tv QA A Reporters View of Afghanistan Pakistan Iraq CSPAN November 17, 2019 7:59pm-9:03pm EST
sondland is the credible witness? >> i believe everyone should be given every opportunity to tell the truth. >> key has revised his statement which is why ask that. >> it is never too late to tell the truth other than perhaps for roger stone. announcer: follow the house impeachment inquiry and the administration's response on c-span, unfiltered coverage live on tv, our radio app, and online. watch prime time on a c-span or stream any time on demand at c-span.org/impeachment. next on q&a, pamela constable who recently completed a -- a lengthy tour as the washington post's afghanistan and pakistan bureau chief talks about her experiences in the region. bbc profile of former british house of commons speaker, john bercow, who is stepping down from that post.
then, national -- nationally syndicated talk show host on free speech. he joined us on this morning's washington journal. ♪ host: pamela constable, longtime foreign correspondent for the washington post. i feel like i should start off by saying welcome home. pamela: thank you. i'm delighted to be home. host: all told, how many years of your reporting career or percentage have you spent overseas? half.: i guess close to
first with the boston globe, i worked for a number of years in latin america. that was close to a decade. half. off and on with the washington post, it comes out to be close to a decade. host: when you decided on journalism, how did you gravitate toward a foreign reporting? my earliest, interest in journalism was more about domestic issues. poverty, drug addiction, social ills you may say. i did a lot of work on that in the early years. then i guess, i don't know, i traveled overseas as a tourist, two unusual places, and i began to think some of these same issues were definitely there and more and the struggles and problems were deeper and broader. and i just wanted to try that. host: what special skills does it take to be a foreign affairs journalist, as opposed to someone working domestically? mean, there is a
number of things i would not necessarily call them skills, but there is a number of ways you have to be. you have to be ready to change things quickly, to make decisions very rapidly, to change course, to leave if something is dangerous, to go places you were not expecting to go. you have to be prepared, depending on where you are, to go for a long time without sleep, sometimes without taking a shower or washing your hair. you have to be really prepared to be mobile and very flexible. as well as, you know, sort of intrepid. you have to be willing to go places that other people may not be willing to go because you are looking for something that is a problem usually. there is a revolution, there is a revolution, there's poverty, there is an actual disaster there, a fraud election, something happening that is disturbing. that is generally why you are there. again, it is not for everyone.
either abled to be to speak for leg wages or have somebody with you who is very good at speaking whatever language you are working in. because you do not want to miss things, miss the subtlety, the nuance. you can probably learn to read a headline quickly or say hello, but you really want to -- you are being immersed in a place, sometimes for the first time, where you don't know people sometimes. and you want somebody to be able to help you who can really give you the real sense of what is going on. host: that translator has to be a partner in reporting with you. absolutely. host: how do you find someone -- do you stay with them so that you can trust their skill level and interpretation, and also that they know the nuances of what they are translating? pamela: in many cases, there is already somebody there. there are a number of cities i've worked in where they had a full-time, one or even two, interpreters assigned, who live
there, work there, know the languages. india went out with them as a matter of course -- and you went out with them as a matter of course. if it is a crisis, a place you have never been, then you are really stuck. one of the things i've done over the years when i was in that situation, i would land at the airport and alex the taxi -- and ask the taxidriver to bring me to the nearest newspaper. i would serve myself at the mercy of the editor and ask for someone to help me out. sometimes they would want to go with me. that was one obvious thing to try. it didn't always work. generally, i was able to find somebody at least for the first few days i could help me out and see what happened after that. host: where their particular challenges as a female journalist working in muslim countries over the past few years? pamela: at first. i made mistakes. i always tried to dress modestly but sometimes it was not modest enough.
