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Mourning Madiba; Beaten and Shot in Syria; Imagine a World

Aired July 4, 2014 - 14:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Graca Machel's first TV interview since losing her husband, Nelson Mandela. How she

protected him from South Africa's troubles in his final years.


GRACA MACHEL, WIDOW OF NELSON MANDELA: I decided to save him, to protect him from getting involved and knowing in depth what was going on

because he was such a sensitive person.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): And also ahead, kidnapped, beaten and even worse, the danger of coverage Syria and the rise of ISIS.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

And coming up, journalist Anthony Loyd's first-hand experience of the violence that divides our world.

But first to a story of hope and unity. The global reverence for one leader, Nelson Mandela, has been unprecedented, celebrated throughout his

lifelong struggle for equality and mourned by hundreds of millions when he finally passed away after 95 extraordinary years.

Graca Machel was at Nelson Mandela's side in his final and many say his happiest years. They married on Mandela's 80th birthday. Graca was 53

and had already been widowed once; indeed, she's the only first lady of two nations. Her first husband, Samora Machel, was the first president of

independent Mozambique.

Graca Machel withdrew from six months of official mourning after Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in Qunu, his ancestral village, last


But this week she reemerged to continue her work and his legacy. And she sat down with us today to talk about her own activism for women and

children and life with one of history's towering moral figures.


AMANPOUR: Graca Machel, a very warm welcome to you to this program. Thank you for joining me.

MACHEL: Thank you so much, Christiane, for having me.

AMANPOUR: I want to start by asking you, you have emerged now publicly after six months of mourning for your husband. You have seen the

adoration and the respect of the world throughout Mr. Mandela's life and particularly at the end.

What message do you have for people as you emerge now publicly again?

MACHEL: Christiane, I have to thank you for giving me this opportunity and space to get across to the millions and millions of people

around the world who have showered Madiba with so much love, so much compassion, so much support, which I believe is really unprecedented.

During the time of his active live, we knew that the people loved him. But it was beyond my imagination to see, when he got sick, people who would

send us messages, people who would write, people who would pray for him. I know that millions of people in the world prayed for him in this country,

in Africa, across the globe.

And naturally by the time he passed on, because people expected it somehow, I couldn't see what was happening. I was consumed with my sense

of loss. But I have been told that, for days, every single TV station, every single radio would be talking about him, celebrating his life.

And even, I mean, wishing him to finally rest because he had given so much to the world.

And I wanted really to take this opportunity to say thank you.

Thank you.

And thank you so, so much to every single person, all the young men and women from all over the world, who really took the time to think of

him, to celebrate his life and to send him so much love.

AMANPOUR: Ms. Machel, as you've just described, he was a massive figure for the whole world, and the whole world feels that sense of loss.

But for you, it has to be even more personal, obviously, and more poignant.

How are you coping with the absence of this huge figure in your life?

MACHEL: You know, Madiba is that very towering person. He feels every detail of my life. And it's going to take time until I'm able to

articulate the meaning of this huge loss.

I have to tell you that there were times where I would wake up and I wouldn't know what to do. But the fact is that now I'm beginning to engage

with the causes which both of us care about. It is a practice in which slowly I will begin to make sense of it and slowly I will take some steps

now to say, well, I have to carry on. And somehow he would expect me to carry on.

But I think it will take time for me to be able to answer your question. Now it is just very difficult. It's too close. It's too soon.

AMANPOUR: We have our set dressed with beautiful pictures of the two of you, but also of you both with children, which obviously was very close

to your heart. And this is what your work is going to be in the future now.

Tell me about the hospital that you're going to launch, about the causes that you're going to be fighting for right now.

MACHEL: You know, in the sunset of Madiba's life, he was confronted with an experience of a child who died because he did not have the

qualified services which were required to save this boy.

And that has enacted in him a real commitment to say we cannot allow this to continue. And that's when he started to say we have to build a

specialized hospital for children.

But it came as his last wish to say I want to offer a very specialized children's hospital for children.

So this is really the first thing which I'm engaged in in terms of carrying on with the legacy, which is very explicit.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about legacy. I want to know from you whether Mr. Mandela knew about the struggles that South Africa was going

through in those last few years, you know, the growing inequality, the -- some of the oppression against women and others, the kinds of things that

you are trying to work towards now.

How well was he, that the dream still needed a huge amount of work in order to make it really come true?

MACHEL: I would say that he was aware of about all these things maybe until about two years back. But I decided to save him, to protect him from

getting involved and knowing in depth what was going on because he was such a sensitive person. And he wouldn't be able to act on those issues.

And I felt, why to keep him with a heavy heart where he is not able to make a difference to change the situation?

So much of it in recent times I just did not allow him to be aware of, not only me, but the family, generally speaking.

AMANPOUR: Ms. Machel, people refer to you as a leader as well. And certainly you were once a minister of education in your own home country,

in Mozambique. But you were also married to two of the greatest liberation fighters in your continent and in the world, Nelson Mandela and Samora


Tell me what it was like to have that kind of life, to be with those two remarkable people and to be there, side by side, their partner.

