PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode August 25, 2019

PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode August 25, 2019


>>Sreenivasan: ON THIS EDITION
FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 25: WORLD
LEADERS GATHER IN FRANCE FOR THE
G-7 SUMMIT.
A LOOK INTO FINDINGS FROM THE
D.E.A. OPIOID DATABASE.
AND AN AUTHOR’S EXPLORATION OF
CONFLICT– THROUGH FOOD.
NEXT ON “PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND.”
FROM THE TISCH WNET STUDIOS AT
LINCOLN CENTER IN NEW YORK,
HARI SREENIVASAN.
>>Sreenivasan: GOOD EVENING AND
THANKS FOR JOINING US.
AT THE G-7 SUMMIT IN
BIARRITZ, FRANCE TODAY,
PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE A
WHIRLWIND OF COMMENTS AND
ANNOUNCEMENTS ON EVERYTHING FROM
THE TRADE WAR WITH CHINA TO
BREXIT TO A NEW TRADE AGREEMENT
WITH JAPAN TO NORTH KOREA’S
LATEST MISSILE LAUNCH.
AT A BREAKFAST MEETING WITH THE
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS
JOHNSON AND AIDES, THE PRESIDENT
APPEARED TO WAVER ABOUT HIS
RECENT DECISION TO INCREASE
TARIFFS AGAINST CHINA AGAIN.
>>MR. PRESIDENT, ANY SECOND
THOUGHTS ON ESCALATING THE TRADE
WAR WITH CHINA?
>>YEAH, SURE.
WHY NOT?
>>SECOND THOUGHTS?
YES?
>>MIGHT AS WELL.
MIGHT AS WELL.
>>YOU HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS
ABOUT ESCALATING THE WAR WITH
CHINA?
>>I HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT
EVERYTHING.
>>Sreenivasan: HOURS LATER THE
WHITE HOUSE ISSUED A STATEMENT
SAYING THE PRESIDENT’S WORDS
WERE “MISINTERPRETED.”
NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE
CORRESPONDENT YAMICHE ALCINDOR
IS COVERING THE G-7 MEETING AND
SHE JOINS US NOW FROM THE SOUTH
OF FRANCE.
WHAT’S THE MISINTERPRETATION?
HE SAID HE HAD SECOND THOUGHTS.
>>Reporter: THE WHITE HOUSE HAS
REALLY BEEN TRYING ITS HARDEST
TO WALK BACK THE PRESIDENT
SAYING THAT HE HAD SECOND
THOUGHTS WHEN IT CAME TO THE
ESCALATING TRADE WAR WITH CHINA,
BUT REPORTERS ASKED THE
PRESIDENT THREE TIMES “ARE YOU
HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS?”
AND HE SAID VERY CLEARLY, “I
HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT
EVERYTHING.”
NOW, SOON AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE
PRESS SECRETARY, STEPHANIE
GRISHAM, SHE PUT OUT A
STATEMENT SAYING THE PRESIDENT
IS HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS
BECAUSE HE WANTS TO ESCALATE THE
WAR– THE TRADE WAR WITH CHINA
EVEN MORE.
SO SAYING THAT, INSTEAD OF
SAYING THAT HE WANTS TO DIAL IT
BACK, HE ACTUALLY WANTS TO DIAL
IT UP.
ALSO TREASURY SECRETARY STEVE
MNUCHIN CAME OUT AND TALKED TO
REPORTERS HERE IN THE SOUTH OF
FRANCE.
HE SAID THAT THE ROOM WAS VERY
LOUD, THAT THE PRESIDENT MIGHT
NOT HAVE HEARD THE QUESTION
RIGHT, BUT AGAIN IT GOES BACK TO
THE IDEA THE PRESIDENT REPEATED
THE QUESTION AND SAID, “I HAVE
SECOND THOUGHTS ON EVERYTHING.”
SO IT’S VERY RARE FOR THE
PRESIDENT TO EXPRESS ANY SORT OF
SELF-DOUBT, IT’S VERY RARE FOR
THE PRESIDENT TO EVER SAY THAT
HE HAS SECOND THOUGHTS ON
SOMETHING, BUT IN THIS CASE, HE
MIGHT HAVE BEEN HAVING A MOMENT
WHERE HE WANTED TO HAVE SOME
SELF-REFLECTION, BUT THE WHITE
HOUSE IS QUICKLY PIVOTING AWAY
FROM THAT.
>>Sreenivasan: ALL RIGHT.
SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS AT THESE
MEETINGS IS SORT OF ONE-ON-ONE
CONVERSATIONS WITH THESE
LEADERS.
PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE OF
JAPAN AND THE PRESIDENT MET.
WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THAT
CONVERSATION?
>>Reporter: THE U.S. AND JAPAN
ANNOUNCED A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT
POTENTIAL TRADE DEAL HERE IN THE
SOUTH OF FRANCE.
THE TWO LEADERS SAID THAT JAPAN
IS GOING TO POTENTIALLY BUY
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF CORN FROM
THE U.S. AND THAT’S REALLY
IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE ESCALATING
TRADE WAR WITH CHINA HAS MEANT
THAT A LOT OF U.S. FARMERS
HAVEN’T HAD A MARKET TO SELL
THEIR CORN.
