Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 21, 2009 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT

5:30 pm
>> well, today it has come a long way politically. african americans. by 1980 they gained control of the county courthouse. they were sitting in a majority of the seats in public office, local public office. but although the politics changed in terms of black representation very little else changed. so african americans gained political power, but not economic power. as a result of that poverty still is extremely high. one of the poorest counties, not only in alabama, but the state as a whole. ..
5:31 pm
5:32 pm
and opposition on the african-american side of people looking at him as a political boss and contesting saying what happened to the freedom of politics that you were so instrumental in the and so it's the decisions he makes, and then in 1994 he leaves the sheriff's office and becomes the probate judge, stays in office until 2000 and hands off to his son, john, jr., who remains probate judge today and that we just passed away recently just three years ago in 1996 but his legacy remains politically not only the movement but politically through his son as probate judge. >> "bloody lowndes" civil rights and black power in alabama's black belt, hasan kwame jeffries. what is your day job?
5:33 pm
>> guest: assistant at ohio state university. african american history, civil rights movement, black power and also in u.s. history. >> host: and this is your first book? published by new york press. >> guest: absolutely. >> rick steves author travel guide for europe and many european countries talks about his recent trip to iran. mr. stevens who was in iran filming a pbs special says the country is the most poorly understood place he has ever visited. the event hosted by the commonwealth club in palo alto california is one hour and 20 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you. well, it's great to be here, normally when i talked to a group like this i'm talking about europe. people know me because i make tv shows on the guide book. i went to iran for none of those
5:34 pm
reasons. i went to iran because i think you should know people before you bomb them. [applause] you know, sometimes it's necessary to bomb people and kill them i guess but i think it's bad character to dehumanize our country so it doesn't hurt to read our country included is good at dehumanizing an enemy, collateral damage, you know the problem, not letting photographs of cast gets -- you see extended family, you just kill them all because osama. he wasn't. they are dehumanized. we don't cry. a beautiful blonde girl is kidnapped and aruba and we cry, you see, she's humanized and i don't want to put up with that.
5:35 pm
she's precious, they are precious. we are children of god. we can all find solutions. [applause] so i had the opportunity a year ago. well, there was a lot of saber rattling and talk about military strikes and so on and in my hometown, seattle the local united nations chapter said what can we do to encourage some discussion in peace and i said the only thing i can do is make a tv show and i am busy i don't think we can do it. it's hard to talk to the iranians, they don't have the consulate or embassy. i said i'd love to do it if you can get me permission i will get the film crew together and we will get over there. i will pay for it. i will bring it home and i will have it. my hunch is it will air all over the united states. and it's been i hear process and i'm so excited this month it is debuting in every single in the country is airing it and we are going to learn a lot about iran.
5:36 pm
[applause] now, my agenda if i have one was not to be 60 minutes. i didn't really want to get into adulterer's being stoned or, you know, the people or funding terrorism or nuclear power plants. those are all important issues but i'm not one of those kind of guys, and a travel writer. i want to go there and dehumanize become humanize the culture. it is 70 million people, it has the whole borders in the region. all the rest are created by european colonial powers and you've got the message because it ignores ethnicity. here is one real powerful proud strong ethnicity that goes back its first king was 500 years before christ. back in the days when that was the palace when it was subjugating 30 different nations to though we are not worthy style to boreas or circe's or sires and those guys and i
5:37 pm
thought we don't know much about this place. everything i knew about iran i learned from ted koppel. [laughter] you know? i mean, our history starts around 1979. i just thought i should know something about iran i was scared to go. i came within 2 inches leaving my camera and athens and flying into dayron with a little camera because i was thinking they would be throwing rocks in the streets when the new we were americans. think that as i went with a big camera because i felt i was warmly received as an american than any other place i traveled honestly. it blew me away. i had so much fun, i learned so much and i was so thankful to have an outlet to air this what we learned on things to public broadcasting, non-commercial broadcasting. we love the under lighters but they didn't want their name. it's too dicey to talk about
5:38 pm
this stuff. i don't care if it's good for business or not, the war is quite bad and we can't afford another one so i wanted to learn about this and come home. [applause] so, i'm just going to tell you the story of the issued and what i learned. i hope you can see the show, it is a one hour long special and it's very exciting to open your eyes to iran. i wanted to go as a travel writer to look at all the great buildings and, you know, museums and culture and eat the food and that sort of thing and also to humanize the place. i wanted to get to know what makes these people tick because well, as my hunch was as i learned i think it would be dangerously naive to think that we could shock and awe these people into compliance. it is not going to happen and this is something i learned.