MACHEL: You know, Christiane, it is the incidents of life which we never plan for it. It just happens. If you ask me how I ended up being

loved and loving these two extraordinary human beings, I wouldn't be able to explain.

But it did happen. And somehow it gives you a sense of humility, I would say, to feel humble that as part of your journey, you have the

opportunity to share a life with people who are being referred as examples of the best human beings this region has produced.

And you question yourself, who am I?

And what does it mean when people look at me?

Probably they have much more expectations more than what I can deliver.

So my response to you is that really I'm humbled and I would like people to expect to see in me more than that rural girl who happened to

have some responsibilities in my own country and somehow globally, trying to do my best. But the fact that I have shared my life with these two,

it's an incident of life.

But let me tell you something, personally, they were just my husbands. You can call them -- I mean, icon; you can call whatever. But the

relationship I had with them, it was the relationship of husband and wife, they were the head of our families. We shared any detail of life as any

other family.

So I'm taking this opportunity to tell the world that they should look at me as Graca, in my humble way, in my small capacity. And of course I

draw inspiration in those two human beings. But I'm too small. And I'm not going to try to feel that I have a special responsibility to building

their legacy.

AMANPOUR: Graca Machel, I think people will make their judgment about you and you've already entered the hearts and the respect of people all

over the world.

I want to just ask you what you brought to Nelson Mandela when you met him and when you became his partner. He was at, some have described, a

lonely place in his life and we talked to Zelda La Grange, who, as you obviously know very well, just came out with her book. She was your

husband's personal assistant for a long, long time.

And she described you bringing humanity back to the life of this political leader.

Can you describe what you think you gave him?



MACHEL: Christiane, I'm sure you have fallen in love sometime in your life. And you know what it means? That simple connection which you have

with a human being with whom you have a special affection.

And I think what I gave to Madiba is actually to have a family again and to have an opportunity and the joy of having his children,

grandchildren and great-grandchildren in one roof. After coming out of jail and with the obligations he had as a head of state, it was only when

he stepped down, where he really began to concentrate on family matters.

And that is the period I was sharing a life with him. So I did definitely give him space and opportunity to enjoy his family, to mentor

them in a way he had not been and he had not had an opportunity to do it before.

But the fact that I think because he was calm, he was not under the pressure of huge responsibility, both of us, we just enjoyed to be

together, spend time together as human beings.

And I think that's what he enjoyed in the sunset of his life.

AMANPOUR: Well, on that note, Graca Machel, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

MACHEL: Thank you so much, Christiane, for having me.


AMANPOUR: Spending time together as human beings, something perhaps we should all do a little more of.

Journalist Anthony Loyd thought that he was spending time with a colleague and friend whilst working in Syria, but one day, he turned on

him. Anthony Loyd's harrowing story and his surprise epiphany when we come back.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Isis militants in Iraq continue to battle for supremacy with their eyes set on the capital, Baghdad, as the country's politicians there

flounder in disarray.

The insurgents have now ordered other Sunni groups who've joined the uprising to swear allegiance to them. And they're calling on all Muslims

around the world to do the same, after declaring a caliphate, an Islamic state, in Iraq and Syria.

These Sunni militants were raised in 2003 in post-invasion Iraq and revived in the badlands of Syria's festering civil war. Few people fall

victim to extremist forces and live to tell the story.

Anthony Loyd, special correspondent for "The Times" of London, has. After more than a dozen trips to cover the Syrian war, on his last venture

into that country in May, he was double-crossed by a rebel he considered his friend.

It is a harrowing story which he told me here in the studio. And I began by asking him what he discovered from the inside about these various

militant groups.


ANTHONY LOYD, JOURNALIST: ISIS are the face and representation of a more general Sunni discontent across the region, particularly in Iraq and

Syria. So they represent different things to different Sunni groups. There are Sunni still disenfranchised in some areas. They've been

ostracized, persecuted, oppressed. There are tribal grievances. There are political grievances.

And ISIS have transcended on the back of all these different grievances.

AMANPOUR: So a few weeks ago you returned from Syria, reporting again there, having been terribly wounded, held captive for a while. And you

were shot by somebody who you thought was a reliable friend.

How did that happen? What happened?

LOYD: This was a guy and his gang who I've known for over two years and stayed with on several occasions, more than half a dozen of occasions

across those two years, sometimes for periods of up to a week.

And always been treated particularly by this guy, Hakim, who was the midlevel commander in a small town, very well, with great decency and

hospitality as befitting a Muslim host in the Middle East.

I stopped by his house on the way out of Syria. I've been working for a week in Aleppo, primarily to pay my respects to the birth of his last

child, his daughter. We stayed at his house. I was with Australian photographer Jack Hill. And we had supper. We stayed overnight. The next

morning, we left, having had breakfast and said goodbye. And he set us up to be abducted.

