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tv   The Wonder List With Bill Weir  CNN  October 21, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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♪ it was the envy of the world, a shimmering city of gods and pharaohs teaming with life, energy and gland plans right until the earth smoothed and it was swallowed by the sea. silky wave held its secrets for over 1,000 years until the arrival of a renegade. and what once was lost has now been found.
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feel like a soggy salty indiana jones. this is story about egypt, both ancient and modern. it involves denial and the nile. and it is evidence that those who not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. my name is bill weir and i'm a storyteller. i've reported from all over the world, and i have seen so much change. so i made a list, the most wonderful places to explore right before they change forever. this is "the wonder list." i know what you're thinking.
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a camel ride around the pyramids? come on, weir. seems a bit cliché. every tourist does the pyramids. well, not anymore. these days the crowds at giza are gone. the sphinx is lonely. and an american on a camel is a real novelty because nothing keeps the tourists away like fear. after so much turmoil and so much terror -- >> traces of explosive material have been found on the victims of egypt flight 804. >> -- egypt can seem like a scary place, but it's complicated. one minute we're welcomed by warm, friendly strangers. the next minute, questioned by authorities.
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soldiers and cops run this country. jails are filled with political prisoners. journalists have been sentenced to death. the economy is in tatters and meanwhile the average egyptian has no idea that his ancient civilization is more vulnerable now than ever. and it's understandable why. just in the last five or six years these folks have lived through revolution and coupe. they've had three presidents, three constitutions, four prime ministers, 700 changes in parliament. seas are rising. the population is growing. but you can kind of understand these folks don't think about the long-term. they're just trying to get through the day. the nile delta, the source of life for 40 million is in peril like never before. not enough fresh-water for man,
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beast and crops. too much salt water from rising seas. and when it comes to the cities, well, they don't build them like they used to. youtube is filled with examples of shoddy, often illegal construction falling to pieces. ♪ so a visit to alexan dru, a place where they stash surplush sfingss is surreal. while still stumbling across treasures of the past. >> basically what we're walking
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on there's catacombs. >> below our feet. >> yeah, so it's like a swiss cheese. >> she's eager to make me under ground and back in time. >> shall we go down? >> let's do it. >> so it goes down quite a long way. >> wow. until the day a donkey came crashing through a perfectly carved hole in the catacomb roof, all of this was hidden for centuries. >> so over here you have two statues to welcome you into the land of the dead. >> wow. this underground graveyard is proof that egypt has been wrestling with religious differences for a very long time. as outsiders moved in, they
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created gods everyone could believe in. >> in alexan druit's a mad melting pot where people are coming up with new ideas, you've got the guardian of the under world. but he's wearing his roman out fit, he's got all the spears the soldiers would have, all the arm bands. i just love this mixture. and he's got this big smile. >> mummies and their treasure fill each one of these chambers until the grave robbers showed up. >> it's the second oldest progression probably in egypt. and people have been doing it a pharaoh is buried and maybe 10, 15 years later someone is trying to break into the tomb. >> there's a new need for a boardwalk. is that an alarming trend? >> yes, it is an alarming
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trenltrenld. this rising water table is threatening a lot of the monuments but particularly tombs from this period. >> what's contributing to this in. >> population. and also rising ground water, climate changing. >> pat palm pay's pillar, not another tourist in site. >> it's solid granite that comes about 1,000 miles up the river. >> is that right? so just getting it here is a super human feat. >> and it's one piece. >> what they'd really like to find remains hidden. >> basically anyone who came to alex alexan dria, the librarian would get to them and they would say have you any books and and
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they'd say please let us copy them. >> the greek kings that followed alexandria the great built the greatest city in the known world. scholars can't agree what exactly burned it down. but there's no debate that religion and politics led to egypt's great decline then and now.