I TALKED TO A U.S. OFFICIAL WHO
SAID THAT THIS TRADE DEAL IS A
BIG WIN FOR RANCHERS AND FOR
FARMERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
A LOT OF THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE
BASE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP AND
HE WANTS TO DO SOMETHING TO
REALLY LOOK LIKE HE’S HAVING A
WIN FOR THEM.
THAT SAID, THE PRIME MINISTER OF
JAPAN WAS A LOT LESS CONFIDENT
THAN PRESIDENT TRUMP.
PRESIDENT TRUMP WAS TALKING AS
IF THE DEAL WAS ALREADY DONE.
SHINZO ABE, THE PRIME MINISTER
OF JAPAN, THOUGH, SAID IT’S A
POTENTIAL DEAL.
THEY SAID THAT THEY WANT TO TRY
TO SET A GOAL OF SIGNING IT
NEXT MONTH AT THE U.N. GENERAL
ASSEMBLY IN NEW YORK, BUT STILL
THE DEAL IS NOT ALL THE WAY SET.
>>Sreenivasan: LET’S TALK ALSO
ABOUT ONE OF THE PARTIES THAT’S
MISSING FROM THE TABLE, THAT’S
RUSSIA.
THE PRESIDENT WANTS RUSSIA
THERE.
THE ALLIES DO NOT.
>>Reporter: THE PRESIDENT HAS
BEEN PUSHING TO HAVE RUSSIA
ADDED BACK IN TO THE G-7, WHICH
USED TO BE THE G-8, BUT THE
PRESIDENT HAS BEEN LYING ABOUT
RUSSIA WAS KICKED OUT OF WHAT
USED TO BE THE G-8 IN THE FIRST
PLACE.
PRESIDENT TRUMP IS SAYING THE
REASON WHY RUSSIA WAS KICKED OUT
WAS BECAUSE HIS PREDECESSOR,
PRESIDENT OBAMA, WAS OUTSMARTED
BY VLADIMIR PUTIN.
THAT SIMPLY IS NOT TRUE.
RUSSIA WAS KICKED OUT BECAUSE
THEY ANNEXED CRIMEA WHICH WAS A
SOVEREIGN PART OF THE UKRAINE
AND AS A RESULT WORLD LEADERS
GOT TOGETHER AND WANTED TO
PUNISH RUSSIA.
AND AS A RESULT THEY KICKED THEM
OUT OF THE G-8 AND IT BECAME THE
G-7.
THE PRESIDENT TODAY SAID THAT
ADDING RUSSIA BACK INTO THE G-7
IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND HE WAS
PRETTY CLEAR THAT THERE ARE A
LOT OF WORLD LEADERS HERE WHO DO
NOT AGREE WITH THAT STANCE.
SO IT’S STILL UP IN THE AIR WHAT
WILL HAPPEN WITH RUSSIA.
>>Sreenivasan: THIS WAS ALSO
THE FIRST TIME HE MET WITH PRIME
MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON.
HOW DID THAT MEETING GO?
>>Reporter: THE MEETING BETWEEN
BORIS JOHNSON, THE NEW PRIME
MINISTER OF THE U.K., AND
PRESIDENT TRUMP WENT PRETTY
WARMLY.
THE PRESIDENT PRAISED BORIS
JOHNSON, SAID HE’S THE RIGHT MAN
FOR THE TIME WHEN IT COMES TO
THE U.K. AND BREXIT, BUT THEN
BORIS JOHNSON IN SOME WAYS
CONTRADICTED THE PRESIDENT A
BIT.
HE SAID THAT HE REALLY
LIKED THE IDEA OF FREE TRADE AND
HE SAID THE U.K. HAS BENEFITED
FROM 200 YEARS OF FREE TRADE,
WHILE THE PRESIDENT HAS PUSHED
BACK ON THAT.
BORIS JOHNSON ALSO SAID THAT HE
IS NOT A FAN OF TARIFFS.
SO IN SOME WAYS WHILE BORIS
JOHNSON WAS SMILING AND IT
SEEMED AS THOUGH IT WAS A VERY
WARM MEETING, THERE WAS SOME
PUSHBACK GOING ON THERE AND
WE’VE SEEN WORLD LEADERS
THROUGHOUT THIS G-7 GENTLY PUSH
BACK ON THE PRESIDENT WHILE ALSO
KEEPING THINGS POSITIVE.
>>Sreenivasan: WE ALSO HAD A
SURPRISE GUEST OF SORTS NOT AT
THE TABLE BUT IN THE TOWN.
>>Reporter: THE BIG SURPRISE
HERE WAS IRAN’S FOREIGN
MINISTER, JAVAD ZARIF, SHOWED UP
UNEXPECTEDLY AT THE G-7.
IT COMPLETELY BLINDSIDED
PRESIDENT TRUMP AND U.S.
OFFICIALS HERE.
