tv Focus on Europe PBS July 20, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
damien: hello and welcome to "focus on europe" with a look at some of the most interesting personal stories behind the big headlines. i'm damien mcguinness. thanks very much for joining us. and we've got some really great stories lined up for you today: the srebrenica massacre and the trauma of the dutch soldiers who couldn't prevent it. portugal -- austerity poster child or ticking economic time bomb? and the british bobby whose beat is paradise. this week europe is
commemorating the 20th anniversary of the worst massacre on european soil since world war ii. in july 1995 8,000 muslim men and boys from the town of srebrenica were gunned down by bosnian serb forces, two decades on, the mothers, wives and daughters of those mudered men and boys are still dealing with the atrocity. many are still looking for the remains of their relatives. but equally traumatised are many of the dutch soldiers who at the time failed to prevent the slaughter something for which , the soldiers still can't forgive themselves. reporter: derk zwaan knows these images by heart, but they still make him uneasy. they were taken in srebrenica in 1995. zwaan is one of the dutch soldiers who failed to prevent the massacre by serbs of bosnian muslims. the victims were thousands of refugees who had sought sanctuary in the dutch un peacekeepers quarters. it was something zwaan will never come to terms with.
zwaan: people on the compound committed suicide, first they threw the children off the building and then jumped after them because they didn't want to get into the hands of the serbs. so you're just looking around then you get a baby in your hands, wounded, and you see people jumping and hanging. it was -- you can never forget it. never. reporter: paul boomsma wants to lead a normal life but srebrenica still haunts him. boomsma: not a day goes by that i don't think about it. yeah, every day. not in a bad way but just a little of memory of something i saw or heard or whatever.
i don't have any problems with it personally. i can cope with it quite well, luckily. reporter: he comes here, trying to forget. paul boomsma and his family live in a rural setting. he doesn't reproach himself. he and his 300 comrades did what they could, they were not guilty of anything. boomsma: we didn't stand a chance against thirty or forty thousand serbs. but yeah just like i said the media made a spectacle about it, about us. >> how did they call you?
boomsma: well, some, cowards. yeah, mostly cowards. reporter: derk zwaan spends most of his time at home, pouring over information he's collected. he has filed a lawsuit against the dutch authorities. he was just 18 when he was sent to bosnia. now he wants an official apology. zwaan: there was no psychologist to ask how things were going with you, like what did you see? do you think about it? do you dream about it? do you use alcohol or drugs to stop you from thinking about it? never, nobody asked us. reporter: almost all the un peacekeeping troops who were in srebrenica at the time were traumatised , many committed suicide. derk zwaan underwent psycotherapy for nine years but it didn't really help and he is dependent on medication. zwaan confronts himself with bosnia. he travels there regularly, if
possible once a year. back to the places where the serbs attacked the un camp. he talks to musilim survivors. he first ventured back five years after the srebrenica massacre. and he was surprised. zwaan: i crossed the border from croatia to bosnia in the car and i thought they were going to throw rocks at my car because of the dutch license plate. it was a total shock for me that the first muslim man abdullah palakovic came to me, gave me a hug and said to me "you're my friend." after that it was my second country. yes. it's my second country. so i live in the netherlands but i'm always thinking about bosnia. reporter: paul boomsma doesn't want to return to bosnia and the memories it brings back. he wants to live in the present.
boomsma: a huge change in my life, a positive change. reporter becoming a father gave : his life a new perspective. his wife knows that he is traumatised by what he saw in srebrenica and tries to help. diana: keep positive, do happy things, try to make him happy. >> is it easy? diana no. :reporter: derk zwaan doesn't laugh much these days. he avoids crowds, prefers his own company. zwaan: it was a terrible situation. it was hell on earth, really. and you could do nothing, your hands were tied and you just had to watch.
reporter: some dutch war veterans seek peace of mind by returning to bosnia, others try to build up normal lives in the netherlands. but the trauma they have endured for twenty years remains. damien: greece's debt crisis is dominating the front pages here in europe. that's because it risks becoming a crisis for the whole continent. greece owes other eurozone governments hundreds of billions of euros, a debt that athens wants partly written off. but all the other eurozone governments say a deal can only be reached in return for economic reform so that their taxpayers know they're not throwing good money after bad. the problem is that both sides mean very different things by the word "reform" ... but without a deal, very soon indeed, greece's economy will collapse. which would be disastrous for ordinary greeks, who are feeling desperate.
