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Interview with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff; Israel and Gaza: The Grim Reality; Tight Race in Indonesia Elections; Imagine a World
Aired July 9, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight there is no tomorrow in Gaza. That's the harsh reality we heard today as rockets and missiles
fly across the Israeli-Gaza border.
Also an exclusive to this program, the president of Brazil speaks for the first time after her country's rather humiliating defeat to Germany at
the World Cup.
HOLMES (voice-over): And good evening, everyone, welcome to the program. I'm Michael Holmes, in for Christiane Amanpour, who is, of
course, on assignment in Brazil and, as we said, has just spoken to the president there, Dilma Rousseff, after her country's devastating defeat to
Germany in the World Cup semifinal.
Here's Christiane's first report from Brasilia.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Michael, I've just wrapped up an exclusive interview with the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff. Now she
very rarely gives interviews, much less with the international press. And given the massacre on the soccer pitch last night, the fact that she kept
this appointment speaks volumes.
AMANPOUR: First I want to ask you, after the disaster last night, I feel like I should offer you my condolences.
How do you feel?
DILMA ROUSSEFF, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): I share the same bad news of all Brazilians, supporters and players in Brazil. I
believe that the Brazil national team nevertheless deserves our support at a point in time where they lost the match last night.
I also believe that Brazil will be able to rise to the challenge and overcome this extremely painful situation.
AMANPOUR: Do you think that it was the absence of Neymar and Thiago Silva that contributed to this loss?
ROUSSEFF (through translator): I do believe that there was a significant effect, yes, on the national team. No, given the defeat, one
should have the attitude of, number one, being able to learn with the defeat while of course being able to overcome it.
And that is why I am quite certain that Brazil and all Brazilian supporters will behave in such a way as to persist in these important next
few days. And therefore should, yes, we are able to overcome adversity.
AMANPOUR: Did you ever dream in your wildest nightmares that this would be the result of the semifinal?
ROUSSEFF (through translator): No, in honesty, in all honesty, no; truly never. My nightmares never got so bad, Christiane. They never went
that far. As a supporter, of course, I am deeply sorry because I share the same sorrow of all supporters.
AMANPOUR: We'll have much more of this exclusive interview with the Brazilian president on the program tomorrow. We'll talk about all the
challenges ahead and her reelection bid.
But right now, back to you, Michael, for the rest of today's program.
HOLMES: All right, Christiane. It is not just about football, as Christiane said. You can watch the rest of that exclusive interview with
the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, right here tomorrow at this time.
And now once again to Gaza and the mounting devastation there and loss of life. A few days ago, the talk was of deescalation. The opposite is
happening. Hamas militants firing rockets into Israel, Israel bombarding the small and crowded strip of land with its own missiles, targeting rocket
launchers, they say, and also senior Hamas commanders.
But destroying houses and businesses in the process, there is, as they say, collateral damage. Palestinians say at least 46 people killed in
Israeli strikes so far. More than 250 wounded, many of them women and children.
And the worst may be yet to come. Israel's president, Shimon Peres, telling CNN a ground incursion may happen, quote, "quite soon."
So what are the Gaza residents? Those who aren't firing rockets, those who don't command or control Hamas fighters aren't interested in the
politics of all of this.
How do they survive it all again?
Adnan Abu Hasna is a spokesman for UNWRA, the United Nations relief agency that is a lifeline in so many ways for Gaza residents on the ground.
HOLMES: Adnan Abu Hasna, thanks so much for joining us. We hear about the rockets; we hear about the missiles coming in.
You're there; you're there amongst it. I think when people look at this and general news coverage of what's going on there, they see Israeli
military versus Hamas.
Do you think that ordinary people get forgotten in all of this?
ADNAN ABU HASNA, MEDIA ADVISOR AND SPOKESPERSON FOR UNWRA: Yes, I think that the innocent and the ordinary people are paying a very high
price of this war. The most of the population, they have nothing to do with what is going on now.
And I think that the majority of the people here in Gaza, they want an immediate end to this escalation. They are normal people. They want to
live as everybody in the world.
HOLMES: Even before this broke out, life in Gaza has been dire. I think unemployment is 40 percent; Israel controls what goes in, what goes
out. Even before this happened, life is tough there.