5:39 pm
and find it's not a free society. it's a society treated away freedom democracy for a theocracy. i know we have some iranians in the crowd and i would love to get your take in que and a and i will be the first to say i'm just a rookie. i didn't know anything about iran six months ago. i did my studying, learned a lot and i'm teaching in a way that simplifies things so it is much more complicated than what i'm saying but it's hard for most americans to get our brains around this stuff so i think we just want to stick to basics and not bald down to many details but we will talk about that afterwards i hope but what i found was people didn't apologize for not having freedom. they said no, we are not free. we are worried about cultural encroachment from the west and we have treated the democracy in order to have theocracy. what motivates them?
5:40 pm
they are motivated by i found fear and loved. fear of the western encroachment, love of their children. people walked across the street to say we don't want our kids to be raised like britney spears. [laughter] that's it. they are victims of propaganda and if you are a loving parent in iran who happens to be a devout muslim who might not be well educated a small town conservative fundamentalist person you don't want your kids to grow up to be boy toys drug addicts and craft materialists, that is your passion to give your children and firemen to grow up decent people not like that. and these older people grew up in their lives with the shawl in power and bragging into iran that the miniskirts were shorter in tava on the and in paris. that's fun if you are into miniskirt's but that isn't what you want your little girl to be wearing if you are a fundamentalist conservative whatever muslim. you want immodesty, the respect and so on so i had so many
5:41 pm
eurekas. i didn't realize that and this and i was going over there -- i was very impressed by what we don't know, the value of getting to understand that better. flogging in was fascinating. i was on a plane -- the pilot said we are taking the plane to take on and nobody was anxious. [laughter] everybody has dinner with metal lives. [laughter] when is the last time you had a mental life on a plane? [laughter] [applause] coming in to take -- tehran, when they buckled the seat belts women put on their scarves, these are cosmopolitan rich world women and now you've got to enter back into the not iran the islamic republic of iran and land in that airport and all of a sudden you are in a different land and you've got to cover your hair. it was really interesting right from the start.
5:42 pm
this is different. at the airport we went -- we were taken directly to the c.i.p. lounge, commercially important people lounge. laughter, producer who you will meet in a minute is from new zealand and showed his passport and they said welcome. i'm from the united states, i showed my passport and two policemen said come with me. [laughter] so we walk over here and i had to be fingerprinted. and i've never been fingerprinted. it is an affront to me to give someone like fingerprints but i realize this is reciprocity. this is saving face. if you are in a yacht club and it won't let you dock the boat, the guys in the yacht built can't dr. plug here, white, reciprocity. if you were a senior and going to athens to getting to the museum the more region gets in for free. using why can't i get in for free by guy increase says when
5:43 pm
our seniors go to norway they go for free but when they come to the united states there is no reciprocity. this is normal but when you are big and strong like us you say get over it but when you were little and battered around these things matter. this is saving face. so there's a lot of saving face pretty important when you are on top and powerful and dictate things you undervalue. i would like to get things done quick and a gorilla on japan real kind of way and you get over there and everything has to be slow and cumbersome and chat about this and shmooze here and i had to cruise a whole show and a week and a half and i wanted to get there soon but we had to make the big shot and he's from the ministry of guidance. [laughter] and that is the tourism department is the subset of and it was clear to me this is a different kind of organization and he made everything possible.
5:44 pm
they gave permission because they are concerned about their image in the west and reasonably so and they think a lot of western media has come over there and edited things in a menacing kind of way with an agenda to it will get all the specials on iran. iran, uncovered, the truth, if it wasn't innocent it's not innocent in the eyes of people who think i am a jane fonda mouthpiece for the enemy. i've learned more about jane fonda last couple of months than i thought i ever would. [laughter] but i just wanted -- i just wanted -- 70 million people, what's with them, you know? they looked around and did research and we were from public television and they had good experience with public television and bad experiences with commercial groups said they gave permission we wanted and i made it clear i'm not here to look at your nuclear power plants. i am not here -- i'm not mike
5:45 pm
wallace. we are just going to learn about your culture and society and what motivates your people. so we could do anything we wanted. i guess, not everything because we had certain concerns because i wanted to see people being nonconformist and not kissing up to the society and i wanted to go to the clubs for instance and see how young people quote. blog owners are in favor what we are doing building understanding and have things mellowed out between the countries but they didn't want our camera because if they are letting people take their scarves off and hold hands they could close their license and if that happens, when, week that if it's on video these people are in trouble. if he went in a bar and serve 14-year-olds booze you don't want anybody filming that. it's the same kind of thing so we couldn't go into the mall. i loved the concept of teenage girls dressing of risque and anchoring their parents in the malls.
