tv PBS News Hour PBS January 17, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. international human rights groups urged haitian authorities to arrest former dictator jean- claude duvalier, a day after his surprise return to the country. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, jason beaubien of npr reports from port-au-prince on duvalier's reappearance on the scene after 25 years in exile. >> brown: then, as tunisia forms a new coalition government, we ask whether the uprising there will spread to other arab countries. >> ifill: margaret warner, in seoul, examines the heightened security concerns on the korean peninsula. >> the big unknown in this stand off is the north's true
intentions. in the past week pyongyang has shifted from belligerence into a let's talk mode. >> brown: ray suarez looks at advances in the understanding and treatment of traumatic brain injuries. >> ifill: and, on this martin luther king, jr. holiday, elementary school students give voice to his most famous speech. >> i have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: a confused situation in haiti gets only more complicated tonight with the return of the leader ousted by popular revolt over two decades ago. even as several hundred cheering supporters greeted him at the airport, the reasons behind his sudden reappearance remained a mystery. >> very good, very emotional, a lot of emotion. >> is he going to stay here? what does he want to do? >> nothing was planned. we wanted to keep things as simple as possible. >> ifill: known as baby doc, duvalier assumed power in 1971
after the death of his father. in 1986 the duvaliers fled haiti under a cloud accused of torturing and killing thousands of political opponents during a dictatorship marked by fear and repression. duvalier supporters said the motives for his return are not political. >> mr. duvalier is not in the political running from what i know. mr. duvalier is rejoining his family, his society and the haitian people. he is welcome in this country because 25 years of exile is no small thing. >> ifill: but his reappearance does add a chaotic new twist to an already contentious political situation. last november's presidential election was marred by disorganization and claims of ballot stuffing and voter intimidation. for the moment, duvalier has taken up residence at a hotel in the capital port-au-prince. human rights activists have charged he should be arrested by haitian officials but no
attempts have been made. >> since he left the city, we never had another good president. there are always problems so i think he is welcome. >> ifill: last december haitian election officials declared the former haitian first lady and the government- backed candidate the top first round vote-getters with popular singer a close third. that announcement angered supporters and sparked protests throughout port-au-prince which left four dead. last thursday the organization of american states issued a report alleging widespread fraud, invalidated those results, and name martly the second place finisher. officials have definitely postponed an election run-off that was supposed to take place yesterday. the political stand-off comes as haiti grapples with continuing fallout from the devastating earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands a
year ago, left millions homeless and sparked a cholera outbreak that has so far killed nearly 4,000. >> ifill: for more on the situation in haiti, we turn to npr's jason beaubien, i spoke to him in port-au-prince a short time ago. jason, this is quite a remarkable development, a turn- around. do we know any reason tonight why really jean claude duvalier came back? >> we really don't. everyone today was expecting that jean claude duvalier would give a press conference. one of his aides came out and basically said there wasn't a big enough room at the hotel. it was really quite strange because clearly they could have just done it out front. it seems like a little bit of a stall really in terms of providing information about why he's here. his people officially are saying that he's back as a private citizen. he's here, they say, to help with the reconstruction. clearly the timing of this is incredibly strange. i mean that is sort of the biggest shocker of this. in the midst of a political crisis to have such a powerful
person in haitian history in recent haitian history return, someone who is so controversial. some people absolutely love him. other people make out that he's practically the devil. it's an incredibly polarizing figure to have come back at a time that the country is trying to figure out who is going to be the next president. >> ifill: you're right. but it seems that there were people at the airport to greet him. there were cameras that recorded his arrival. was it that much of a surprise that he came back? >> it really was a surprise. there were all those people at the airport because the word went out on the radio that he was on a plane. at first it seemed like rumors that he was coming on a air france jet. but the word got out. it was on the local radio. people just rushed down there. those people that were there were very much his supporters. even amongst the elite when you talk to sort of the social elite, politically elite here, people were really surprised. clearly the upper levels.
