Guest: Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, Mike Long, Armstrong Williams, Todd Boyd, Sgt. Ron Bellendier, Frank Wolf, Ron Bellendier, Joe Montez, Mia Farrow, Seamus Farrow, John Prendergast
ANNOUNCER: DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.
DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST: Provoking promotions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we tell you to have yourself checked out, this isn‘t what we‘re talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: This video is aimed at raising awareness about prostate cancer. It‘s also raising a few eyebrows. Does this hit too far below the belt?
Plus, some people thought this was too sexy for “Monday Night Football.” Now some are saying it‘s also racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRELL OWENS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Team‘s going to have to win this one without me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Tonight, two controversial campaigns that are guaranteed to grab your attention.
Shocking force. Wind up on the wrong side of this weapon, and you‘ll get zapped by 50,000 volts of electricity, enough to stop a man dead in his tracks. So imagine what this might do to a 6-year-old. Unthinkable? Not in Florida. Cops there have used it twice on kids.
Growing crisis, unrelenting violence, homeless children in the crossfire, starving women in despair.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Day by day people get killed. Daily.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Does the rest of the world care? Tonight, actress Mia Farrow sheds some light so what‘s being called the world‘s worst humanitarian crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIA FARROW, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: I, along with millions of people across the world, are very concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.
NORVILLE: And good evening, everybody. We begin tonight with just about the dumbest thing I‘ve ever heard of or seen, an unbelievable new ad campaign urging men to get checked for prostate cancer. Of course, it‘s not the idea of prostate screening that‘s outrageous. After all, this particular cancer kills nearly 29,000 American men every year. No, it‘s the ads, like this one. On more than 130 billboards all over New York City and in some national magazines, the ad shows a naked man covering his privates. Then there‘s another one that says, quote, “Finally, it pays to think with your blank.”
Enough already. I‘m probably not the only mom in New York City, and I bet I speak for a lot of them who don‘t want to have to explain to their kids why there is a naked man hiding his private parts, or having to respond to a question like this: Mommy, I thought dick was a man‘s name. Why not take the message where the guys are and where the little kids aren‘t, like the men‘s room at a bar?
Julie Lewit-Nirenberg is the president of the non-profit organization called Blue Ribbon Prostate Initiative. It commissioned these ads. And she‘s here in the studio with me, along with Mike Long. He‘s the chairman of the New York state Conservative Party. He doesn‘t think these ads are a great idea, at least the way we‘ve seen them out there.
And Ms. Lewit Nirenberg, thank you so much for being here.
JULIE LEWIT-NIRENBERG, PRES., BLUE RIBBON PROSTATE INITIATIVE: Thank you.
NORVILLE: Help me understand, as a mother, what am I supposed to say to my child if we‘re driving down the streets in New York and we see one of your billboards? I don‘t know what to say.
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: Well, I think what you have to say to your children is that 30,000 men die of prostate cancer every year, and the great tragedy is that not many of them had to die of that particular disease.
NORVILLE: But the ads—and let‘s just put one of them up there.
NORVILLE: And it doesn‘t matter which one because they‘re all very grabby.
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: Yes, they‘re all very grabby.
NORVILLE: “Most guys don‘t know blank about prostate cancer.” I choose to use the word only in the form of a name. I can see where a lot of children will say, Mom, that‘s weird. And they‘re not going to be asking about prostate cancer, they‘re going to be asking about the use of the word. And is it fair to put a parent in that situation, when you truly have a great mandate and mission out there?
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: I do have a very, very serious mandate and a very, very serious mission out there. And unfortunately, I really have to do this this way because the reality is, is that men do not go to the doctor. And I know that you are in a very difficult position vis-a-vis your children. However, we are in a very, very difficult position vis-a-vis men not getting checked.
NORVILLE: But who are you to put me in this position with my children? And I have friends who‘ve successfully battled prostate cancer. I‘m on your team. I‘m sorry, Mike, I‘m not even letting you talk. Forgive me. Why don‘t you say something.
MIKE LONG, NY STATE CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I—I really—I don‘t think it‘s about putting you in a bad position with your children. I think it‘s—quite frankly, I think your ads show lack of respect for the whole general population. I think if you—you know, you don‘t need to sell good health through sensationalism, through selling sex, which is what your ads do. You sell good health by being responsible, by putting ads out talking about, Would you like to see your grandchildren grow up? Why don‘t you have a screening for prostate cancer.
You don‘t need to go to the basics of this. This is vile. It‘s outrageous. I think it‘s downright insulting to the culture of New York City to have these billboards on display all over the city of New York.
NORVILLE: Was there not a better...
LONG: And shame on the advertisers, and shame on you for doing this.
