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tv   After Words with Melissa Fleming  CSPAN  February 19, 2017 12:00pm-12:52pm EST

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>> and the shape of the universe, this led to us looking at what geometry will be a clusters and spiral galaxies and place ourselves within this geometry. >> she is interviewed by michel gabaudan, president of refugees international. >> host: very good to be with
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you. as senior spokesperson for united nations high commissioner for refugees, you have made the remark by setting the start of refugees to short and actual comments. you've now decided to move from the short story which you're an expert to a long narrative. what prompted you to take this decision country great to see you again. i'm in charge of communication, and my job is actually to get people to understand what the people are fleeing for their lives. and not just understand by putting out facts. there's this saying don't like statistics are human beings with the tears dried off. i really believe that. you just tell people about the poor masses fleeing. you might even evoke fear. you definitely dealt evoke the sympathy you'd like. individual stories on the other hand, have a lot of power. i found this particular story to
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be so remarkable, almost every single refugee story is remarkable, but this one is quite remarkable. she and her story represent that millions of syrian refugees were on the run today. >> host: the book starts with life in syria, before the events. the modest family, della, the young lady has a modest life, full of hopes. what happens, she lives when helping start in syria. how did things develop to the point that they felt they had to leave? >> business 2011 and the arab spring is happening all around them and they're turning on the television, all kinds of average families in syria, living under an oppressive regime but they all have homes. they have livelihoods. they have healthcare. they're going to school am just going about their day-to-day life. his family particular was not
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politically active. they are caught up in this kind of excitement about, actually the other countries around us are changing, maybe things could change your. demonstrations are starting in the streets, and doaa who is been 16, is inspired to go out and see what is happening. she witnesses then the peaceful protesters are actually shot at and is quite transformed by this. this soon developed into a terrible spark that brings about a conflict that we all know. six years later we know about. her neighborhood starts becoming a war zone. people she knows are killed or going out -- for going out and expressing their opinions. others are jailed and there are stories of young women who are kidnapped and raped. and her father who owned a thriving barbershop, it turned
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out to be right in the middle of the war zone in the center of town. he showed up one day and was just completely destroyed. he tried to cut one last customers hair, and then a tank rolls my and that was the end. they just realized no livelihood anymore, danger everywhere they looked, and the girls are also in danger. so the family made the decision like so many others, we just can't stay here. we have to leave the country and across the border. in their case they went to egypt. >> host: these are difficult decisions to make. there's a moment which i think is quite impacting in your book when you're in the car and the father tells his family i want to take you out. and doaa says take me out, you kill my soul. he tells her know, if i take you out i save your soul. it's the conflict people have before deciding to leave. >> guest: you work for refugees. you know this and always ask, try to put myself in a refugees
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position. i think probably we don't realize what value there is in homes and community until it's just torn away from you. also the identity with your hometown, your country. doaa felt very, very linked to her country and as they drove over the borders she looked across her shoulder and felt that she saw her country behind her crying, and she just yearned for the day that she could go back and helped so much that this was just going to be temporary. >> host: i was also very impacted by the fathers decision to move them out because he feared for his girls in particular and the risk they would be of use. this is a story heard many times in jordan as sexual harassment, sexual violence became one factor deciding people to move out. quite a dramatic reason.
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>> guest: i think so. i think any father, one of the worst nightmares of course is the idea that someone would attack their daughter. this is a very, syria is a very proud, his family at this command is also very religious. and the honor of the women and the girls is extremely important. in those societies when there is war, of course that becomes a weapon of war and a very powerful weapon of war. you know you can destroy a family if you rape one of the family members, the female family members. it's a big threat that hovers above. it's a powerful, ugly, nasty tool. the threat of this was too much for dallas father and needed to protect his girls. his girls didn't want to leave, though in particular wanted to
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stay, felt very impassioned about fighting for a better syria, but she left, shoe 16, she didn't have a choice. they ended up in egypt. >> host: one thing is to make the decision to leave, the other one is to practically how do you leave perception is people flood neighboring countries. it's also easy to leave. indeed money, they didn't make it that easy out of the country. >> guest: no-no. certainly the government didn't want to see or make it easy for people to the. very often you have to pay bribes. many people resorted to smugglers to find different ways out. when doaa at her family left it was too early on in the war and it was relatively easy to leave. now it's almost impossible to get out of the country. neighboring countries feel like
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with almost 5,000,000 refugees they have taken in so many, they have security. legitimate security fears, but it's very, very difficult, if not impossible to cross those same voters that doaa crossed in 2012, today, sixers into the war. >> host: eventually they leave. they make it to jordan and decide to go to egypt, and there they will stay for about three years. life as a refugee goes through three distinct phases. can you comment on the changes that occurred? >> guest: i wanted to use this as an example of egypt at the time was a very wealthy country. it was being led by mohammed morrissey who is muslim brotherhood, helped link for certain refugees who felt forced to flee the syrian opposition and welcomed syrians with open arms. they really felt this welcome.
