Skip to main content

tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  April 20, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT

6:30 pm
damien: hello it a very warm welcome to "focus on europe." great you could join us. we've got a fantastic program lined up or you today. why kosovan women are not getting what is theirs. why norwegians are uncovering the scars of nazi history. why an austrian hotel is giving refugees not a room but a job. the small balkan state of kosovo was one of europe's poorest countries, yet it is also one of the most corrupt. a big problem facing women in particular in rural kosovo was
6:31 pm
that their legal right to inherit property is not always respected, but we've been talking to some women who are trying to write back. just trying to fight back. >> she has feared making this trip for 10 years, but today, she is going to confront her uncle. he's taken over a plot of land that belongs to her. >> this is my property here. he simply build a wall around it. >> after the death of her father, she inherited the land. now she wants it, but her uncle keeps out of sight. >> he took my entire inheritance. all i got left from my father are these photographs. >> her uncle believes he is in the right and refers to the
6:32 pm
traditional albanian law first codified in medieval times. it says that women are subject to men and have no right of inheritance. she and her mother have fought the case through the courts for years. despite the rulings going in their favor, their uncle has never been forced to hand the property over. >> since 10 years, which is absurd in the 21st century, and the case is still proceeding. this is how we see the bad practices that the courts are applying in the relation of respecting the right seven heritage for women. >> few women succeed in securing justice. in the co-civil of 1999, almost all the men were murdered. since then, it has been called the village of widows.
6:33 pm
this is one of them. her inheritance was denied to her by her parents in law after her husband was killed. >> as a widow, it was hard for me to make a new start after the war. but i decided to carry on and told for myself and my children. the situation for women in kosovo is harder than elsewhere. >> she set up a cooperative together with other widows. they make regional specialties out of vegetables. and they are successful. the preserves they make are even sold abroad. she's using the money she earns to rebuild their ruined home, but her father-in-law still insisted it belonged to him.
6:34 pm
>> six months before he died,-le lawyer and convinced him to allow the house and property to be registered in my name. he was not happy about it, but he felt he had to agree because i had rebuild the house by myself. >> in the village of wares, she's the only woman who owns her own home. the others all had their property taken by male relatives after the deaths of their has. studies show that happens to 85% of kosovan women. the government is aware of this, but no one seems to be in a position to change that. the situation at that is worst out in the countryside -- the situation is at its worst out in the countryside. >> we have a legal guarantee of equal rights of both women and men to inherit. we trying to shift away from this tradition, but it has not
6:35 pm
been easy because it is something deeply enshrined within the society. >> she and her mother have not had their own home for years. >> i have to beg. sometimes people give me food. others give me something to wear. others give us a place to sleep. it's awful living like this when i know that i have a home -- my father's house. i was his only child. >> many widows in kosovo face being reduced to poverty. like she and her mother, they are powerless against the medieval common law that gives women few rights. damien: this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war, but even after seven decades, there are still
6:36 pm
lots of taboos around hitler's occupation of much of europe, particularly when it comes to finding out collaborated with the nazis. in norway, some of those questions are now being answered because not see-era archives -- nazi-era archives have finally been made public, allowing relatives to find out what their relatives really did. >> a young girl of 15 with the german soldiers came, she remembers the time well, but she finds it hard to talk about the role played by her brother. he enthusiastically joined the norwegian nazi party. >> out here in the countryside, we saw nothing of war and occupation. one day, the german soldiers were just there. when he told my father he had joined the nazi party, my father made him wear that he would never again talk politics at
6:37 pm
home. >> after the war, her brother was sentenced to two years hard labor. he was later pardoned. as far as the family was concerned, that was that, but his niece never completely forgot. when the records on the postwar collaboration trials were open, she collected her uncle's file. >> the transcript of his interrogation shows that he thought it would be better for norway if we collaborated with the occupiers. he was a man who chose the wrong side politically. i condemn that, but he did not betray anyone, according to the files. >> there was no proof that her uncle took part in crimes, like the persecution of political opponents, but does that mean he knew nothing of those crimes,
6:38 pm