NORVILLE: Was there not a better way to do it? Was there not a way to get the message out there without running the risk of offending a lot of people who would like to join in your campaign of encouraging early screening?
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: Well, actually, no, because the reality, again, going back to—with all due respect to both of you, is that in the last 20 years, the number of prostate cancer deaths have stayed exactly the same place. Nothing has changed. And men do not go to the doctor and they do not get tested. And it‘s a very, very simple test that all you have to do is to go and have a blood test. And both socially and culturally, it is so difficult to get men to respond to that.
NORVILLE: But why not put the ad, for instance, above the urinals in a men‘s room at a bar? A kid‘s not going to be in there. They‘re not going to be exposed. And chances are, the guy who‘s out there having a drink with his girlfriend or beers with his buddies is someone for whom that message would be absolutely appropriate.
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: Absolutely. And we are trying to do exactly the same. So we are trying to get the ads into the bars and into the restrooms. However...
LONG: I think...
NORVILLE: Well, let her finish, please.
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: May I just finish for one second? This advertising campaign was actually developed primarily for magazines. And we have had the very good fortune—and it seems that you disagree with this, but we had good fortune to have the ad for two weeks up in New York. That was—it was not a campaign designed to be outdoors. It so happens that...
NORVILLE: So you don‘t think, necessarily, it was appropriate to have it outdoors?
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: I do think that it was appropriate, in the sense that it has gotten a huge amount of awareness from people all over the country. I am getting phone calls from church groups in Nashville, in Memphis, and they‘re using—I have been sending out the posters because people do want to talk about it. So...
NORVILLE: You‘ve also got this Web ad, which is not running on television right now, but I want to roll it because, frankly, I think it‘s pretty darned good. And if you play it in the right place, I think you could have some impact. This is not on TV yet, but it might be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we tell you to have yourself checked out, this isn‘t what we‘re talking about. If you‘re a black man over 40, make sure you have a prostate screening. We‘re the Blue Ribbon Prostate Initiative, and we probably know more about what‘s inside your pants than your wife, your girlfriend, or even you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Now, Mike, do you disagree with me? I think if you took that ad, you put it on BET late at night, you put it on MTV, where the audience that would be more appropriate for—I think you could probably get some traction with it.
LONG: That might work in that type of setting. But I also don‘t think you have to go to that—you know, what happened with selling good health with responsible ads? What happened talking about saving one‘s life? What happened talking—urging a person to do this screening so they can witness and enjoy the life of their children...
NORVILLE: Yes, but Julia says...
LONG: ... and grandchildren? And...
NORVILLE: ... it didn‘t work, that it wasn‘t—it wasn‘t...
LONG: And I submit to her that there are going to be people, no matter how much sensationalism or how much you lower the culture of our society, you‘re not going to get people—some people will never go for the prostate screening and—and you know, unless you want to pass a law that everyone has to march into a clinic at 40 years old.
LONG: It‘s just not going to work that way. But this is the wrong technique. It‘s absolutely the wrong technique. And it‘s not good to be exposed on billboards for teenagers and our children and have to respond to them why.
NORVILLE: You‘re more concerned about the general devolution of our cultural standards.
LONG: I think this all fits in. It‘s—this ad, once again, announces real clearly that there‘s something wrong with our society and our culture, what‘s happening to it.
NORVILLE: Well, I know, Julia—and I‘m going to have to stop it there, but I know what you would say is what‘s wrong is that 29,000 men are dying of prostate cancer unnecessarily, if they‘d just get the test.
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: That‘s exactly it. And the fact is, as I‘ve said before, that these ads were designed primarily to go into magazines. There‘s a whole—there‘s a number of ads, and they‘re very particularly slated for various magazines.
NORVILLE: We‘ll let that be the last word. Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, thank you for being with us.
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: Thank you very much.
NORVILLE: Mike Long, our thanks to you, as well.
LONG: Good to be with you.
LEWIT-NIRENBERG: Thank you. Very nice. Thank you.
NORVILLE: We‘ll be back.
ANNOUNCER: Still to come, locker room humor that‘s got everyone talking, but not everyone laughing.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrell, wait.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Controversial? Maybe. But is it racist? DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRELL OWENS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: I got a game to play.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrell, wait.
OWENS: Oh, hell. Team‘s going to have to win this one without me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: That‘s a clip from “Monday Night Football‘s” open, promoting the show “Desperate Housewives.” I know you‘ve heard all about the controversy. Not fit for children. This accomplished exactly what ABC was hoping it would. It got lots and lots of attention. Well, now there have been lots and lots of apologies. ABC Sports has apologized, and today Terrell Owens, who was in the spot, said that he‘s sorry if that racy open offended anybody. But maybe the network knew exactly what it was doing. To get talked about these days, it seems you‘ve got to go completely over the top, and they did.