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this is the new library of alexandria when bill nixon paid a visit to it and wondered what happened to the old one. not all knowledge is welcome these days. really? >> yeah, yeah. not just the religious books. there's some political books prohibited to egypt by the government. >> mohamed, samo, and ahmed are members of tello poetic. and like millions of egyptians they have ridden an emotional roller coaster the past few years. they grew up under hasmi bu
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baric's long reign of corruption. for 30 years he ruled. in 2011 his subjects said enough. >> the police was attacking us everywhere in the city. but we felt we were doing something that was really important. >> after 18 days of violent revolution there modern pharaoh fell. egypt belonged to the people. >> it was really almost a utopia. i mean people were literally like cleaning the streets with soap. they were so really happy. they were proud. >> yeah. >> normally apathetic voters showed up to the polls in droves. and mohamed morsy, a little known member of the muslim
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brotherhood became president. but when morsei gave himself unlimited power, the people rose again. and this time as egypt teetered on the brink, the military swept in and put one of their own in charge. >> all the youth, they had a lot of hope really. >> they think it was a dream come true. >> exactly. and the times were changing. and then things just started to get worse and worse. >> all of that was snatched away. >> our government, yeah. >> since the coupe, a once shadowy general has ruled egypt with a stone fist crushing both islamists and liberals alike. ♪ >> i don't know if you heard when we were entering everyone
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around us were talking about the economic crisis and how things are bad for them. >> sarah is cairo journalist who covered the revolution. and she explains how under sisi a bad economy has gotten worse. tourism and foreign investment disappeared. >> only 14% of the population makes more than 4,000 egyptian pounds per month. that's around $400 per family. and the rest under the -- >> most people are under $200 a month? >> less than that. >> humedia is a fulofal vendor and says it's never been harder to make money. >> owen has more than kwu
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drupealled the price. and this is like four people food. >> you can't raise your prices can you? >> he can raise his prices. >> even though he stopped us to complain, he said he knew the man in charge. >> he said the government here is much better than the previous one. >> really? >> the president is better than the -- >> he likes sisi? >> he does. >> maybe he spotted the policeman following us or maybe he really believes in sisi's isis fighting image. but for the moment it seems the spirit of the revolution has drained. but all the while cities crumble and buildings crumble with storms. >> the people don't care, the government don't care. >> climate change it's an issue that's having trouble even the west of really accepting it.
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so you can imagine here if it has to do with nature then it's in god's hands. >> but this isn't the first time lands, water and human straul have made for disaster. just off the coast of alexandria is an entire sea protected. it is a miracious find by the most unlikely of explorers. and we're invited to come have a look.
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♪ long before alexander the great named this town, it was named for hurklies and stood for the ancient city of venice named with rich temples and a bustling
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port. but getting there today involves a short drive past many reminders that wealth and power are never forever. we haven't even reached the water yet and the place is full of shipwrecks. amazing to think about all the great maritime battles going all the way back to cleopatra, alexander the great, napoleon. but this is a modern seaport in egypt. we move across the bay of -- an seas so calm a fan tail warbler catches a nap. i'm too excited to doze, mind full of details from a old roman mosaic i saw, one of the earliest depictions of life on the nile delta, how they hunted and worshipped and raised
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families right here before everything changed. back in the day we could have made this journey by foot or by dunky. but today the only way to get to heracleion is through the princess duda, research vessel of a guy named frank dodlia. so great to be here. the ship is a hive of -- cuban, russian, american divers, french, egyptian archaeologists all buzzing with great discovery. i've barely had my first cup of coffee and you're already buzzing out. >> look at that. intact. >> and you guys are the first