reporter: two generations of the paliakis family have sold meat of all kinds in athens. pavlos paliakis shows up early in the morning to pick up the choicest cuts from his brother. now, they're worried. seventy percent of the beef and pork consumed in greece comes from other eu countries. if the liquidity crisis drags on, the paliakis won't be able to pay their suppliers.introducl collapse, and we won't be able to import anything, not even meat. reporter: on sunday, pavlos voted yes for the austerity policies the eu is demanding. now he's worried that the majority no-vote will end up leading to greece's exit from the euro. pavlos: i don't want greece to leave the euro. then all the austerity measures up to now will have been for nothing, at all. reporter: the paliakis family
have made a lot of investments - - in this gyros and souvlaki shop, for example. they hope it'll be immune to the crisis. pavlos: even if the taxes keep rising and eating up all the profits, we go on the assumption that the customers will have enough cash left to afford a souvlaki. reporter now, if the grexit : becomes a reality, pavlos says the no-voters in the referendum will be to blame. ioanna kapatou opposes the austerity policies demanded by the eu. like many young greeks, she voted no. ioanna: no doesn't mean, you know, that we want to be bankrupt, or we want to exit the eu or anything like that. it's because we want to support the choice we made in the elections five months ago. it's because, you know, we want to see through our government and, you know, what we voted for. reporter in january, ioanna : expressed the same hope and optimism that prompted many greeks to vote for alexis tsipras left-wing syriza party in the parliamentary elections.
but things haven't gotten any better. on the contrary -- the supply on tituation has only deteriora. ioanna: i took my car out, and i went to get some gas, and there was like a twenty-minute line there. and, you know, it's scary, because the last time we saw, you know, phenomena like this was during world war two and right after it. and my grandparents saw it, not me. reporter author and essayist : nikos dimou has been analyzing the greek nation's troubles for years. he was not surprised by the results of the referendum - - especially among young voters. dimou: people voted yes or no based purely on feelings. the ones who're anxious about the future voted yes; the ones who aren't afraid voted no. and the young people are less worried than the older ones -
- that's obvious. reporter: he believes the majority of the no-voters failed to consider the consequences adequately. it's a dilemma. dimou: i asked them, ok, you voted no -- what comes next? there was just silence because nobody knew what would come next. reporter now, ioanna kapatou is : getting worried. negotiations with creditors have broken down, the lines at the banks are growing, and the greek economy is edging toward collapse. ioanna: in january, i knew that there would be a worse time to come, ok? i didn't know it would be under this sort of form and everything. but, you know, everyone knew that this wasn't the bottom - - there was still a lot more, you know, to go through. so i did expect, you know, that we would have a lot more of, you know, the crisis in our country; i just didn't know it would be in this shape and form.
reporter the tsipras government : is caught between creditors' and voters' expections. pavlos paliakis, too, had high hopes that the new government would get things under control. pavlos: during their election campaign, they said they'd repeal the tax increases from the past few years. so, of course, lots of people voted for alexis tsipras and syriza. of course they would! they were hoping that, after all the years of extreme budget cuts, everything would change. reporter: six months after the elections, alexis tsipras won the referendum with much of the same promises and tactics. dimou: tsipras came and said, "i will liberate you from the austerity measures." it's clear -- everybody would rather live high and not cut costs. but who's going to pay for it?"
reporter it's greece's younger : generation who have the most to lose. pavlos paliakis can only hope that, even in the thick of the crisis, people will still be hungry for his souvlaki. damien: events in greece are also being watched anxiously in portugal, which like greece also had to be bailed out by international lenders four years ago. since then portugal's economy has started growing again but with high debts and rising unemployment portugal is still one of the most vulnerable economies in europe. reporter: life in lisbon moves at a slower pace and the atmosphere is a lot more tranquil than in some other european capitals. the portuguese don't usually make a lot of noise about anything and that also applies to the euro crisis. the economy is staring to grow again, especally in the tourism industry. a symbol of this are the huge numbers of motorcycle taxis on the streets of lisbon. companies often run by jobless people who have found a niche market.