sometimes i failed to cover my ankles, didn't realize i was disturbing people i was talking to. although those tended to be more and i was interviewing religious cleric or something like that and i thought i was dressed properly and it turned out i was not dressed properly enough for them. i learned how to adjust that. one of my favorite incidents was when i was interviewing a leader of the taliban during -- when they were and power and i was with another woman, and we were interviewing this taliban official. we were both very tired, hadn't slept in a long time, and something he said or something sounded funny and we both started giggling. this is a huge mistake. offendedas extremely offendedp and left
and got up and left the room and never came back. you really have to be able to restrain yourself, i would say. and adapt to the circumstances and to the audience. you don't want to offend people, you don't want to disturb them. sometimes people will say things that are very critical of the united states or of the west. that is more common than somebody saying something offensive about being a woman or causing problems. speaking,d, generally speaking very broadly now, more helpful to a woman than to a man. they can also try to take advantage of you in various ways. but generally, my experience has are not goingif they
to like something about you, or mistrust something about you, it is not going to be because you ways, it is the luck of the draw. one of my oldest friends was killed in iraq, but in a car accident. was connected to the war, it was during the war and they were probably going to fast, probably nervous. are not going to like something aboutin the cr accident. she was killed. again, it was being there but connected with the violence, so to speak. connected with the violence, so to speak. other friends i've lost were people who had to get closer to the action, particularly people who worked in television. , very close colleague of mine television
this happens a lot. and it is particularly cruel. but i lost other kinds of friends. in kabul, there was a nut -- a wonderful restaurant where i used to go all the time with friends. it was a lovely oasis. very casual and nice. the owner was a wonderful lebanese gentleman who i had gotten to know over the years. one time, it was in 2014, i was not there at the time but i had been there the week before. i was back in washington. theit was a lovely oasis. taliban broke into the bombs, and set off shot and killed everyone inside including the owner. and it was awful. it was a real turning point for
me and many of my foreign friends there. host: turning point in what way? pamela: where is their sanctuary for us? where can we be safe? where can we feel welcome? i mean there were other issues like some places served alcohol and that was a separate issue. it made a some places have problems. of course, there were embassies and there were people's homes, and i felt very welcome in a variety of people's homes. i have several very close friends in kabul with beautiful, beautiful homes and offices that i could go to. but it was more the sense of i was inike -- i mean, iraq. i did know what urban wherefore -- warfare was like. i had not expected that in kabul. that incident and several others that happened after that made it feel much more like that. years, youast three
were stationed in kabul covering the region. what was your life like? were you living in a compound, in the community with people and how did you keep yourself safe in that environment? pamela: i had lived in afghanistan for a number of different times, different periods of time. sometimes in hotels, sometimes in guest houses, sometimes in community homes. almost always shared with other journalists, other foreign journalists. in the last several years, there were fewer foreign journalists there, and the safety became much more precarious. during these last several years when i was there, myself and most of the other western journalists, we lived inside the diplomatic zone. guarded, guarded, barriers, lots of body checks. car checks, searches on the way in and out. it was much more restricted.
it was still a nice house and office, but once you are outside the actual place you were in, you are very much in a confined area. host: when you would go out to do your reporting from where you lived, how did you travel? did you have to take special precautions or did you blend in with society as he made your way to report? pamela: you can never blend in. somebody who looks like me would never blend in. in the early years after the taliban lost power, there were lots of westerners around in the streets going to restaurants, going out, doing things, shopping. casually,eetings, not but more normally. several years, several years, because the danger was much worse and there were so many suicide bombings and so many when i, i would go out needed to or when i wanted to, but not casually, not without
letting somebody know in my office where i was going. i have not walked on the streets of kabul in a long time. always in a car, always stopping, and then leaving, staying a short time and then leaving. very, very different from the early years when you literally could walk around. if i did walk down a main street in kabul today, i would not see anyone who looked like me. host: you have brought photographs along that we are going to use to help understand your experience. this importantly, help americans understand this region of the world we have been so involved in over the past couple decades. before we get into that in a macro sense, in 2004, you wrote a book titled "fragments of grace, my search for meaning in the strife of south asia." another decade has gone by and it has gotten more complicated. what is happening with your own search for that meaning as the situation you have been covering
gets even more complex? it is a very good question. it is a very good question. and one i can't answer yet. it is certainly something that i have thought about a lot. comparing before and after. i've thought about ways to write about it, one of the reasons i felt it was time to come back from living in those countries was because i felt i was losing some of my creativity, some of my sense of something that is important and new and exciting, and how do you write about it? how do you keep writing about something that is not getting better, that is not changing, that is still -- how do you write about suicide bombings for the dozenth time in a way that is different? obviously the people are different, you can find out about them, their circumstances will be different.