haitian government knew this was going on. he was traveling on a haitian diplomatic passport clearly the upper levels of the haitian government knew. to everybody else this was the last thing in the world they expected to happen to a country trying to deal with the earthquake, trying to deal with the cholera epidemic. trying to figure out how this presidential election is going to move forward in the phase. people were really quite surprised and shocked that... to hear that baby doc was returning. >> ifill: given what we know about his history and the unprosecuted crimes he's accused of, where was he? and what happens now that he's back? is he subject to still being pursued or prosecuted? >> that's one of the big, open questions at the moment. he's staying at one of the very nice hotels in a suburb just on the side of port-au-prince here. he was given a police escort. it's clear that he's being welcomed by the state here. at the same time human rights
groups are calling for him to be prosecuted, for him to stand charges for the crimes that were committed by his regime. it's completely unclear at this point what is going to happen with that, whether there will be an attempt to bring charges against him or not. >> ifill: he looked frail in the photographs we saw. do we know anything about the state of his health? >> we really don't. and that's one of the reasons it would have been nice to actually see him in a press conference, get a better of sense of what's really going on, there are all kinds of rumors going around. some people are saying he's gravely ill. other people are denying that. everyone is reading the tea leaves because he hasn't given a statement and adecembered why he's here and what are you doing here and where things are going to go in the future, whether he's planning to jump into politics, whether he's going to be, as he says, just a private citizen visiting for a few days. most people don't believe that. they believe he's come back
and will be here to stay. the big question is what role will he play in haitian politics? or what could happen to him himself? there are people whose families were killed they say by his regime. people who were tortured. the question is will people attempt to bring him before justice? >> ifill: jason, how much closer this political stand-off that's been going on, have there been any developments, moving any closer to resolution? >> it does seem like it's moving closer to resolution. the organization of american states came out with a recommendation that the others should be in the run-off which was a change from what the haitian government and electoral commission originally said. that report has gone to president preval. we expect we'll get some sort of statement from him on whether or not he will accept that. the second round of the run-off was supposed to be yesterday.
that just didn't happen. it's been postponed. it could get dragged out for, you know, weeks. we really don't know. >> ifill: jason beaubien good to talk to you down there on the scene. thanks. >> good to talk to you, gwen. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, the tunisian uprising and the arab world; heightened tensions on the korean peninsula; advances in treating traumatic brain injuries; and students keeping the dream alive. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: congresswoman gabrielle giffords has had another surgery, this time to remove bone fragments from her eye socket. doctors in tucson said the procedure went well, and giffords is showing impressive progress in recovering from a gunshot wound to the head nine days ago. on sunday, her condition was upgraded from critical to serious. today, her doctors said the next big milestone is moving on to rehabilitation.
>> the day she leaves this hospital. that's her graduation. then she moves on to rehabilitation. the family is looking at all their resources. they have the entire country available. it has to be at a place that is not only top notch in terms of rendering care and rehabilitation but also proximity to family is very important. >> holman: giffords's doctors also confirmed that her husband, mark kelly, saw her smile. in an interview, kelly also said his wife was able to give him a back rub. in pakistan today, at least 19 people died in a minibus bombing in the volatile northwest tribal region. the blast went off as the vehicle was traveling between the cities of hangu and kohat. video showed little of the bus left beyond its wheels and undercarriage. at least ten people were wounded in the attack. the u.s. death toll in iraq has grown by four. one soldier died today, and three others were killed over the weekend. two of them were shot by an iraqi soldier during training by u.s. troops in mosul. supplies and aid began to make their way to the victims of
flooding and mudslides in brazil. the death toll from the mudslides north of rio de janeiro grew to at least 642. brazilian troops are setting up temporary bridges to get supplies into the area. rescuers still are working to reach about 20 neighborhoods. today marked the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday horing martin luther king, jr.'s legacy. in atlanta, an annual memorial service was held at ebenezer baptist church, where the slain civil rights leader preached. and in washington, president obama and the first lady celebrated dr. king's spirit of service by taking part in a painting project at a city school. the president encouraged americans to give back to their communities, especially after the tucson shootings. >> after a painful week where so many of us were focused on tragedy, it's good for us to remind ourselves of what this country is all about. this kind of service project is what's best in us.