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human beings to touch this? >> yeah. it was buried under meters of clay. you can see the coins. dating back to -- >> zeus. >> yeah, i think zeus. >> how common is for you to find this? is it every day? >> every day. every hour. >> his delicate best finds from jewelry to the mighty colossus recently toured and headlined a british museum. this is your rosetta stone. >> this is my rosetta stone, but it's in better condition than the rosetta stone. >> incredible. even more incredible is that archeology was frank's hobby for most of his life. you were a math stas titian nerd, right? >> yes, i was a stutitian, i
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studied math. >> he worked in finance and economics, just a guy buried in numbers all the while dreaming at what's buried at sea. >> when you started launching these missions, how did the archeology world receive you? >> at the beginning i would say very well because i thought maybe i will not go very far. >> but this allowed him to think about under water archeology in a whole new way. you treated these missions, these searches like a math problem. >> yes, it's a kind of systematic and organized approach. >> he spent more time in libraries and archives than at sea, and the approach led him to incredible finds. warships in cuba, important spanish galleons in asia. but in the back of his mind rattled rumors of something much
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bigger. >> i met some egyptian archaeologists who told me very strange stories about cities which had never been discovered. >> tales of an egyptian atlanta s were little more than a myth but frank was relentless. >> it was the most difficult part of the job i would say is survey time. because we would spend weeks sometimes months and months scanning the area of the find. and the team starts to doubt whether you maybe goofed somewhere. and this is a hard time. >> for five years his team scanned the sea until they came across a curious line of stones. it was the wall of a temple. and under it they found a black stone perfectly carved,
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perfectly preserved that boasts the commands of the pharaoh. >> it's a description of his majesty, its power, how good he is for the people. covering egypt with gold and temples, bringing wealth to egypt to the gods, et cetera. >> the kind of political billboard you would find today. >> yes, but much stronger. much stronger. >> right. the hieroglyphics confirmed he had found it, the city where kings became gods in secret ceremony. where paris brought the kidnapped helen of troy if the legends are true. most archaeologists hope they find one tomb. you found an entire city. >>ates an entire city within several temples. we found one this morning.
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which will be number 72. >> just this morning. oh, i just found another shipwreck. >> another shipwreck from the fifth century b.c. >> how does this rank? >> i have to say its number one. >> he ranks the discovery of heracleion above even the lighthouse of alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. >> we thought we would have maybe 20 years to discover all the find, and now we're calculating maybe more. >> to find everything. >> yes. >> what are you discovering that it wasn't an egyptian or even frank -- who made this discovery. >> as an archaeologist, frank
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has learning. it means he can smell where the antiquities. >> he's got a nose for history. >> for example, here you can see the column. >> wow. but frank's nose has some hi-tech help, cameras and scanners to make sense of the murky depths. oh, look at that, how it sort of follows the contour of the ocean floor. wow, that gives you a whole different perspective. but what happened to this place? what ended these lives? frank says there are clues just below us, and it is time to get wet. a good time sir. [don't stop me now by queen] ♪
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♪ the cornes is alexandria's popular seaside highway, a poignant backdrop for relic hunters like eric a scuba native of key west, florida. >> you can see the people riding
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bikes or horse drawn buggies and we can hear their voices and see the buildings, 6 million people. and here is another city, the same city that disappeared. and it makes you wonder. do they think about it ever? do they wonder? ♪ >> welcome to thones heracleion. not the greatest visibility down here, but if it weren't for the murk looters would have picked it apart years ago. crackary, bones and ghosts just 20 feet beo. we float in the belly of a ship
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that sailed the nile centuries before cleopatra took her own life. wow! that was incredible. oh, my god! i feel like a soggy, salty indiana jones. so good. so good. >> fantastic. >> the shipwreck, the timbers of it, the way they fanned out. the way you could see the contours of this 2200-year-old ship, it was so amazing. and pick up pieces of pottery that probably had figs or olives or wine, you can piece them back together. and it's everywhere.