5:46 pm
i think it happens all over the world, and i know it happens where i live and it's certainly happens in iran. you can go to malta and shoot this but no owner of the store once you shooting the girls dressed in modestly in front of their stores we had those kind of frustrations. other than that i could shoot whenever i wanted. i felt very good for my needs. we had to get our mug shots and press passes and anybody who is an official capacity is going to be telling the line. you see this woman here is dressed quite modestly and that would be expected. if you want to see the proper way for a woman to address you look at the woman that does the weather report and she will have her body covered and so on. we got the permissions and now we are ready to roll and there's just three of us, me, and, the producer and coral, the camera man. also took with me in from seattle who grew up in iran who is a filmmaker in the united
5:47 pm
states, wonderful man named abdu and we had the government from iran who was our guide and security guy and made sure we didn't get in trouble and so on. i wanted to have an iranian that could speak the language and negotiate so we were not going to be duped. a lot of people figure well, this sayed, they felt he was going to shelter me from the thing but honestly he was a blessing. i needed him, he was dealing with security problems because every made -- bank and will communicate, there's overlapping business and we're constantly getting busted by security people and having to pick on the tripod and go somewhere else and and side the minder was sorting through this. also he would answer the questions and explain to people what we were doing and help offset the show that we wanted to get.
5:48 pm
his responsibility was to follow the camera. if i was leaving the crew i could go anywhere i wanted. people don't think you can do that, you can. but he had to be there with the camera to protect the camera and make sure we were all shooting stuff that wasn't to be shot apparently. and we were feisty, aggressive little film crews i don't think that sayed dealt with this. when you do a public show i want to show transit. elon is a crazy city, 10 million people plus and its horrific traffic and if you want to get there in a hurry you've got to go on a motorcycle taxi. they have you wear a helmet. i don't like to wear a helmet, it messes up my hair so he says you will see a lot of paint on the side of bosses. [laughter] i said i will wear a helmet. [laughter] so i put the helmet on and then carvel puts the camera on and we go with the motorcycle guide for the traffic. it was a case you have to have the local bayh, sayed, say these guys are safe, you can take them
5:49 pm
on the right and won't get in trouble with the government and we couldn't have done that with our local minder guide to explain to the taxi driver was going on, so i get shot weaving through traffic and then to do a good tv show i get off the motorcycle and the camera man gets on the motorcycle and does the point of view as i weaved through and avoided the losses and you get a good bit. when the camera man got on the motorcycle our guide had to get on and follow the cab kind of thing. so sayed gets busted, plainclothes policemen coming up looking society of bureaucrats and it's kind of a cumbersome situation but we were free to go through the city and check out what life was like in tehran. i will never forget standing on the balcony of my high rise hotel looking at the city and hearing of the home of 10 million people doing their thing. one reason i wanted to go to iran, incidently somebody had sent me a year ago, one of those internet slide shows and i
5:50 pm
watched it and it was a slide show like 40 shots of tehran. i've never seen a shot of tehran before. for some reason i thought it was just, you know, a scary cross between khamenei and stalin or something like that, just by the propaganda that we get and i looked at this thing and it looked like vancouver bc, high-rise condos, snowcapped mountains, business energy, i thought it was amazing. i wanted to see the city. it's amazing i don't know anything about iran. so we learned a lot about the city. the traffic is crazy. [laughter] you've got eight teams coming together with no stop lights. [laughter] i felt this is a developing world city, they've got broken lights and nobody fixed them. no, they just didn't put lights there, they don't want them. why stop? you can shuffle through and carry on. [laughter] on initial reaction is that is insane. but they like it and it seems to work quite well. [laughter]
5:51 pm
it's so different. i spent a lot of time in traffic you can imagine and it was fascinating to be their connecting with the people and feeling the pulse of the society and when you are in iran you know it is the revolution of values. the revolution of values. i got that they have signs in english not for americans but that's the language for anybody that comes to the country and it's the ayatollah khamenei dollar years. what are the values? they are what we would call family values. that is what it is. and i think it's an interesting irony the americans, you know, the political sort of typical americans would be most angry and want to be hard ball with iran are the ones most in favor of, quote, family values. and then you go to iran and the people that are most threatened by what do you call it the great statement of america or the iranians that are the most passionate about, quote, family
5:52 pm
values. they are frightened, less educated, conservative, often fundamentalists, often small town people that have never been over there or are over there. you see but i mean? and it is a very interesting and complex in challenge. and was very clear to me they were motivated by the same things the good people here that care about family values are motivated by fear and love and my experience the flip side of fear is understanding and the more you travel the more you understand and the less you are afraid and lately there is a lot of fear in society and i think it's being used and devious ways against us and i am offended by that fear. [applause] want to stress it is a theocracy, it's not free. nobody apologized for that. we are not free, we are not a democracy. we've got a theocracy. we have prayer in school, you
5:53 pm
know, girls have to look like little nuns. we are a free society and unless the security is threatened and we will treat we civil liberties in a hurry i think because something tromps our passion for civil rights and that's our own security, right? something thomas their passion for freedom and it is the fear of western encroachment. what is with this western encroachment? can't they get over it? they've had 2,000 years experience and it never stops. that's the weird thing. when i do a film i go to the capitol city to see the great museum and by this excited to go to the great museum for the persian culture. 2500 years ago the greatest culture. ancient sites between the mediterranean and india and i had a big part of the script written to the empire. i got there and it was pathetic, a couple of dusty faces it seemed like. i was traumatized.