WE’RE TOLD AT THE NEWSHOUR THAT
THE PRESIDENT IS STILL WEIGHING
WHETHER OR NOT HE MIGHT MEET
WITH THE FOREIGN MINISTER ZARIF,
BUT WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT THE
PRESIDENT IS FEELING AS THOUGH
HE’S BEEN BLINDSIDED, AND HE
FEELS AS THOUGH THIS IS THE
FRENCH REALLY NOT DOING ITS DUE
DILIGENCE TO TELL HIM ABOUT WHAT
WAS GOING TO BE HAPPENING HERE.
WE ARE TOLD THAT THE PRESIDENT
IS GOING TO BE ADVISED BY
SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEO THAT
ZARIF IS TOO LOW DOWN THE TOTEM
POLE TO MEET WITH THE PRESIDENT.
THAT SAID, IT’S 100% GOING TO BE
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S DECISION IF HE
MEETS WITH ZARIF.
RIGHT NOW, ZARIF IS EXPECTED TO
ONLY MEET WITH FRENCH OFFICIALS
HERE.
THE PRESIDENT OF FRANCE,
EMMANUEL MACARON, SAID VERY
EARLY ON IN THE G-7 THAT HE WAS
GOING TO TRY TO USE THIS G-7 TO
EASE TENSIONS BETWEEN IRAN AND
THE U.S.
SO, THAT MIGHT BE WHY ZARIF MADE
THIS SURPRISE VISIT.
>>Sreenivasan: ALL RIGHT,
OVERALL HOW IS THIS G-7 COMPARED
TO PREVIOUS ONES?
>>Reporter: THE BIG LOOMING
QUESTION OF THIS G-7 WAS REALLY
IS PRESIDENT TRUMP GOING TO BE
UNPREDICTABLE?
IS HE GOING TO GET INTO
CONFRONTATIONS AS HE HAS DURING
THE LAST TWO G-7’s?
WHAT WE SAW WAS A LESS
CONFRONTATIONAL G-7.
LARRY KUDLOW, THE PRESIDENT’S
TOP ECONOMIC ADVISOR, SAID THAT
THERE ARE “GOOD VIBES HERE.”
ALSO, WE’VE SEEN THE PRESIDENT
HAVE WARM MEETINGS WITH WORLD
LEADERS HERE.
THAT SAID, IN MEETING AFTER
MEETING WE’VE SEEN LEADERS
REALLY GENTLY PUSH BACK ON THE
PRESIDENT.
WITH SHINZO ABE, THE PRIME
MINISTER OF JAPAN, AS I SAID
THERE WAS THE ISSUE OF THE
TRADE DEAL.
ALSO, THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT HE
DIDN’T THINK NORTH KOREA WAS
VIOLATING ANY SORT OF AGREEMENT
WHEN IT WAS TESTING ITS MISSILE,
WHEREAS SHINZO ABE SAID HE SEES
A COMPLETE VIOLATION BY NORTH
KOREA BECAUSE OF THOSE MISSILE
TESTS, SO WE SEE SOME PUSHBACK
THERE.
BORIS JOHNSON AGAIN WAS REALLY
TALKING ABOUT FREE TRADE,
EMBRACING IT WHILE PRESIDENT
TRUMP WAS NOT.
THAT SAID, THERE’S NOT GOING TO
BE A JOINT COMMUNIQUE HERE,
THAT’S BECAUSE THE FRENCH
PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON
DOESN’T WANT TO HAVE A
COMMUNIQUE THAT THE U.S. DOESN’T
WANT TO SIGN SO THEY’VE DONE
AWAY WITH IT COMPLETELY.
SO OVERALL, IT’S STILL BEEN A
PRETTY CALM G-7, BUT THERE HAVE
BEEN FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES BECAUSE
OF PRESIDENT TRUMP’S
UNPREDICTABLE BEHAVIOR.
>>Sreenivasan: ALL RIGHT,
NEWSHOUR’S WHITEHOUSE
CORRESPONDENT YAMICHE
ALCINDOR JOINING US NOW FROM THE
SOUTH OF FRANCE.
THANKS SO MUCH.
>>Reporter: THANKS, HARI.
>>Sreenivasan: VIOLENT
POLITICAL UNREST CONTINUED IN
HONG KONG FOR THE SECOND DAY IN
A ROW TODAY.
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE 12
WEEKS OF DEMONSTRATIONS THERE
WERE REPORTS OF POLICE OFFICERS
DRAWING THEIR GUNS AND FIRING AT
LEAST ONE WARNING SHOT ABOVE A
CROWD OF PROTESTERS.
POLICE ALSO USED WATER CANNONS
ON PRO-DEMOCRACY DEMONSTRATORS
WHO ATTACKED OFFICERS USING
STICKS AND RODS.
BRAZIL’S MILITARY IS NOW PART OF
THE BATTLE TO CONTAIN MASSIVE
FIRES IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST.
OFFICIALS REPORTED NEARLY 77,000
WILDFIRES ACROSS THE COUNTRY SO
FAR THIS YEAR, THAT’S UP 85%
OVER THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR.
FARMERS SET MANY OF THE FIRES TO
CLEAR LAND FOR PLANTING DURING
THE DRY SEASON FROM JULY TO
SEPTEMBER.
