tv European Journal PBS May 22, 2011 1:00pm-1:30pm PDT
♪ >> as the financial crisis rumbles on in greece, the people are finding jobs harder toind. hello and welcome to the brussels studios of dwtv. also in today's "european journal," yet another u.s. president. denmark brings back border patrols. and are wedding vows taken too literally? every president of the united states, it seems, has to have some irish blood. the latest to seek out his
shamrock roots is barack obama who's to visit the village from which his great, great, great grandfather, a shoemaker's son, left for the world. obama mania has gripped the community as it prepared to welcome its most famous son -- well, great, great, great, grandson. ♪ >> welcome to ireland. this main road links dublin to the southwest. there's no real reason to stop in this small village. if it wasn't for the connection that it has to the most powerful man in the world. barack obama has irish roots. some of his ancestors came from moneygal and there's paperwork to prove it. four years ago a priest got a phone call. genologists from the united states had researched obama's
roots and found moneygal. two hours later the priest unconcerninged the forgotten certificates in the archives. >> the president is connected in that his third great grandfather emigrated from this parish in 1850. we have the most important record of all, baptism, baptized as timothy. this has been verified since by the american records. so with all of these documents we have a definitive link with president obama and proof that barack obama and his ancestors came from this parish. here's where they melt 160 years ago. but a few ancestors remain in moneygall. so obama still has a distant relative living in the village. >> we have some similarities. maybe i'd like to think that one day i could become president of
ireland. who knows? >> since the news emerged from the link to obama, the people of moneygall have been waiting for his visit. >> the biggest fear for me is that if i get the privilege of meeting the president what i do say to him? >> for weeks the locals have been busy getting theirillage brightened up for the big day. >> they're supposed to visit his ancestor's home. but everybody's just speculating at the moment. >> that's confirmed by the owner of the house where obama's ancestors lived. his small shop stocks everything people need to get by in moneygall. >> basically we need to find out what he is going to do when he comes to moneygall, when he's coming, how many people are allowed into the village. we need to know his roots, really, so that we can plan. we don't know anything yet.
♪ >> despite that, the people of moneygall are hoping to earn a little through obama's visit. two new shops opened within a week. >> my favorite design was probably this it means yes, we can. >> and the president can prove he can take his drink. the locals in this moneygall pub have even written a song for him. and they mean every word of it. most moneygall people would have voted democrat if they were allowed to. ♪
>> the e.he.u. recently -- e.u. recently lifted visa restrictions to albanians. but a revival of the bad old tradition of blood feud, thousands have died as a result, thousands more affected. among them are children who must be taught at home because it's simply too dangerous to go to school. >> three times a week after school, this boy heads offer on his bicycle. the teacher rides over to some students who can't make it to his class. that's because their mother won't let them out of the house out of fear they'll be shot or kidnapped. three girls and two boys between the ages of 5 and 16. their only diversions are watching tv and, when he comes, their teacher. the trip takes almost an hour. he volunteered for this job, which is not 100% safe. every time he turns up, he hopes nothing horrible has happened
and that he'll find his people safe and sound. the father of the children has been in hiding for 19 years. he was a policeman. and once, while on duty, he shot a burglar. the dead man's family swore blood vengeance, meaning that blood must flow out of the father or failing that, of his children. that's why it is too dangerous for them to go to school. and yet the 15-year-old really wants to learn. thanks to her teacher, she can read and write quite well. and her dream is to go to university. her older sister, on the other hand, is am pa they ha ampathet. written words mean nothing to her. and he knows while they sometimes misbehave, they're eventually very insecure when asked how they see their future, they have no answer.
>> i don't know either. i can only try to teach them some reading, some writing, and math at least. >> the lessons last two hours at most, then the kids want out. because when the teacher is around, mother feels more secure. and she lets the kids out, at least into the yard. of course coming here is emotionally hard. and then going off again and leaving the kids in their misery is even more so. but i do it because i have kids of my own. and i want to at least help a little, so they learn something and have a chance in life. >> that's if they ever get to leave their confinement in the tiny house with no leaky roof, running water, and one bedroom.
>> every n and then he shows up to see how we're doing. >> blood feuds are brutal and archaic yet still widespread in northern albania. many families and in particular, many innocent children falll victim to them. those willing to help are generally powerless. viviana is also a teacher. and she's been trying for years to extra indicate children from -- extracate children from blood feuds. she couldn't help this boy. when he was 13, he was shot's left the house. next she's going to a family that's been hiding 11 children. tisch is a distant relative. he wants to help, too, and has agreed to bring viviana to them. only after she returned did she admit that she can't swim. but it quickly becomes clear that no teacher can regularly
visit these people and tutor their kids. they're far too remote. it's the same for most families in blood feuds. after boat ride she has to hike through the hills for almost an hour. 6-year-old nicolan is the youngest of 11 grandchildren. the oldest is 20, but he took to the hills long ago. the ones left here are the old people, the little children, and the women. as usual, the story of this blood feud is complicated. four sons were involved. all of them criminals. they robbed and killed people. the victims swore revenge. now two of the sons are dead and the other two are in prison. >> there's nothing i wish for more than this blood feud to end. otherwise it will never stop. i'm worried about my children.