HASNA: Yes, it's very tough actually, as you said. That is, the rate of unemployment rate is about 40 percent. The blockade still in its place.
No one can -- has the ability to get out in the Gaza Strip.
There is no work. The U.N. report -- the famous U.N. report said that Gaza will not be a livable place in 2020. The water is salty, undrinkable.
So actually before the war, before this attack, the situation was very bad.
Now actually there is no tomorrow in Gaza. You can't predict what will -- what will be happening after one hour.
HOLMES: And Hamas aside and Israeli missiles aside, what is the psychological damage being done to those ordinary civilians, the ones you
say are just uninvolved in the political side?
What is the mental impact?
HASNA: I think that the whole population is in great panic, actually, and psychological pressure is unbelievable. Now people are, you know,
closed in their homes. The streets are completely empty. There's no electricity. It means there's no water. And you don't -- they don't have
HOLMES: How do the people you're dealing with, the ones you're giving food to, the ones whose kids you're trying to educate, how do they feel
about the politics? How do they feel about Hamas, let alone Israel's reaction to Hamas?
HASNA: I am telling you that more than 90 percent of the population of Gaza, they have nothing to do with politics. They are people looking
for, you know, to find bread for their kids and to looking for jobs. And all these things.
The majority of the Gaza population, they are refugees. But providing food to more than 830,000 people here in the Gaza Strip.
I think that the main actor in what is going in Gaza is the blockade - - they must lift the blockade. We are telling the Israelis all the time, give the Gazans something to lose.
HOLMES: Give the Gazans something to lose, I mean, that's a really powerful point. And again, before all of this started, when it comes to
Israel's blockade of Gaza, they control the borders; they control the airspace. They control the seaspace.
What sorts of things are not getting in that really should be getting in?
You're talking about basic stuff. You're not talking about weapon making equipment.
HASNA: The building materials are not allowed to get to the private sector. And the whole economy, nearly 70 percent of Gaza economy depends
on building, on building materials. And there is a very important point.
There is no export from Gaza. Give me one example in the world that a country has -- cannot have the ability to export, it will be a welfare
HOLMES: Adnan Abu Hasna of UNWRA, you raise incredibly important points in all of this about the ordinary civilians there, uninvolved in the
politics of all of this. Thank you so much for joining us on the line from Gaza.
HASNA: Thanks a lot.
HOLMES: Well, few people know and understand the complexities of the conflict better than our own senior international correspondent Ben
Wedeman. He's been reporting from the Middle East for decades. And tonight he is in Bayt Hanun in Gaza.
Ben, on the ground, the conversations you're having, Gazans are no fans of Israelis but what enthusiasm is there on the Gazan street for this
flare-up? Are there dissenting voices critical of Hamas?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's surprising little enthusiasm for this flare-up among ordinary people. Now
for instance, we went to a house that was hit by an Israeli airstrike and seven people were killed there.
There, that's the sort of place where you will find angry people who have just seen their neighbors killed and will say, the hell with it, you
know, go bomb the Knesset, fire rockets onto Israel. So you hear these words of anger.
But people away from where things happen, they look at the disruption caused by this current flare-up. They look at their already difficult
situations and they simply ask why, what is the point? They see the news; they watch the news, that all these rockets are being fired out of Gaza
But they also know that they're not really hitting anything inside. It's not as if this is a military victory for Hamas. It's a symbolic,
perhaps puffing up of the chest, but there's no benefit for 95 percent if not more of the population here.
And it was telling yesterday, as those rockets were being fired at Haifa, Jerusalem, at Tel Aviv, at Astarte and Ashkelon, a mosque nearby
here was announcing this news, that these rockets were being fired. But there was no reaction.
At the same time, Brazil and Germany were playing in the World Cup and everybody was glued to that and they were cheering and hooting and yelling
at the game. I think people are exhausted here. They don't quite understand what the point of it all is.
As you said, there's no love lost for Israel in Gaza. Keep in mind that 80 percent of the population are refugees, whose forefathers were
either driven out or fled from Israel . So they know that when Hamas launches rockets at Studdot (ph), some of them used to live there. So
there's no love lost.
But they just don't see what is being achieved. And they're paying a very high price at the moment for it -- Michael.