we're thrilled with everybody who is participating. >> holman: dr. king is the only american who was not a u.s. president to be honored with a federal holiday. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn once again to tunisia. a public uprising led the country's longtime ruler, president ben ali, to flee on friday. today a new interim "coalition government" was formed, but members of the ousted president's party still hold major posts, and that led to a new wave of protests. we begin our coverage from tunis with a report by jonathan rugman of independent television news. >> reporter: it was on this street last friday that thousands of tunisians ousted their president. today several hundred of them are back. they've tasted people power here for the very first time and they like it. and today's new government is not, they say, what this revolution was all about. police have been deployed in downtown tunis for the first time since friday when there
was a revolution. the problem is that there were protesters on the streets again who fear that today's announcement of a coalition is a political fix. the army is still occupying the capital. it's far more respected than the police who were shooting civilians last week. continued rebeling against dictatorship the crowd shouted furious that the yes-men who had served their ex-president are now in the new coalition. this temporary government? >> it's like theater. we are in a theater. we found out that things are not correct as conditions have to be. >> reporter: the revolution continues, does it? >> still continues. it's very, very scary. >> reporter: you're going to have opposition in the government now. aren't you? >> yes. even the opposition.... >> reporter: you don't trust them? >> no, i don't trust them. i don't trust anybody. >> reporter: where is the leadership for this country going to come from ten? >> we want the leadership to come from the people. >> reporter: you're going to
have elections in 60 days. >> no, no, no. first of all, we can't organize the elections in two months. it's impossible. because we want a new constitution. we don't like this constitution. we don't like it at all because they made it... ben ali made it for himself. we want a new constitution. >> reporter: a policeman saw what he thought was a sniper on the roof top and he took aim. no wonder because tunisian security forces have been fighting gun battles with their former colleagues who are still loyal to the ex-president. to some, all this might look like chaos. but to tunisians watching nearby, the fact that they can demonstrate at all is proof of a country on the road to freedom. >> you know, this revolution will give hope to all the countries which are suffering from dictatorships and oppression. >> reporter: eventually a crowd demanding the release of political prisoners broke through police lines.
(gun fire) the police responded with tear gas. and the street revolution paying the price for confronting the old state machine. we ran for cover. from security forces who now serve today's interim government including six ministers from the regime. the prime minister is one of them. our priority is security, he told his nation this afternoon. as he confirmed that last week's defense and interior ministers have kept their jobs. the hope is that today's compromise coalition restores normality. state television urged people to get back to work. many in the capital today. tunisia's uprising began last month when a poor vegetable seller burned himself to death. what he started still hasn't finished. >> brown: the >> brown: the toppling of a repressive regime in tunisia has galvanized the arab world, raising the question of whether this will spread to other countries.
in egypt, algeria, and mauritania today, protesters set themselves on fire, apparently copying the act that helped trigger the uprising in tunisia. for more on all this, we're joined by mona eltahawy, a longtime reporter in the middle east, now an award-winning columnist and lecturer on arab and muslim issues. and shibley telhami, professor at the university of maryland, and senior fellow at the brookings institution. he's conducted numerous public opinion surveys in the middle east and advised the state department on mideast issues. starting with you, why is what is happening in tunisia important? >> it's incredibly important just because of what we just heard from ordinary people on the streets of tunis who spoke to the correspondent. to hear a fellow arab say the revolution isn't over until we've gotten rid of the old regime and its inner circle gives me as an egyptian goose bumps. what has happened is the people saying the impossible is possible because forever arabs have been told you cannot topple your leaders.
you cannot topple your dictators. we saw it happen in tunisia. we continue to see tunisians demonstrate and say no until we get rid of the regime. >> brown: where is the discontent coming from? we hear about food prices. we hear about a lack of civil freedoms. in the past we've often focused on islamists dissent. what's happening here? >> you know, clearly this is not about islamist dissent. there is islamist dissent in tunisia. it has cracked down on islamists more than in any countries. it's a traditional manifestation of islamism. in my own judgment over the past decade many of the empowerment of political islam has been for other issues. people are dissatisfied with the existing order. they want to mobilize. they want to oppose. whether it's about jobs or repression or the economy or foreign policy or identity, all of the above, the real
issue is not whether people have reason to want to revolt. we've seen the gap. we've been falling for a long time. the huge gap between what the public wants in the middle east and the golfs on domestic politics, on foreign policy, on identity issues. the question is, why don't they revolt? why haven't they revolted in the past? why did they revolt in tunisia. the question isn't do they have issues, what makes it work? that's something fascinating here because it might tell us something about whether to expect a spillover effect across. clearly every case is separate. but you look back, there was a revolution in the middle east. there was the iranian revolution in 1979. it did empower. there were a lot of manifestations of it. particularly it empowered the new islamist wave, political wave of political islam in the arab world. there was also inspiration after the end of the cold war with the fall of chow. a lot of people expected something to happen. there were inspirations but they didn't happen.