MINING AND COMMERCIAL COMPANIES
ALSO ILLEGALLY CLEAR-CUT AND
BURN AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT.
BRAZIL’S PRESIDENT JAIR
BOLSONARO IS FACING
INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM FOR
DELAYING A RESPONSE TO THE
GROWING NUMBER OF FIRES AND FOR
ENCOURAGING MORE DEVELOPMENT OF
THE RAINFOREST REGIONS.
THE FIRES HAVE ALSO SPREAD INTO
NEIGHBORING BOLIVIA, BURNING
CLOSE TO TWO MILLION ACRES AND
FORCING EVACUATIONS.
FORMER ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN JOE
WALSH IS NOW THE SECOND
REPUBLICAN TO CHALLENGE
PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR THE PARTY’S
2020 WHITE HOUSE NOMINATION.
TODAY ON ABC’S “THIS WEEK,”
WALSH SAID HE IS RUNNING BECAUSE
MR. TRUMP IS “UNFIT” AND THAT
“SOMEBODY NEEDS TO STEP UP.”
HE ALSO CALLED THE PRESIDENT A
BULLY AND A COWARD.
WALSH WAS ELECTED TO CONGRESS IN
2010 AS PART OF THE TEA PARTY
MOVEMENT.
HE LOST A BID FOR A SECOND TERM
TO DEMOCRAT TAMMY DUCKWORTH IN
2012.
AFTER LEAVING CONGRESS, WALSH
BECAME A CHICAGO-AREA RADIO TALK
SHOW HOST.
FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR
BILL WELD IS ALSO RUNNING FOR
THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION.
FOR THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM
THE G-7 SUMMIT, VISIT
pbs.org/newshour.
>>Sreenivasan: THE
MANUFACTURERS AND DISTRIBUTORS
OF OPIOID PRESCRIPTION
PAINKILLERS SUPPLIED BILLIONS OF
PILLS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY,
AND IT LED TO ADDICTION, ABUSE
AND DEATH.
YOU CAN SEE HOW AND WHERE THE
EPIDEMIC GREW IN A NEW
“WASHINGTON POST” REPORT, PART
OF THE INVESTIGATIVE SERIES “THE
OPIOID FILES.”
USING A NEWLY-PUBLIC DRUG
ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
DATABASE THAT TRACKS EVERY PAIN
PILL SOLD TO PHARMACIES ACROSS
THE COUNTRY, REPORTERS ANALYZED
MILLIONS OF TRANSACTIONS AND
SHIPMENTS OF OXYCODONE AND
HYDROCODONE PILLS FROM 2006-
2012.
I RECENTLY SPOKE WITH STEVEN
RICH, DATA EDITOR FOR “THE
WASHINGTON POST,” ABOUT HOW THE
NEWSPAPER’S TEAM GOT THE
DATABASE AND WHAT THEY FOUND.
>>SO, WE WOUND UP INTERVENING
IN A COURT CASE IN OHIO IN WHICH
THIS DATA BECAME AN EXHIBIT IN
ORDER TO TRY TO FORCE ITS
RELEASE.
WE DID SO WITH THE CHARLESTON
GAZETTE MAIL IN WEST VIRGINIA
AND OVER THE COURSE OF THE LAST
YEAR, WE MANAGED TO FIGHT AN
APPEAL AND MAKE IT PUBLIC.
AND WHAT WE LEARNED WAS THAT
THERE ARE WAY MORE PILLS FLOWING
INTO THE PHARMACIES ACROSS THE
COUNTRY THAN WE HAD EXPECTED.
THERE WERE 76 BILLION PILLS OVER
THE SEVEN-YEAR TIME FRAME ALL
OVER THE COUNTRY, BUT THE PILLS
THEMSELVES WEREN’T EQUALLY
DISTRIBUTED.
THERE WERE FAR MORE PILLS PER
PERSON IN PLACES LIKE
APPALACHIA, IN WEST VIRGINIA, IN
KENTUCKY.
>>Sreenivasan: AND YOU CAN GO
ON THE SITE AND BASICALLY PLUG
IT IN BY COUNTY ON A COUNTY BY
COUNTY LEVEL AND SEE, AND ONE OF
THE BREAKDOWNS THAT YOU HAVE WAS
REALLY FASCINATING IS YOU’VE
KIND OF DIVIDED IT BY THE
POPULATION THERE, YOU SAY HOW
MANY PILLS PER PERSON ACTUALLY
SHOWED UP AND THE NUMBERS ON
SOME OF THESE COUNTIES ARE
STAGGERING.
>>YES, SO ACROSS THE COUNTRY,
THE NATIONAL AVERAGE WAS 36
PILLS PER PERSON PER YEAR.
BUT SOME OF THESE COUNTIES,
ESPECIALLY IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
HAVE UPWARDS OF 200 PILLS PER
PERSON PER YEAR.
AND THIS IS NOT JUST FOR PEOPLE
WHO WERE PRESCRIBED THE PILLS.
THIS IS 200 FOR EVERY MAN, WOMAN
AND CHILD LIVING IN THAT COUNTY.