joao: the economic upswing we're enjoying at the moment in portugal is mainly thanks to tourism. reporter: tubal's small business is in downtown lisbon. he follows the news on greece with mixed feelings, after all the portuguese have also made considerable sacrifices. and he,too would prefer to find a job in his proper line of work. tubal: sure i feel sorry for the greek people but you must abide by the rules. if you borrow money you must pay it back. reporter the portuguese : government introduced a harsh austerity programm, cutting 30 thousand jobs in the public sector, reducing pensions and raising the sales tax. the repeated protests at the measures were in vain. now the average standar of living in portugal is lower than in greece.
a lot of elderly people are particularly angry at the cuts. they say they are paying the price for the economic upswing and strongly support the greek government. >> they are really doing something for the people. portugal is on the sidelines. >> here they cut our pensions and raised the sales tax but the greek government is protesting. reporter: a central food bank in lisbon. there are a large number of soup kitchens in portugal. they help stave off the worst for the one million elderly who have less than 270 euros a month to live on. without the help, they'd be lost.
isabel: things have improved slightly but it remains very difficult for the elderly. reporter: food is distributed in residential districts, an everyday occurrence in a nation in crisis. half a million people receive help from the food bank in the capital alone. without this aid they would go hungry. >> things are bad. my son is ill. we only have 300 euros a month. we couldn't survive without donations. reporter the people here say the : greeks need help but what do they have to give? portugal is a divided nation hovering between large scale poverty andcautious economic
growth. it often receives praise from berlin and brussels for its austerity measures but the people here are paying a high price. and because this is portugal, they don't make a fuss about it. damien: it's a controversial issue that -- whether austerity cures a struggling economy or kills it. calvin in canada has tweeted to me saying that "greece should keep up the pressure to get more help from europe." do you agree? let me know what you think by getting in touch on twitter. but now to albania - where a new law has just been passed allowing victims of the country's former communist secret police to see their own files. like many countries in eastern europe, before independence in 1991, albania had a huge network of unofficial spies, who informed on their friends,
neighbours and even family. it was a brutal regime, which deported, or even killed, oppositional figures. now families of those victims hope that opening up the files will help answer some very painful questions. reporter: artist arben theodhosi has his studio in this courtyard. it's small and dark, but he says it's all he can afford. rents are high in the albanian capital, tirana. yet his father was once a high-ranking member of the communist party and a member of the politburo. but in 1975 albanian dictator enver hoxha had him arrested and executed him two years later. no one knows what happened to his body. theodhosi, who also goes by the name ben, was 22 years old at the time and was studying painting. he was incarcerated -- for 15 years, spending most of that time doing forced labour in a mine.
theodhosi: it gave me a lot of opportunity to think about the albanian saying: mankind's greatest enemy is not hunger or disease, but mankind itself. reporter: still, the artist isn't bitter. painting has helped him overcome the dark years of albania's repressive communist past. theodhosi: i keep asking myself: was this dictatorship madness or a system? we'll have to uncover that piece by piece. but i don't harbour any resentment. my mother and father were both part of that system -- my own family!
and they were devoured by it. whom should i denounce for that? why should i hold others responsible? why shouldn't i look to myself for answers? i think it's quite difficult. reporter: the file on his family is missing and is likely in the archives of the sigurimi, albania's former secret police. all theodhosi has left of his father are a few old photos. but now that the albanian parliament has voted to open up the sigurimi files, he's hoping to find some answers -- after waiting 25 years. still, critics say that albania needs to do more to really deal with its past. former members of the secret police and communist officials still hold high-ranking posts. hoxha: even twenty years on, we still have people from the old regime. the politicians charged with opening up the files have the same mentality. the morality's the same today as it was back then -- there's no difference.
reporter: it's estimated that one in five albanians collaborated with the secret police during the communist era. many went on to hold plum posts in the new albania. the mistrust created even divides families. >> shouldn't we just look to the future? in the past, you only find problems and old wounds. don't open them up! >> it won't do anything for albania. >> yes, it will advance things. >> half the files are gone anyway. we're talking about poor old folks who already have one foot in the grave! reporter but historian nevila : nika says that even if many of the files have been destroyed, people have a right to discover the truth. she ran the albanian state archive for years.
nika: in a country that suffered so much it was really quite difficult. i, too, would have preferred that the law had come into effect much earlier. but better late than never. reporter: the sigurimi casts a long shadow to this day. albania's secret police worked in this building, called the "house of leaves" as it was covered in vines. now it's falling apart. some want to make it into a memorial. theodhosi thinks that's crazy. theodhosi: for us that building was a vile place. i don't want to go anywhere near it! reporter but he does want to : find out what really happened to his father. to shed some light on the darkest chapter of his life.
