatorship and
then experienced terrible things under the communist dictatorship and finally comes to the West and someone has to use all those terrible
experiences to create great art. And I thought it was a way of exploring how maybe we could use the terrible things that happen in all of our lives,
hopefully not as terrible as the ones of this -- of my protagonist to -- you know, to overcome the suffering.
AMANPOUR: You know, it is an epic film, it's much longer than the lives of others. It's three hours, just over three hours, but it really is a visual
feast and the score is amazing.
AMANPOUR: And in a way, I'm wondering whether you're trying to, I don't know, make up for the horrendous facts of life that were going on right
there or not. What caused you to paint this so beautifully, this ugly story?
DONNERSMARCK: Yes. That's a really great question. You know, I mean I think that if you look at dark events, you know, it's so easy to make a
dark movie, it's the easiest thing in the world to make something that's depressing and the audience, after watching it, wants to, I don't know, buy
a time share on another planet, you know, that's something that is -- that's easy to do.
I think the challenge, generally, in life is to look at the fact that, you know, overall life can be considered a kind of tragedy, you know, in most
cases it ends in death and, you know, we lose everybody we love along the way if we don't die first.
But, you know, I think that what I see my challenge as a film maker, as a storyteller is to some will say, "Look, all these terrible things happened,
yes." And I'm a good acknowledging the darkness but I still think that it's an adventure worth embarking on. And in a certain way, art, I think,
is about embracing the suffering and I think that's why we find art in museums or wherever we see it so comforting, is because, in a way, it's a
material symbol of the fact that someone has overcome suffering.
So, take the great German painter, Gerhard Richter, who inspired a lot of this movie. You know, he made these beautiful paintings of the bombers
that he saw as a child that came and destroyed his hometown of Dresden and killed all his friends, he decided to turn it into a beautiful painting. I
think that's a symbol of great courage or his aunt who was murdered by the Nazis for having been schizophrenic, he makes -- he takes a little snapshot
of this aunt holding him as a young child and turns it into the most beautiful painting, you know, I just see that as very inspiring, and that's
what I wanted to put into the film.
And so, you know, in a way, I chose beauty while depicting the darkness.
AMANPOUR: And actually, you raise a point that I wanted to actually asked you about because you mentioned all of that and it is absolutely
phenomenal, the way he goes back to his life and superimposes all these pictures of people he loved, people who were the villains and that is the
story and that is his art.
But you also have your characters say the following, "Never look away. Everything that's true is beautiful." But, Kurt, who we're talking about
never actually reveals the truth. These beautiful paintings that we're just talking about, when he's asked pointblank in a press conference, when
he's now a famous, you know, painter, is this about your experience? And here he's had his aunt euthanized by the S.S., here he's had -- you know,
he's I don't want to give too many spoiler alerts but he doesn't tell the truth. What are you saying there?
DONNERSMARCK: You know what, actually, that's a really -- I really like your questions. It's -- you know, I think that an artist has a duty to be
honest in his or her art but has absolutely no duty to be honest in the press surrounding it. So, I think you can assume that a lot of the people
working in the arts who come on your show are not telling you the truth --
AMANPOUR: Oh, no.
DONNERSMARCK: -- who are actually -- yes. I mean, I think they're -- they might even be telling you the contrary because in a way this is all just to
protect themselves from maybe revealing too much about their lives. But there are -- it has to be completely honest and truthful. So in a way,
it's that thought.
I mean if this person really every single time the artist in my film was -- every single time he was asked about his work were really to tell the full
story, I mean he'd be -- it would exhaust him. It would deplete him. It would also destroy his creativity probably. He's found a different outlet
for his honesty and that outlet is his art.
AMANPOUR: And I just wonder whether you're also telling a cautionary tale for today.
DONNERSMARCK: Yes. I mean I believe very much in the individual and in the individual's quest for truth and in the individual being left alone by
the government to go on his own quest. And that's also I think what in part got me in trouble with this film in Germany because people felt oh,
this is a film that attacks the extreme-left and attacks the extreme-right.