that's really unique about the tunisian case is it's arab. the first one in the arab world. number two it happens without leadership. i mean this is not really, even in iran a case which was a popular revolution, we had leadership. this is inspired by seemingly a new empowerment, a new mobilization method including, you know, the internet and the twitter and the information revolution. you have to ask the question whether this is really a delayed impact of the information revolution. >> brown: when you look at the larger arab world, what do you look for to tell you whether this is the beginning of something that can spread? >> well, i think that to continue from what shibley was saying we have to remember that the young world is a very youthful part of the world. the majority of arab citizens are younger than 0. the majority of them have no other leader than the urnt current dictators who run the arab world. what i see when i look across the arab world is a youthful population that has been
energized and empowered by watching the fellow youth of tunisia go out on the street and say no. you mentioned earlier the cases in egypt, allergy i can't and mauer tan i can't. people are watching tunisia very closely. arab dictators are watching tunisia and hoping it fails. we saw the libyan leader on television the day after the revolution in tunisia telling tunisians that they made a great mistake by overthrowing their dictator and saying he was the best leader for them. what essentially he was saying is i am scared wittless by what happened next door. this is what you'll find among all the arab regimes. they are very scared by what happened in tunisia. they want it to fail. on the other hand our citizens are watching tunisia very closely. they want it to succeed because it is a popular movement. we don't know, you know, there's no opposition in tunisia because like many other arab countries,
they're... dictator who are in exiled or imprisoned most opponents to him. our citizens are wanting to learn from the tunisian case and wanting hem them to succeed so we can see how to revolt. we have been taught for decades that arabs are passive and apathetic. they don't know how to revolt. here we are staging a revolution in tunisia and watching it very closely. we cannot say what is going to happen in the next few weeks in tunisia and when or if a spillover effect will take place. as an arab who is thrilled by what is happening in tunisia i know everyone is glued to their television. i'm glued to twitter. i don't sleep. i'm glued to twitter because i'm reading all the tweets from young tunisians saying i was on the street today saying no to more dictatorship. this is the true spillover effect. >> brown: when you look at the potential obstacles, though, as she said there are governments already taking actions against this? right? they're helping with food prices in this countries. they're saying we're not going
to go down that road. how strong is there among governments, how much strength is there to avoid something like this to say we're going to have instability if you take to the streets. >> the public learns over time obviously and that's what we've seen in tunisia but governments learn too. they have instruments of oppression that have been pretty effective. that's how they've been able to withstand a lot of difficult times including and during the iraq war when the vast majority of the public in the region opposed the iraq war and many of the governments supported it. nothing much happened. can they do it again? they're going to try everything they can. i can tell you they are scared. because nobody thought that ben ali would abandon his post so quickly. they were scared by the vision of romania at the end of the cold war. no question. they took some steps. they are all going to try to figure out what to do. even rulingy lights i think are going to have to reassess whether they can bank on it or not.
i can tell you something interesting because yesterday i was listening to someone give a speech mostly about lebanese politics. >> brown: another country in turmoil at the moment. >> exactly. there again he pointed to the tunisian, you know, revolution in his addressing the arab leaders who were, quote, banking on the west to save them from their people. of course he was talking about prime minister ha rerewho was in the white house when the government was brought down. he was saying look at what's happened to ben ali, he leaves and the west wouldn't even accept him alluding to the report that france refused to accept him in france. there is an element of fear and clearly it's going to be exploited. spillover, you know, if you ask me as a political scientist i would say revolutions are rare in history. they've been rare in the middle east. each case is separate. each case is different but there are new elements on this in this field right now.
the information revolution, twitter, the empowerment of the young, organization without political parties, will it have an impact? of course it will. what kind of impact, we don't know. >> brown: briefly, you both mentioned the social media. twitter, facebook, et cetera. you're saying that these different groups in different countries are actually pretty well connected through such things and through watching television? >> they are absolutely connected. i mean facebook and twitter and you-tube are incredibly popular in the arab world amongst young people. the majority of the world is young. it's important to remember that twitter did not cause the tunisian revolution. rather it gave us a front row seat to what happened in tunisia but there are very interesting instances where tunisians were warning each other of where the snipers were using twitter. twitter now is incredibly popular among them to tell us about what happened in the street demonstrations they went to and as a way to connecting to fellow arabs.