Now the latest in what‘s being called “towelgate” by some. Was the spot racist, since it shows a naked white woman enticing a black football player to miss the game?
Joining me tonight to talk about this is nationally syndicated columnist and radio talk show host Armstrong Williams. And also joining us, Dr. Todd Boyd. He‘s a professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California‘s School of Cinema and Television. He is an expert on African-American popular culture. I thank you both for being with us.
By any chance, were either of you watching “Monday Night Football” and saw this thing roll out, just as a viewer?
ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes.
NORVILLE: What did you think, Armstrong?
WILLIAMS: Horrified. I was stunned, actually. I mean, it was shocking. Stunning.
NORVILLE: Mr. Boyd, Dr. Boyd?
TODD BOYD, PROF. OF CRITICAL STUDIES, USC: You know, I don‘t really understand what the controversy‘s about here. I mean, “Desperate Housewives” is a show on the ABC network. It‘s one of the hottest new shows this season. It comes on in primetime, at the same time as “Monday Night Football,” just on a different night.
It would seem to me that if there was a controversy, it would be around the show, and we would have heard about it before this incident. So I don‘t really understand. I was not horrified, nor was I offended. And I don‘t understand what the controversy is about, to be honest with you.
NORVILLE: Well, here‘s a big difference. ABC‘s “Monday Night Football” airs live, and while it might be 9:00 o‘clock at night in the Eastern time zone, out there in California, it‘s 6:00 o‘clock in the afternoon, and there are little boys and little girls who are watching football with their mom and dad. So that might be part of that issue.
BOYD: Well, those same little boys and little girls can watch “Desperate Housewives” when it comes on during its regular time. I don‘t know what was shown that was so scandalous in today‘s society. People act like we‘re living in the 1920s. And I think what‘s really underlying this is that there‘s still a large number of people in this society who are uncomfortable seeing a black man with a white woman. And nobody‘s actually come out and said that, but I think that‘s really the issue. Otherwise, this is not really even relevant, to be honest with you.
NORVILLE: Armstrong you disagree with that, I know.
WILLIAMS: Yes, wholeheartedly. Listen, it was in primetime. It showed someone who‘s supposed to be responsible, who was committed to his team and loyal. There was a game on the line, and all of a sudden, the—you can call it the trophy or the forbidden fruit tries to get his attention. He says he has a game to play, and all she had to do is drop her top, get naked, and all of a sudden, this athlete plays into the worst stereotype. He forgets about responsibilities. He forgets about his team. He forgets about everything else. And he decides, in his own words, to take advantage of this.
And what it also does, it also says to America—it plays on sex. It shows that women, the only way they can get the attention of men is that they‘ve got to strip naked. So it‘s also very degrading of women. It were one thing if this man had played football all season, had not spent time with his wife or someone he knew very well, and if it was his wife in this commercial, at least it‘s someone who he knows. This is a complete stranger. I mean, parents were offended. I mean...
NORVILLE: Well, let me stop you right there because I want to fast-forward beyond just the football player in the locker room distracted by the woman standing there. There are some people who are saying today that this was racist, and one of them is the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy. He talked, and this is something he said at the press conference yesterday about this. Hear what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY DUNGY, HEAD COACH, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: It could have been any player, I would have been outraged. But the fact that it was a black player, me, as an African-American man, I was hurt even more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: And I was cruising around on the BET Web site today, and I saw somebody on one of the chat pages saying that this puts out the idea that a black athlete values sex with a white woman above everything, including their professional responsibilities.
NORVILLE: Let me let Dr. Boyd respond to that.
BOYD: The point is, this was a skit before a “Monday Night Football” game. It was not real. What Armstrong Williams described was something that would have taken place in reality. And if Terrell Owens had, you know, shirked his responsibilities playing for the Eagles that night to go with this woman in real life, then maybe we‘d have a point. That‘s not the case. It was a skit right before a football game.
Tony Dungy actually should be spending more time developing his defensive schemes...
BOYD: ... in the interests of getting to the Super Bowl and leave the social commentary to me because he‘s not qualified.
NORVILLE: Well, let‘s...
BOYD: There‘s nothing racist or offensive about this, unless you‘re looking to make an issue where there really is none.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Let‘s let Terrell Owens weigh in because he actually did speak about this today and issued this apology.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OWENS: You know, I felt like it was clean. The organization thought it was a clean skit. And I think it just really got taken out of context, you know, with a lot of people, and I apologize for that and—but I don‘t think it‘s any different than little kids watching “South Park” or “King of the Hill,” things of those nature. And you know, obviously, everybody knows the contents that‘s surrounded by those shows, so my thinking is, What‘s the difference?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Armstrong Williams, at the end of the day, isn‘t this a great way to get attention for “Monday Night Football”? And don‘t you think the ratings are going to be higher at the beginning of the game next week than they were this week?