>> these children have to get away from here as quickly as possible to a normal environment before they turn criminal. it's at least as important as schooling. >> after giving it some thought, she was able to tell us what one plus one equals. now the question is 10 plus 11. >> i want to go to school so badly. i'd really study hard. >> and liliana wants to help, but she doesn't know how. that's because she receives no state or other help. families caught up in blood feuds are mostly ostracized. that's also the experience of these catholic nuns who are fighting the vicious cycle. the nuns operate a kindergarten
and a youth center and pick the kids up if asked. >> the parents really want the children to come here. the problem is security. we say quite clearly that we can't guarantee it. >> whether thanks to a divine hand or just people's respect for the nuns' work, nothing bad has happened so far. in the evening, with caps pulled low over their faces and big sunglasses, some kids climb out of the safety of the car. inside the youth center they open up like they never could at home with their families. >> my uncle killed someone and went to jail. but why did they threaten me and my brother?
>> our friends turn away when they see us. we need some help. the state should intervene, but it's too weak. >> often our own parents or grandparents think these blood feud rules are good. >> sister christina is the only one we can talk about it and the only one who has helped our family. >> these young people say they won't remain silent. they want to raise public awareness of their predicament to break this cruel sickle of hundreds of children in northern albania who have to live like condemned prisoners awaiting execution. >> in a right-wing populism, denmark has reintroduced border control. the e.u. partners fear it puts the passport-free area at risk and even in danger, the you're yen european union itself.
the danish-german border is a long way from the mediterranean. >> this old inn stands right beside the border. before, people had to show their passports to move between germany and denmark. now adays the border is wide open. about 14,000 danes and germans cross each day. >> i wouldn't vote for the danish people's party, but i think it is right to ibtd deuce new controls. sweden did it long ago. drug dealing dealing is a big problem. >> i think border controls are unnecessary. we live in an era of free trade and movement. we should spend our money on more important things. >> the right wing nationalist danish people party celebrated when the minority government yielded to pressure to tighten the borders. the government needs the party's votes to get a major budget and pensions reform package through
parliament. so a deal was done. politicians across the e.u. have criticized the proposals. and a danish justice minister feels misunderstood. >> we are not doing anything that violates the treaty. freedom of movement on the german-danish bored will not be restricted -- border will not be restricted. we're only stepping up customs controls. >> that will mn more officers, surveillanceameras, and new border facilities. danish customs and border police never stopped working at either the country's land or seaboarders. -- sea borders. they already do spot checks. one reason is to enforce limits on how much alcohol people may bring into the country. the police also monitor the areas some distance from the border. >> we work closely with other police forces, particularly in germany. they tell us who they see crossing the border. and we, of course, do the same.
we keep a close eye on the interland, too, where we often find eastern europeans who steal cars or break into property. >> it was the treaty that boosted cooperation among police forces across europe in the first place. political scientist marlena vint says beefing up border patrols is about rightist populism. >> it sends a message that we are small-minded garden keepers obsessed with keeping out strangers. as if it's anyone who isn't blond and blue-eyed. >> along the danish-german border citizens of both live and work closely together. commerce benefits from the open rder. the cultural mix has been enriched. >> we used to stand with our backs to the other side. we look to the north. and the germans looked to the
south. i always used to say, we are two half moons. let us join together to create a full moon. and now we're going to split apart again. >> the european commission has told denmark its proposals don't appear in line with european law. whatever else, the people's party succeeded in clouding the political climate in denmark, a country that was once so proud of being open. >> the e.u. remains divided over how and if to ease conditions on greece's multibillion euro rescue fund to prevent it from defaulting on its debts. the economy is in turmoil. and with jobs harder than ever to find, increasing numbers of greeks are leaving the cities where they had hoped to make their fortunes and returning to their rural roots to live on the land. >> transferring bee larvae is a fiddley job. he is an old hand at it now.