despite being a party member? >> we never talked about that afterwards. >> norway's national archives are located on the outskirts of oslo. the files of 9000 hangers on, collaborators, and nazi criminals are stored here. for 70 years, access to these files was restricted to researchers and the authorities. now they are open to all norwegians. an application to see them is all it takes. they can hardly process the requests. they've received more than 2500 so far. >> we have visitors who ran crying out of the waiting room after going through their grandfather's or uncle's file. it has not always been easy for them. most of them are just curious, but sometimes, they are confronted with the fact that
6:39 pm
their relative did some awful things. >> norway's resistance museum is a monument to those who fought against german occupiers. there's little here on the role of the norwegian nazi party and the way it blindly followed hitler, especially on race. norway's national socialist leader was sentenced to death after the war and executed. historians say that after the war, there were years of denial. they welcome this first discussion of norwegian guilt, such as deportation of the country's jews. >> people play down the importance of membership in the nazi party. it was not portrayed as a conscious political ideological decision. just like in other countries, these people were either
6:40 pm
demonized or portrayed as unstable, lower-class people who did not know what they were doing. the fact that everyone is able to view the files means that these old explanations do not hold up anymore because they can want us with what actually happened. >> for these two women, he was just a fellow traveler who bore no guilt. now, they say that the three months jail time he served was too harsh for what he did. >> if he had had anything to hide, he would not have announced his arrival by train in the hummer of 1985. he would not have let himself be arrested at the station. the old hotel where he was kept locked up for weeks is over there. >> for this family, the nazi occupation is a thing of the
6:41 pm
past, but the rest of the country is debating a question of guilt exactly 75 years after the start of the german occupation. damien: it's an interesting issue, isn't it? how much guilt should previous generations try to unearth, and when should we just move on? let me know what you think about that or anything on today's show. feel free to get in touch on twitter or e-mail via our website. one of the big european debates at the moment is how to deal with attempt by islamic state to recruit young european muslims. the problem is particularly acute in france where authorities believe more than 1200 young french people have been persuaded to join islamist extremist groups, but one wrench muslim mother is trying to reach out to kids at risk of radicalization, and her words carry particular weight the customer years ago, she lost her own son to islamist terror when
6:42 pm
he was shot dead by an extremist government -- extremist gun man. >> when she goes out, she is protected. to the plainclothes body guards are always at her side. this is the second largest french city. as a woman who decided to confront the jihadis, she lives dangerously in france, but she's not scared. she has a mission. this morning, she's talking to high school students, many of them have an immigrant background and live in neighborhoods with high unemployment levels. when she talks with her gentle but insistent voice, things go quiet. no one interrupts. there's no messing around. >> i'm a woman who was born in morocco. i came to france when i was 17. i got married.
6:43 pm
back then, i could not begin word of french. i come from a very large and very poor family, but we were rich in respect and dignity. that is important. the wealth of the heart is more important than financial wealth. >> it's that knowledge that she wants to share with the pupils. >> mohammed killed my son. he destroyed my life and the life of my children, the life of his runs, our family. mohammed was a boy who grew up without love, without rules, no heart. his heart was empty. >> her message has found its mark. she lost her son in march, 2012. he was murdered by a gunman who also attacked a german school in to lose. 4 people lost their lives in that shooting.
6:44 pm
three of the victims were children. a few days earlier, he shot her son because he was serving with the french army. she mourned and decided to act. >> i had a son who was very courageous. he was a son who likes to work. he was proud. he was proud of serving the republic, and he died on his feet. he refused to kneel like his murderer wanted, so i have no right to sit back. i have to spread this message so that parents pay attention to their children. >> the muslim woman who never learned a trade spends her time touring schools, community
6:45 pm
centers, and jails. she has written a book, "thy for france," which deals with her son's murder -- "died for france," which deals with her son's murder. now she openly advocates the ideals of the republic. the attacks on "charlie hebdo" only strengthens her resolve. she says the attackers were shut out of society. she says places with high immigrant populations and high unemployment are were more needs to be done to immunize young people against the message spread by extremists like the islamic state militia. >> we cannot allow these ghettos to develop, these isolated suburbs. we cannot abandon these youngsters or their families. if i hear a child saying the republic has forgotten me, it hurts because we are all children of the republic.