WILLIAMS: You know, they‘re appealing to a certain demographic, Deborah, of young men that, hopefully, they will come back because they want to see what the big tease is going to be. It‘s pretty sad that the professor does not realize that there are many Americans in this country who care about values, who care about standards, who are trying to raise their children...
BOYD: I do understand that.
WILLIAMS: ... who have difficulty...
BOYD: I do understand it very well.
WILLIAMS: ... have difficulty in raising their children...
BOYD: Fifty-nine million of them voted for George Bush.
WILLIAMS: ... and they want role models...
BOYD: And that‘s the problem here.
WILLIAMS: ... they want role models, and they want people who set an example that can help them in these efforts. And I got to tell you, I‘m glad to see that Terrell Owens realized that it was bad judgment, he was exploiting...
BOYD: Someone made...
WILLIAMS: ... and it did...
BOYD: ... Terrell Owens...
WILLIAMS: ... and it did...
BOYD: ... apologize...
WILLIAMS: ... and it did play into...
BOYD: ... I‘m sure.
WILLIAMS: ... the stereotype that...
NORVILLE: Armstrong, let me ask you...
WILLIAMS: ... the culture...
NORVILLE: ... finish up.
WILLIAMS: ... the coach of the Indianapolis Colts talked about.
NORVILLE: And Dr. Boyd, your response?
BODY: I guess my response is, you know, 59 million people voted for George Bush a few weeks ago, and we have what I think is really this sort of red state revenge right now, which is slowly becoming the same thing as McCarthyism in the 1950s. This is a non-issue, and anybody who tries to make anything out of it beyond what it was, a silly promo for “Monday Night Football,” is really looking for something that‘s not there. They‘re on a witch hunt.
And this is very frightening, and I think we need to be very careful that these conservative forces in our society don‘t take and twist everything and make it out to be something that it‘s not.
NORVILLE: All right. We‘ll let that be the last word, and I thank you both for being with us. Armstrong Williams, Todd Boyd, thanks for your time.
And when we come back: Shocking? To say the least. Police using taser guns against children. Was it justified? Could it ever be justified? You decide when you see what happens as an adult is tasered right here on the program coming up.
And then later on: Tens of thousands killed, millions fleeing for their lives. The United States called it genocide. Why isn‘t more being done to stop the crisis in the Sudan? I‘ll talk with actress Mia Farrow, who has just returned from that troubled part of the world, in just a moment.
NORVILLE: Imagine getting zapped by 50,000 volts from a police stun gun, stun guns like this. Police are using these more and more to apprehend criminals. Now imagine this happening to a 6-year-old. Well, it did, to this little boy at a Miami elementary school. The Miami-Dade police tasered this child, who was waving a piece of glass in a school office, threatening to hurt himself. He‘d already cut himself on his face and on his hand, and he was holding a school security guard at bay with that piece of glass. The police tried talking the boy down, and then called a supervisor to see if there was a policy which would prohibit the use of a taser on a child. Well, there wasn‘t, so when the boy cut his leg, the officers shocked him with a taser. They say they were afraid that he would hurt himself even more. Then, in another incident, another Miami-Dade police officer used a taser to stop an unarmed 12-year-old girl who was running away after she was caught skipping school.
Some medical experts say that zapping children with 50,000 volts could cause permanent heart damage. Why would anyone use a taser on a kid? And why won‘t the Miami police talk about it? We asked them to come on the program, but they repeatedly declined.
Fortunately, not everybody is reluctant to talk. Joining me now is Minneapolis police sergeant Ron Bellendier. He is a master instructor for Taser International. That‘s the company that makes these stun guns. And in just a second, he‘s going to demonstrate how a taser is used on an adult. But don‘t worry. His victim is a stun gun instructor, Joe Montez. And I thank you, Joe, as well, for being with us.
Sergeant, let me ask you first, the protocol for using a taser—is it ever appropriate, under your company‘s guidelines or the guidelines given to police officers around the country, to use this device on a kid?
SGT. RON BELLENDIER, MASTER INSTRUCTOR, TASER INTERNATIONAL: Well, the company doesn‘t try to set policy and procedure for police departments, and that‘s kind of left up to police departments individually to decide what their policy and procedure is for deploying the weapon in the field. Taser has not set any restrictions because, from the medical experts, they have not received any information that says that this is going to be a problem for any one particular person in the population.
NORVILLE: I‘ve seen some information that says it‘s not recommended for persons less than 60 pounds. The average 6-year-old is probably going to weigh about 50 pounds or so.