5:54 pm
i got the curator and said where is the great art? i am making a tv show. i need something that looks impressive. are you guys like the greatest a long time ago? and he said if you want to see obra great art, you need to go to the great cities in western europe because that is where it is. now again, we might say get over it there's more important things but no, that hurts when you are a proud civilization and your things are in another country and nobody goes there to the persian one of the louvre it's not even appreciated and should be in tehran and it's not there so there's a lot of that baggage going on. they just lost a quarter of a million people fighting the guy named saddam hussein funded by the united states in their view. that's not nice baggage. we got our baggage and they've got theirs, their bellies lost fighting saddam hussein. you go there and find for americans history started in 1979 when we had a hostage crisis for every iran and school
5:55 pm
kids knows 1953, that is on the experience with united states started. that is when they had a democratically elected prime minister called mossadegh, and was back nationalized their oil. this is really as disgusting as any dictator that has got involved with us. any liberal leader of the nation that nationalized their oil, well, that angered britain and america because it frustrated the oil companies and we had to throw him out. and, you know, i'm trying not to show my politics but this isn't -- laughter could this isn't a matter of discussion. it's true the cia overthrew the democratically elected leader of iran in 1953 because he wouldn't let us have their oil on our terms. and i had to buy some video clips, archival clips for my show, and i was astounded watching this newsreel from the 1950's. you know, they've ransacked his
5:56 pm
house, threw him out with great fanfare brought in the dictator of the shaw with his american bodies and they took the throne and in a grand walter cronkite voice you hear "and once again, we'll flows freely to the west." and all my life i've heard that kind of stuff and i thought well, amen. it's vital to our national security interest. actually it's vital to our accustomed lifestyle, that's more honest but it's odd that we don't think very much how odd that is. now we put in the shaw those people lived with the shaw from 53 to 79, and the shaw might have done some good things but he had a lot of enemies and iran and because he was so extreme this way i believe they went to the opposite extreme that we and threw him out and brought something to the other side which was a theocracy from by ayatollah khomeini.
5:57 pm
to a 70 million iranians are born after the islamic revolution meaning they are products of the islamic revolution and this is really -- you learn the textbooks, the professors, everything is working with that system. so, it shapes people's outlook. the theocracy as everywhere. what on the street on every street corner there is a box, literally every street corner. and this says in a farsi script saying put money for the poor, what ever. you leave in your bed in the hotel room, look up at the ceiling and go if i feel like pricing i know exactly where mecca is. there is an arrow. from the tv late at night and go to the top dial's where you might find the shopping channel or cute girls or something like that you get several channels to pray by.
5:58 pm
there is live mecca, there is babbling brook, there is a big red sunset and its music to pray by and it occurred to me we have and ideologies or, yeah, and ideologies which is economic. the soviet union had a ideologies. to be afloat materially. that is almost our religion in society. they come at the expense of the economics, have a religious ideologies. they are not selling stuff of the top end of the bile. they are letting people worship. you go down the streets and find billboards not selling stuff but with quotes from mohammed. some of them are loving, some of the market fall. they are all a part of the religious ideologies and it occurred to me we are kind of blind to our brainwashing and they are kind of blind to there's but if they come here they see the materialism. if we go there we see the
5:59 pm
intensity of their theocracy. and i found it as a traveler very interesting. you go down the street and see these towering murals most of them honoring martyrs'. when you die fighting for your country, you are a hero, you are a martyr. i hear this word in america a lot lately. they are not unique. and as i mentioned iran with a quarter of the population lost 250,000 people in the 1980's with a front line as hellish as the one between france and germany in world war i. and this would be -- like can't read the words here but i sure that would be a mortar, this guy is a martyr, and you've got the supreme leader and the president. i want to stress we all know and hate mahmoud ahmadinejad. i shouldn't say we all but all americans can't get this guy. mahmoud ahmadinejad isn't the big power, the big power is the supreme leader. mahmoud ahmadinejad is the big mouthpiece and can


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on