social media is absolutely a new element here that are empowering young people to express themselves under regimes that have disenfranchised so many young people for such a long time. >> brown: mona eltahawy and shibley telhami, thank you so much. >> ifill: >> ifill: now we turn to the first in a series of margaret warner reports from south korea. tonight she focuses on the tense security situation on the peninsula. >> warner: in frigid dry dock 40 miles southwest of seoul sits the blasted hull of the south korean warship. this is the vessel's temporary resting place, a makeshift memorial to the 46 sailors killed when it sank last march. >> due to the explosion, this section was torn apart from the ship. >> warner: it's also offered as exhibit number one that the 250-foot ship was sheered in half not by hitting an old mine or running aground but by deliberate aim of a north korean torpedo.
south korean admiral lee sung jun took us on a tour with the commander of the u.s. naval forces in korea to show off the findings of a five-nation investigation into the disaster. so this is the tore torpedo? >> truly that was the smoking gun, per se, when they recovered the section of the torpedo. >> reporter: for decades the ongoing state of war between north and south korea has been symbolized by the stand-off on land at the dmz. but here we see evidence that for the north koreans at least the conflict is also very much at sea. the so-called northern limit line buy secretaries a narrow channel of water between the north and south korean coasts. >> it is a area and incidents that have occurred in that area back to late 1990s.
>> warner: ewen lat unilaterally drawn by the u.s. after the korean war 57 years ago, decades later the north began contesting it. >> the north koreans actually in the '70s for the first time they popped up and said, hey, you know, we don't agree with this line. >> warner: eight months after the... the north struck at sea again shelling the south korean island near the north. two construction workers died the first south korean civilians killed in a military attack in more than 50 years. the attack brought a humiliated south korea and a wildly unpredictable north closer to armed conflict than at any time since the korean war. the horror of the moment is still fresh to the hundreds of villagers who fled to temporary government provided housing on the mainland. >> i saw the shell passing over my head. it fell in front of me.
the fear that i felt was just so tremendous. it is still so vivid to me. the elderly people who lived through the korean war, they went through that. now our children have to live through the fear. >> warner: did the south korean military come to your defense? >> no. iten rages me to think that. i really thought the government would react immediately, would retaliate immediately. >> warner: after nearly 15 minutes the south korean military did fire back. but to inconclusive effect. >> the government's own assessment of it was it didn't work very well. >> reporter: kathleen stevens helps manage the u.s.-south korean partnership. >> did this mean that maybe the government needed to look not only at its military preparations but at the way in which it has over the years responded to north korean provocation. >> warner: it was really both militarily and politically or
substantively they thought they needed to perhaps reassess? >> i think that's right. it gave a reality to the threat that north korea poses and has posed for 60 years. but suddenly it became very real. >> there was some complacency in our defense posture. >> warner: the national security advisor to south korean president. on taking office despite protests from some quarters president li responded to the north's provocations and nuclear and missile programs by slashing trade and economic aid. now the new attacks appear to have further hardened his resolve. >> the republic of korea after north korea, north korean attack is not the same republic of korea that north korea had known before. the culture of impugnity has come to an end. >> warner: president li put the military on high alert and
announced new rules of engagement. in late december the military staged massive land and sea live fire exercises, defying the north's threat to retaliate. there was no response from the north. and he says that was wise on their part. >> why don't we let north korea realize, you know, the consequences when... if and when they perpetrate another attack on us. i think they will certainly regret it. >> warner: this heightened tension between north and south has implications for the 28,500 u.s. troops that remain in korea to help maintain the armistice. four star u.s. general walter sharp, who would command combined korean and u.s. forces if full scale war broke out, is mindful of the delicate line each side has to walk between reaction and overreaction. >> what we see is a
challenging north korean threat that is evolving and is focusing now on asmetry cal type of attacks and provocations. you see not just u.s. forces but an alliance that is getting stronger day to day and it is doing everything we can to deter north korea but at the same time to be prepared if that deterrence does not work. >> warner: 70% of the north's million-man army and artillery moved up near the dmz, the training tempo of u.s. and south korean forces reflects sharp's motto: be prepared to fight tonight. every contingency is being anticipated from a heavy mechanized land invasion to house-to-house urban warfare. and the hills around the capital city shelter robust air defenses. yet south korea has much to lose in a conflict.