BELLENDIER: There is—I‘m not sure where that information came from. Some of their test animals were around that range of 60 pounds. But there‘s no restriction by their medical experts that says necessarily they have to be a certain weight. You know, in most cases, that person‘s going to be well over that 60 pounds, certainly, but...
NORVILLE: We‘re looking at some footage right now of this taser gun, this kind of stun gun being used out in the field. And it looks pretty fearsome. We see a guy who‘s clearly belligerent. He‘s, you know, mouthing off to the cops, and the police are shooting him with this thing. And we see these cords that come out. This is different from the kind of stun gun that we‘ve seen that just has the little electrical wave going between the two points of it. Why is that more effective and more preferred by a law enforcement officer who perceives that there is some use of force necessary?
BELLENDIER: Well, No. 1, this taser, the—from Taser International, the M and the X-26 weapon, allows us to deploy the barbs from a distance up to 21 feet. The barbs are attached to a wire, an electrical wire, and so we don‘t have to get close, real close to the subject that we‘re dealing with. Most people that we‘re going to be using this on, generally, there‘s a reason why we wouldn‘t want to be up close and have to actually touch them with the weapon a lot of times. So that‘s part of it. The other part is, it‘s just much more of an effective weapon with the technology that they have now.
NORVILLE: Yes. Now I‘m going to ask the camera to widen out because we‘ve got Joe Montez there with you. He, too, is a taser instructor, and he has agreed to be our—our victim, our guinea pig. But we should note that—and Joe, there‘s a special corner of TV heaven for you for doing this. We should note that typically, when the taser gun is fired, there are two little barbs or fish hooks that shoot out and stick into the suspect‘s skin. To spare Joe that agony, we‘ve allowed the things to be taped onto his body, and then the 50,000 volts of electricity go in. So he‘s still going to get the shot, but he doesn‘t get the physical pain of the little fish hooks going in.
Joe, are you sure you are comfortable doing this?
JOE MONTEZ, TASER GUN INSTRUCTOR: Yes. I‘ve been Tasered before as part of my instruction program.
NORVILLE: All right.
OK, Sergeant, we‘re going to let you have at it. Explain to us what you would do before you would use a Taser, and then show us, if you will, please, on Joe Montez, how it works.
Well, normally, every situation is different. So if I‘m going to deploy the Taser, obviously, here, we have it hooked up, as you said. But I‘m going to draw the weapon, and if time allows, I will give a verbal warning first to see if the person will comply. We can actually spark the weapon, if there‘s time to do that, if it‘s appropriate ahead of time, so the person actually sees what‘s going on there.
Sometimes, that in and of itself handles the situation, that we don‘t have to deploy the barbs. Every situation is different.
NORVILLE: All right, and we should note that man behind Joe is there to catch him, so he doesn‘t hurt himself when he gets zapped.
All right, go ahead, Sergeant.
BELLENDIER: Here we go.
NORVILLE: Oh, my goodness.
BELLENDIER: No aftereffect at all.
NORVILLE: Yes, but it hurt like the devil.
And you‘ve been Tasered before. Tell us what it feels like, Joe.
MONTEZ: You definitely feel electricity going through your body.
Your muscles will tighten up, and if I was to have a weapon in my hand, I would end up dropping that weapon, not causing any more harm to myself or any other individuals that would be in the area. I have no control whatsoever over my muscles.
NORVILLE: Joe, can you ever envision it appropriate to give the kind of jolt of electricity that you just had to a 6-year-old kid, a 10-year-old kid, a 12-year-old kid?
MONTEZ: The only thing that I can say about that is the child in question is now alive, instead of dead by committing suicide.
NORVILLE: And—but it would, in your opinion, have to be a situation where you honestly thought the kid was about to do imminent harm to themselves before you would wind up using that?
MONTEZ: To himself or others.
NORVILLE: And, Sergeant, you are an instructor with the Taser company, but you are also a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department. What is your own particular department‘s rules of engagement with respect to the Taser?
BELLENDIER: Well, it‘s—we don‘t put a restriction on any one particular person. A lot of it is—again, it‘s common sense, what the situation dictates for whatever type of force that we use.
Certainly, most of the time people that we‘re dealing with in violent situations are well into the adult stage or teenage stage. Those are the rare situations where you come across something with a younger child. But, again, you have to kind of look at the overall picture and say what other options do we have, and which options are—you know, what is that going to do to the person? What do we have available?
NORVILLE: Do you think it makes common sense to use a Taser for a kid who‘s playing hooky from school?
BELLENDIER: Well, that is certainly, in and of itself—there always seems to be more to the story, but in and of itself, hearing that, that sounds a little strange. And I‘m not familiar with the story.
BELLENDIER: I wasn‘t there. I don‘t know what happened, but...
NORVILLE: It does sound a little extreme. You‘re right about that.