but until relatively recently she lived in athens, working in retail. six months ago she couldn't have imagined living out in the country, keeping bees. >> i had no hope of finding a job anymore. so i looked for an opportunity to get out of the city. then someone suggested i try keeping bees, saying it was a good way of getting into farming. >> the work is tough. and there have been setbacks. olga's first bee colony died. but now things are picking up. she's one of about 40,000 greeks who have taken up farming over the past two years. it's a beautiful peninsula in southern greece. for years it had been in economic decline with young workers leaving for the city. now in the middle of greece's worst ever recession, the prospects are improving. this old house stood empty for
years. it belonged to her grandfather. now she converted it into a small guest house. she, too, used to live in athens, working with the public sector. when she lost her job, she decided to move back to the village where she spent her childhood. a decision she doesn't regret. >> the crisis can also be felt here in the countryside. and you can't earn much here either. but the mood is better than in athens. it's easier to get by here. and the village community is very supportive. >> the village has just 900 residents. they're happy about the new arrivals. constantina's husband has taken over the pub. and their daughter was born here. they say they wouldn't have had a child if they had stayed in athens. they felt the big city was no place for children. >> i think more young people
will move to the country. then things could revive here and be like in the 1950's, before people started leaving. >> athens is home to four million people. it's estimated half of them came from the countryside. many stores in the city have closed. some analysts believe agriculture could help boost the greek economy in the short-term, but they say it's not enough by itself. >> we need incentives. and we need someplace and some time to breath, in order to implement a new -- let's say -- a new project. >> olga and her boyfriend started their new life as bee keepers. they live in a farmer's cottage that belonged to olga's family.
the money they earn from bees and honey is only just enough to live on. but they don't miss the city. >> we came here look for a better life. we didn't know what to expect. during the crisis we were looking for something that would give us a sense of fulfillment and purpose. we don't have to be rich. >> young people in particular need to leave athens quickly. businesses are dropping like flies. there's no future the. but the village and in farming there's always work. there are so many empty houses. if they were all inhabited again, the countryside would be able to give a boost to the country as a whole. >> perhaps this new trend could be a first step out of the crisis. for them, the move seems to have paid off.
>> two centuries ago married couples in malta gained the right to divorce under a host of reforms introduced by necessity polian. but when the french were overthrown, the new civil rights were chucked out, too, including the right to divorce. now despite the catholic church threatening dire consequences, the islanders are getting the chance to decide in a referendum if marriage really is forever. >> right outside the church doors pro-divorce activists are getting their message across. 35-year-old debra has become the face of the campaign. not so many have turned out to hear her this time. but what's interesting is the large number of women who have shown an interest in the upcoming referendum. the campaigners say it's time to break a longstanding taboo in maltese society. >> it's very important to see
both people, finding out that the life after isn't as bad as the people who want to say no to divorce are depicting it. >> orietta would love to have the right to divorce. she's been fighting in court for four years just to have her separation from her husband recognized. >> i am a victim of domestic violence. id was 30 years old when i started the separation. at most, i'll have kids from another relationship, and they won't be protected from the laws of malta. >> debra is a lawyer for family affairs and knows of many such cases. she has a sonherself, but doesn't li with thefather. she believes that if the yes vote wins, malta will be a more just society. for years maltese citizens who live abroad can get divorced there and then have their divorce recognized back home.
>> you have part of the population that have the right to divorce and the part of the population, mainly the population who wishes to get married in malta, to pay taxes in malta, and they can't have the right to divorce. >> generatns of maltese citizens have made due with the fact that they can't marry a second time, and that the church, rather than the state, dictates on matters of family law. the church does have the power to annul a marriage here. but it happens very rarely. the archbishop of malta is keen to ensure it stay that way. so the church is also campaigning, often during church sermons broadcast on television. the archbishop is encouraging everyone to turn out and vote no. he believes malta is a special case and can't be compared with other e.u. countries, not even with ireland, another predominantly catholic society that legalized divorce.
>> everybody can agree that using divorce legislation, nothing changed for the good in those countries. with regards to family, marriages, children, and society. >> the people, each individual has the freedom to choose. and then obviously i think even in society at large, every country must have the ability to choose what they think is bt. >> jeffrey orlando also supports the campaign. together they check over a tv commercial in favor of divorce. orlando has long sought to get a bill through parliament legalizing divorce. >> i think it's not about divorce anymore. and i started recognizing this the day after i presented the bill. it's about the division between state and the church in malta.
and to me this is a very important issue. >> some of the media are also backing the reforms. one advert argues conditions in dubai and democracy. >> we would have lost a very good chance at being a modern european state. and we started the whole thing wanting to improve this country. >> debra continues to tour the island campaigning. polls indicatepublic opinion is split right down the middle so she still has everything to fight for. >> getting back for a moment to president obama's irish ancestry, we would better hope the poet was wrong when he wrote the great gaels of ireland are men gone mad for all their wars are merry but all their songs