the 25 million people of bustling greater seoul would be sitting ducks to a surprise artillery attack from just 30 miles away. >> all of our goal would be to respond very quickly to do it within a self-defense mode, to demonstrate that we are prepared and that we're not going to allow this to get out of hand, but at the same time to deescalate it. nobody wants to go to war over here. >> warner: the big unknown in this stand-off is the north's true intention. in the past week, pyongyang has shifted from belligerence into a let's talk mode. for insight we turn to a former north korean security official who defected in 1995 but says he still has relatives in high places in the regime. he says family and friends tell him the regime is touting the latest attacks as the work of the ailing leader kim jong il's son, his designated
successor the virtually unknown. the other motive is what he calls north korea's pending economic catastrophe which makes them desperate for aid. >> if the north koreans starve to death there was no one for the north korean to rule. he is promising white rice and beef to the people. how is he going avoid that? the only way for the regime's survival now is to show willingness to come back to the table. >> warner: the pattern has worked before. north korean attacks or threats followed by offers of talks and aid from south korea. >> it takes two to tango. >> warner: seoul and washington were complicit in this pattern says the former foreign minister, by rewarding instead of punishing the north's bad behavior. >> north korea had some reason to believe that they can play them for a fool. but now i think they have to
think twice about it. >> warner: complicating the picture especially for the u.s., north korea's head long pursuit of nuclear weapons. six nation talks to curb it have been dormant for two years but seoul has rebuffed the north's new offer to talk until pyongyang apologizes for last year's attacks and takes steps to prove its senior sincere about ending the missile programs. the wish is that it will react by acting out again but he insifts something has to be done to shake up an untenable status quo. >> it's worth taking a small risk in today's present stability if it serves more important lasting, longer-term peace and security on the korean peninsula. >> warner: you really see this as the turning point. >> yes. yes, i do. >> warner: for nearly 60 years
the closest point of contact between north and south has been here near the village, at the two-and-a-half deep demilitarized zone. >> this is one of the original military demarcation sign markers. so halfway out this bridge is the border between north and south korea. >> warner: american colonel kurt taylor runs day-to-day operations here of the u.n. command military armistice mission charged with implementing the truce signed in 1953. do you still feel that same degree of tension that anything could happen at any moment? >> things are quiet up here. some people say surreal. when something happens some place else and it's going to happen some place else it's just typically very, very quiet here. we do a phone check every morning at 9:30. >> warner: if there's something important to convey taylor's staff picks up this hot line which rings on the north korean side. >> so if they don't answer the phone we have a more manual solution, a more low-tech solution.
that is we have the bull horn here. >> reporter: when was the last time the bull horn had to be used. >> 17 of december. we used it to notify north koreans of a line fire exercise at the island. >> warner: they couldn't say no one told them. >> correct. >> warner: if the north is ready to talk about last year's attacks as the south demands, the meeting would take place in this sparsely appointed conference room literally straddling the border. >> this is the only place where the military of north korea is able to talk with anybody. this is our interface with them. if you don't have the ability to talk with someone, you don't have any way to understand what the disagreement is. >> warner: at present though, the two sides are just staring down each other from either side of the border here. >> you can see that's the north korean guard force headquarters. the north korean guard who stands there, they have somewhere someone there in that position 24 hours a day. >> warner: they keep looking at us. >> they have a camera with binoculars. >> warner: and south korean soldiers continue patrolling
their half of the dmz, hoping to deter the unthinkable, that this surreal stand-off could ignite into war once again. >> ifill: we'll talk to margaret tomorrow >> brown: next, new advancements in the understanding and treatment of brain injury, a field receiving much attention after the shooting of congresswoman gabriel giffords. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: the public and her doctors have been impressed by the congresswoman's progress. she's responded to questions. her husband said today she was even able to give him a back rub. and doctors say they may send her home within days to weeks. but the road ahead is undoubtedly long. we look at what medicine understands about treating the
brain and its ability to adapt. dr. henry brem is chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the johns hopkins medical center in baltimore. and dr. norman doidge is a psychiatrist who specializes in this field. he's author of "the brain that changes itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science." dr. brem, we're talking about a woman who was shot at close range and about ten days later is giving her husband a neck rub. blinking her eyes. moving her limbs on command. unusual, no? >> extraordinary. two thirds of people who are shot by a gun in the head die at the scene. over 90% of the people die within a short amount of time after the injury. so surviving at any level of function is truly extraordinary. she by reports is doing very well. she's making progress and getting better and better. >> suarez: today in tucson the doctor said the next major step is the graduation to