a recent bombing at a wedding which was very unusual. unusual. there has been everything that is different. but it is the same problem that keeps recurring and recurring. i had stayed a few extra months because there was great hope that the peace talks would bear fruit. instead they were canceled. and they are now still suspended. we don't know what is going to happen with that. i felt as if the search for meaning as i originally called it before, was harder to find. fragments of grace which i used, and if you read my book, it had a lot antidotes about people i had met who were special, or not necessarily people who had won something or gained something, but people who had touched me. peoples whose experience had touched me. in reporting about whom, i had found something uplifting. that was what i was looking for. that is what i meant by that
title. and that has become harder and harder to find. you still find people that are doing something special, you are unusual, triumphing over adversity. my more recent book, the one about pakistan, my epilogue is about a man who was an extraordinary man, i think is actually probably the only saint i have ever met. he's dead now, an elderly man who came from a well-to-do family, could have had a normal career in business, but he devoted his life to helping the very, very, very poor. in a really unique way. he founded this ambulance service. it was basically a very needy grady -- nitty-gritty. one of the specialties of his work was going around and collecting dead bodies of people that did not have anybody to bury them. very, very humble.
literally wanting to help those who had no help. i was very inspired by him and i was glad that i did meet him before he died. host: before we look at your photographs, how did photography become part of your work? pamela: i've always loved to take pictures. everywhere i've gone, i have always taken lots of pictures. sometimes they have been used in newspapers, other times not, sometimes they put where in my books. i always feel and add so much of the texture and richness of what you are reporting on. to show people. host: how many do you think you have now? pamela: oh my god, thousands and thousands. host: what are you going to do with them all? --ela: a lot of them are would be hard to use now. ory are in an old camera, even before that, film. a lot of it was film in the early days.
most of my work from latin america and taking pictures was all in film. somewhere i have the slips of negative somewhere. more recently, the chips. and now it is all digital. i also have my cell phone destroyed -- had my cell phone destroyed it i lost a lot of those. i have saved precious ones but i've lost some precious ones. host: we are going to start with afghanistan. as i mentioned before we started taping, i will give our audience a very brief fact about the major comfort -- major countries we will talk about so they have some contract -- some context. these are from usaid. 40 million people live in the country. 25% urban. 75% rural. the median age is 19. life expectancy, 52 years. 25% urban. 99% muslim, 85% are sunni. per capita income, $550 a year. the is the u.s. connection,
usaid budget including the all aidnt of defense, to the country and we 16, 5 $.7 billion. billion. . u.s. spending on the war since 2001, 900 $75 billion. casualties, 20,000 people wounded. civilian casualties estimated at 38,000. that is from brown university. that is the state of the country. who are the combatants there today? the war there has been a real roller coaster with different phases and different players, you might say. it is obviously the american and nato component that is much smaller. there is really only a few thousand international forces there left. and they are basically confined to training and advising, except
for the special forces who do participate in combat with the afghans. that is a separate program. net the major part of the war. so you still have the taliban. the taliban which came roaring back in 2006, 2 thousand seven, and 2008, still remains as a full-fledged, very committed, very well armed insurgency. and it is still wreaking havoc all over the country, including the capital. fractionmuch smaller of isis, or the islamic state, which is not affiliated with the taliban. sometimes it works with them and sometimes against them. they are internationally based, they are not to mess tickly based the way the taliban is. they are much smaller in numbers. they are extremely ruthless in afghanistan as they have been