Ron Bellendier, thank you very much for being with us.
Joe Montez, I hope you feel better than you felt just a couple of moments ago. We thank you for being willing to play ball with us.
MONTEZ: You‘re welcome. Thank you very much.
We‘ll take a break and we‘ll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: Up next, actress Mia Farrow on the most important role of her life.
MIA FARROW, ACTRESS: I hope that I can be an advocate for the people, for the safety of the women and children in the camps.
ANNOUNCER: Mia Farrow with a cry for help from a desperate people when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.
NORVILLE: As we speak, millions are running for their lives, fleeing mass killings. The United States says it‘s genocide. Where‘ the outrage?
Stay with us.
NORVILLE: Sometimes, it‘s not a good idea to watch television right before you go to bed.
The other night I cried myself to sleep because of a story I saw on the BBC News. The same day that you and I and the rest of America were voting for president, a group of government-backed soldiers in Darfur—that‘s in the western Sudan—stormed a village where 5,000 people were barely living.
They slaughtered the men. Women, some of them just little girls, were raped, and the rags that they had used to form the pathetic shacks that they lived in were scattered around the landscape. The survivors were sifting through dirt for just a few little pieces of wheat that might be all that they had left to eat. I cried, and, frankly, as I wrote this earlier today, I cried. But that‘s nothing new for this area, because the Sudan has been in turmoil for years.
But I asked myself, what does it take to help these poor people? My next guests are trying to do just that. Actress Mia Farrow and her son Seamus just returned last week from a trip to Sudan where they met with government officials and visited with refugees. Ms. Farrow was UNICEF‘s goodwill ambassador.
And I think thank you for both for being here.
SEAMUS FARROW, VISITED DARFUR REFUGEE CAMPS: Thanks.
NORVILLE: You have traveled all over the world for UNICEF. How does what you saw last week, Ms. Farrow, compare with some of the other places you have visited?
M. FARROW: I can‘t really compare it to anything I‘ve ever seen. The humanitarian aspects of it—the people are not starving. The people in the camps are at sustenance levels, thanks to heroic efforts by UNICEF and its colleagues over there.
So, in that respect, I‘ve seen children in worse shape, but I haven‘t seen children as traumatized and women as traumatized as the group of people and children that we met in the camps there.
NORVILLE: And these are the children that you met. And here, obviously, this little baby is getting some porridge or something to eat. But tell me about the kind of trauma that they‘ve survived.
M. FARROW: Well, as you described, villages have been burned, men and boys killed, little girls and women raped, and then they go off on foot to try to reach one of these camps.
There are 137 camps across Darfur. Or they go over the border to Chad, where there‘s a large refugee population. So when they reach the camps, they have seen and been through so much already. And then, when we spoke to women there, I asked—when I got to the camps, I—the children are adorable and you want to hug them and so on. And we saw a play area. The children...
S. FARROW: I spoke to the children all across these camps. And the astonishing thing was that, with amazing consistency, we saw these play areas that UNICEF had set up in an effort to make things seem cheerful. And the children there were constructing objects out of dung and clay.
And when we looked closer, they were all war-related paraphernalia. It was AK-47s. And they were drawing men with their heads blown off, villages burning. So it‘s clear that this is what these children know. They‘re completely and very deeply traumatized.
NORVILLE: Do they have any hope, Seamus, that their lives will be better in the future than they‘ve obviously been in the few short years they‘ve lived?
S. FARROW: Well, the hope lies with the African Union right now.
Obviously, it‘s the government‘s responsibility to protect these people.
But with janjaweed patrolling the periphery of these tents, there is no safety for them once they leave. So, essentially, they‘re imprisoned right now. And we all hope that with the Security Council session in Nairobi right now that‘s going on, support will be increased for the African Union.
NORVILLE: Ms. Farrow, one of the things that we hear is they‘re in the camps. But firewood is so critical. You have to go outside to get that, and that‘s where the security issue is.
M. FARROW: Yes.
The women spoke at peril to themselves, because janjaweed, or Arab militia, are around the camps and sometimes come in the camps. While we were there, there was an invasion of someone, Arab militia, and we left in seconds.
NORVILLE: And do you know what happened to the people left behind?
M. FARROW: We don‘t know. We don‘t know.
But I spoke to the women in each of the camps, north, south and west, and we had—UNICEF secured a tent to make sure that no one could come near it. No men were in it. And I introduced myself to the women as a mother and as a grandmother of three with one on the way. And they welcomed me in. I took off my shoes and sat down.
And one woman offered me to hold her beautiful baby, and the baby screamed in terror.
M. FARROW: And the woman joked, he thinks you‘re janjaweed. And then they began talking about their terror.
NORVILLE: Because you‘re lighter-skinned.