You know, pick a side. I don't believe in that. I really -- I do believe in the individual and I think the ultimate individual is the artist who
works through these problems on his own. So the way -- this is about an artist.
First, the Nazis tried to -- they recognize his talent, tried to turn him into an artist who serves their cause then the communists try to say, "You
know what, you could be a really great socialist, realist, propaganda painter." And he just senses that in his heart that this is all not right
and that it's bringing him away from the truth.
And then he flees to the west. And suddenly he's on his own completely. He is -- no one's telling him what to do and that's also kind of terrifying
to him. So he has to really look deep within his own soul and has to free himself from everything that he's been shaped to be.
And I think that that's something that we all have to do. And we have to take everything that we were molded to be and question it and see, does it
fit our soul? Does it fit our quest for truth and find out who we are?
And I think that that's the best antidote to extremism. I really believe that I think that as tools against extremism go, art is still one of the
most effective ones that we have. Art can be a weapon against extremism.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned him having to flee to the west and the troubles that he started finding there. So let us play this clip that we've been
given and just show when he and his wife, Ellie, decide at that moment when they decide to leave what was a privileged life now in the communist part
of East Germany. He was painting for the state but they decided to get on a train and leave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLIE SEEBAND: They make it almost too easy. Not for much longer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next station, Zoologischer Garten.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean it is remarkable because you know lest we forget, this was just before the wall went up. So they weren't having to breach the
wall and the firing squads and all the rest of it but they did have to be quite careful.
I mean I just wonder what you think about I guess today's politics. I mean what does Germany think about Brexit for instance?
DONNERSMARCK: I mean remember actually Brexit, the decision for Brexit happened while we were shooting and I found it so hard to concentrate on
just on shooting. On that day, we were in Berlin and everybody was truly distraught.
But at the same time, I mean I think that it's clear that some of the decisions that were also made in Germany led to that in part. It's -- it
was -- it became clear that where the European Union was formed to make sure that countries would not go off on their own and do things but the
decisions were to be made jointly.
And whereas one of the clear intentions was that especially Germany should not do things completely on its own. [13:35:00] But they -- that it should
be part of a community. I think the decisions were made completely alone by Germany and I think that Germany certainly bears its share in the blame
for that very very unfortunate political and historical turn of events.
AMANPOUR: That is an interesting observation indeed. Thank you very much indeed. Of course, it is award season. Germany has put forth Never Look
Away as its Oscar contender. So we wish you good luck.
DONNERSMARCK: Oh, thank you very much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Never Look Away, a powerful film that paints an intimate portrait of social identity.
And we continue on that theme turning to Charm City. It's a documentary that highlights the epidemic of violent shootings and murders in Baltimore.
And it highlights the people who are trying to change that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got 171 dead black people. That's not a state of emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a dialogue to build our understanding between you all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gun violence is a disease and it should be treated as though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that's a short clip but our Michel Martin sat down with two people who are at the center of Charm City, Baltimore police officer
Monique Brown and neighborhood peacekeeper Alex Long. Here's their conversation.
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Major Monique Brown, Alex Long, thank you both so much for being with us. You both grew up in Baltimore. Am I right?
MONIQUE BROWN, BALTIMORE POLICE OFFICER: Yes.
ALEX LONG, BALTIMORE SAFE STREETS MEMBER: Yes.
MARTIN: Am I right? So I wanted to ask each of you what was it like when you were growing up. Alex, you want to start?
LONG: I really couldn't tell that I had a bad upbringing until I was older, you know. So for me, my childhood earlier seemed excellent.
MARTIN: Nice Christmas, birthday parties.
LONG: Yes, all that stuff. And then once the drugs really took a hold in effect, that's when things all went downhill.
MARTIN: What was the drug of choice then like? What was the -- when you were growing up, what was the drug?
LONG: For my parents, cocaine. That was the main thing. They did a little bit of weed from time to time but it was mostly cocaine and it
destroyed my family. Me and my sisters ended up in foster care.