they are extremely ruthless in afghanistan as they have been elsewhere. they do a lot of damage, which is punching far above their numbers, especially in suicide bombings. they have done dozens of suicide bombings in kabul and other cities which have been extremely devastating. those are the two bad guy factions. and the other side, you have afghan forces, you have military, police, you have an air force and you have afghan advisors, international advisors. the afghan forces have been through a lot of difficulties, a lot of ups and downs. they have come under criticism for corruption, poor leadership, for really intrinsic problems. inre is new leadership now the afghan forces which the americans and nato leaders have a lot of hope for. they seem to be doing a better job. the war is still at a stalemate. talks are not happening anymore. there is not a pause in the fighting but there is certainly
a pause in figuring out how to stop it. host: to understand what life is like for the citizens of this country, we are going to look at your pictures. our first time -- first one is from 2015. this is during the elections. searching of a woman voter. you have chosen these. what does it say to us about the situation at the time and the hopefulness around elections in the past? thela: that is a woman in neighborhood of kabul, which is a large poor minority district, which has received the brunt of attacks by both taliban, particularly by isis, in the capital. she was in a long line of women voters, being searched before going to the polls. men vote separately there. i think she was sort of startled by me rather than by what she
was doing. kabul is better educated and very politically committed than a lot of other groups. they really are. a lot of them have come back from long exile in iran. women tend to be better educated, they have more rights, i should say more encouragement from their families and their community to do things like vote. to be out in public. to be participating in public life. many parts of afghanistan, especially rural ones, you don't see that as much. even though she is looking sort of disturbed, she represents a very important trend of women participating in public life in afghanistan. this by the dangers. her community has been attacked many times, including during elections. host: for women in the cities,
are there more rights? is there a rural or urban divide in how women are treated? pamela: yes. there is a rural-urban split in every social and political sense. capital and in provincial capitals in large cities, women tend to go there to have jobs or get education, or because their family -- their families want them to be more involved in things. there are a lot of things that they can do. women can work and ministries, women can teach school, women have more accepted roles in urban society in afghanistan. no matter what their ethnic background. in village life, in many part of the country, they are very circumscribed by culture and society in what they can do. in many parts of the country, they do not leave home without being fully covered, including their face, and without having a
male relative at their side. which means their lives are very, very circumscribed in many parts of the country. the culture still does not accept that women should go to school after they reach the age of puberty. most of afghan society accepts they should go to school as young girls. once they reach the age of puberty, which in that society is considered the age of marriage, or almost the age of marriage, or certainly the age of being betroth, many cases they are taken out of school. host: the next photograph, this is 2016. morning in a"women kabul brew graveyard -- in a kabul graveyard." pamela: i was a particularly haunting place geographically. this is the very, very far south western edge of kabul which is on the edge of the desert. children,n, with some
are participating in mourning. there was a terrible suicide bombing. this was in august 2016. there was a peaceful protest among young has our leaders and and others that had to do with basic rights, had to do with electrical power access, it had to do with a variety of complaints that the community had. there were thousands and thousands gathered at a giant traffic circle in kabul. there was a suicide bombing there which was attributed to the islamic state, in which i believe 80 were killed and i think hundreds injured. it was a terrible bombing. in muslim custom, you have to be very -- you have to be buried very quickly. these were probably mothers and aunts and other relatives of some of the victims. host: so much of your work had to be centered on this.