6:46 pm
we are all human. >> she encourages youngsters she talks to to trust in themselves. >> she's right. i will try to control my future. >> she's brave and strong. i'll work harder now. >> we are all brothers and sisters, even if we don't have the same skin color or religion. i thank her for coming here. >> what these youngsters need is love and understanding, she says. and she says they will only distrust the slogans of the islamists when they feel they are truly accepted by society. damien: in many european countries, traditional big parties are losing ground, and smaller until establishment groups are emerging at both ends of the spectrum.
6:47 pm
an antistatic party on the left now runs the new greek government, and it is that success that is inspiring a left-wing political force in spain, podemos, spanish for "we can." it's already beating both of spain's main political parties in the polls. to find out more, we went to speak with some of the members. >> it has become a familiar sight in spain. for four years, the outrage have been debating the future of their country. they've developed into a party that could shape future governments, podemos. about 70 people join a circle of grassroots activist every week. there are 21 of the circles in madrid and more than 700 throughout spain. political science student for
6:48 pm
hot is also involved. he said he could not just stand by and watch things go down the drain. >> we talk about current issues that are relevant to our districts. but we also discussed national issues if they affect us. we make suggestions for the different campaigns, which we have to start every week, unfortunately, because something happens every week, like the closure of a park. >> he posts these suggestions in an online chat room. podemos has set up its own channel of communication. he is responsible for coordinating communication between his circle in the party. that happens mostly online. eric and his colleagues read what he has posted. they are online coordinators for podemos, so they take care of
6:49 pm
facebook and twitter for the party, and they also moderate the debate pages on the internet. on average, 140,000 members take heart in discussions on issues such as basic income, the creation of jobs, or the nationalization of the banks. >> we see ourselves as tools to be used by the citizens. >> it's logical that all the internal decisions we make also have to be accepted by the citizens. as an organization, we do not demand to see your party book. we don't care if you used to be a member of the socialists or conservatives. >> meanwhile, the debate continues discussing if podemos should support a national
6:50 pm
referendum on providing everyone with a guaranteed, basic income. the position that the party takes on certain issues is not decided by individual politicians or groups of experts. it's always decided on a grassroots level. most of the podemos candidates come from these circles. she's one of them, elected online into the citizens council that podemos organizes and madrid. she believes these councils will be organizing soon. >> at the historic chance and huge responsibility. it will be a huge responsibility for all of europe and will show that we have the responsibility to change things and solve albums in a different way, by direct participation. >> before that happens, they will have to give lessons in using the internet to an older generation of standard -- spaniards. damien: finally, to austria where a new hotel in the unit is
6:51 pm
helping fight prejudice. the hotel employees -- employees --employs refugees as a way to show society that asylum seekers a useful contribution to make. >> just across from the and apostate as amusement park is a hotel. the former retirement home may not look like much from the outside, but its interior has been given a complete makeover. this is lodging with a message, which can turn up in unexpected places. the hotel staff collectively speak 24 languages. the receptionist from guinea-bissau notes seven. he says that at age 17, he smuggled documents out of the presidential palace in his home country that contained evidence of corruption in the regime. he soon came under suspicion and had to flee. he stowed away for three weeks
6:52 pm
on an italian container ship down for europe. >> after two weeks, we ran out of water, and everyone was afraid to complain to the crew. they were scared the crew might throw was overboard. fortunately, there was a crewman from senegal, and at least i could discuss the situation with him and friends. >> many of the workers have similar stories to tell. -- at least i could discuss the situation with him in french. >> many of the workers here have similar stories to tell. the hotel is operated by the catholic relief organization already well-known for their refugee shelters across europe. in austria, they've decided to go one important that further -- step further. >> we are seeing that asylum-seekers are often shut out of the labor market here for years.