rehabilitation. what does that mean? >> it means that the surgical issues seem to be behind her. you know, there are two issues related to brain injury. the first is the actual injury itself. the gunshot wound. that's frequently fatal. but the second issue is the swelling and bleeding and the secondary consequences. that's what the surgeons are most concerned about because they can't do anything about the destruction from the bullet. but they can do things to prevent the secondary problems like infection as well. they reacted extremely quickly and properly and with the highest level of care. she seems to be getting over the fence of where the major risks are. >> suarez: briefly, what do you have to do now? >> now it's really a matter of letting the brain recover. that recovery period can take any where from weeks to months to, you know, up to a year to see the maximum recovery.
>> suarez: dr. diodge, does the brain heal like other tissues in the body that may be bruised or broken or cut. >> it turns out that it does heal although for about 400 years we thought that it was far less good at that than any organs in the body. for 400 years we thought that the circuits of the brain were formed and finalized in childhood and that the blaine was like a machine with parts and each part performed a single mental function in a single location. it meant that if you had something like a gunshot wound, what you would do is you would wait until the swelling went down, the inflammation went away. you would see what was left. but now there are new approaches because we've discovered that the brain is plastic in the sense of changeable and adaptable. it can respond to mental experience and stimulation. so that even though parts of the brain die, adjacent areas
can often take over those mental functions. it's given rise to a whole new approach to rehabilitation which takes over after that year has gone, after the... we see what we're left with, we can then build up new processors in many instances. the brain is not infinitely plastic but it can do far more than we ever dreamed it could. >> suarez: are these things that the healing brain just starts to do or is this something that someone has to be taught how to do after the healing is over? >> well, you know, the brain exists in an environment. it evolved to be in an environment. it evolved to get stimulation and to do things. so you always have to be stimulating the brain. you know, when the brain is damaged, parts of it die. parts of it are alive. but they're sending off noisy aberrant signals. so it's out of sync. one of the things we have to do is synchronize it.
it's a use it or lose it brain so we have to give it lots of stimulation from things that are low tech like lots of touch all the way up potentially to new forms of stimulation, electro magnetic kinds of stimulation or just doing activities that stimulate the brain. but these are done in concentrated mass practice in these new forms of treatment where the person pays very close attention. one focuses on the particular mental functions that are lost and develops different exercises for the different lost functions. >> suarez: dr. brem that old idea but if you've accepted a wound, a trauma, an insult to a part of the brain that controls, let's say, language, or moving your limbs, if that's damaged, you can't move your limbs and you can't talk anymore. we're now talking about brains that can just reassign that work to some place else? >> that's an astounding change in our thinking. that was a traditional teaching was whatever was lost
in fact as we age that what was lost would never recoup. that thinking is changing in a... very much. for example, children who have hemisphere ekt mes where half the brain is removed to control terrible seizures, george jalo, ben car senate hopkins are doing that kind of work. those children can learn the function of the other side of the brain with rehabilitation and live normal lives even though half the brain has been removed. also there's work with... that one doctor has showed and others that stem cells around the ventricles are capable of regenerating normal brain cells. that was never understood before. that was thought just the opposite was true. so we're now beginning to understand that there are regenerative capabilities in the brain. exactly as you said that means that with proper stimulation, with optimizing the
environment and working with the patient that we can see much more recovery than previously was expected. >> suarez: representative giffords is 40. is her age working in her favor? is she better fixed to heal than if she were 60? >> well, probably. you know, the brain though is plastic. neuro plastic from cradle to grave but there are these places of plasticity. they vary over the course of time. in early childhood its especially plastic. but an older person like the representative probably has an extraordinary amount of motivation. she's been a very disciplined person. so she'll know a lot about paying attention. some of those factors that come into play at middle age will be to her favor. but the height of plasticity
is in early years but there's enough plasticity that we've seen, i mean, really remarkable recoveries by people in middle age, even for lesins or traumas that they sustained 10, 20, 30 years before. >> suarez: dr. brem in the small amount of time that we have left, what kind of time line are we talking about here? her doctors are cautioning patience. will we know in three months, six months, a year, what kind of shape her brain is in? >> general.... >> in general it's impossible to predict. it depends on the nature of the primary injury of the it could be weeks, months. it could be a year. it's usually where things begin to plateau from the initial recovery. and it could be years. really it's impossible to tell for an individual person. >> suarez: doctors, thank you very much.