how have you processed all of this strife around religion and religious factions, especially in islam over the years? so much of this to westerners seems really income principle. how thesederstand daily bombings people have to live with, and the constant threat of people within other sections of their religion, really don't want them to integrate or be part of their lives? pamela: it is a complicated question that you are asking. perhaps one way to answer it is to look at something as a spectrum or continuum. there are many different factors. there is factions within both religions. we have to state from the outset that in the case of afghanistan, there are no christians to speak of. essentially these -- this is
muslim in a muslim society. something muslim. but there is a spectrum. if you want to take it in terms of, i don't know, liberalism versus orthodoxy, or modern versus ultraconservative, there is everything. you know, on one end you will find -- again, has are a has come back from iran who are wearing clothing much like i'm wearing, not like you are wearing, but much like what i'm wearing. normal clothes with a headscarf. going to school, learning computers and, english, getting excited about the future, and on the far end of the spectrum you would have particularly in parts of the country, ultra, ultra restrictions on social behavior.
marry, which has nothing to do with what you are interested in, but it is not just about women. that is why it is hard to answer that question. look at the taliban. the taliban are sunni muslims. they are from the dominant muslim sect from afghanistan. what's the difference between them and non-taliban sunni muslims? the difference is not that great. what they actually believe in what they observe is not that different. in many cases, it is coincidence. it's the same. day,ng five times a observing the religion in the same way, the difference is that most people, most afghans do not extremesee violence and
cruelty used to propagate or to enforce their religion. host: fact two photos per the 2016, also from kabul. a scavenger boy gathering garbage near the palace. pamela: yes. when i was looking at this picture the other day, it is good to show it. that palace has now been completely renovated. it is undergoing this massive renovation. it's very beautiful now. that was built in the 1920's. it was athere and beautiful old palace that was destroyed in successive wars. it stood for years as an emblem and an eyesore of all the terrible violence that has destroyed kabul over the years. when i took that picture which was about three and a half years ago, i really thought, it really said so much. there is a little boy who can't go to school, he's got this
ragged bag which he is collecting garbage, and that's what he does all day. and he happens to be near this extraordinarily once magnificent building that has been destroyed by all the wars in his country. i thought that picture said a lot. host: next is with someone you call your best friend. pamela: king kong is my best friend. i hope you will -- lives a wild life continues to. he is in kabul0. to help animals in my private time, especially animals that have been injured or ill. i worth -- work with afghan people who try to help them as best they can. it's another suicide bombing. this was about five years ago.
there was a terrible suicide bombing in a neighborhood. at that time, i was going out more in the streets and i went to this bombing site with my translator and driver. alley, thisis wretched looking heap of bones that was a dog that was almost dead. it was covered with sores and wounds and was starving to death. i picked him up with my driver and i put him in the car. children were throwing stones at him. he was almost dead. he has recovered to be the
i got into fix my shoes once, and i could see that he had paid a dollar. this may represented a different of time in that country. everything was personal and quiet. his customers were just friends who would come and have a cup of tea and get their shoes fixed. as i spent more time in that neighborhood, i discovered every shopkeeper hady been affected by the wars in some way. they had all lost someone one. -- someone. just in this tiny crossroads, everyone there had a story to tell about what had happened to
their family in the past 30 years of war. susan: 2017 as well, this is stormy. pamela: stormy. i had forgotten about that injury. i was on a military base. i was carrying a heavy pack and i had body armor on and i had a helmet on. i tripped and fell on a cement parking letter. that is the result. it was just bad luck. donkey.as a i worked with veterinarians who were treating donkeys there. there were treating turkeys in many parts of the world.
they carried heavy burdens. they get no rest or well fed. they almost never get medical treatment. if you saw stormy under that blanket, you wouldn't be able to show it. covered with sores and wounds. bleeding. the saddest creature. we took care of him for a long time. it took six months until his wounds were healed. we sent them to live with a nice farmer that someone new. -- knew. we send them some money each month to make sure he's well. susan: pakistan. 207 million people in pakistan, 36% urban, the median age is 24.