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the whole bottom of the ocean it's like a bull went through pottery barn. wow. that was cool. ♪ when you're working on these objects, do you imagine the people who built them, made them, who own thed them? >> yes. >> our great, great, great, great grandmother maybe lived here, right? [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> that's shurene bringing a bit of history back to life. cataloging what looks like an ancient garage sale. both are proud egyptians. >> i think it's used for -- >> buperfume. >> yeah. >> but whoever dabbed that scent behind her ears wouldn't recognize that today. >> 110 square kilometers of land sank. >> that's over 40 square miles of land sinking into the delta inch by inch over the centuries until all at once it crashed into the drink. >> it was a tidal wave and the
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land sank and it went down more than six meters and stayed. >> are you finding bones, too? >> yes. many animal bones from ritual offerings. and very few human bones but some of them. >> does that mean people got out in time? >> no. >> so it was a disaster. >> it was very, very fast. in a fraction of a second, a few seconds. >> when you see these things and become the first person to hold them in a millennia, you can picture the families that set their tables the day the big one hit. it's fascinating and a little bit eerie especially considering that alexandria is just as seismic now as it was then, and the seas are rising even faster. how long before archaeologists
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are studying those artifacts? >> how many times did this city sink before the last time? over and over through history, recorded history we have these cataclysmic events that appeared. and so we know it's going to happen again. it already happened to them, and you wonder were they lackadaisical or are we lackadaisical and not consideri considering? >> it's human nature, right? modern rulers have a much modern lift because humanity has altered the largest river in the world and the delta that feeds. next stop, a trip to the original bread basket for a taste of life and death on the nile. ♪
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♪ (vo) treating others like we'd like to be treated has always been our guiding principle.
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♪ ♪ the river nile, the carotid artery of africa. over 4,000 miles through 11 countries until egypt where it fans like a lotus flower before hitting the mediterranean. it turns sand into bread for 40 million people who live around here. it grows fruit and veggies, flowers and cotton for countless others around the world.
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and when you see the soil that water is working with you understand how happy the god of the nile is also the god of fertility. how long have you been been farming this land? he grows apples, mom granites and oranges. and what's changed? what's different than than when you were a boy? [ speaking foreign language ] >> he blames sal ngz, mysterious disease and pollution of air and water. he says he's lost 60% of his crop this year. have you gotten any help from the government, try to figure out what's wrong and help you?
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you're on your own. do you have children and grandchildren? what will this land look like to them when they're your age? [ speaking foreign language ] >> and few miles away magdi and his five brothers find a seaside strip not long where they found their sea stone. [ speaking foreign language ] >> you are really seaside farmers. look at this. his family grows watermelons, tomatoes and cucumbers in this sandy soil, desperately relying
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on rains that haven't come as needed in the last five years. so families will often pull their savings and draw wells to tap the nile delta aquifer, which only makes things worse. you see that fresh-water underground is holding back the mediterranean sea. pumping it up creates pressure that pulls the saltwater inland. and nothing turns crop water into wasteland like salt. since they can't grow enough to survive as farmers magdy and his brothers all have second jobs. and they catch whatever they can from the sea and sky. >> this is how you put protein on the table in these parts of egypt. these nets are here to catch migrating quail. although they tell me they catch about 5% less than they used to in the old days. and their crops are threatened
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by rising seas. and this is sea wall. they buy a bundle for about 10 cents, stick it in the sand, let the wind create a dune and then they pray to allah. scientists say that the seas are going to rise. does that worry you? [ speaking foreign language ] >> you have god looking out for you. do you get any help from the government when it comes to protecting your crops? the coastal research institute is the egyptian agency in charge of these looming problems. what an interesting place to meet. >> yes. >> where the nile meet the med. >> yes. >> he's the director and when asked when the nile handles these threats, he points to the sea well-built by the chinese decades ago.