damien: finally to britain or more precisely to the rather brilliantly named scilly isles - - a group of tiny islands just off the south west tip of england. there is sun, and with just a few thousand inhabitants, there is peace and quiet - but what there isn't: is crime.the islands are so small that it seems thieves think they wouldn't get very far - so local people just leave their front doors unlocked. all of which makes thingsvery relaxed for those with one particular job. reporter: sergeant colin taylor walks to the station - and right into the day's first crime: a case of wanton vandalism. by eight, he's got a suspect. but charges can't be pressed against seagulls. a much bigger mystery is how to find new recruits for the remote isles of scilly. colin posted a job-ad on facebook for what he described as "quite possibly the most
enviable policing post in the world." a beautiful life in a place where nobody locks the doors. taylor i did pick up a call from : texas from a man who, i think was genuinely quite serious, in thinking that was going to be a possibility, but, i'm afraid, the job is only ever open to officers from the devon-cornwall police. reporter then colin dons his : helmet and heads out on his beat. hugh street leads down to the town's main intersection. everybody knows him - and wants to chat. but he can't let his guard down for a minute. taylor: i had a gentleman the other day, who came up to me and said, 'have you got any crime on scilly? there's no crime here.' and at the same time, somebody was parking a car on the yellow line just over there, and i was missing it all, because i was talking to the gentleman. and then somebody afterwards came up and tapped me on the shoulder, and they said, 'you've missed the parking offence. and aaaah. reporter but normally, crime is : well under control in the scillies. colin handles an average of one case per week: finding a bicycle that someone coming out of a pub stole to get home, for example. on the islands, it can never be far.
taylor: sometimes people call us up, because they get worried about gulls taking their pasties, and we have had people call us, when they see a seal that's got lost and come out of the sea come up the high street. so there's a whole range of incidents we can have that make it very unique policing here. reporter once a day, when the : ferry arrives, colin goes down to the port to greet the tourists -- he does that, just so everyone knows the pirates and smugglers are long gone. damien: the latest news from the scilly isles is that sergeant taylor has now found a new police officer to join him. sorry to any of you who were just about to apply. i'll let you know if we hear of any more openings there. well that's it for today. thanks very much for watching. do feel free to get in touch with your thoughts and comments anytime. you know how -- on twitter, email or facebook. but in the meantime, it's goodbye from me. and see you next time - same time, same place. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
steves: i'm meeting my florentine friend tommaso at i fratellini, a venerable hole in the wall much loved among locals for its tasty sandwiches and wine sold by the glass. -grazie. -tommaso: thank you. and when you're done, you leave it on the rack. steves: boy, it's intense in the city. tommaso: yes, it is. well, if you want to leave the tourists, let's cross the river, and let's go to where the real florentines live and work. -steves: what's that? -tommaso: the oltrarno area.
steves: there's much more to this town than tourism, as you'll quickly find in the characteristic back lanes of the oltrarno district. artisans busy at work offer a rare opportunity to see traditional craftsmanship in action. you're welcome to just drop in to little shops, but, remember, it's polite to greet the proprietor. your key phrase is, "can i take a look?" -posso guardare? -man: certo. steves: grazie. here in this great city of art, there's no shortage of treasures in need of a little tlc. this is beautiful. how old is this panting? woman: this is a 17th-century painting. steves: from florence? woman: we don't know. -maybe the area is genova. -steves: genova. each shop addresses a need with passion and expertise. fine instruments deserve the finest care. grand palaces sparkle with gold leaf, thanks to the delicate and exacting skills of craftspeople like this.
a satisfying way to wrap up an oltrarno experience is to enjoy a florentine steakhouse, which any italian meat lover knows means chianina beef. the quality is proudly on display. steaks are sold by weight and generally shared. the standard serving is about a kilo for two, meaning about a pound per person. so, both of those for four people? woman: yes. steves: the preparation is simple and well established. good luck if you want it well done. man: i am hungry, yeah. oh, look at this. ah! steves: oh, beautiful. [ laughs ] man: wow. steves: chianina beef. -woman: white beans. -steves: okay. perfect. man: and that one. steves: so, the meat is called chianina. tommaso: that's its name, because it comes from the chianti. steves: oh, from chianti. okay. and tell me about this concept of the good marriage of the food, you know? tommaso: well, when you have the chianina meat, you want to have some chianti wine, and they go together well.