6:53 pm
these people are condemned to sit idly, trapped in the waiting room of life. eventually, the lose their skills and hope and confidence in this country. >> antonio, a maintenance technician from iran, agrees. his struggle for democracy landed him in prison again and again. he fled to austria where he lived for 12 years without a steady job. now, he's acutely aware of how limited region is -- how limited freedom is when you do not have work. >> i would say it is simply a part of life. work is really a part of life. you cannot just sit around. it's very important. >> the hotel staff comes from 16 countries whose flags hang in the stairwell. nearly all the major religions are represented as well.
6:54 pm
a christian who fled from boko haram in nigeria does not harbor any ill will towards his muslim coworkers even though the islamist terrorist murdered his wife. -- islamist terrorists murdered his wife. >> got creates everybody, even islam and christian, we are one god. >> even the strongest faith is of limited help in learning to adjust to another culture. the hotel manager has some idea of how hard it can be. he came from the netherlands as a child. even after such a relatively easy transition, it took him more than three years to make new friends. >> i can relate to the situation of the staff members to some extent. many have a hard time feeling
6:55 pm
accepted by this society. some do not feel truly accepted to this day. >> for their part, hotel guests do not seem to have any problem accepting the staff. >> austria is a bit conservative, but compared to the rest of the country, vienna is a kind of melting pot, so this hotel fits right in. >> the atmosphere is quite positive. i would have to say everyone is really ugly -- exceptionally so -- i would have to say everyone is really friendly, exceptionally so. >> employees are highly motivated. across the street from the thrills and excitement of the park, hotel staff have their own acid eating stories to tell. damien: that's all for today. remember, do get in touch with any comments. for now, goodbye from me. look or it to seeing you next week. -- look forward to seeing you next week.
6:56 pm
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] steves: since the romantic era in the 19th century, luzern has been a regular stop on the grand tour route of europe. [ whistle blows ] its inviting lakefront now includes a modern concert hall, which incorporates the lake into its design. the old town, with a pair of picture-perfect wooden bridges, straddles the reuss river, where it tumbles out of lake luzern.
6:57 pm
the bridge was built at an angle in the 14th century to connect the town's medieval fortifications. today, it serves strollers, rather than soldiers, as a peaceful way to connect two sides of town. many are oblivious to the fascinating art just overhead. under the rafters hang about 100 colorful 17th-century paintings showing scenes from luzern and its history. this legendary giant dates to the middle ages, when locals discovered mammoth bones, which they mistakenly thought were the bones of a human giant. here's luzern in about 1400, the bridge already part of the city fortifications. and luzern looked like this in 1630. luzern is responsible for controlling the lake level. by regulating the flow of water out of its lake, the city prevents the flooding of lakeside villages when the snow melts.
6:58 pm
in the mid-19th century, the city devised and built this extendable dam. by adding and taking away these wooden slats, they could control the level of the lake. swans are a fixture on the river today. locals say they arrived in the 17th century as a gift from the french king, louis xiv, in appreciation for the protection his swiss guards gave him. switzerland has a long history of providing strong and loyal warriors to foreign powers. the city's famous lion monument recalls the heroism of more swiss mercenaries. the mighty lion rests his paws on a french shield. tears stream down his cheeks. the broken-off end of a spear is slowly killing the noble beast. the sad lion is a memorial to over 700 swiss mercenaries who were killed, defending marie antoinette and louis xvi during the french revolution. the people of luzern take full advantage of their delightful river with a variety
6:59 pm
of cafes and restaurants along its banks. this evening, we're enjoying the setting as much as the food. i'm having the local pork. my producer, simon, is having eel, fresh from the river. with a picturesque setting like this, the dining experience makes for a wonderful memory.
7:00 pm
glad to have you with us on this edition of "newsline." it's tuesday april 21st. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. ministers of the european union have agreed to step up measures in response to a migration crisis. they are seeing an influgs of people from africa and the middle east to europe. ministers from 28 eu member states held emergency talks in lux um borg to discuss how to respond to the crisis. th


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on