HOLMES: We've sort of said yesterday on the program -- and you know only too well -- it's like we have these conversations every couple of
years. And the words don't really change very much. Israel says it wants to destroy Hamas' ability to fire those rockets. They said exactly the
same thing in 2012.
Is it ever really achievable either side in what they want to do when these sorts of things happen? Aren't we just watching the symptoms and not
WEDEMAN: Well, yes. We are dealing with the symptoms at the moment. The cause, of course, is the still unresolved for well over 60 years
conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And both sides seem to have an absolutist equation, Hamas in its heated moments will talk about
destroying the State of Israel and liberating Palestine.
The Israelis talk about destroying Hamas. I was in Lebanon when they were in 2006, when Israel was talking about destroying Hezbollah. These
groups, despite their labels from the United States, State Department and Israel that they're terrorist organizations, go deep in these societies.
They have supporters. They have social networks. They have charities. They have schools.
These are not organizations that can simply be wiped out through military means. Just as it's unrealistic for Hamas to think somehow they
can destroy Israel. They both have this skewed vision of their -- sort of their end game. And it doesn't really work in the end. And the end
result, of course, is that you have these flare-ups every two or three years; hundreds of people die and nothing changes -- Michael.
HOLMES: Yes. Very briefly, Ben, we're almost out of time, but are the seeds of the Third Intifada being sown here? Or are the memories of
the last one too fresh?
WEDEMAN: The memories are still quite clear, but -- and, you know, when I was in Jerusalem, where there were those clashes in Shuafat, that
neighborhood of Jerusalem, that's what everybody was asking. And they continue to ask. You still have a situation not unlike what we saw before
the beginning of the Second Intifada, a failed American peace process, the latest one died in April. You have anger at -- of -- from -- by
Palestinians at Israelis for continued settlement expansion, for what happened with this young man, 16-year-old Muhammad Khdeir in Jerusalem.
You have just deep frustrations on the Israeli side, anger at the kidnapping and murder of the three Palestinians. Plus dissatisfaction
among Israel's Palestinian population at continued discrimination and inequality.
So it's all there; some people think the Gaza war, if we want to call it that, could be the spark for it. But I hate to use the cliche, Michael,
but it's too early to tell.
HOLMES: Yes. And Ben, you would know. Ben, good to see you. Ben Wedeman there in Gaza on the spot for us, as he has been before now, too.
All right. Well, Hamas has an iron grip on Gaza in the political sense and socially in many ways. As Ben pointed out there, there is some
dissent and dissatisfaction on what are increasingly shattered streets.
Across the globe in Indonesia, a polarizing election between a furniture maker and a member of the military elite has divided the world's
largest Muslim nation. Can the winner find a way to unite 13,000 islands' 250 million people and maximize the vast natural resources that can better
their lives? We'll count the votes and look for answers when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back to the program. I'm Michael Holmes, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Well, a tightly fought presidential race has been underway in Indonesia, the third largest democracy in the world. Two very different
candidates offering up two very different futures for their country. And it is their personalities as much as anything, certainly rather than their
policies, that seem to be grabbing many of the headlines.
On the one side is Joko Widodo, a former furniture maker, who is running on an anti-corruption ticket, seen very much as a clean skin. On
the other is Prabowo Subianto, a military man, former son-in-law of one- time dictator General Suharto, whose rhetoric is putting the country's recent hard-fought freedoms to the test.
My next guest is the author and writer Elizabeth Pisani. Her latest book, "Indonesia Etc." gives a detailed account of life inside the world's
fourth most populous country. She joins me now from our studios in London.
And thanks for doing so, Ms. Pisani. You say that Indonesia is at a crossroads at the moment. Explain that for us.
ELIZABETH PISANI, AUTHOR, "INDONESIA ETC.": It's a classic cliche that's been used about Indonesia for many years. But this time, it's been
truer the most. The electorate was presented with a very stark choice between essentially moving forward with democracy or going back to
something that was much more autocratic that was represented by Prabowo Subianto. The -- and there was some concern recently among the more
democratic camp that Subianto's very slick election tactics against Mr. Joko Widodo, Mr. Joko's rather volunteer-led, rather chaotic approach was
actually taking over. But in fact, I think that Mr. Subianto actually underestimated the sophistication of the electorate and the dedication of
Indonesians to democracy.
HOLMES: Yes, absolutely; a good point. We'll come back to that.