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and for the first time high tech equipment to monitor the changes. what worries you the most? >> that's why our institute installed a highly accurate observation system and starting to have it. >> so you have one up and running right now? >> one. >> with plans for two more. is that enough? >> not with our limited budget. >> the environment is a mural. you see in it the major features of a society, whether political, economic, whatever. it's just a mural, it only reflects the kind of society. >> and what do you feel when you look in that mirror? >> well, i'm seeing it needs a
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lot of cosmetics. there's cosmetics, there's a change. >> the situation just covers it over. >> so i think what we need is a major surgery. >> he believes that richer countries like believes that ri countries like the united states share the responsibility of protecting people here. >> we're not the one that raised the temperature. we're not the one that changed climate. you're the one that did that. and we have to suffer. we suffer most, and more. than other parts of the world. >> alexandria. >> yes. >> how much of that city do you think will be under water by the middle of this century? and how much can be saved? >> i think there is a part of the city which is endangered. and the city was in danger even before that. but alexandria is not going to go under the water. we have better technologies. the problem is not whether you have the technology or not, the
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problem is whether you can afford them or not, and can afford them at the right time. and here we need the help. here is one case of where we can see that people, the countries, that were closing the problem, they should come and help us in facing it. the consequences. that does mean that we're going to wait until you come. we have to work, we have to address the problem. >> right. >> and we will address the problem. but it is fair that we share the cost. >> the united states already gives more than $1 billion a year to egypt. most of it spent on weaponry. there was a time when america could have used that relationship to share climate science here. but times changed. the u.s. elected a science climate skeptic. and his very first call of
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congratulations came from president assisi. (engine roaring) ( ♪ ) ♪ i ♪ i will be king ♪ and you... drink, sir? ♪ you will be... no, thanks. (engine revving) i'm still driving. ♪ ...will drive them away ♪ ♪ we can be heroes... money managers are pretty much the same. all but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them. some advisers have hidden and layered fees. fisher investments never does. and while some advisers are happy to earn commissions from you whether you do well or not,
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♪ >> egyptian civilization has endured more than 5,000 years of conquests and challenges. they are survivors, and for most, this requires a hearty sense of humor and constant complaining. >> we have a nostalgia problem in the city. it really burdens the individual, that everything was better, even some might tell you two years ago it was better. but there was always this, you know, chronic illness to try and escape the present. and no one wants to be in the present. >> right. >> ali is one of egypt's leading intellectuals, an affectionate critic of his dysfunctional land. >> this has been a problem for 2,300 years. even in alexandria, they used to
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say we wish we could return 300 years earlier to the colonies and cleopatra. >> the good old days. >> the good old days. just not today. it's not a paradise in terms of, there is depression and all these issues that you see. the human rights issues, these are all real, that is true. but life goes on in the sense that people know how to make jokes. people know how to find happiness. it's actually a ruling where the romans prevented the egyptians from practicing law. now it's because egyptians made too many wisecracks in court. >> you're smart asss. >> all in history, too. >> humor is harder to come by these days. yousef's show was canceled and he fled to america. when president assisi head se wished he could get everyone
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spare change to help the government, this went viral. the man who made it was arrested and questioned. are you allowed to poke fun at the government? >> it's difficult to control all of it. the more influential against it. it's never really -- you just cannot control the whole alternate universe in egypt. it's just too widespread. >> and so they crack wise on the street. grumble between puffs of shisha. and they still have twitter. the megaphone of the revolution. and when this young man saw our cameras, he was eager to share an original song of protest. ♪ >> it was such a dramatic change
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after 2011. even though people supported the revolution or not. their sense of entitlement, their whole aspirations. >> it's been hard to find people who would speak out critically of this place. do you feel reprisal for talking? >> look, it's never easy. you have to reconsider the choices and so forth. but i've seen so much happen in the past five years. you know, one thing the revolution told you is never fear again. using some wisdom, of course. too much blood has been spilled. too much, you know, censureship has happened. and i want to see that sort of restoration or some kind of continuation on the journey by alternate means. >> back when this was a living, thriving city, egypt had a
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population of around 4 million. when these kids are my age, it will be 150 million. what will be lost by that? what will be found? and how much history are we and how much history are we doomed to repeat? -- captions by vitac -- i've always wanted to get as far away as possible from the place that i was born.


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