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when they got off the ferry in egypt they were expected to attend this artificial expected that person be someone really menacing. instead it's like you are our brothers and sisters, you don't need to pay. pushing them to the line. they felt this one arrived at the town. they had some connection where they ended up on the coast near alexandria. not only the syrian refugee community that was already there a much welcomed them but so did the egyptian community and provided donations. so they felt very welcomed, but then things changed politically. there was a q and a new government came into power and the syrian refugees in the country where associate with the previous regime. there were statements made and the people who use to not as well at them when you walk down in the afternoon along the coast, started giving them averting their eyes, giving them
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cold stares. it felt hostile, department or it wasn't only difficult because they had very little money, but they no longer felt it was a safe place. >> host: points to a lesson that is broader, political leadership just conditions of public opinion and determines obit how the public will react to refugees. the change in the middle was quite dramatic. >> guest: completely. we see this all around the world. we have an interest refugee convention and the countries that signed up for it are actually obliged. refugees have a right to seek asylum in countries, and those countries are obliged to take them and under international law. that doesn't mean it necessarily happens that way. there are countries like egypt and many of the countries in the neighboring areas who didn't sign but were very generous and adhere to it. but it does very often
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unfortunately, human beings who are vulnerable, who are in need, who have lost everything often become targets, exploited for political campaigning. people are afraid of the foreigner, the masses. using them can generate easy vote. unfortunately we see this happening, even though it's the wrong thing to do. in many cases it's incorrect under international law. >> host: i agree. that brings up of course the difficulties to confront the second decision. do we stay? don't we stay in egypt? in the meantime, doaa found her fiancé. some of the misery of life was sort of light and by what every young lady would aspire to. they come to make this very difficult decision, the second choice of we move, we don't move. they found it was not in
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complete agreement. how did a process that? >> guest: there's a big above story in a book and i think that's one of the things in the refugee experience about all we see is about when you are stripped of everything, the most important thing is love. it's the love of the family, the people. this love story that takes place in egypt, bella falls in love. she resist him for a long time but finally he wins are over and convinces her that this is no life. they were living a grueling existence. she wasn't going to school. she was having to work. she had health problems. he was working in a coal factory. he was working in a barbershop. and then they were getting facebook post from friends of theirs who were in europe, you know, posing next to a bridge in amsterdam saying i'm going to this university, or on the streets of munich.
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it seems like in a way not just a dream. it seemed like he could be a possible reality that there could be a place that would not just peaceful for them, when they could escape the war but where they would be welcomed and where they could actually restart their lives. unfortunately, the smugglers who are notorious, evil businessmen, are exploiting the dreams of many young people and telling them and advertising these safe and beautiful almost like cruise boats that will take you to hear up where you can start your new life. they kindly bet and convinced doaa to give up their life savings and put their lives in the hands of these smugglers and make their way across the mediterranean. >> host: and there we saw the most haunting pages in her novel. if you are tried to write the
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tragic novel, would not have gotten anywhere close to where your history brings us. the movement with his mother of course is dramatic and then what happens at the is also horrendous. you dwell quite a long time on that. in one sense i had, while they were in serious even as things were horrible they were actually saying we fight with protest something but when you're in the hands of smugglers, there's nothing else that transpires from the whole two chapters in your book that tell about their attempts to reach europe. >> guest: they were lost completely. they were when they finally made onto this boat, and doaa has this mortal fear of the water. at age six shed this near drowning experience and vowed never to go near the water. she never learned to swim. the love of her husband was released on and he convinced her and they end up on this book. they didn't believe it would be a beautiful cruiseship but they
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did not imagine in the wildest dreams that would be as decrepit and rusty and crowded as it was. there were 500 refugees on that boat and 100 were children. they were just crammed shoulder to shoulder, the defeat. likely they got a seat above deck and they were four days on this water come on this boat. it was nasty, the conditions. people getting sick and children crying and really not being treated well. but b the body and that therefoe they felt felt like they were making progress. they asked the captain how much longer until we reach italy? and the captain said, 17 hours and you will be in italy. they all started singing. there was a lot of solidarity of the boat. they were in the same boat. they were in the same boat but they're going to a better place.