M. FARROW: No, just terror means janjaweed, that the baby was frightened because I had lighter skin. But they were joking, the baby‘s terrified. He thinks you‘re janjaweed. That was synonymous with terror.
And they began to talk about being in the camps and the need to go and get firewood. Now, they need to get the firewood to cook what it is they have to eat for their meals every day. And it‘s kind of a hard maize kind of thing, which needs hours of cooking.
M. FARROW: The other thing, firewood is a kind of currency where they can trade. And the men can‘t go because they will be killed.
NORVILLE: But the women can‘t go they‘re being raped.
M. FARROW: And the women can‘t go they‘re being raped on an ongoing basis.
S. FARROW: But they have to because of this issue of the firewood.
M. FARROW: And one of the women said to me, is there no one who can get firewood for us? They‘re faced with this “Sophie‘s Choice” on a daily basis. Who among them will go and get the firewood. And it‘s not—I mean, they now have to walk. They‘ve been in the camps for many months, so they may have to walk eight hours, four hours each way, to collect the firewood.
NORVILLE: One of the big questions, Seamus, is, is ethnic cleansing going on there?
S. FARROW: Right.
NORVILLE: From what you saw and what you heard from these people, is there a concerted effort on the part of these mostly Arab outsiders who are coming into these predominantly non-Arab camps?
S. FARROW: Well, I would say it‘s very clear that there are undercurrent of racism. If you look at the history of the country, it‘s impossible to avoid that.
But it is worth pointing out—I mean, you mentioned, is it because she had lighter skin? It‘s a heterogeneous group, so it‘s not entirely safe to say that without exception it‘s that way. And if you look at the people there, it‘s not always easy to distinguish.
NORVILLE: There are a lot of questions. And we‘ve got more time to talk about them. We‘re going to take a short break. Mia and Seamus are going to stay with us.
And when we come back, we‘ll be joined by two members of the American government to look specifically about what is being done on a higher level to try to stop these killings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK ®, KANSAS: The problem is, the government of Sudan has dirty hands. They are using the janjaweed to ethnically cleanse, to terrorize this region. The U.N. needs to step up on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: That was Senator Sam Brownback following a congressional trip to Sudan this summer.
Why hasn‘t the international community done more to help the nearly two million refugees in Darfur? And what should be done to try to stop the violence?
Back with actress Mia Farrow and her son Seamus, who just returned this past week from a trip to the Sudan. Ms. Farrow was UNICEF‘s goodwill ambassador. And also joining our discussion is Republican Congressman Frank Wolf from Virginia. He, too, has traveled to this region and met refugees in the camps. And John Prendergast is a special adviser to the president of the International Crisis Group. That‘s a nongovernment organization. He specializes in conflict resolution in Africa.
Congressman, I‘m going to start with you first. As you know, the U.N. Security Council met for the first time in 14 years outside of New York in Khartoum to look at the problem that‘s going on in Darfur. Are you confident that anything is going to happen?
REP. FRANK WOLF ®, VIRGINIA: No, I‘m not.
The Security Council has fundamentally failed to date. They have watched genocide take place, the raping of women, the abduction of children, the killing of men, the burning of villages, which I think everyone has seen now.
And so two of the members of the Security Council, Russia and China, are actually sending arms and selling arms to the Khartoum government. The Antonov bombers, which are bombing in Darfur, the Hind helicopters and the weapons. So I‘m really not that confident. I would hope and pray that it would be successful. But to date, the U.N. has failed. They‘ve failed in Darfur. They‘ve failed in Srebrenica. They‘ve failed in Rwanda. They‘ve failed in Sarajevo. And I see there no progress being made, but hopefully this will be a different time.
NORVILLE: John Prendergast, what‘s it going to take to make it different? We know that in the past there have been horrible, horrible genocide occurring in Rwanda, and 800,000 people died and the world stood by.
JOHN PRENDERGAST, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: We have a structural problem in the Security Council. They‘re just unwilling and unable to respond to situations of mass atrocities in the world‘s peripheral zones.
And so it really is going to require the leadership of the United States and the United Kingdom particularly on the Security Council to challenge the Russians and challenge the Chinese and sometimes to challenge the French to push forward policy prescriptions and solutions that these governments are unwilling and usually will try to obstruct in their implementation.
So I think that, as Congressman Wolf said, there are a number of reasons why the Chinese and Russians particularly are obstructing forward movement in the Sudan right now. Arms is only one of them. They are all invested in the oil sector in Sudan.
PRENDERGAST: Yes, the oil sector. And there‘s also running interference for the government in Sudan because of the sovereignty issue. They don‘t want the next government to be investigated like the Russians in Chechnya. So they‘re going to protect Sudan.