>> ifill: martin luther king, jr. would have turned 82 this year. and in washington, a memorial honoring him is rising near the national mall. the site is blocks away from the steps of the lincoln memorial, where king delivered his most famous speech at the 1963 march on washington. its words were being recited in observances coast to coast today. last week, fourth-graders from washington, d.c.'s watkins elementary school took to the lincoln steps themselves. >> i am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. >> five score years ago a great american announced the emancipation proclamation. >> a beacon and light of hope to millions of negro slaves who had been seered in the
flames of injustice. >> it came as a joyous day break to end the long night of their captivity. >> 100 years later the negro is still not free. >> 100 years later, the life of the negro is still crippled by the man ackles of segregation and the chain of discrimination. >> 100 years later, the negro lives in a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. >> 100 years later, the negro is still languishing in the corners of the american society and finds himself an exile in his own land. >> so we have come here today to dramatize these conditions. in a sense we have come to our nation's capital to csh a check. our republic through the magnificent words of the constitution and the declaration of independence they were signing a promissory note to which every american were to fall hare. >> this note was the promise that all men-- yes black men
as well as white men-- would be guaranteed the unalienable right of life, liberty and' the pursuit of happiness. >> it is obvious today that america has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as the citizens of color are concerned. >> instead of honoring the sacred obligation, america has given the negro people a bad check. >> a check which come back marked insufficient funds. >> we refuse to believe that the bigger. >> we refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great opportunities of this nation. so we have come to cash this check. a check that will give us the freedom and the security of justice. >> we have also come to this hallowed spot to remind america of the urgency of now. this is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizer drug. >> now is the time to make promises of democracy.
>> now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the racial justice. now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sand of the... of racial justice to the solid rock of brotherhood. now is the time to make justice a reality for all of god's children. it would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. this sweltering summer of the negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating... freedom and equality. >> 1963 is not an end but a beginning. >> i say to you today, my friend. and so even though we face a difficulties of today and tomorrow, i still have a dream. it is a dream deeply rooted in the american dream. >> i have a dream. that one day this nation will rise up and live up to the true meaning of its creed. we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created. i have a dream that one day on
the hills of georgia the son of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. i have a dream that one day even the state of mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. i have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. i have a dream today. i have a dream that one day down in alabama with the governor of having his lips dripping with the words of nullification, one day right there in alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little girls and sisters and brothers. and freedom will ring. we'll let it ring from every village, from every hamlet,
from every state. we will be able to see that day when all god's children, black men and white men, jews and gentiles, protestants and catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual free at last. free at last. thank god all mighty, we are free at last. ( cheers and applause ) >> ifill: fourth-graders from washington, d.c.'s watkins elementary school. organizers of the $120 million king memorial have $11 million left to raise to meet their construction goal. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day. international human rights groups called for the arrest of haiti's former dictator, jean claude duvalier, who returned to the country after 25 years in exile. a new interim "unity government" was formed in tunisia, even as protests there continued. and doctors in arizona reported congresswoman gabrielle giffords successfully underwent surgery
to remove bone fragments from her eye socket. and to kwame holman for what's on the newshour online. kwame? >> holman: margaret warner tours the tense demilitarized zone while reporting from south korea. watch a web-only video. and we've posted a collection of video and document archives on the life and times of martin luther king, jr., and the civil rights movement. plus our health unit looks at how state budget cuts are affecting care for the mentally ill. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, as china's leader arrives in washington, we'll look at a major bone of contention: currency manipulation. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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