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they held out because they knew, they just needed to suffer for a little while longer and then their life would be better. >> host: and then, of course, the boat is being ran down by pirates and the whole dream breaks in basically minutes and then we have these really haunting scenes of people are drawn one by one and those of the five how they tried to help each other but varies strengths. she spends four days at sea. >> guest: we will never know why these evil men approached them and another boat yelling, let the fish eat your flesh. let the fish eat your flesh, hurling blocks and pieces of what is in and intentionally ramming the sides of doaa's boat so the whole -- a whole sprung in the boat and a start sink. people below deck remedially
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doomed. they slide into the water and she, running, she saw children in canada in the propeller. and luckily luckily found this child followed him in, the kind we have for our toddlers in swimming pools and calm seas. so she climbs on this floating ring. her arms and legs dangling over the site and he treads water next to her. initially there only about 100 survivors, and by the second day more and more people are drowning. they are even seeing men intentionally taking off their life vests sinking into the sea because it wasn't that they were drowning but that they lost all the family members and they couldn't take it. and she kept, there's this dialogue back and forth and she sees in becoming weaker and weaker and a grandfather comes up to her and approaches her with a little teeny paper who is
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only seven months old on her come on his shoulder -- baby and he says to doaa and basam, take this child, i have lost 27 members of my family. they fled gaza. and i'm not going to survive and i am entrusting this tiny little baby to you. doaa takes the child on her breast and on her heart, and soon after basam starts getting weaker and weaker, and she had to watch as the love of her life drowned before her eyes. she probably, she said this to me, what if given up herself and she wanted to drown, go with him, but for the baby. and then there was another child. another child, and mother, this was on day three. she had met this child on the boat and the family, you know, had some interactions with her. so the mother gave the baby to
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do it and she just lost her older sister, and she and her husband were also on the verge of death and handed over the 18 -month-old baby to go and asked her to do what she could to help her survive. and doaa did everything she could. she saying to them. she recited words to them from the quran. they had no food and no water and they were freezing at night and she did just everything she could to give them strength and warmth and to keep her will to carry on. four days and four nights and only 11 survivors left when she finally saw an airplane in the sky and got hope again. and then a merchant vessel as we've seen in many occasions in the mediterranean sea, it's not necessarily search and rescue.
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nobody is searching for these people, nobody. nobody was searching because but a merchant also got an alarm. that plane had seen them and came and actually were almost giving up because they saw only corpses around, and heard this woman's voice crying in the distance and searched for two hours and finally found her and pulled doaa and the others up into the boat, and doaa. unfortunately the little one died. >> host: its remarkable piece merchant ships are not trained to do that who have constraints of money and time schedules to go to rescue these people. >> guest: they are heroes. >> host: unsung heroes come as a makeup for the cynicism of all these murderers who pretend to be sailors and basically betray refugees. >> guest: exactly, exactly. i talked to the, was in touch
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with the captain and one of the rescuers and he said he just got the radio, they were a chemical tanker. they were just going to gibraltar and they said you have to go to this location. there's been a ship wreck. they didn't hesitate. when they got another merchant vessel had already been there and radio to them and said give up. there are only corpses there. the captain said i can't give up. up. i need to make sure for myself there are no survivors. there was a storm brewing, the weights are coming, it was getting dark and he sent his men on a lifeboat into the sea and put searchlights out. as soon as they heard that voice therthey were not going to give. they are absolute true heroes, the unrecognized heroes. >> host: many, many years ago you got the highest award.