96% muslim. u.s. and 2019 was only $280 million. 2019 was only $280 million. "pakistana book called at war with itself." what is the thesis of that book? pamela: the thesis of that book is that, when you went to pakistan, you would see that tremendous potential. it could have everything a country could want or need to develop like mexico, turkey or mexico. it has a huge population to do work. it has lost a -- lots of industrial development huge cities and huge agriculture. it has natural resources. it has everything it could need to get ahead except for the fact entrenched --very
entrenched feudal relief. -- delete. the gap between the rich and poor is still too big. there is a real ceiling. you cannot get ahead in that country. it's hard to rise above poverty unless you have a connection of some sort. the public systems of welfare are very limited. to, amonghas led other things, is the increasing popularity of extreme forms of islam. islam,icalization of particularly sunni islam, particularly allied with the taliban. it has been because the young few options ory ways to get ahead. you have preachers everywhere
radical, exciting meetings and opportunities and come join us and go to heaven. it is very appealing. the picture on the bottom, that is a rally. that is a rally by young pakistanis supporting a man who assassinated a governor. he was the governor's bodyguard and he assassinated him because he believed the governor was sacrilegious because he had defended a woman accused of blasphemy. this bodyguard murdered his own shotskilled him with 26 and he became a hero and a saint 207,000's -- hundreds of thousands of pakistanis. susan: 2016, this is a bakery. how large is the refugee
community in afghanistan -- in pakistan? pamela: it's much smaller now. during a succession -- -- a succession of wars, three successive waves of refugees fleeing afghanistan across the 2000 mile border into pakistan. been an time, there has enormous refugee population, ,ecause of because of the wars, maybe they just settled there. this is a bakery that has been in pakistan for a long time. 20 or 30 years. there are constant disputes between the two countries. pakistan is always trying to send the refugees back. it's a long, complicated tale. i like that bakery because it has become an institution. people know it makes good bread and they go there.
susan: another young person. 2017.an in rite millionsyou w of school aged children work in jobs that -- not well-paying jobs. pamela: lots of great schools for those who can afford it. but for millions of families, most children work part-time or full-time. many go to school in the mornings and work in the afternoons. being a taylor is a typical form of child employment. girls work in weaving carpets at hand looms. in brick quarries, making bricks, which is backbreaking work. there are number of jobs they do. i thought that boy was particularly poignant. are there western factories >> working there that -- susan: are
there working factories there that make close for the u.s.? -- clothes for the u.s.? pamela: textiles is one of the biggest industries, but it takes a lot of skilled labor. they were a large employer of adult, but not so much children. susan: women in burgers shopping. shoppping.rkas pamela: that is a bizarre -- inaar that specializes weddings. there are a lot of ribbons and bangles. bangles shopping for and light jewelry. weddings are a huge business in pakistan and are the premier social activity. everyone is always getting married. it is the main social act of the
society. it's a way for women to get out in social life and shop. they are covered when they go out. >> it sounds like there are plentiful targets. pamela: there have only been a handful that i know of. it's rare that a wedding would be bombed. yes. those susan: are the things that can work their way through the filter, too. there are a lot of weddings that have been bombed by a and american forces. that's the other side of the storyh. -- story. susan: pakistan, 2018. amela: i told you my hair was mess. that's me.
with the vet and treating some donkeys in the area. we happened upon this flock of sheep. i waited into it. i love that picture. susan: this is recent. 2019. anti-polio campaign. pamela: that's one of the sad thing is happening. going back to the enormous potential it has that it hasn't is makingp to, polio a comeback. it was almost eradicated. there were all kinds of campaigns. woman is administering drops in the school. thousands of people administering antipolio drops the last few decades.
they were making great day -- progress. they had several huge obstacles. one is that very conservative fundamentalist groups opposed polio vaccines and accused them of being a western plot to sterilize muslims. that was a big obstacle to the campaign. a lot of families got scared by that. ande is a lot of poverty misunderstanding and fear in some of these communities that generally has made it harder to reach everyone. the government has worked hard to reach every child. in the past year, they're going door-to-door in school to school. susan: it's a country of 1.4 billion people. the median age is 28. in the u.s., it is 38.