NORVILLE: Yes, but is the United States ever going to do that? They‘ve got their hands full in a different part of the world called Iraq and the Middle East. Is it really realistic to expect the U.S. and Britain would step up to this challenge?
WOLF: Well, in fairness, the U.N. has called it genocide.
The Congress passed a resolution, House and Senate, genocide. Secretary Powell, to his credit, has called it genocide. I think we have to encourage the U.N., but also we should be doing things outside of the U.N. We should be working with the British to have an arms embargo. We should be trying to get some of the African Union nations to also have an arms embargo, to have a travel ban, to prohibit members of the Sudan government to travel outside Sudan, also, to seize assets of Sudan that are in banks around the world.
There‘s many things we can do outside of the U.N., and I think we can work with our friends around the world, similar to what we‘re doing in Iraq. We have sort of a coalition of the willing.
WOLF: We could have a coalition of the willing with regard to Darfur.
NORVILLE: Ms. Farrow, when you were in the Sudan, you had the opportunity to speak to one of the highest level people with the African Union. What did they say about their ability to step up to the plate and police this and provide security?
M. FARROW: The expanded version of the African Union mandate does include weak language recommending protection, if they should encounter an act of violence.
It‘s very, you know, unclear, the wording of it. And he said he could not implement that, that he didn‘t have the capacity.
NORVILLE: You mean he didn‘t have the bodies available to go out and do it.
M. FARROW: Yes. At the time he has how many on the ground?
S. FARROW: It‘s under 800 right now. And only 3,200 are expected. And the bottom line is, he said, his troops are already overstretched just enforcing the cease-fire, which is constantly being violated between the government just SLA. In terms of actually protecting the people, there‘s simply not enough there.
NORVILLE: Well, in fact, this one situation that got me so upset, eight miles away, there were African Union soldiers, but they weren‘t close enough.
John Prendergast, I‘m going to let the last word go to you.
Is there concrete action that individuals could take that you believe would make a difference, where it appears that governments have not been able to?
The U.S. government has to take the lead. They‘ve talked the talk, as Congressman Wolf has said, but there‘s not walking the walk. They need to challenge the Chinese and Russians in the Security Council. So individuals can write to their members of Congress, because Congress is taking the lead on this. And Congressman Wolf has been one of the vanguards in that regard.
And they can pressure the Bush administration to say this has been one of your foreign policy priorities. You need to step up. You need to challenge the Russians and the Chinese in the Security Council. And you need to do the kinds of things that Congressman Wolf and other members of Congress are suggesting we do outside of the framework of the United Nations. And we can make a difference in Sudan and stop the slaughter.
NORVILLE: Sometimes, the best ideas come from the youngest minds. And while you‘re certainly a younger mind, you‘re certainly not a simple mind, Seamus. I know you‘re a student at Yale Law School already.
S. FARROW: Yes.
NORVILLE: What would you think the answer would be?
S. FARROW: Well, I would just add to what Prendergast was saying, that humanitarian operations are vastly underfunded, that UNICEF right now, which is coordinating many of the agencies on the ground, is only 68 percent funded, I believe; $34 will support a single person for an entire year. So individual people can make contributions that will really make a difference.
NORVILLE: All right, we‘ll leave that as the last word.
Seamus, Mia Farrow, thank you very much for being with us.
M. FARROW: Thank you.
NORVILLE: Congressman Frank Wolf, we‘ll expect your e-mail box to be very full, I hope, from all of our viewers who are watching.
NORVILLE: And, John Prendergast, thank you very much for all your time.
PRENDERGAST: Thank you.
NORVILLE: When we come back, even the rain couldn‘t dampen spirits in Little Rock. We‘ll explain.
NORVILLE: It‘s not that often that four U.S. presidents gather together in one place, but they did at the dedication of former President Bill Clinton‘s new library. And that is this week‘s “American Moment.”
There were all there in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jimmy Carter, former President Bush, his son, the current president, and of course, former President Clinton, joined by plenty of celebrities and about 30,000 guests who sat through a torrential downpour for the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center. The $165 million building is the new home for any and every thing Clinton.
And the former president reflected on his career and tried to inspire future generations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The choices and decisions leaders make affect the lives of millions of Americans and people all across the world. I want young people to want to see not only what I did with my life, but to see what they could do with their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: The Clinton Library includes more than 80 million items gathered during the president‘s eight years in the White House. It is the largest of the 11 presidential libraries, and it is this week‘s “American Moment.”
We love to hear from you, so send us ideas and your comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com. We have posted some of them on our Web page. The address for that is NORVILLE.MSNBC.com, which is also where you can sign up for our newsletter.
And that is our program for tonight. I‘m Deborah Norville. Thank you so much for watching.
Pat Buchanan sitting in tonight for Joe Scarborough. And “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is coming up next.
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