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people were sinking on the way to australia and i think he was surprised in the name of all the captains who forget about their immediate responsibilities to save people. remarkable. >> guest: remarkable. all of the need to be recognized. >> host: so that brings doaa finally in reach. she is a drop in crete and before we go to the rest of her story i would like to discuss a few points that came on and on in her story. first, many times you raised how she fought with what her identity, and you did mention something i'd never thought about before. your identity is rooted in your work and your identity and the place where you live. when you lose all that overnight you have to find a little bit, i think she finds it back when she saves the baby. it's when she gets back a sense of who she is a little bit. the face, how it supported her. i was wondering, people in europe, they come when we know
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that they cannot buy a plane ticket that would cost a fraction of what they had to pay the smugglers. they had to put the celts enhance the smugglers, and they keep on doing it and to keep on doing it today despite everything. what is that bring us to the future of his people? >> guest: because there are no alternatives given. i think that syria situation is a really good one to look at. we are in a situation you know where we have over 60 million forcibly displaced people in the world today. that's a great summer since world war ii. so we have massive numbers of people in need. most of those people are in the neighboring countries around the conflict. mostly the richer world likes it that way. stay there, and then they provide only the bare minimums of assistance and support, almost as if these people, all
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they need is food and shelter, but be on that they are not really, they don't look at the human spirit. human beings need to nurture their minds. they need to think about a future. all of us do. we do want to be stuck in limbo in a tent or a dilapidated apartment four years while the war that drove, that they had nothing to do with, drove me from my home. and the world has not found a way to stop, is raging on. and there's been far too little investment in refugees. it's not right from a human rights perspective but i think it's also stupid, frankly, because, for example, in the syria situation young people like doaa, many others, only 50% of the children are in school. these children want to go to school, but they are also come,s not just be wanted and they should be in school.
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these children are the future of syria. these children are the future of comp is syria going to be a peaceful place? either going to be the engineers, the architects, the politicians, the mayors? or are they going to be the people who will perpetuate the cycle of violence? i simply don't understand why the international community does not invest more. so the people then feel like i have no other choice. they are driven to risk their lives one more time because they think places like europe will offer them an education, will offer them a chance to rebuild their life and, in fact, many of them do. >> host: how true. we should move from this concept that refugees should get our charity, this investment into the world. a few years ago, a few months
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ago you gave a party strong pep talk where you did say that we must have refugees not survive but thrive. i think this is where what you meant. >> guest: they shouldn't just be languishing in refugee camps waiting for the day that they can return home. in some of these camps, what we call attracted situations. the average time can be 17 years where they are stuck there. so why wouldn't we be investing in a population that represents the future of a very troubled country and region that actually the world cares about in other ways? ararsenic diplomats and often armies and other forms of intervention, and yet taking it's okay that refugees are just kind of part human being. i think it lacks foresight. >> host: of course a huge
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movement in europe which became visible when this little baby died on the beach. before that everybody ignored it. though it has been welcome at the beginning has been very quickly turned into this whole notion that refugees are an economic burden. they might be a security threat. there is a tendency for easily to ignore some of the rational approach we should have behind this fairly negative and unjustified, unproved explanation, isn't there? >> guest: oh, yeah. i welcome in europe was something absolutely wonderful but i think everybody realize this is not going to be long-lasting. one of the biggest problems is that europe didn't manage a large number of people coming in well. and when people, populations like things are out of control they become afraid and then you have politicians are exploiting
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these fears and distorting the narrative about why and who was coming. so instead of these being refugees from syria and iraq, but dirt of whom are women and children, which is true, they were economic migrants coming to steal our jobs, men who were cowards who were not fighting back home, and the list goes on. it was absolutely shocking actually see how irresponsible it was but then it became, it started in hungry and desperate all across europe. and without walls started coming up and i kind of darkness fell in terms of compassion lost out over fear. >> host: we have heard of course some of the same language being used in the united states, a country that had been a spearhead of humanitarian work
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of resettlement and then open arms for refugees. i hope what we are living as a very temporary moment and that we will be able to recover some of the u.s. light on this issue. it's not like, there's not much left in the world. >> guest: it's too and you know this from refugees international, your organization. the u.s. was always kind of the beacon for refugee protection, always the biggest donor. but also took in a fair share of refugees through unhcr and resettlement programs and found that refugees were enriching the fabric of american society. when you come as a refugee, reset a refugee, you are pretty much a given a little stipend and your kind of on your own. wonderful volunteers from the community help people get on the feed, find jobs, learn the
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language. the system has been working over the years very well. and any threat to build on the fears of people to shut that down would be a tremendous shame. >> host: what doaa has gone through, which is this change of mood among the population over the years we've seen the same in turkey, the same in jordan and lebanon. every country that admits huge number of refugees at one point do have a problem. sometimes i show maps with refugee concentration when you want to argue resettlement. when you look at refugees around the world, it does not appear on that map, because the numbers we take -- >> guest: and yet the media would have you believe and the leaders that all the refugees are coming to europe or the united states. that's not the case. what's true is most of the refugees are in countries like jordan and turkey and lebanon and kenya.