-- we have one photo. this is all the way back in 2000. why did you choose this? pamela: your producer asked me to find some pictures of me at work. i so rarely have pictures of me at work. another journalist took this picture. than -- atf me other an incredible hindu ceremony. it's a gathering held every number of years. there campingle
on the banks of this river, including me. priestsne of the hindu or gurus. susan: we are reading so much about the rising tensions between india and pakistan, both nuclear states. how concerned are you who are in the ground -- on the ground in that region about nuclear conflict? pamela: i would be astonished if a nuclear conflict were to break out between india and pakistan. there have been points in the past where it seemed like it might have happened, and everyone was pulled back from the brink. the rise of that primus from early in india -- prime minister modi in india has ratcheted up the rhetoric, the
belligerent rhetoric on both sides. muslims in india and worried, they were much -- more worried about their rights. the second or third largest muslim population in the world, i think. it's not like they are living in different worlds. it's just country to country -- it's not just country to country. there is the border issue that is flaring up. i don't think you could escalate into nuclear war. lots can happen short of that. susan: we will move on to iraq. as a country of 40 million people. 70% are urban.
per capita income is $5,000 last year. $2.1 billion of their budget is in their budget. the u.s. has spent $1.06 trillion since 2003 in the region. the casualties are 32,000 wounded. 182,000 casualties. help us understand those numbers in context of where it is today. wounded. pamela: iraq is a much wealthier country. it's an oil exporter. it has a much larger middle-class than afghanistan and proportionally pakistan. it's a more sophisticated country. it is divided violently between andmajor to religious sects
the war of saddam hussein and ited these forces has been a bully conflict. back to u.s.y policy and the decision to invade, which at past history and it is what happened. thatss today, i would say there are still terrible problems there, partly because of what is happening in syria and around them. iraq is making a comeback. it is coming back to its old self in terms of culture and society. bookstores,hen the the bombs had shut them down and they are opening up again. are researchers and
provider -- it governs. it is a state that is rebuilding itself. so much was destroyed. thereis so much attention . it's not going to end soon, but it is in a much better position. then say, afghanistan. susan: this is from 2005. i want to show you some video of a youtube documentary from the same scene. pamela: i was wondering if i sent you that. that is apache. he is a dog that i rescued in fallujah. susan: how do you remember him with all of the animals? pamela: he was the only dog i rescued in iraq.
that makes them stand out. i found him in an abandoned car. he had been abandoned. he spotted a mark immediately and followed me around. i ended up adopting him. or by crook, i got him back to baghdad and eventually found somebody who was willing to take him back to the states. it certainly made me a happier person. during the most ferocious. of -- peers upper fighting -- ferocious period of fighting, it was filled with u.s. troops/ . >> i went out in the day with some patrols. i would always put myself right behind one marine and i would
step every step he took and stay in his shadow. guarantee of safety, but it made me feel better. >> documentary from journeyman pictures. these are the time of intense u.s. conflict. over the course of yourover the, how much of it was in confidence -- conflict zones while it was happening? pamela: a great deal. i started in central america, covering the war in el salvador, the country situation in nicaragua. also, honduras. i spent a great deal of time and she lay, covering -- in chile, covering the pinochet dictatorship. a lot of the places i have been -- sri lanka, the civil war.
a lot of the work has been in conflict areas. it is by choice. no one forces you to do this. i felt it was important. i felt the struggles people were with repression and revolution and poverty and trying to survive were important to write about and bring back to might otherwise not know about them. susan: you said, your country seems different to you since you were here last time, what are your observations and how this country has changed in the last several years? i guess we will close on some of your big thoughts about your transition back into our society. it's a difficult topic.
you are overseas, covering alive,you grateful to be protected, you try not to take sides. you are trying to do your job and bring home the humans side of a conflict without stating a policy or prejudice. it's dangerous. it's physically dangerous. you have to be under toes all the time. you always have to be ready. as i had coming back to the not been immersed in american society for number of years. what i was seeing and hearing in the news made me worried.