>>Sreenivasan: AND, YOU KNOW,
IN THIS, YOU’RE ALSO UNCOVERING
E-MAILS AND PART OF THE
REPORTING AND PART OF THE OPIOID
FILE STORY AND WHAT IS THE
CULTURE THAT’S HAPPENING AT THE
COMPANIES THAT ARE DISTRIBUTING
THIS DOWN TO THE PHARMACY LEVEL?
INSTEAD OF SAYING HEY, WAIT,
THAT SEEMS LIKE A REALLY LARGE
NUMBER, WHAT WERE THE
CONVERSATIONS?
>>SO I THINK ONE E-MAIL SORT OF
SUMS IT UP PRETTY WELL FOR ME,
WHICH IS ONE SALES MANAGER
E-MAILED AND JUST SAID “SELL,
SELL, SELL.”
THE CULTURE WAS, YOU KNOW, THE
PEOPLE WHO SOLD THE MOST OF
THESE DRUGS INTO THESE
PHARMACIES WERE THE ONES WHO
WERE GETTING THE BIGGEST BONUSES
AND THERE WAS A LOT OF, YOU
KNOW, IN MANY OF THESE E-MAILS,
THERE WAS A CALLOUS NATURE
AROUND THE ADDICTION ASPECT OF
THIS.
AND SO REALLY WHAT WE’RE
STARTING TO SEE FOR THE FIRST
TIME IS HOW THESE COMPANIES
HANDLED THESE UNUSUAL SHIPMENTS
TO THESE PHARMACIES.
FOR EXAMPLE, IN ONE CASE WE
FOUND A PURDUE PHARMA EXECUTIVE
WHO GOT A SUSPICIOUS ORDER
E-MAILED TO HIM AND ONE MINUTE
LATER HE APPROVED IT.
AND SO THEY ARE REQUIRED TO
REPORT THESE SUSPICIOUS ORDERS
TO THE D.E.A. AND SO THAT’S WHY
THEY HAD THE SYSTEM IN THE FIRST
PLACE, BUT IF SOMEBODY IS
APPROVING THINGS THAT QUICKLY
IT’S HARD TO TELL WHETHER
THEY’RE ACTUALLY TRYING TO
FIGURE OUT IF THE ORDER IS
SUSPICIOUS OR THEY’RE JUST
APPROVING EVERYTHING.
>>Sreenivasan: SO, DEPENDING ON
THE CASE, SOME OF THE COMPANIES
SAY, LISTEN IT WASN’T OUR FAULT,
WE’RE NOT RESPONSIBLE, EVEN
GIVEN ALL THESE E-MAILS THAT
WE’RE TALKING ABOUT, BUT WHAT IS
THE CONSEQUENCE?
WHAT IS THE REPERCUSSION?
WHAT CAN CONGRESS DO?
>>IT’S HARD TO SAY.
I MEAN, WE ARE SORT OF PAST THE
HEART OF THE PRESCRIPTION PILL
CRISIS AND INTO THE FENTANYL
CRISIS.
SO TRYING TO STOP THIS WAVE OF
OPIOIDS IS SORT OF WHERE THEY
NEED TO BE.
RIGHT NOW, THE CURRENT SOLUTION
TO THAT IS USING THESE OVERDOSE
REVERSING DRUGS LIKE NARCAN AND
THAT IS SORT OF STEMMING THE
PROBLEM A LITTLE BIT IN PLACES
LIKE OHIO, BUT IT’S SORT OF A
BAND-AID OF A SOLUTION.
AND SO THERE REALLY NEEDS TO BE
AN EMPHASIS ON STOPPING FENTANYL
FROM GETTING INTO THE COUNTRY
AND ALSO IN TREATMENT FOR PEOPLE
WHO ARE ADDICTED TO IT.
>>Sreenivasan: YOU KNOW, EVEN
THOUGH WE’VE SEEN SOME SLIGHT
IMPROVEMENT IN THE NUMBERS WE’RE
STILL TALKING 60,000 PLUS PEOPLE
DYING EVERY YEAR AS PART OF THIS
CRISIS.
SO WHEN– I WONDER THAT– YOUR
NUMBERS WENT TO 2012.
DID YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM
IS WORSE OR DID IT GET WORSE IN
THOSE LAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS
AND WE DON’T HAVE THE DATA FOR
IT YET?
>>SO WE THINK THAT IT PROBABLY
GOT A LITTLE WORSE IN 2013 AND
2014 AND AROUND THAT TIME IS
WHEN THE D.E.A. REALLY STARTED
TO CRACK ON PRESCRIPTION PILLS
AND SO WE THINK THAT IT PROBABLY
STARTED TO GET A LITTLE BETTER
IN 2015 AND 2016.
BUT AROUND THAT SAME TIME,
PEOPLE WHO WERE ADDICTED TO
THESE AND UNABLE TO GET THE
PILLS ANYMORE STARTED TO SWITCH
TO HEROIN AND AS A RESULT OF
THAT THEY ENDED UP GETTING
HOOKED AND MANY OF THEM SWITCHED
OVER TO FENTANYL AND THAT’S HOW
WE’VE ENDED UP WHERE WE ARE
TODAY.