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these countries are not being supported enough. if they are expected to have the same infrastructures in their communities and water systems, schools, hospitals. and without much support. the organizations that work to help refugees like yours and like mine are constantly underfunded. that's just, frankly, it's not right. >> host: do you think by taking so few refugees, by not offering more resettlement, i'm talking about the european countries as much as i talk about the u.s., that we do make the game, we do maintain a criminal industry because the only is about finding no future in these countries. >> guest: it is an away. i think the people smuggling
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business has become one of the biggest gangster, high profit markets in the world. the only way to shut it down, law enforcement has not been very successful although there have been some good attempts and have been some arrests in countries, but, frankly, is still a thriving business. it is exploiting people for high profits and it's also killing people. the numbers of people who died in the mediterranean c last year were 4000 people. we probably know only a very few of their names. many of them we may not even know about. the numbers might be much, much higher. those smugglers are responsible for those deaths. they put them on overcrowded rickety boats and earned a fortune on their souls. there's no justice and, frankly, if people are not given an
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alternative, it's going to go on. >> host: of course window left that was in 2014, the trips are mostly through egypt and libya at the long trip towards italy. in 2015 smugglers move the route from turkey to greece come a much shorter trip. there were people still die nessie but less. afteat the europeans close completely that path, they are back now in moving towards egypt and libya, and the numbers reaching europe have gone down, the number of people dying has gone up. we are far from addressing the humanitarian drama in this region. >> guest: closing borders does not solve the problem. stopping wars solves the problem. >> host: increase i met in one of the camps -- in greece -- a lot of pathetic scams which will be sent back to syria or turkey or afghanistan.
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then i find a cute young men totally unconcerned. when it asked them aren't you worried with what is happening? no, we will find a way to get out of there. so for those who can still muster funding, the smugglers, despite all the barriers that europe has put in, the smugglers are always looking at alternatives. >> guest: they are. they absolutely are. there are many who are stuck in greece who are penniless and are very despairing at what's next. >> host: doaa worked well in that she was eventually, she managed, because she, describe what is happened to her. her family is getting threats in egypt. >> guest: yes. she gave a few news interviews because you can imagine the media attention when the press a learned that there was this rescue, and there was a young
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19-year-old woman and a small 18 month old baby who spent four days on the water and manage to survive when 500 others had died. the little girl was taken to the pediatric hospital on crete and the doctors who i spoken to, they thought she was on the edge of death. she is echoing to pull through. if she does maybe brain-damaged, but i can tell you if there is one place you would want to be if you're in that kind of condition, it would be crete because those wonderful doctors and nurses, they not only had fantastic medical care but they showered her with love and they were hugging her and singing to her all the time. that little girl pulled through, and the entire population of greece i think wanted to a doctor. and meanwhile, doaa is recovery in another hospital, and she's getting messages from all over.