the same kind of tensions are building up. when you are overseas and people are critical of the u.s., you --d to say, you're not to supposed to take a position, but you feel like you want to represent something you are proud of and that you can tell people that we are doing our best. i don't represent the government. but i am an american and i am proud of that. it means something special. years, ast several there is much more controversy abroad about american government and policies and more anger and violent -- angry and argument in our country about basic issues, basic understandings of our laws and government and way of life and
veryit means, it felt alien to me. after all these years coming and going, it felt like i was coming back to a society that was markedly different than the last time i had come back and that i wasn't sure what i would find. susan: one thing i'm sure that struck home, i read your biography and one of your first jobs was at the annapolis newspaper where five journalists lost their lives last year. how did you process that? pamela: it was strange. because as i wrote that piece, i ,as in my office in kabul surrounded by high bunkers walls and razor wire. it's a fortress. iwas sitting in my office and saw something about annapolis. i looked at it, and yes, this of had burst into the doors
the first new paper i had worked at out of college. nice little paper, i made good friends there. nothing terrible ever happened. obviously there were crime -- there was crime and political arguments, but it was a lovely town and lovely place to work. closest friends i met during that time, early 1974. to have something burst in the ,oor and shoot, spray gun fire it might have nothing to do with anything else, but it certainly has something to do with the times we live in, the availability of weapons and the ease with which raw, angry emotions, can turn into violence even in a place that matters a lot to you. susan: thanks for bringing your photographs in.
will he be seeing more of your work? susan: i hope so. i will be writing from time to longerd working on some writing projects that will hopefully see the light of day. pamela: thanks for being with us the last hour. susan: you're very welcome. thanks for being with us the last hour. pamela: you're very welcome. ♪ are available on our podcast or on c-span.org. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] a look atnext "q&a," how the u.s. selects its presidents. laura brown, the head of the school of particle management at george washington university discusses how the current nominating process came to be, including primaries, political conventions and electoral college. join us next sunday on c-span's
q and a. monday, supreme court justice selena kagan talks to george mason university students about the american judicial system. live coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. eastern on c-span at three -- on c-span3, c-span.org or the free c-span radio app. monday night, on the communicators, mike randolph, cofounder of netflix and author of the book "that will never work" shares his experience starting the online streaming service. >> our cto hit a few keys and we were live. it did not take long and we got the first ding, and we cheered and opened bottles of champagne. a few minutes later, three more orders. we were so excited. then we got two more orders. in all the excitement, we lost track of things until someone noticed it had been a while
since the bell has run. problem --gged door or a problem? it turned out we had crashed all of our servers. >> mark randolph, monday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, on the communicators on c-span2. >> our c-span 2020 bus team is traveling across the country, visiting key battleground states the 2020 presidential race, asking voters which issues they want voters to address -- candidates to address trendy campaign? ofi want to put the people our country ahead of party and politics, one thing that is very important to average americans is the economy and job creation. i'm hoping this will be a real focus on that. >> i believe the candidates of
recognize the massive health care disparities , access to health care, proper health quality. >> i believe there should be a -- a higher focus on climate change. i feel as if no matter who you are, it's something that affects us no matter where you live. noticedently, i have there was no emphasis from andica on climate change people were debating whether scientists are actually correct. we question earthquakes or hurricanes, but we want to question climate change. that's because we don't see the immediate effects. we will push it on our children. i want to see more of this in the presidential election. >> more of this from the campaign trail, more from c-span's battleground states tour.
next, a presentation from bbc parliament on the life of career -- of house of commons speaker john bercow. it showcases old speeches and interviews from his 10 years of -- as a member of british parliament. it is 25 minutes. >> order. ♪ >> the speaker who did it his way. >> member of the third row. perhaps you have no contribution to make. >>