And from that point on, that's when the journey downhill started for me because not only was things, you know, going to downward spiral but I was
separated from my family. So I was really stuck figuring out who I was and which direction my life was going to take all on my own.
MARTIN: Major Brown, Monique, what about you? What was it like when you were growing up?
BROWN: Probably similar. Weekend, they party. Drug of choice for us was alcohol. Didn't necessarily know that some of the things were going on
were problems until you realize, hey, you know, you get a little older.
And it's like you almost didn't pass 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade because we didn't go to school on Mondays because they partied a lot on
weekends. And then you start to take notice, OK, this is not right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: My mom used one coping mechanism to another, from marijuana to cocaine to alcohol to crack, ultimately to heroin and a mixture of
methadone which eventually led her to her demise which was an overdose. So my kids, I pretty much just -- I have to take them away from this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: What made you want to become a police officer? I take it you didn't have any police in your family.
BROWN: No. And growing up, we still have -- those tensions were there. They weren't separate or different than some of our dynamic that we deal
with now. A lot of it was I didn't always felt like there was someone around to always be a help, whether it was home or outside.
You know, we come outside and this is like -- this is -- we're just killing each other and this don't make sense. I've always thought that I wanted to
do something law wise. But even though you feel like you're on a journey to do good things, as a young teenage mom, it's like I can't go to law
school, I have kids.
So you defeat yourself in that way but then you're like what can I do to be helpful. And I just felt like somebody has to say like be a change because
again the tensions were there.
MARTIN: Alex, I want to play a clip from the film where you talk about just how early the distrust or just how early the tensions between the
police and citizens can take root and why. And I just want to play that clip and here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: So I go to the store and we're racing back. Police see me running and I become a suspect. This person said the person had on all black or
grey hoodie. I got an orange and blue, a Knicks shirt, orange and blue boots, blue jeans, and an orange coat but it's me [13:40:00] because I'm
He said (INAUDIBLE) so you're scared. I said my hobby is running. If I was scared, it's because you just grabbed me for nothing. Talking about I
robbed somebody. So there's the answers for your questions. He was like, "Yes, you're wise. I got my man."
So I was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping. And I went in a little 15-year old kid. I came out like 260. I was a child with an adult record
that did adult time. And I got adult size.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: Monique, I want to ask you, how do you feel when you see that and when you hear what Alex just said?
BROWN: It makes me upset. One of the things that we do taking this job is to make sure that we uphold the Constitution. We're not -- we don't vary
from that. So -- and then not only that. I have a son. I have a son. My son is 24. I have nephews. I have a brother. And I have a lot of
families that still lives in the city.
So it was important. My coming on, of course, was hey, we have to get this right because, of course, of myself. I'm still African-American. I'm not
exempt from that. The job is what I do but that's not who I am.
So that's one of the things that I have to push. And I've always tried to push to make sure that you see us as being human, we're not separate. And
we have circumstances that kind of leads us to do bad things but they don't make us bad people.
MARTIN: One of the things I noticed from the piece is that you said that when you joined the force, that that attitude that Alex was talking about
was so widespread, that you even had friends when you told them that you were becoming a police officer --
MARTIN: -- drops you as a friend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: When I first decided that I was going to join law enforcement, a lot of my friends was just like, I can't talk to you no more because you'll
be one of those boys. How could you, the way they treat us. They only want to lock us up.
So that's few things, two-folded. Most times, people don't like the police, of course, because we have that right to take your freedom away.
And then on the flip side, growing up in the neighborhood, in the areas that I did, it wasn't fun either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: One of the things trying to plead my case was, well, how do we change anything if we went outside? We can throw stones, bricks, whatever,
all day long. We can protest. We can be loud.
Until we become inside of any avenue, agent, and whatever, I strongly believe if we want to change laws, we have to become judges. We have to
become counsel people. We need to be embedded in every single entity that we feel as though we are not counted for.
The only way our voices can be heard that we can bring that change that we feel will implement that change, we have to be a part of the whole system.
MARTIN: But one of the other things that you said is that you want to help people.
MARTIN: And that you also said a lot of people don't see the good that you do.