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doaa, do you know what happened to my sister, brother? doaa, my father was on that boat. did you see him? do you know what his fate was? then there was this message that came in from the little girl, the little babies uncle and is a doaa, i think you saved my niece and the attached a photograph of her. the uncles had made it a year before with her older sister to sweden, same route, and his family was following. so there was dna tests, court cases but eventually he was able to take her to sweden and now she's living there with him. and doaa, the press attention to her, made its way to egypt. and those smugglers started showing up at her mother store and saying, i know the names of her daughter, and threatening,
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tell doaa to stop talking. it was very menacing and very scary. the daughters, the senses were afraid to go to school anymore. unhcr, when refugees are vulnerable, unhcr has its mechanism called resettlement. we were able to make the case, doaa was obviously in need, she wanted to still go to sweden as you want to be reunified with the family, for january this time last year she boarded a plane from crete and her family from cairo, and it ended up reuniting together in a small home in snowy northern sweden where they have found peace. they are learning swedish. the kids are going to school and they have restarted their lives. >> host: it's a story that ends up well. how did dell italia the story? she went to such a roller coaster of emotions with hope and a complete loss never be
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hope, and then hope. it would up and down during this time. why she willingly telling this story? >> guest: she was willing to a certain extent, but then she's obviously very, very traumatized and sad. when i told her, first i told a story on ted's page as you saw reaction to that and then i told her that there was interest and is becoming a book. she's very modest. she is very and she doesn't consider herself a hero. on the other hand, i think her mother really helped convince her. i said this is a story that needs to be told because you are a hero, but put that aside. because it will help the people of syria. it will help people who don't understand why this awful war has caused so many people to run for the lights and give up
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everything. what a life it's like, a struggle as a refugee, what compels people to take the dangerous seas and risk their lives again to reach the shores of europe. and i think the world needs an individual story that is so powerful like yours to understand better who are the syrian people who need our help right now. >> host: she will not tell people to come to europe. >> guest: she also won again to about others to give them a warning, do not take this journey. do not. it's not worth it. it's a gamble with your life. >> host: people think refugees leave and they want a good life in europe. do you think dole will one day go back to syria if some sort of peace comes to that beleaguered country? >> guest: yes. and she would love to become a lawyer, someone who fights for justice.
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she's very tight to syria but, in fact, i've never met a refugee who has been calculus that i don't want to go home. all refugees want to go home. maybe they don't want to go home, they want to go home if it's safe, if they can rebuild their lives. you want to go home if they can contribute and we should be giving them the chance that we should be giving them the opportunity to live in peace while the war is raging and the opportunity to continue their education, to work. every refugee wants to work. they don't want handouts. they want to support their families, to contribute to their new societies. maybe they want to stay there most refugees really do want to go home. and so does tell her. she is very, very tied to her country. >> host: that's a lovely ending to an extremely compelling book i must say, andy reid that is hard sometimes but
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that brings a sense that if we knew but who are we could do much more. i want to come a little bit to some of the future. the whole syrian cry, initiatives latch on the national scene. there is a commitment now to prepare the refugee compact agreement between countries for 2018. 2018 is tomorrow almost. what we are seeing from countries right now, either in europe, here, kenya who wants to send people back. pakistan has started doing the same. do we have among the courage of this world do you think the determination to really try to get the refugee compact which will change and pe improve the y we are treating refugees right now? what helps the you have on this effort? we all contribute to it of course but what we're seeing today in reality in the field is not extremely positive.
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>> guest: i do think that there is a realization that the system as it is now is not really working. people are suffering. there needs to be, not to rewrite the basis of the refugee convention but to build on the weaknesses that we saw particularly in a very dramatic last year with the europe refugee crisis. in the numbers of people forcibly displaced like we haven't seen before. so i do think that there are many people, and people in positions of power, who do want to see a better system, who do want to see my refugees protected, do want to see more investments pics i'm really hopeful that this will go forward. also i would just like to say sometimes we listen to the loudest voices and the voices of
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fear and hate. i think there are, and if we look at some polling that is granular in communities, there are large portions of the american society, the european society that believe in the principle of helping people in need, in particular people fleeing conflict, violence, war. and that their country should do their part to contribute. and we are seeing more and more individuals doing their part. i mean, if you look at canada which is a wonderful example, sometimes we just need the system and then the people do the work. i have a system that's called foster ship. it's so popular that they are basically if you're an individual or community and you want to sponsor a refugee or a refugee family somewhere else, you had to come up with a certain amount of money and commit to help the family for one year.