>>Sreenivasan: YEAH.
AND FINALLY, WHAT IS THE KIND
OF REVOLVING DOOR IN GOVERNMENT
ABOUT THIS?
I MEAN, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING
THAT THIS IS A D.E.A. DATABASE
THAT YOU FOUND ALL OF THIS
THROUGH.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO SOME OF
THOSE EMPLOYEES NOW?
>>WE KNOW THAT A LOT OF THE
D.E.A. EMPLOYEES WHO WORK
SPECIFICALLY IN THE DIVISION TO
PREVENT DIVERSION OF THESE DRUGS
TO THE BLACK MARKET ARE NOW
WORKING AT MANY OF THESE DRUG
COMPANIES IN THEIR DIVERSION
DEPARTMENTS AND SO THEY’RE
LITERALLY SITTING ACROSS THE
TABLE FROM WHERE THEY USED TO
SIT WHERE THEY WERE TRYING TO
STOP IT, NOW THEY’RE TRYING TO
CONVINCE THE D.E.A. THAT THESE
COMPANIES ARE DOING WELL WITH
STOPPING IT AND SO WE’VE SEEN
DOZENS OF EMPLOYEES IN RECENT
YEARS MAKE THE JUMP DIRECTLY
FROM THE D.E.A. TO THESE DRUG
COMPANIES FOR MUCH MORE
LUCRATIVE JOBS.
>>Sreenivasan: STEVEN RICH,
DATA EDITOR OF “THE WASHINGTON
POST,” THANKS SO MUCH.
>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
>>Sreenivasan: NEWS IN AND
AROUND THE MIDDLE EAST THESE
DAYS IS USUALLY ABOUT CONFLICT.
BUT FOOD WRITER YASMIN KHAN SET
OUT TO EXPLORE THE REGION.
THROUGH FOOD.
SHE COLLECTED RECIPES AND TELLS
THE STORIES OF PALESTINIANS IN
THE WEST BANK AND GAZA IN HER
COOKBOOK “ZAITOUN: RECIPES FROM
THE PALESTINIAN KITCHEN.”
I SPOKE WITH HER PREVIOUSLY
ABOUT HER BOOK AND WHY SHE FEELS
FOOD CAN HELP FOSTER CULTURAL
UNDERSTANDING.
>>I’VE WORKED IN HUMAN RIGHTS
FOR ABOUT 15 YEARS.
I TRAINED IN LAW AND IN MY PAST
CAREER.
THAT WAS MY VOCATION, AND MY
BRIEF FOR SEVERAL YEARS WAS
ISRAEL-PALESTINE AND IT REALLY
GOT ME INTERESTED IN THE REGION.
AND YOU KNOW I’M REALLY
INTERESTED IN SHARING PEOPLE’S
STORIES.
THAT’S THE COMMON THREAD THAT I
HAD IN HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNING
AND NOW IN MY COOKBOOKS, AND
FOOD CAN BE SUCH A USEFUL
VEHICLE FOR EXPLORING PLACES OF
CONFLICT BECAUSE AS A NEUTRAL
SUBJECT THAT EVERYONE ENJOYS
FOOD CAN OFFER A VEHICLE THAT WE
CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND EACH
OTHER.
>>Sreenivasan: RIGHT THE OLD
IDEA OF BREAKING BREAD WITH YOUR
NEIGHBOR OR YOUR ENEMY, RIGHT?
DO YOU FIND THAT EVEN FOOD IS
CHARGED IN THAT REGION?
>>I MEAN, EVERYTHING IS CHARGED
IN THAT REGION.
AND, AND CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW,
FOR MANY PALESTINIAN COMMUNITIES
YOU KNOW THE FOOD THAT THEY EAT
AND HOW THEY EXPERIENCE FOOD
CAN’T BE SEPARATED FROM THE
POLITICAL SITUATION, YOU KNOW
FROM THE WALL BEING BUILT BY THE
ISRAELI GOVERNMENT IN THE WEST
BANK THAT CUTS OFF WATER
SUPPLIES AND CUTS THROUGH
PALESTINIAN AGRICULTURAL LAND TO
THEIR BLOCKADE OF GAZA THAT’S
LEFT OVER 80% OF GAZANS
DEPENDENT ON U.N. FOOD AID TO
SURVIVE.
YOU KNOW, FOOD AND THE
OCCUPATION ARE INCREDIBLY LINKED
FOR THE PALESTINIAN COMMUNITY.
>>Sreenivasan: AND EVEN THE
WORD OLIVE, OR “ZAITOUN,” IT
MEANS “OLIVE,” RIGHT?
AND YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT THE
OLIVE TREES THAT ARE IN THE
REGION.
>>THAT’S RIGHT.
ABOUT 80% OF THE WEST BANK IS
AGRICULTURAL LAND.
AND THE PREDOMINANT THING THAT
IS GROWN ARE OLIVES AND I CHOSE
“ZAITOUN” AS THE TITLE FOR THE
BOOK BECAUSE OLIVES REALLY
REPRESENT BOTH THE ESSENCE OF
PALESTINIAN COOKERY.