MARTIN: That you feel that you -- have you -- do you feel that you are doing good?
BROWN: I pray so. The good isn't always the narrative, right, especially when we're in this uniform.
MARTIN: Alex, what you hear Major Brown say, people don't understand the good that we do, how does that sit with you?
LONG: It's true. I can honestly say that. It's a huge misconception in the black community that police isn't anything until you actually need a
MARTIN: Do you think that other people feel the way you feel that -- because there's some moments in the film when you're not too pleased with
the police. In fact, you can hear words which I cannot say on the T.V., even just people riding by, you hear them expressing unhappiness, right?
LONG: What we have to understand --
MARTIN: But do you think most people feel the way you feel like both end? It's like --
LONG: Oh, yes.
MARTIN: -- we need them. We need them.
LONG: They may not say it but if their mother is shot, their grandmother is raped or anything like that, I guarantee you they'd call the police. If
somebody breaks into their car, they are calling the police. So a lot of times, we put on that facade that we don't -- keeping that look, you know.
But deep down, we're a society that's suffering. If you can't turn to the people that are supposed to help you, you're almost forced into a Wild Wild
MARTIN: So is this -- I mean I hate to ask it this way but I have to ask, is this something about Baltimore? Because we are speaking now like a
fourth candidate for the police chief has withdrawn. I mean so --
[13:45:00] LONG: Baltimore has been sold off to the highest bidder for about 40 years now, if not longer. So the residents of Baltimore really
don't have any type of hope or chances at anything unless you have a trust fund unless you have somebody that can put something aside for you.
Outside of that, pretty much no hope. And when you look at Baltimore, that's why you see so many youths that they have given up. The school
system don't believe in them. They refuse to put any money into the schools to educate, to renovate or do anything.
So you're telling the kids -- you look at what they feed them. And most of the kids come home talking about they get peanut butter and jelly for
breakfast. So you're feeding these kids like (INAUDIBLE). You're treating them like their social service clients. And you're telling them, keep your
head up, have hope for the future when they know deep down there is no future in the city for a person that looks like me.
MARTIN: One of the things that the film does do, and I hope people get to see it, is that it does show that people aren't just giving up, that people
are every day doing what they can do. You could have given up after you went through what you went through.
I mean some people would be so angry at being falsely accused and having to do time for something that they didn't do. They'd just be so filled with
rage. They'd want to look to take it out on somebody for the rest of their lives. So what made a difference for you?
LONG: It really didn't. All the things that you just said, I went through those processes myself. For years, I was angry at the world for real
because I felt like I was unjustly convicted of something that the victim even said that I didn't do, that the victim even said she have never seen
So that made me so enraged but then I realized at the end of the day, I'm playing right into the hand of that "system". A lot of times when you get
emotional, you tend to do things that sabotage yourself. I don't want that no more.
My father was in prison. My mother was in prison. My aunt was in prison. So that was a common thing. My father had all the athletic ability in the
world, had scholarship offers and everything, he chose the streets. I've seen where that put me and my family.
So I realized at the end of the day, the only way where I would be able to get ourselves out of where we don't want to be is by actually getting
ourselves out of those situation.
MARTIN: One individual that really moved me in the film was Mr. C.
LONG: Oh, that's my O.G. That's my O.G. I got a lot of respect for Mr. C. He showed me and helped open my eyes on the responsibility that one
owes in this community.
MARTIN: And he used to be a corrections officer.
LONG: Corrections officer.
MARTIN: And now he runs --
LONG: And now he runs Road Street Community Center.
MARTIN: A community center and you started working there.
LONG: Yes. I've been working with Road Street Community Center for about 15 to 16 years.
MARTIN: Let's just play a short clip and we'll hear what he has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MR. C: We can't give up. Can't give up. Things are going to get better. But you got some people that don't believe that. I cannot fall into that
unbelief that things are not going to get better.
I can't believe that Brandon is not going to make it to seven. I see Brandon, a 70-year-old man, gray hair, might have a cane. Yes. You're
going to have a few more pounds on you. But I see you at seven.