We didn't know it was him immediately. We were abducted by an armed gang outside the town of Tal Rifat. Subsequently as we escaped in quite a

violent escape and some of us we captured, too, then we worked out it was Hakim and his guys, all so-called friends who had betrayed us.

AMANPOUR: And I just want to put up these pictures again, because they are really horrendous. It's horrible for me to see you in that state,

having known you for such a long time, all brutalized and bloodied.

And he shot you.

LOYD: He shot me. There were four of us, two Syrian in our team and two Brits. That was a disorganized but quite good escape. We were going

off in different directions. Two of us got caught in separate places. I was caught.

And so I was beaten and I was dragged into the street. I was tied up throughout this. My hands were bound. And there in the middle of the

street was Hakim, it was quite a crowd of Syrians who'd gathered. And he was denouncing me first as a CIA spy, then a spy for the regime. Then he

was trying to say I was a volunteer to join ISIS.

And I was marched up to him and I said to him, because I couldn't think of anything else to say, I thought we were friends. And he pulled

his pistol and shot me. It was a moment he couldn't really bear. There were a lot of people who were looking at him quite questioningly, like they

weren't completely believing what he said.

And then this, you know, beaten and bloodied Englishman, with his hands tied, gets marched up and says, "I thought we were friends." It was

not the words of an ISIS volunteer or a CIA spy or whatever. And he sort of almost had to shut me up. So he pulled his gun and he shot me twice in

the ankle.

AMANPOUR: I mean, in that moment, what did you think, that this was criminal? That this was an ideological thing? What did you think had


LOYD: Well, I didn't think a whole lot at that moment because the event horizon was so fast, things were happening so quickly and I was so

adrenalized by the escape and the recapture that it was sort of like rolling in surf. You're just struggling to get your next gulp. You're not

thinking a whole lot. Nor at the best as having much of a criminal event. And its passage erodes people's integrity.

I think that's what had happened. I think also it's very fair to say that as time has gone by, most Syrians or many Syrians regard Western

journalists as embodying the cynicism of the West's inaction in Syria. We come, the few of us who still go there; we report. We take photographs.

We film their suffering. And nothing changes.

AMANPOUR: Even after all of that, you have written a piece, a column that says arm the opposition; it's our least worst option.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, former intelligence minister of Saudi Arabia, said that all of this ISIS stuff, a lot of what's happening in Iraq, is

because of this festering wound that was allowed to continue getting worse and worse in Syria and that has now bred what he said a pool of bacteria.

LOYD: First of all, I think the prince in this case is very right. This is ISIS are inevitable consequences, no magic or mystery to their

ascent. It's like an algebraic equation. That amount of savagery over that amount of time in that place left unchecked will inevitably produce

something like ISIS.

We are what we are. Arming the opposition is not an ideal scenario, but I think it's very important to block and contain the spread of ISIS, to

look at recent lessons in recent history where ISIS or their forerunner, the Islamic State of Iraq, have been checked and overturned.

And one of those recent examples was 2005-2009 in Iraq, the Awakening movement. This was a Sunni tribal movement backed by American money and

coordinated admittedly with American troops, which almost annihilated ISIS.

Now we have a similar template in Syria amongst the many Syrian rebel groups who turned on ISIS earlier this year and drove them out from large

areas of the north. And these are people who now it is time to help contain, to get alongside, to help contain ISIS.

But not all of them; some of those groups are completely unacceptable. But there are some, one can best and understand in general terms to be


AMANPOUR: What's next for you after you've fully recovered and you've fully healed that ankle that was shot?

Where are you going next?

LOYD: Well, in principle, I go back -- I would go back to Syria. In practice, there's a few reasons maybe to leave Syria alone for a while for


I'm not sure. We'll see what is happening in Iraq in a couple of months' time or Iran. But I'll go back to my job as before. The worst

I'll end up with is to be lame in one leg, which is totally manageable and I'm hoping for a full recovery.

AMANPOUR: Anthony Loyd, thank you very much.

LOYD: Christiane, thank you.


AMANPOUR: Anthony Loyd's determination to carry on his important work.

And when we come back, Graca Machel again, her determination and hope, despite the Rainbow Nation's many challenges, she believes there is a pot

of gold at the end of it. And that is when we come back.




AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where one woman carries on the legacy of a global icon, one wife and many millions of her

country men and women determined to carry the flame that Mandela ignited.

Tonight here's Graca Machel again with the last word.


MACHEL: My hope for this country has never faltered. And I know there is young and brilliant people who are going to take this country

forward and more than before. They are committed, not only to build on the legacy of Madiba.

You know, this country has been privileged to have a crop of leaders of extraordinary stature. You talk of Oliver Tambo. You talk of Walter

Sisulu. You talk of Mbeki senior. You talk of women like Ruth First, Albertina Sisulu and many others. This young generation know and they know

and they feel they have a huge responsibility to stand on their shoulders and to take this dream and make it true.

So I'm not sleepless about South Africa.


AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website,, and follow me on Twitter

and Facebook. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.