YOU ALWAYS HAVE A BOWL OF OLIVES
AND THEN YOU ALWAYS FINISH MEAL
WITH DELICIOUS EXTRA VIRGIN
OLIVE OIL, BUT OLIVE TREES HAVE
ALSO COME TO REPRESENT THE
PALESTINIANS AND THEIR
CONNECTION TO THE LAND AND THEIR
STEADFASTNESS.
AND WHEN THEY’RE UPROOTED AS THE
U.N. REPORTED LAST YEAR THEY
ROUTINELY ARE BY ISRAELI,
ILLEGAL ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN
THE WEST BANK.
THEY’VE COME TO REPRESENT
PALESTINIAN DISPLACEMENT.
SO OLIVES REPRESENTED EVERYTHING
THAT THIS PROJECT WAS ABOUT.
>>Sreenivasan: I MEAN, HOW DO
YOU WRITE– TECHNICALLY THIS IS
PALESTINIAN FOOD, THIS IS A
STATELESS AREA, RIGHT?
I MEAN, YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A
PEOPLE THAT DON’T HAVE A
COUNTRY.
BUT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT THAT
FOOD AND THAT IS DISTINCT IN
SOME WAYS FROM ISRAELI FOOD.
I MEAN, TO AMERICANS IT’S ALL
MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD, WHICH IS
OUR PROBLEM.
>>YEAH, I MEAN, IT’S SUCH A
FUNNY– I’D LOVE US TO GET TO
THE STATE WHERE IN THE U.S. WE
CAN BREAK DOWN THE DIFFERENT
MIDDLE EASTERN CULINARY
TRADITIONS, YOU KNOW.
YOU KNOW, WHEN WE SAY EUROPEAN
FOOD WE KNOW THAT GERMAN FOOD IS
DIFFERENT TO FRENCH FOOD WHICH
IS DIFFERENT TO ITALIAN FOOD.
AND IT’S THE SAME IN THE MIDDLE
EAST.
YOU KNOW, I MEAN UNDOUBTEDLY
BECAUSE THERE HAVE BEEN JEWISH
AND CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM
COMMUNITIES LIVING TOGETHER FOR
THOUSANDS OF YEARS IN THAT
REGION.
THERE ARE MANY SIMILARITIES, BUT
PALESTINIAN FOOD HAS ITS OWN
UNIQUE FLAVOR, ITS OWN UNIQUE
RECIPES BECAUSE YOU KNOW
PALESTINIAN IDENTITY HAS, IS A
RICH CULINARY AND CULTURAL
TRADITION.
>>Sreenivasan: SO IS THERE, IS
THERE SOMETHING THAT’S
QUINTESSENTIALLY PALESTINIAN
THAT WE JUST FOR, TAKE FOR
GRANTED AS MIDDLE EASTERN IN
GENERAL?
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS, YOU
KNOW, WHAT’S A RECIPE THAT YOU
MIGHT HAVE, THAT SAY NOW IF
YOU’RE EATING THIS, THIS IS
ACTUALLY SOMETHING THE
PALESTINIANS HAVE EATEN FOR
WHATEVER, THOUSANDS OF YEARS?
>>I THINK IT’S MUSAKHAN, WHICH
IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE RECIPES IN
THE BOOK, AND IT’S PIECES OF
CHICKEN THAT YOU MARINATE IN
SUMAC WHICH IS THIS ASTRINGENT
SPICE, AND RED ONIONS, AND YOU
ROAST IT AND THEN YOU GET SOME
BREAD AND PUT THE CHICKEN ON TOP
AND POUR THE CHICKEN JUICES ON
TOP SO IT SOAKS INTO THE BREAD,
AND IT’S A BIG SHARING DISH THAT
YOU’D KIND OF TEAR APART WITH
YOUR HANDS AND THAT IS A DISH
THAT YOU’LL FIND IN ALL
PALESTINIAN COMMUNITIES.
AND FOR ME REALLY CAPTURES THE
ESSENCE OF SHARING THAT IS SO
INTEGRAL TO PALESTINIAN FOOD.
>>Sreenivasan: WAS IT
LOGISTICALLY DIFFICULT FOR YOU
TO GET AROUND WHEN YOU DID THE
RESEARCH TO TALK TO ALL THESE
PEOPLE?
>>IT WAS VERY HARD.
I MEAN AS, AS A JOURNALIST, YOU
KNOW, AND A WRITER I WAS
DETAINED AT TEL AVIV AIRPORT
WHEN I WAS ENTERING THE COUNTRY
ON BOTH OCCASIONS.
AND ALSO JUST, YOU KNOW.
>>Sreenivasan: DID THEY BELIEVE
YOU THAT YOU’RE WORKING ON A
COOKBOOK?
>>WELL, YOU KNOW, THEY– AFTER
SIX HOURS OF DETENTION THEY,
THEY CERTAINLY DID, AND MY, MY
INTERVIEWER WENT ON OVER AND
OVER EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE MY
HISTORY MY WORK MY FAMILY AND AT
THE END OF IT I WAS LIKE, LOOK,
IF YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME
YOU KNOW I’M JUST WRITING A
COOKBOOK.