I see her at 70-year-old, four kids, six grandkids. All right. I see that when I look at you all, right. I see you all in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: And, you know, believe it or not, that was actually the day after my little sister Ashley was killed. And, you know, that was a message to the
community but, you know, kind of to me personally, you know, not to lose focus and I say get too emotional over the situation. Because it's during
those times where I can destroy not only myself but my whole family.
MARTIN: I'm so sorry about your sister.
LONG: Appreciate that. She definitely still is smiling down. I believe that's why I'm here today.
MARTIN: Can I ask what happened?
LONG: Unfortunately, she kind of got into a fight with [13:50:00] somebody she considered a friend, somebody that she allowed to stay in her house and
all that. And it, you know, quickly escalated and ended up turning to her homicide.
MARTIN: A friend killed her?
LONG: The friend didn't but her son did. He then took her life and he then lost his life because he was found guilty on all charges. So I say
that's two lives lost for absolutely nothing at all outside of, and again I say it, being emotional.
MARTIN: I apologize for asking but I have to ask, did you ever want to retaliate?
MARTIN: Why didn't you?
LONG: Because once again, like I said earlier, that's that trap. That only sends us deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. To me, it wasn't
worth it, you know. I'm going to find another way and I found another way to honor my sister, to make sure that her legacy lives on, her name lives
on, and it ain't through blood.
MARTIN: Also the course of time that the film was even being made, 1,000 people were killed in Baltimore. And I think some people might think that
that's the drug war or turf wars or --
BROWN: Some of that but most of it is to tell a story and a lot of it is trauma. The trauma affects us from a community because that community may
be struck with violence most of the times. And we -- the law enforcement are first responders as well because we're always coming, we're answering
the call to come to aide as best as we can after those incidents happen.
And we're not dealing with that across the board at all. Therapy is not there. We're not communicating and we're not telling our kids hey, this is
not the way that we solve problems.
MARTIN: There's a councilman in the film who is quoted as saying that this is a public health crisis. Do you agree with that?
LONG: I agree.
MARTIN: You both agree with that?
LONG: Absolutely. In my particular field, I work for Safe Streets. Safe Streets is originally set up and designed to reduce homicides in
So we go out to particular hot spots. We're not throughout the city like most people would think. This is four sites in Baltimore and we're really
in hot spots in the cities.
And what we do is we go into communities and we find guys that's respected in a community on a street level. So businesses would say don't give that
man a job. But with our field, we realize that it's going to take that community to heal and fix their community.
MARTIN: A lot of times, when I interview mayors or leaders in cities that are having a crisis like a flood, you know, or hurricane, right, a lot of
times we ask them what do you need. What do you need? And so I'm going to ask you, you know, what do you need?
LONG: Honestly, personally, I just need opportunity for my kids. Be it educational, the workforce, or whatever we've got to find ways to give our
kids other avenues to success. Like I say, if that happens, man, the sky is the limit for us.
We're way too bright of a group of people. Our minds expand way beyond anybody's imagination. So that's not a problem. It's just the
opportunities that we're actually given and provided need to change. And I say, to me, that will really change everything.
BROWN: I would say to some degree we have to figure out how do we bring our kids and enough to touch them because I feel like all of us are failing
them. Most certainly, they need education, you know.
And getting them to understand that they are these diamonds that we always uncover. So many people give up on us because of the neighborhoods we come
from. They hear, oh, you came from, you know, and this is like, OK, well, what's the story?
All of us have one. We need more mentorship. We have a lot of people great grassroots foundations that's in the city that's now working trying
to get with our kids and bring them onboard to a lot of things. But it may just be a community thing.
Walk out, find a kid and say, hey, listen, how can I help you?
LONG: That's right.
MARTIN: That's a great place to end. Alex Long, Major Monique Brown, future chief, thank you both so much for talking to me.
BROWN: Thank you.
LONG: Thank you for having us.
AMANPOUR: Focusing on people trying to make a difference, street by street, house by house, is a real powerful, powerful message.
That is it for now though. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast. See us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for watching. And goodbye from London.