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there are so many canadians who signed up for this and you're doing it and if not only said they signed this, it's so satisfying because they're helping, but also because it's enriched their own life. i think we should hold up these examples where people are being compassionate. communities are being compassionate. governments are doing the right thing, and show the value of making a contribution this way. >> host: and your book will certainly help in showing that true faith of refugees and not the sort of fear some type of person that is being presented. i cannot resist the question, you are now the senior advisor to the new secondary general, the u.n. secretary-general, the former high u.n. commissioner,, both someone you and i respect tremendously. he has been nominated for the most transparent process ever in the u.n. whereby the best
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candidate may be to the final line, yes, and he was by far the best candidate. that is i think good news for the u.n. it brings a lot of the -- breaks a lot of the negative perception of unit was suffering before. it creates a tremendous level of expectation on this new secretary-general. how do you look at that that in particular how it might affect the follow-up of all these events that took place last year about refugees? >> guest: the general assembly chose a man who has very strong values. and i think the world is hungry for leaders with strong values and who want to represent the people who need us in the world. in the best possible way. a tireless advocate for people in need, not just refugees but
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huge numbers of people living in poverty and suffering from the effects of climate change, and he will fight for them. and i think he is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world, but i do think right now there is a movement in the world people are looking for this kind of leadership that they think is based on principles and values, that is based on making the world a better place for humanity. and in a world where everything is interconnected and every person matters. >> host: well, i think you are not associated through tremendous adventure and this is tremendous, and i wish you very well in this new position. we have sometimes i want to touch on some of the issues that you raise. the whole question of education has come up repeatedly about syria.
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about the lost generation of children, et cetera, and yet i don't know how many children are being schooled now. >> guest: is still only about 50%. it's gotten better. i remember a time when it was only 20% in lebanon. there have been lots of efforts and it is complicated. but education i think should be everywhere. it should be one of the biggest investments the world makes. these are our children, our future. but for refugee children the education also can help relieve trauma. you can't imagine what some of these small human beings have seen and witnessed and gone through. their families at home are also traumatized. so to have an institution where they can heal and then can also learn and grow is just so crucially important. and again, it's in our own
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self-interest because we have, you know, the next leaders of the country once the war stops, we are hoping when this syria war stops that unhcr and our partners will be doing the things i would love to do most, that is to help people return home. and help people reconstruct and rebuild. we should be giving them the tools right now. >> host: a few months ago when i was in greece i also met an afghan family, this young girl 13, 14 that event on the road for nine months. not into school for four years and yet she interpreted for her family for me. not bad english, you know. and i asked her how did you learn that? everybody has a cell phone now, the nine months on the road we google dictionary and that's how this little girl was trying to educate herself. and i thought with our children
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have to do their homework and we see all this appetite for study. >> guest: how many times have i got home and had been in a refugee situation and i met all these children saying i just want to go to school, anthony coto nac, in conversation with my son and like i don't want to do this homework, and do i have to go tomorrow? it's very difficult to let them, get them to appreciate how amazing it is that they are actually in this privileged situation where they can attend school. it should be something that is not even debatable. it should just be a given right that every child should be in school. but, unfortunately, refugee children i think of probably the most ambitious children ever. they see the value. >> host: when you've lost everything. >> guest: i have an example of, i ask refugees very often when i meet them, what did you
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take when the bombs were falling outside and your mother or father said we are going now and this one refugee who i met in lebanon anybody can't, i asked him what did you take? his eyes lit up and he looked at me and he said i took my high school diploma. he went off and he retreated. it was wrapped in silk and he did it and he proudly showed it to me. this was the one thing he picked to take when he fled. he said do know why? because this is my future. and happily he is now in canada and is going to the university of toronto. there are some very good stories. >> host: well, i must really thank you for having written this book. i read it in one day so it's a compelling read. as i said before, it's quite harrowing at times. it's hard to go through some of the passages.
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i must say we wish dell of course the best of the future and the best possible future given hardships she is gone too. i wish you and your new function all the success in this new era where the u.n. will hopefully model into much more compelling ways in allocating the state of refugees. so thank you very much for having spent this time. >> guest: thank you very much, and also to you, and your organization, refugees international which is doing essential, important lifesaving work for refugees around the world, and been a partner of unhcr. >> host: thank you very much. >> guest: also, i wanted to add the proceeds from this book are going to be going for refugees. >> host: that's lovely and help everybody on earth will read it then. >> guest: thank you very much. >> host: it's been a real pleasure.


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