Two weeks until the official result; it's sort of a limbo until then.
What are the dangers of that?
PISANI: Well, both have claimed victory in a very Javanese sort of way. They've said that they thank the public for the mandate that they've
been given. It's very obvious from the more reliable, quick exit polls that Mr. Widodo has won with about somewhere between 52 percent and 53
percent of the vote.
But there is a real threat that Mr. Prabowo's camp will try to force recounts and endless challenges. And people are very, very attentive to
that. And there's already a groundswell of people on the streets, ready to defend democracy.
So I think that it won't come to anything very dramatic. But there's a real possibility that the challenges will be significant.
HOLMES: It was interesting that Mr. Widodo really tried to take the high road almost a naive thing and really a winning strategy in most
Did it backfire?
PISANI: I don't think it did ultimately. I think ultimately he believed in the common sense of the electorate. And as I say, they are
much more sophisticated than most of the Jakarta elite know. Now Mr. Widodo is a product of the post-Suharto reform generation. He came up as a
small-town mayor, graduated to the national stage as governor of Jakarta. But he's still much, much more attached to the grassroots than Mr. Prabowo
has ever been. Mr. Prabowo came up through the military, very popular with his own soldiers, rather unpopular with other major members of the
military. He was, in fact, dismissed from the -- from his military position. He's very much part of the elite. His brother is a multi-
millionaire. He's very out of touch with most Indonesians. So I think that Mr. Widodo's faith and as you say, seemed rather naive. But
everything's going to come good in the end, I think he was vindicated.
HOLMES: And some historical amnesia, if you like, when it came to his opponent and his controversial history. I wanted to get one last thought
from you. Now Indonesia, when you look at it, really like so many countries, a creation of colonialism, you've got hundreds of distinct
cultures and societies, ethnicities, languages, brought together under the Dutch umbrella. It's done pretty well really, hasn't it, to hold it all
PISANI: Remarkably well. And it's held together largely because of this tolerance and because everyone gets on with their lives and there's a
sort of a muddling through. Mr. Widodo, I think, is very comfortable with that muddling through. He wants to get down and fix the bureaucracy but
he's not going to sweat the great details of the national vision.
And I think that that will probably do very well for the country.
HOLMES: You know, it's interesting, a lot of challenges ahead, too, things like education, radical Islam, plenty of other things we could talk
about. We're out of time, though, Elizabeth Pisani. Thanks so much. Fascinating book, "Indonesia Etc."
Thanks so much.
PISANI: Thank you.
HOLMES: Indonesia also wrestling with a major environmental issue, vanishing rain forests. Indonesia is surpassing Brazil as the number one
destroyer of primary forests on the planet. Tomorrow, as we said, Christiane will bring you her exclusive interview with the president of
Brazil. Meanwhile, imagine if -- we're going to show you now -- an ocean of filth. Imagine if this, that, right there, is your only source of
Well, for millions of Indonesians, it is. We're going to take you there, down one of the most polluted rivers on Earth, when we come back.
HOLMES: A final thought tonight, imagine a world where a source of life has become a cesspool of filth and disease. The Citarum River is one
of the most polluted in Indonesia, if not the world, 30 million people rely on it for their lives and their livelihoods. It provides 80 percent of
Jakarta's drinking water.
Well, before it reaches the city, the water is purified. But for the locals along the way, the textile factories that keep them employed also
dump industrial waste along with human waste and garbage from the villages, turning the Citarum into a gigantic sewer.
Relying on homemade measures, villagers try to filter out bacteria in order to bathe, do their washing and drink the water. But they can't
filter out those toxic chemicals and all the risks and ills that they bring.
An investment of half a billion dollars over the next 15 years will try to save the dying Citarum. But for now, the river that was meant to
give life finds itself on life support.
That's it for our program tonight. A quick reminder to tune in tomorrow for Christiane's exclusive interview with Brazilian president
Dilma Rousseff. They talk about everything from efforts to reform Brazil's economy to Ms. Rousseff's reelection campaign and, yes, that World Cup loss
Christiane's back tomorrow. The show is at 7:00 in London, 8:00 in Berlin, right here on CNN. And remember you can always contact us at the
website, CNN.com and amanpour.com. Follow me on Twitter @HolmesCNN. Thanks for watching and goodbye for now from the CNN Center.