YOU KNOW, WHY DON’T YOU JUST LET
ME IN OR SEND ME BACK?
I’M NOT THAT INTERESTED.
AND MY INTERVIEWER WHO HADN’T
INTRODUCED HIMSELF IN THE WHOLE
TIME WE WERE TALKING JUST LOOKED
AT ME WITH THIS DEAD FACE AND
WAS JUST LIKE, BUT DO YOU KNOW
ANYONE IN HAMAS?
AND I WAS LIKE, OH, YOU KNOW
THE, THE LEVELS OF, OF I THINK
INTIMIDATION THAT MANY, MANY
PEOPLE OF MUSLIM HERITAGE HAVE
WHEN THEY’RE ENTERING ISRAEL IS
ALONG THOSE LINES OF JUST EVERY
BIT OF THEIR LIVES QUESTIONED.
>>Sreenivasan: WHAT ABOUT THE
RESPONSE FROM THE SOURCES WHEN
YOU’RE ACTUALLY HAVING THIS
CONVERSATION WITH THEM, DO THEY,
HOW DO THEY PERCEIVE YOUR
ATTEMPT TO CHRONICLE THIS?
>>WELL AS AN OUTSIDER AND I
THINK THAT THERE IS A VERY
IMPORTANT ROLE THAT TRAVEL
WRITERS HAVE ALWAYS PLAYED, AND
JOURNALISTS, IN BEARING
WITNESS TO SITUATIONS AND JUST
AS IN MY FIRST BOOK, “THE
SAFFRON TALES.”
I’VE HAD A VERY SIMILAR REACTION
IN THE RESPONSE FOR “ZAITOUN”
BECAUSE PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE
EAST ARE SO FRUSTRATED AT ONLY
BEING DEPICTED AS EITHER
TERRORISTS OR VICTIMS YOU KNOW
THE IDEA THAT THIS WAS A BOOK
THAT WAS ABOUT CELEBRATING
PALESTINIAN CULTURE ABOUT
SHARING SOME OF THE JOY AND
BEAUTY THAT EXISTS WITHIN THIS
FRAUGHT SITUATION WAS SOMETHING
THAT YEAH, I MEAN, IT MEANT THAT
WE WERE CONSTANTLY GETTING
INVITED INTO PEOPLE’S HOUSES FOR
DINNER YOU KNOW I GOT INVITED TO
A WEDDING YOU KNOW HAVING JUST
NEVER MET THE PERSON BEFORE.
>>Sreenivasan: HEY THERE’S A
FEAST YOU SHOULD CHECK THIS OUT.
>>EXACTLY.
BUT ALSO, YOU KNOW, PALESTINIANS
ARE INCREDIBLY HOSPITABLE AND
GENEROUS PEOPLE AND THAT ISN’T
SOMETHING YOU GET TO HEAR ABOUT
VERY OFTEN AND THAT’S WHAT I
WAS, YOU KNOW, IT’S REALLY
DRIVEN ME TO WRITE THIS BOOK.
I MEAN THERE WAS THIS OLD JEWISH
PROVERB THAT I LEARNT DURING THE
RESEARCH FOR THE BOOK THAT IS
“MY ENEMY IS JUST A PERSON WHOSE
STORY I HAVEN’T HEARD YET.”
AND THAT FOR ME REALLY IS SUCH A
MOVING PHRASE AND REALLY
ENCAPSULATES EVERYTHING THAT I’M
TRYING TO DO IN MY WORK JUST
SHARE STORIES AND TRY TO BREAK
DOWN THIS, THIS DEHUMANIZATION
THAT TOO OFTEN HAPPENS WHEN
WE’RE REPORTING ON THE MIDDLE
EAST, AND BUILD CONNECTION
BECAUSE I REALLY BELIEVE AT
THE END OF THE DAY, HUMANS, NO
MATTER WHERE WE ARE IN THE
WORLD, HAVE GOT MORE TO
UNITE US THAN DIVIDE US.
>>Sreenivasan: ALL RIGHT.
THE BOOK IS CALLED “ZAITOUN.”
YASMIN KHAN, THANKS SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US.
>>THANK YOU.
>>Sreenivasan: FINALLY TONIGHT,
WHILE LEADERS OF THE G-7 NATIONS
MET IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
TODAY, IN PARIS PEOPLE LINED THE
STREETS TO CELEBRATE THE 75th
ANNIVERSARY OF THE CITY’S
LIBERATION FROM THE NAZIS.
CHEERING CROWDS WAVED FRENCH
FLAGS DURING A PARADE FEATURING
VINTAGE CARS AND MILITARY
VEHICLES AND PEOPLE DRESSED IN
1940’s COSTUMES.
TWO MILLION PEOPLE FILLED THE
STREETS OF PARIS ON AUGUST 25,
1944 TO CELEBRATE.
THAT’S ALL FOR THIS EDITION OF
“PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND.”
I’M HARI SREENIVASAN.
THANKS FOR WATCHING.
HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *