Monday June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017 Full Episode Transcript

Note: Transcripts may contain errors. If you wish to re-use all, or part of, a transcript, please contact CBC for permission. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Copyright © CBC 2016

The Current Transcript for June 12, 2017

Host: Anna Maria Tremonti

Listen to the full episode

Prologue

[Music: Theme]

SOUNDCLIP

If we have old fashioned political nation states on able to respond to the global challenges like climate change then maybe it's time for mayors to rule the world.

ANNA MARIA TREMONTI: Yes, the world's mayors elected by people who actually know where they live. Often representing tens of millions of people responsible for municipal budgets as large as a small country. And in the case of Canada bigger than some provinces. And unlike their counterparts running entire countries actually able to make alliances and agreements that get things done, from climate change to trade. Cities have been stepping in where countries have tripped up. In an hour we're looking at the rise of the city state. Also today the fight against the Islamic State and the failure of human rights.

SOUNDCLIP

There's not even a pretext here of torture in the name of obtaining intelligence. This is just torture for fun.

AMT: We have been following the story of the Iraqi photographer whose efforts to chronicle an elite Iraqi unit retaking parts of Mosul from ISIS ended up documenting multiple instances of torture. That photographer Ali Arkady, is now in hiding outside Iraq and was at first unable to speak to all but a few other journalists about what he captured on film. Now he's ready to talk to us hear Ali Arkadi in half an hour. And if this is a day where we talk to people about seeing the world that is in the context of what it might be, my first guest argues that individuals can resist the politics they reject and win a world they want.

SOUNDCLIP

When you're told to stay in your homes that is the most important moment to go out to just defy to have strength in numbers and say we're not going to give away our rights in this moment.

AMT: Naomi Klein insists that no is not enough. Her ideas up first I'm Anna Maria Tremonti. This is The Current.

Back To Top »

'Corporate coup': Naomi Klein says Trump's goal is to make the rich richer

Guest: Naomi Klein

SOUNDCLIP

[Crowds shouting] We reject the president [unintelligible]

This is awful. And even though we can’t change anything, it feels good to stand together with my brothers, my sisters, with people that share my belief and let everyone know that we are not okay with this.

[Crowds sheering]

The next 1459 days of the Trump administration will be 1459 days of resistance. This is just the beginning [crowds sheering].

AMT: Since the 8th of November millions of people have gathered to protest U.S. president Donald Trump. They meet in cities and towns they are chanting their frustrations carrying hand main signs that read things such as, not my president, kindness not racism and women are no joke. The women's march the march for science protests against entry bans for people from majority Muslim countries. For the people taking part, this is resistance but Naomi Klein would like those opposing the president to think beyond the Trump administration. She wants people to really think about what it is they are resisting and come up with a united vision of the world they want to see. Naomi Klein is an author and activist. Her latest book is No is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. And she's with me in our Toronto studio. Hello.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you it's great to be with you.

AMT: How consumed are you by what's going on in the U.S. right now?

NAOMI KLEIN: I'm consumed, yes. It affects all of us and it certainly affects Canada the decisions that the Trump administration is making are decisions that have global implications. I mean that will be etched in geologic time when it comes to climate change.

AMT: And I should remind our listeners that you're a dual citizen.

NAOMI KLEIN: I am a dual citizen. My parents came to Canada during the Vietnam War my father didn't want to go to Vietnam. I guess the most amusing response on election night that I received was a text from my father that just said aren't you glad we already moved to Canada? Not to say everything is fine here by any means.

AMT: You say that Donald Trump's ascendancy to the Oval Office is not an anomaly that we should have been expecting him. Why?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well I say that because the narrative around Trump is so much about the shocks that people experience just watching a political figure that is admittedly different than anything we've seen before. He is a product of shifts in culture there's never been a reality show President before, reality show is relatively new. Has never been a president who is a fully commercialized brand and has children who are essentially brand extensions or some brands. Right the whole idea of lifestyle branding and the idea that people can be brands. My worry about this sort of exclusive focus on Trump the personality and how all of this is so unprecedented is that, then the solution seems to be we'll just get rid of Trump, right?

AMT: But in fact there were things that have been happening all along you argue. What are the factors over the last couple of decades that you see as is leading to this point in time?

NAOMI KLEIN: I think there are many paths that lead to Trump. I think he represents a view of the world that is exclusively based on dominance, of dominating people, of having a hierarchy of people a racial and gender hierarchy of people. And also this dominance over the natural world, and his whole view around business is all you're trying to do is essentially screw your opponent. One of the trends that he represents goes back to what I wrote about when I wrote No Logo 17 years ago which is these companies that are selling ideas instead of products, and the idea that Trump has been selling all of these years is this winner take all idea of capitalism. The idea of pure impunity if you have enough money. One of the ideas that I really wanted to highlight which is actually a very bipartisan idea, is not just about conservatives but is this worship of wealth, the CEO savior. We can't just blame this on Trump. Trump would have been unelectable were it not for the groundwork laid by Bill Clinton and Bill Gates to serve the liberal heroes in the United States because more than anyone else. They set up this structure of philanthropy capitalism. Billionaires are going to save you because they are rich. Let's let Bill Gates solve the crisis in U.S. education. Why? Because he's so rich and I think that set a context where Trump could stand up and say Vote for me I'm rich. I don't have any experience in government but my wealth is proof of my wisdom and it is significant that so much of this is inherited wealth. I think there is this a particular pathology that comes with inherited wealth where you can either decide you're lucky or you can decide that you're a superhero that you are better.

AMT: I have a clip I want to play. After the election I spoke with Teri Galvez a long-time Republican organizer and a Trump supporter. She said she did not like a lot of Mr. Trump's rhetoric but there was a compelling reason to vote for him. Listen to her.

SOUNDCLIP

A lot of the conversation has been about politicians and sort of you know their inability to deal with the real concerns of the people. I mean you know the fact is Obama was so hip he hung out with Beyonce He sang like Al Green. He was charming. You know, Hillary was a woman she would have been the first woman. But you know the clear message was people were bothered by much of what Trump said but were more offended by Obama's policies and Hillary, and I personally was offended by them wanting to take more of my money.

AMT: Naomi Klein how did Donald Trump successfully portray himself as a candidate who would be best for the American pocketbook?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well he said a lot of things on the campaign trail that are very different from what he's doing now. You know he said that he was going to protect Social Security that he was going to protect people's health care. He actually ran a campaign that broke a lot of the rules of what most people around the world call neo liberalism the ideology that has held all of our elites in its sway since Reagan and Thatcher. Right. Basically the role of government is to get out of the way of business that market solutions are better than regulatory solutions, that there really isn't much government can do any way except for unleash the power of wealth. But I think the most important message to take from a clip like that is that it isn't that Donald Trump won this election with some a landslide mandate. Hillary Clinton lost the election. She was not able to energize her base. I don't think we can understand how he won without understanding the colonization of the Democratic Party by this ideology that was not able to offer any kind of real alternative to Donald Trump beyond just be afraid of him. Vote for us. People need to either feel like they're saying screw you to the system or that they're voting for policies that are going to tangibly improve their lives.

AMT: Even if those policies like health care turn out to be something else, again. Yes.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well this is why I say that what we're seeing in Washington really is a corporate coup because what he is doing is so different from what he promised on the election trail. What we see is a very clear pattern of methodically transferring wealth upwards. We see it in his attacks on regulations. We see these huge tax giveaways that benefit him that benefit his cabinet of millionaires and billionaires. So when we look at his economic policies this isn't what he campaigned on. But there is a very very clear pattern and I think that this idea that it's all chaos that there's no sense to it that he has no idea what it's doing, obscures those patterns.

AMT: Well in fact there is that sense of chaos which in a way falls in line with your ideas about the shock doctrine. Does it not?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well seeing the sort of tsunami of executive orders you know in that first 100 days and this is what they're most proud of. And the strategy is you know Machiavellian strategy, the advice to the prince that the pain will be felt less if it's done all at once, that people can't really resist when they're facing attacks from all directions. But my concern was that this is really shock doctrine like because what we're talking about here are that little sort of mini shock that Trump is constantly generating himself. Some of it deliberately because he understands the value. I mean any other president would be upset with a press secretary who gets in as much trouble as Sean Spicer. Donald Trump says he's doing great. He's got great ratings, right? He understands that having this show and really this distraction is very good for the economic policies that he's advancing. But what worries me most is what happens when there's a real external shock that this administration can take advantage of, because we have not seen the worst that this administration is capable of or that they've openly talked about. So what happens if there's a terrorist attack like the recent one in London, God forbid. We've already seen how ready Trump was to exploit what happened in another country to say well I want my travel ban.

AMT: Remind us briefly what the shock doctrine is.

NAOMI KLEIN: Right. So the shock doctrine is a term I came up with over a decade ago to describe a strategy of using large scale disasters, and the chaos and the disorientation that follows an extreme event like a hurricane Katrina, or a war where people are really scrambling panicked focused on their daily concerns to ram through in a very undemocratic way. Policies that you could never push through, otherwise. That book begins and ends with Hurricane Katrina and how that shock was used to turn New Orleans into a laboratory for charter schools and school vouchers. It's the most privatized school system in the United States, to demolish public housing that was overwhelmingly the homes of African-Americans but it was on valuable pieces of real estate. When I heard who Trump had chosen as his vice president I should just have this feeling like, I know that name from somewhere and I went back and looked at my research for the shock doctrine and remembered that it was Mike Pence who chaired a meeting at the Heritage Foundation while New Orleans was still partially underwater and came up with a list of 32, what they called free market solutions, to Hurricane Katrina. And it was exactly what the Bush administration went ahead and did. So what I'm saying is these guys are disaster capitalists. They know how to use shocks. They've done it before. Look at their track record. And so the resistance as it calls itself needs to be ready for that.

AMT: So how do you predict the potential of what could trump use as a shock tactic in the coming years? What kinds of things you watch for?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, the biggest concern I have is that if you look at the policies that they're introduced it's sort of a shock creation machine. I don't think they're doing it deliberately in order to create shocks. But I do think they're unconcerned about it. Right. So you know you deregulate the banking sector which is what they're in the middle of doing. Well that's going to mean Wall Street's able to go crazy blowing up new bubbles.

AMT: But they don't even need a shock now because they're in power. They can just do this.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well not necessarily. I mean as you said earlier, there has been resistance to some of their more extreme attempts to push through their agenda most notably the travel ban, and they have been stopped on many fronts. But they've been stopped by the courts. They've been stopped by mass protests. What do we think Trump and Pence and Steph Bannon would do, if there were a terrorist attack in the United States? Well I think it's fair to prepare for them banning precisely the kinds of protests that stopped the travel ban in the first place. And there has to be a strategy for what to do.

AMT: And to what end. Do you see the people that you have identified working on this.. You're talking about the corporate convergence with government. But to what end? What does Donald Trump want?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well let's look at his brand. I mean Donald Trump's brand has always been about money. He's made no attempt to hide it. I think that what we're seeing is not very complicated. All of these policies enrich elites. They come at a time when many of the sectors that trump most represents in his cabinet were pretty panicked about resistance that they were facing before Trump came along. Right. I mean look at who he appointed as secretary of state Rex Tillerson the former CEO of Exxon. Well, Exxon was pretty concerned about what was going on before Trump came to power. The banking sector that is so well-represented in Trump's administration was concerned about a figure like Bernie Sanders who was riling up the masses talking about breaking up the banks. I do worry about how they would use a crisis to say sorry we you know, the Constitution is a luxury we can't afford right now, to attack the courts which has already been signaled in Trump blaming the courts and saying you know if anything happens after this blame the courts right. I think we have to be prepared for this. And one of the things I do in the book is talk about societies that have faced precisely this. They have faced administrations that try to use a large scale crisis whether you know economic chaos or a terrorist attack to say stay in your homes, be afraid, we're in charge. And the examples I give are Spain and Argentina where people respond to that because they had a memory of dictatorship in their own countries which Americans don't have.

AMT: Remind us what happened in Argentina because this is an example of where a moment of shock does not have to lead to falling into line with the government.

NAOMI KLEIN: Right. So in 2001 Argentina was in the midst of a profound economic crisis. The country was spiraling into chaos. People were locked out of their bank accounts. Supermarkets were being looted on the outskirts of the city. And the president at the time Fernando De La Rua went on television and declared a state of siege, said everybody should stay in their homes. And as he was speaking people started flooding into the streets banging pots and pans. And what people said was this was how the dictatorship started in the 70s we’re not going to let them do it again. And De La Rue had to lift the state of emergency. And he actually left the presidential palace in a helicopter that night. So you know what I've been saying when I speak in the U.S. is, you know when you're told to stay in your homes that is the most important moment to go out, to just defy, to have strength in numbers and say we are not going to give away our rights in this moment.

AMT: The United States is a very polarized place right now. When you talk about this there are people who just will see it through the prism of she's wrong she's anti-Trump. She's another polarizer. How do you get .. can you foresee a situation where the people of the United States come out in the streets the way they did in Spain the way the Argentines did?

NAOMI KLEIN: I can see. Yes it doesn't have to be the entire country but it has to be huge numbers of people and there are huge numbers of people indeed the majority of Americans did not vote for Trump, right? Hillary won the popular vote and a whole lot of people stayed home. You don't have to get every Trump voter onside. That said you know I think that the context in which I'm trying to place Trump is less polarizing than a lot of what we're seeing in the US, which is sort of all about Russia and a conspiracy and sort of treating Trump as a foreign agent. You know I'm trying to put him in the context of a bipartisan economic project. I'm saying Hillary Clinton shares the blame. Obama shares the blame. And I think that by focusing on the economic side of what Trump is doing and those broken promises and also urging the articulation of a real political alternative to this that is grounded in economic fairness and racial justice there is a much better chance of peeling away some of those working class voters who had voted for the Democrats previously and this time decided to raise the middle finger at the whole political system and vote Trump.

AMT: You argue that money is Donald Trump's appeal his brand, and in a rather Shakespearean twist, that's his weakness. The thing that brings him up could bring him down. Talk to me about that.

NAOMI KLEIN: Part of what is not working about the resistance strategies confronting Trump, is there still this idea that he's a regular politician that if you just have just catch him out you know lying just catch him cheating. Then there'll be some gotcha moment. And finally people will you know wake up. What I am arguing is that Trump ran as a brand. The presidency is the ultimate extension of the Trump brand. He sees his voters as consumers you know their relationship to him is not the traditional one of political constituencies who have a right to demand accountability from the politicians they elect as their representative. It's much more of a kind of a fan based relationship. They are part of this tribe that he has created this circle of belonging and the real problem with Trump is that he created a completely immoral brand, which is all about I'm the guy who grabs whoever I want. I'm the guy who wins at whatever cost. So showing that he cheated showing that he screwed over his workers. Any of this, none of it sticks to Trump. But what would stick to Trump is really attacking that central claim that he's the boss that he's the rich guy who because he's so financially successful he should be trusted with everything else. And so I think presenting Trump as a puppet as opposed to the boss that really drives him nuts and it drives him nuts because it attacks his brand.

AMT: And the brand is getting bigger, his sons are just announcing another hotel chain.

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah. They're launching a new brand of hotels bargain hotels three star hotels that they're calling American idea. The first three branches of this are going to open in Mississippi which is a red state where Trump won the popular vote by 18 percentage points over Hillary Clinton. So that the Trump boys while they were out on the campaign trail it turns out we're doing market research and they've been very open about this. Here they were out there in what they call the real America and they saw the..

AMT: Crappy little motels [laughs].

NAOMI KLEIN: They were not impressed with the accommodations. So basically what they're doing is they're launching a brand to get at that Trump's middle class base because the truth is that they haven't been able to fully exploit the Trump Nation that they've been building, because their product is higher and then, their base can afford. So this I mean this is very telling. They are treating their voters as consumers and at the same time Americans are being told that there's a firewall between the Trump Organization, the Trump business and the White House which is patently absurd.

AMT: I'm speaking with Naomi Klein. Her new book is No is not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics in Winning the World We Need. NAOMI KLEIN We need to pause for the CBC news we will continue our conversation afterward to talk about action on climate and what Naomi Klein has learned from her own personal shock. Plus a little later war photographer Ali Arkady was embedded with an elite military unit in Iraq. He thought he would be documenting acts of heroism. What he saw on the frontlines still haunts him.

SOUNDCLIP

Why they arrest the people. Why they kill the people. Why they need to rape this people.

Ali Arkady explains what he saw. Why he is in hiding. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti. This is The Current on CBC Radio 1 Sirius XM. Online on cbc.ca/the current and on your radio app.

[Music: Theme]

AMT: Hello. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti and you're listening to The Current.

[Music: Theme]

AMT: Still to come no White House, no problem.

SOUNDCLIP

I was there in Paris with almost five hundred other mayors from around the world and we realized then that federal government would not implement this plan. It would be up to us.

AMT: When President Trump pulled out the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, cities such as Pittsburgh and Chicago announced they'd pick up the fight against climate change, cities asserting their power in half an hour. But first we are going to continue with author and activist Naomi Klein. Her latest book is No is not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. If you're just tuning in, we began this conversation before the news. You'll be able to catch it all in full on our website cbc.ca/thecurrent or on the CBC radio up. Naomi Klein's been arguing that Donald Trump's rise to power in the U.S. is not an aberration but a cultural shift that's made a mega brand President possible. She's also called the Trump presidency a “corporate coup”. You see this is a moment in time where the issue of the wider world converges with the politics of the United States. Why does it hinge on the United States like that?

NAOMI KLEIN: Trump has taken power at the absolute worst time in human evolution for this to happen, because we are up against it when it comes to climate change. I mean we have kicked the can down the road in terms of when we're going to really take meaningful action for so long that there is no road left. This really is the do or die moment on whether or not we are going to do what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change.

AMT: So how do you interpret the reaction in the United States of mayors, governors, individuals, some corporations some very big corporations saying we will go forward on our climate change ideas and works to try to bring the United States along with the Paris climate change? Is it enough? How do you read that?

NAOMI KLEIN: What they're saying, the way I interpret it, is Trump controls a lot but he does not control everything. He does not control every state. He does not control every city so precisely because what he's doing with his power in Washington is so exquisitely dangerous. It raises the bar. And I think it's very inspiring to see that reaction you know the mayor of Pittsburgh who steps up right and says after Trump says I was elected by the people of Pittsburgh not the people of Paris. He says well actually the people of Pittsburgh didn't vote for you. And not only are we going to meet the Paris commitments but he unveils this plan to get to a 100 percent renewable energy for the city of Pittsburgh by 2035 which is the Bible school in the United States. That is leadership. And I would say contrast that with what we're hearing from conservative politicians in Canada saying, well because they're racing to the bottom we better join them there and Canada can't afford the already inadequate climate policies that have been introduced by the liberals. We need to follow the U.S. backwards. No this is a moment where we're seeing what real leadership looks like.

AMT: What do you say to those who say you're fear mongering; you're going too far in your interpretation of Donald Trump?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well frankly I haven't heard that. I think people are pretty afraid. What I'm hoping the book will do is just help orient people so they aren't just driven by fear and panic. You know there's been so much focus on the dangerous trends that are happening on the right side of the political spectrum, that we can fail to notice some incredibly hopeful and inspiring trends that are emerging on the left of the political spectrum. I think we see it in the support among millennials for Jeremy Corbyn. You know I think the most important thing is that we sort of get oriented, get out of shock and be strategic.

AMT: And figure out what you want. Let's talk about The Leap Manifesto, just in a nutshell, in a big fat nutshell. The Leap Manifesto is the vision of what should replace what we see.

NAOMI KLEIN: That's why we launched Leap Manifesto during the federal election campaign, about a year and a half ago now. We launched it because we didn't see any of the major political parties that had a chance of winning the election, putting forward an agenda that met this historic moment, right. When it comes to climate change but also when it comes to the crisis of inequality of economic inequality of racial inequality the human rights crisis for Indigenous people in this country. You know I think what's different about this document is that it's not like a list of things that we want is not a laundry list. It's really a different story about what we think Canada can and should be. And it is an attempt to connect the dots between all these different crises. It is possible to radically lower emissions while fighting all of these different forms of inequality and all of these crises are urgent. So we can't solve them sequentially. We need this leap. When we launched The Leap we started to hear immediately from people in different countries because you know one of the impacts of four decades of neoliberalism is that we've gotten really good at saying no. But that idea that there could be something different that is a crisis of imagination that I think so many of us have suffered you know, since Margaret Thatcher said there is no alternative.

AMT: I want to ask you something about shock because you write about how governments respond to shock. How maybe you can think about responding to the shock differently. But you lived through your own personal shock when you were younger in your own family. And I'm wondering what you learned from that what happened to your mother?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah I did. When I was a teenager my mother, when she was younger than I am now, suffered a catastrophic stroke, actually two strokes which turned out to have been caused by a brain tumor that bled in her brain that she'd had her whole life. But she didn't know was there. My mother Bonnie Sherr Klein who is a filmmaker and you know her life and our family's lives changed completely in an instant. You know I don't think this makes us special I think so many families go through events like this. The truth is I know it changed me for the better. You know I was a very wayward teenager and it was it was a moment where I was like, okay are you going to grow up? Like, right now? Like, by tomorrow? And this is what I've noticed as a journalist going to places like New Orleans after Katrina or Iraq after the invasion, I mean. In addition to seeing these very cynical attempts at crisis exploitation of taking advantage of people weakness in those painful moments, you also see the best that humanity is capable of. And I think this is what offends me most about the strategy of profiteering from crisis, is that it goes so against the way so many regular people respond when tested by crisis; the generosity, the compassion, empathy, the way it brings out our best selves. And so I think we are in a moment like that with Trump. So we are being tested and we will either fall apart or grow up fast. And moments of crisis are like that. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you so much. I was such a pleasure to talk with you.

AMT: Naomi Klein, author and activist. Her latest book is No is not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. She spoke with me in our Toronto studio. Now stay with us. Later in the program we'll pick up on the idea of cities stepping up with their own agenda to fight climate change.

[Music]

Back To Top »

'That is not humanity': Photojournalist describes torture and abuse by Iraqi army

Guest: Ali Arkady

Just a reminder as you listen to our conversations today that you can weigh and you can tweet us. We're at The Current CBC. Find us on Facebook or go to our website cbc.ca/thecurrent and click on the Contact link. This is The Current. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti. And now through the lens of Ali Arkady.

SOUNDCLIP

These are the greatest of abuses that you can see in the context of an armed conflict or even in peace time. What he showed with his photo and video evidence our executions of individuals without having gone through any judicial process. Extreme acts of torture against these individuals in order to try and force confessions or in some cases simply look like acts of revenge or retribution.

AMT: That is Belkis Wille with Human Rights Watch. She's one of the people I spoke with on The Current about Ali Arkady. You remember this story that came out just a couple of weeks ago. He's the Iraqi photojournalist who was embedded with an Iraqi special forces unit as they fought to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS. Ali Arkady’s plan at the outset was to chronicle the reality of a captain from the Sunni sect of Islam and a corporal of the Shia sect working together. It was going to be part of a project called Happy Baghdad. But the more they got to know and trust Him the more they showed him. And as you heard, Ali Arkady began to witness the Iraqi soldiers committing gruesome acts of torture and the killing of civilians. He not only witnessed the atrocities he took pictures graphic ones, video as well and then he had to flee. Ali Arkady is now in hiding he's trying to come to terms with the trauma of what he has seen. He is speaking with us from an undisclosed location and I should warn you that what we are talking about as he describes it is disturbing. Ali Arkady, hello.

ALI ARKADY: Hello. Hi. Thank you.

AMT: You are in hiding. Why do you think your life is in dangee?

ALI ARKADY: My family, he has threating two months ago in Iraq directly with my father through Facebook. They know my family, they know everyone but with me they don't have any contact to directly to threaten me because I cut every contact with them. But I heard from some friend they looking for me in Iraq. They want to arrest me. They would’ve go to the Kurdish or Kurdistan to put my name on the checkpoint to check me. And you know this is like put me to dangers or risk.

AMT: And I'm wondering if we can talk a little bit about all the things that you saw, Ali. Are there some images that you cannot stop thinking about now that you are away from this?

ALI ARKADY: I cannot stop to think about these pictures. No, really. I was thinking about a lot of image and a lot of footage, what they did in that time. And also I covered a lot of things through this footage and the photos what they planed to do. And that time, you know when I was in the war zone in that place, just working every day and following this person. But sometimes suddenly they arrest some people, suddenly they said okay come with me. But I don't know what is the plan the big plan for why they arrest the people, why they kill the people, why they need to rape this people. And after that when I go through the videos, it's very hard every time I come back to see the videos. Especially now, you know, after everything.

AMT: How did you end up embedded with this unit?

ALI ARKADY: The first time when I go to Fallujah and Tariq base, I went to meet ERD media center and I say.

AMT: Okay. The ERD is the Emergency Response Division. This is special forces under the Interior Ministry.

ALI ARKADY: OK. After one week I met this unit and I go to stay with them in the front line [unintelligible] because one of the captain it was from Sunni and another one from Shia, you know. And they are together fighting side by side from Iraq, the enemy.

AMT: Right. And so this is a good news story as it begins.

ALI ARKADY: Yes. I saw them like heroes. That's really they are strong fighter. Because they fighting ISIS face to face and I know how they are fighting because I was there.

AMT: So you they agree to let you follow them into Mosul and they trust you, you are gaining their trust?

ALI ARKADY: Yes. Yes.

AMT: So you follow them into Mosul in December, November December correct?

ALI ARKADY: And of the October and November and December.

AMT: And is it the same or do things start to change?

ALI ARKADY: Everything step by step is changing. You know, I start to see something different.

AMT: What do you see Ali?

ALI ARKADY: They start to organize raid night.

AMT: You're following them and this is a night raid they're going to people's houses at night?

ALI ARKADY: They going through village and arrest people and they looking for something. And after that they discover they're looking for women. They looking for anything to do to get like a mobile phone anything. They are looking for something take it. Or maybe some time, if they saw any beautiful woman they will say okay, this house they have a beautiful woman. They come back. They will make plan to do something in the future to go back to the house and do a rape or do something for this woman.

AMT: Let me just stop you there. so I understand. They would come back to the house, what would they do with the man in the house?

ALI ARKADY: You know sometime when we go at night and just they go inside when he was sleeping with his wife and just took it out. And speaking with him very strong. And he hit him a lot and this is you can see in the video, planning to separate him with his wife. He took him in the intelligent office. He has a lot of torturing in that time. And the wife she will be alone in the home and I know he is go some time to see the wife, speak with her to say I want to come to do something with you. And at that time I know that guy is name Rashed and he is dead through torturing.

AMT: So let me stop you, Ali. You are telling me that in this case, we see this footage it's kind of green because it's night. It's a night raid and you're telling me that they took him saying they think he's ISIS but really because they wanted to sexually abuse his wife?

ALI ARKADY: Yes.

AMT: And the unit then would take these men saying they thought they were ISIS but, were they ISIS?

ALI ARKADY: No no he is not ISIS. It is planned to just separate him. And they went several to come back in the wife house to abuse her.

AMT: What was that like for you, then? When you would see this and you would be filming it?

ALI ARKADY: It's like make me very heavy. You know it's everything's.. it's heavy just I decide to stop. But I want to discover. Stop, I wanna discover. I want to collect more information about them.

AMT: And as you followed them did they do more of this, did they deliberately separate men from their wives?

ALI ARKADY: Especially when I following them you know, I did the footage and the video and pictures you can see the torchuring and also some footage about how they are trying to need to rape woman. One of the soldier they arrest and they took his husband and when he was asleep with the wife outside I was one shot video. And also he is close the door alone with the woman and the children. And the children was they cry. And I just asked myself what he did know? And I go to following the husband outside for two or three minutes and I decided to come back. What he did inside? And I came back with my camera. He opened the door. When he opened the door I so the woman she was very crying, the children in far away and something is happening, I don't understand. But when he go out he said: Oh I not do anything because she had monthly... I forget the name.

AMT: Here she was on her menstrual cycle.

ALI ARKADY: Yes.

AMT: She was on her period.

ALI ARKADY: Yes. You know just like I not realized everything. What they did. Now that time, step by step, I understand and realized the risk, and also realized what they did. You know, it's like what they planned.

AMT: That they must've been hard to see what they were doing to another person.

ALI ARKADY: Yes. You know it's it was very hard. Same time they have effect. But when I was in the same place I working like, work, work, work. I have just two three hours of rest, five hours rest to sleeping and every day to go to the frontline and come back with this unit. And, sometime during this two months I come back one time or two time in the home. When I come back in the home also I not spend a long time, like five or six days. I feel badly, like you know, my family they told me, okay what happened Ali your situation has changed but I not realize everything. It's not was like pushing me it’s like a big big effect but they have effect. When I see a lot of things and the finally execution and killing people, and some people that I documented and I filming. And after day, they sent me video how they killing them. It was, I realize everything and I have a risk and it’s made big effect. I contact my agency and they preferred to me to leave this place. It's very risk it's not good to stay there.

AMT: There are people who will look at that footage and think, well they are killing some ISIS man. And ISIS has done terrible things to other people and they won't care. And what would you tell those people?

ALI ARKADY: The first thing is, this forces are not following them, they said we are liberated. We are make free for these people. We are not ISIS we are not do like ISIS. You know every every one they know ISIS what they did and they publish in the social media and everywhere. We know everything. But these people it's not ISIS fighters. This is civilian. They are not ISIS. They are not have any benefit from ISIS. But also they did this to get some information or some type of fun or something for I don’t know what they did. Like a lot of things, they use it from torturing. And some people, his brother is ISIS, his relative is ISIS, and especially this people is not care about torturing, if he's ISIS also, if we can see if he's ISIS but he's no ISIS. But he's a human but is not good reaction It is not good right way to torturing people, killing people. That is not human. And these people should be thinking this is not right to torturing or kill any people in this way.

AMT: Ali Arkady, thank you for talking to me today and thank you for the work that you did. It was really it's very important that we know this was happening and we wouldn't if it wasn't for you.

ALI ARKADY: OK. Thank you very much. Thank you for your time. And shukran.

AMT: Ali Arkady, an award winning Iraqi photojournalist he is currently in hiding. We reached him at a location that we have agreed not to disclose, go to our website cbc.ca/the current to hear our previous coverage of his story including a link to some of his photos first published in reporting by The Toronto Star. And while you are on that site cbc.ca/thecurrent let us know what you're thinking. As you heard him talking about this and his reaction to it. You can also tweet us we are @thecurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook as well.

[Music]

AMT: Stay with us in our next half hour we're talking about diplomacy with a movement called DiplomaCity. We'll talk to a geographical futurist, yes that is the title, about how mayors are pushing past federal leaders on major world issues. Climate change is one of those issues. I'm Ana Maria. This is The Current

Back To Top »

Mayors defying federal politics is part of growing trend, says author

Guests: David Miller, Parag Khanna

AMT: Hello I'm Anna Maria Tremonti and this is The Current. In a moment we're talking about the rise of the city state. But first we want to give you a glimpse of the rising tension between major nation states. Later this week I'll be speaking with Harvard scholar Graham Allison about his new book called Destined for War. He says that ancient Greece Greek history predicts a frighteningly imminent showdown between two global superpowers.

SOUNDCLIP

Could the U.S. and China find themselves at war in the decade ahead? That seems inconceivable to most of us but on the historical record it's more likely than not. How should we try to understand what's happening in the relationship between the U.S. and China today where a rising power rivals a ruling power? The great ancient Greek historian Thucydides. Explain this dynamic of the Peloponnesian War. It was the rise of Athens and the fear that that inspired in Sparta made the war inevitable. So note there's two variables rice and fear. We've identified 16 cases. In 12 of these cases, the outcome was war. China has risen more rapidly and more dramatically than any power, ever in history. China has now overtaken the US and become the world's largest economy. The good news, is that in four of the 16 cases the outcome was not war but escaping through Thucydides’s trap to avoid war will require nothing short of bending the arc of history.

AMT: Graham Allison is the author of Destined for War in America and China escape Thucydides’s trap? He argues that while all eyes are on the U.S. and Russia we should be keeping an eye on the U.S. and China. You can hear our conversation in the days ahead.

SOUNDCLIP

I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh not Paris.

AMT: Well that is U.S. president Donald Trump responding to criticism over pulling out of the Paris climate agreement with those few words he unintentionally reignited a discussion about the importance of cities in determining national policy. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was quick to counter the president.

SOUNDCLIP

The decisions we make in the next two to three years will determine what our cities will look like in 20 to 30 years. This president and this policy is wrong and I will not silence my voice as it relates to the future of the city Chicago.

AMT: Well Mayor Emanuel is not alone in his concerns William Peduto the mayor of Pittsburgh and Anne Hidalgo the mayor of Paris also spoke out against President Trump they co-wrote an editorial in The New York Times declaring their cities continuing support for the Paris agreement and what it represents. Now you may have heard Naomi Klein earlier today on The Current. She was saying this kind of action from mayors around the world is having an impact.

SOUNDCLIP

And I think it's very inspiring to see that reaction. You know the mayor of Pittsburgh who steps up right and says after Trump says I was elected by the people of Pittsburgh not the people of Paris he said. Well actually the people of Pittsburgh didn't vote for you. And not only are we going to meet the Paris commitments but he unveils this plan to get to 100 percent renewable energy for the city of Pittsburgh by 2035, which is the boldest goal in the United States. That is leadership. And I would say Contrast that with what we're hearing from conservative politicians in Canada saying well just because they're racing to the bottom we better join them there and Canada can't afford the already inadequate climate policies that have been introduced by the liberals. We need to follow the U.S. backwards. No this is a moment where we're seeing what real leadership looks like.

AMT: That's Naomi Klein speaking to me earlier today and if you miss that you can hear her on our website cbc.ca/thecurrent. So we want to look at the role mayors and cities play in forming national and global policy. And I'm first joined by David Miller on this he's the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. From 2003 to 2010, he was the mayor of Toronto. He's still actively involved with C40 which is an international group dealing with cities and climate change. David Miller joins us from Ottawa today. Hello.

DAVID MILLER: Good morning.

AMT: How important was it that the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris joined together to support the Paris agreement after Mr. Trump pulled out.

DAVID MILLER: Well I think it's extremely important so that people know that despite what the U.S. is attempting to do there is actual leadership on climate change and it's not going to stop. But I'd say even more important than the symbolism of that are the actions that cities are actually taking today that are real affect us and have the potential collectively to make a very big difference.

AMT: So when you were mayor of Toronto you made the environment one of your key platforms. Why was that so critical to you at the time?

DAVID MILLER: Well, I mean on a personal basis I've always been motivated by environmental issues and if you look at the role of cities, cities are not only the place where we can address climate change. They're also a place that is having a serious impact because of climate change. So the increasing frequency and severity of storms really impacts our cities our infrastructure the people who live there. Insurance claims it's incredibly costly and challenging. So why you're seeing mayors from around the world leading on this issue is.. first of all mayors hear from their constituents who want to see environmental leadership. Many of them are environmental leaders. But at the same time there's an imperative to address these questions because the alternative is very very difficult for cities, if we don't address climate change we're literally going to have to rebuild them. Think about New York City and the impact of Hurricane Sandy and the potential of sea level rise literally flooding Wall Street. You know the financial heart of the world. These are really serious issues. And mayors are motivated to act because they can't wait to see what national governments are going into. National governments seem to talk mayors act.

AMT: And so when we look at what mayors can do within their own jurisdiction where are the areas that they can really affect how you know millions of people move forward on this front?

DAVID MILLER: Well the C40 hired [unintelligible] Engineers to look at this issue. It's an international engineering company . And their studies show that about 70 or 75 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world could be attributed to activities in cities or activities to support them like generating power. And within that those emissions come from predominantly three things; how we heat and cool our buildings, how we transport ourselves and how we generate our electricity. And all of those are areas where you can significantly lower greenhouse gases by building more efficient new buildings for example, things like the lead standard doing energy retrofits on old buildings, electrifying transportation, building more mass transit and greening our electricity grid. And at the same time all of those things actually make better places to live. If you have you know better mass transit you have less congestion cleaner air. So what you see are actions that mayors would like to do anyway to make their cities better. Also having a really positive impact on lowering greenhouse gases. There's more small things that can be done than that. That's the big picture. If we get our buildings right our transport right and our electricity right we can make dramatic reductions and have better more prosperous places for people to live.

AMT: Now mayors around the world could choose to work with their federal counterparts. Why do many so many decide to go it alone when it comes to things like climate change?

DAVID MILLER: Well I think a couple of reasons. First of all the national governments are often very slow sometimes opposed to the issues. Secondly you know the job of being a mayor is an activist one. People expect you to produce results. They don't expect you just to say the right thing. They expect to see things really happen whether it's building mass transit or you know changing electricity grid. They have that expectation. So mayors are impatient and action oriented. You know we're lucky in Canada right now. The national government understands this issue. I think they're putting funding behind their initiatives. But when you have a government like you do in the United States that's pushing back. Mayors are just going to go ahead because their job is to build a great city. They understand the issue. The one thing they need though is support financially if you're going to build a new mass transit system for example. You do need in Canada's case provincial and federal money. So a national government can be helpful and make it go faster. But if they're not acting mayors are going to move anyway.

AMT: It's the taxation issue right. You can't tax. You have to get their tax money, the tax money they collect.

DAVID MILLER: Most [unintelligible] to the national and provincial governments in Canada. A small percentage only goes to cities.

AMT: AMT: Mayors in large cities work with significant budgets and responsibilities for millions of people. Do you think we are moving to a time when the city state starts to become a new kind of reality?

DAVID MILLER: I do see the rise of the cities. You know Mayor Hidalgo is the chair of the C40. I was chair between 2008 and 2010 and we see that organization and others being far more influential on you know on this issue also in issues like inequality. And I think as you see national boundaries less and less relevant because of globalization and trade agreements you are going to see cities become more and more relevant. They're already taking a place on the international stage. Citizens who live in cities look to the city for us for services and the kinds of services they deliver touch people in every in every way from you know health to transportation to libraries which is information education. I see cities rising in actions being taken collectively that enhance that very much.

AMT: David Miller thank you for your thoughts on this.

DAVID MILLER: Thanks for having me on.

AMT: David Miller He is the former mayor of Toronto. He's also the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada. He's still actively involved with C40 an international group dealing with cities and climate change. We reached him in Ottawa today. Well it appears as if there is a trend towards city to city relationships being for forged. But some say this is nothing new it's actually return to an older system of diplomacy. And they've even coined a term for diploma's city. Parag Khanna is a senior research fellow at the center on Asia and globalization at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy which is at the National University of Singapore. He's also a member of onnectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization. He's the author, sorry, of Connectography, Mapping the Tuture of Global Civilization. And Parag Khanna is in Singapore. Hello.

PARAG KHANNA: Hi. Great to be with you again.

AMT: Well let's talk about diplomacity . How does that work?

PARAG KHANNA: I love to hear how different people pronounce the term, because you know there isn't a right or wrong ways, since I kind just made it up on the spot a couple of years ago. But I call it diplomacy. And of course it is as you rightly said that diplomacy among cities and it is an ancient phenomenon. The origins of diplomacy itself which as the joke goes is the second oldest profession has its origins in cities of the ancient Mesopotamian region, trading with each other, building relations and ties and that evolved into you know the modern and global system that we have today. So really diplomacy among cities to figure out what currency to trade in what value to ascribe to objects and goods and how to recognize each other's religions. That literally goes back three or four thousand years. It's wonderful to see that when it comes to global problem solving we're starting to turn away not turn away or ignore but to simply look for what works rather than simply what's there. And of course you know the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There is you know a total of about 200 intergovernmental bodies in the world today and many are familiar with the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. But there is a lot more inter-city networks already today. So it's not just that we're heading into a world where bodies like to see 40 like Mayor Miller mentioned earlier that as if those are just now becoming important. There are hundreds of them and they actually represent the better part of what I would consider to be the sharing of lessons and spread of knowledge. And really you know the cultivation of progress in the world and we should look to them a lot more than we look to the traditional intergovernmental bodies.

AMT: So how surprised were you when you heard 200 plus U.S. mayors deciding to defy U.S. government policy and abide by the principles of the Paris.

PARAG KHANNA: I wasn't surprised at all. Since I've been documenting this trend for a few years and I'm just more importantly I'm very glad to see that it happened, that it happened quickly and that again cities think of themselves as part of global networks. They understand their supply chains very very well. You know it's well documented how Canadian cities and American cities know very well what their trade balance is with each other not just the collective international sort of trade balance across the borders take one example. So they think in terms of supply chains rather than borders. They think in terms of issues specific collaboration. I've been looking for a long time at how cities want to have a different migration policy if they could. So, in London before the Brexit's that vote even even Boris Johnson, who actually turned out to be sort of pro Brecht's it when he was still mayor he actually wanted there to be something called a London visa. So that London could circumvent the increased immigration restrictions and difficulties in recruiting the talent that the city of London needs. So now you have the sanctuary city movement in the U.S. city that said hey you know exactly how many people live here. We know how important it is to have migrants legal or illegal in our economy and we're going to protect them in any way we can. And so we're seeing on a whole range of issues whether it's fiscal policy infrastructure immigration or climate. Cities know exactly what their interests are. And you know pooling their resources matters a lot.

AMT: OK so I have lots of questions about how that moves forward. But first of all define modern city state.

PARAG KHANNA: By modern city state. Well you know we shouldn't get too hung up on the idea that a city has to be a sovereign state at the same time because of course there's very few places in the world that are like that, Monaco or Singapore where I am right now. So the key issue is autonomy how much autonomy does the city have to pursue its own agenda to pursue its own interests and it's very unlikely that many cities in the world today like London or New York are suddenly become going to become independent countries. So we don't want to get too hung up on the city state. The key is cities and their autonomy cities and their capacity in terms of the money they have to spend on the things they need to do the diplomatic capability to be part of different networks. That's what we need to be looking at. And that's what's really growing in a very robust way.

AMT: OK and how is it growing. We see what's happening in the US specifically in relation to climate change and sanctuary cities. We see Canadian mayors talking about climate change. Well, what do you see elsewhere in the world? Where is the growth and what's motivating?

PARAG KHANNA: Well it's very much a global phenomenon. First of all I would say the more recent evolution rests very much on economic and demographic power. So we reached a point in the last 10 years where the vast majority of the world population lives in cities or is going to be living in cities in the coming ten years or so. But more than 50 percent of the world's population lives in cities. You have a situation especially in Asia or also in other regions of the world where you have mega cities with not just five to 10 million people but more like 50 to 60 million people. So that demographic concentration the economic power has really changed the domestic balance of power in many countries where the progress of the entire country economically, really depends on what happens in you know usually just one city like Jakarta in Indonesia or in Manila in the Philippines, countries with even 100 or 200 million people. Their fate depends on what happens in that one city. And so the progress in that city often depends on the role of the mayor. Is the progressive? Is he fighting inequality? And those kinds of things and this is something that Mayor Miller mentioned rightly earlier. Sustainable urbanisation is probably the single most important global priority in the 21st century. I mean if most of humanity lives in cities. Cities have to get sustainability right and that means not just ecological sustainability but also in terms of socio economic balance. So mayors are the really the ones on the frontlines. You know they're the ones again picking up the trash, delivering the services, building the infrastructure, trying to spread education, trying to maintain civic harmony in a situation where more and more cities are melting pots and diverse. So mayors just know better than anyone else how to run that political that ancient political unit known as the city, which of course predates every empire every nation in the world today. We've had cities for 7000 years. I see many countries collapsing all over the world. But the cities are always going to be there.

AMT: Lagos is another example. Is it not?

PARAG KHANNA: Sure Lagos is Africa's largest city Africa. I think of it as the capital of all of West Africa effectively. Right. It's not even the capital of its own country. Bear in mind Abuja is the capital of Nigeria. But what is the economic and demographic hub and the conduit for all of the investment and trade, or so much of it for a dozen countries or more. Not to mention just inward flows that that spread around all of Africa. It is it is Lagos Nigeria also Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg and South Africa. So you're one of the world's largest continents with 53 countries in over a billion people. But three cities effectively dictate the kind of you know economic fortunes of an entire continent.

AMT: At the same time things like immigration policy, defense, taxation are controlled by countries so, do you see friction there do you see real issues of conflict there and among jurisdictions?

PARAG KHANNA: Sure there's a huge amount of tension. And again even the perverse and ironic tension between London the capital city of a country where the voters of that city were against the Brexit's it but just a scant majority were for it on a national basis shows that friction. And so you can see it embodied in Mayor Sadik-Khan of London in his statements exactly a year ago after Brexit, we're almost a year upon the Brecht's that vote. And he said you know Britain collectively has made this decision. But London is going to now need to do whatever it takes to preserve its fiscal sanity and sanctity because London has to invest in transportation and housing and all of these things. And if suddenly the British economy tanks and London of course has to come and bail it out. Remember as I said earlier cities drive national economies. So British people outside of London made a decision that's going to cost London money. And so the city is standing up for itself and saying, hey wait a minute, that was not our decision and we're going to be very cautious about how much money we have to waste to bail out your mistake. That I see that situation happening everywhere. It's also what drives the secessionist movements in places like Catalonia, where Barcelona is in Spain. All over the world cities are calculated using data. They're using text data fiscal data you know and they're saying, hey wait a minute, you know we pay eight euros into the national coffers and we only get 5 euros back. That's a bad deal. We want more independence. And so all of this really you know, it's not it's not just economic in nature it's also a difference of opinion on policies. But let me just bring up one issue that you didn't mention because it's really the core of what we think of as the prerogative of the sovereign state and its capital which is of course foreign policy and defense. And this is where you see cities being very progressive because you can look at any number of very significant conflict scenarios and you mentioned Graham Allison earlier who is an amazing book and this is a real guru in the field about U.S. and China, You can look at eight or nine conflict scenarios of the last couple of decades between India and China, between India and Pakistan, North and South Korea, China and Japan. And in a lot of these cases you see that the interests of the people and the businesses and the leaders in cities across those borders have said hey, wait a minute, we appreciate that there is this fear, honor, Pride nationalism, Antagonism animosity between our countries historically but we're doing a lot of trade over there. I've got a factory over there right. We're just making a big investment over there. They've just made a big investment over here. So they call it pick up the phone and they call up the president or the prime minister and they say, you know those missiles that you're pretending to fire up in the name of thumping your chest you're just going to tone that down. Now that doesn't make the news but some at some point we should all stop and ask ourselves why hasn't world war 3 broken out yet. Because according to a lot of people who look at these war scenarios myself included we should have had ten major wars in the last 25 years. And I promise you that one of the reasons that they haven't is because of the business leaders the mayors and others who have said have you actually quantified our relations with that so-called enemy over there? Right. In order to realize what a bad move this would be. And so we should ask ourselves why you know certain things haven't happened. And part of the positive reason is the role of the city.

AMT: Well it's interesting last year the mayor of Montreal and the mayor of Tehran signed a business and cultural exchange agreement. Even though Canada has no diplomatic relations with Iran is so that you see that as a good thing. As cities move forward on foreign policy they can also get in trouble for that with sanctions depending on what they do.

PARAG KHANNA: Oh sure. You know so obviously a memorandum of understanding that's not legally binding and doesn't cross any lines in terms of you know using certain financial instruments that are barred from doing business with Iran. That's fine. You know you're seeing lots of European governments and cities and business people make exploratory trips and sort of have conferences that relate to Iran. But you know there are certain international laws or certain sanctions regimes that that one shouldn't stay of you know sort of run afoul of even if you don't think that they're a good idea. But I still generally speaking strongly support the idea that those individuals like the mayor of Montreal are saying; hey one day that country is going to be open for business and we should get an early lead into it. And it's one of those scenarios by the way, one of those [unintelligible] I'd list about nine of them and I talk through each one I say how come these nine wars didn't happen in one of them is why doesn’t the U.S. bomb Iran yet. You know if you listen to Senator John McCain, we are supposed to bomb Iran 100 times over the last four years. But of course that war hasn't broken out. And you better believe that it has a lot to do with the American business community and business leaders were saying we don't want war with Iran. How about we do some business with them.

AMT: It's interesting, on domestic issues in Vancouver. People were selling medicinal marijuana in stores before the federal government had finished with some legislation. The whole fight for same sex marriage was really driven by mayors and amongst others driving the The Fight for the Right for Same Sex Marriage.

PARAG KHANNA: I'll add one more. It's the rise of alternative political parties. So the Green Party in America which wasn't really able to make any headway of course at the national level you know has made an impact at the local level in municipal elections and state elections so that and bottom up democracy and that policy experimentation that you're talking about. All of the great experiments quite frankly in how to solve some of our public policy problems you know, experimenting with schools, and it's more an American issue than Canadian obviously. But basically all of the progress literally all of it 100 percent of it happens at the municipal or the provincial level not at the federal level. And the beauty of diplomacy is that you scale the lessons learned from one city to others through those networks among cities rather than waiting forever for a federal government to learn from one place. I mean ideally that's what a government should be doing. That's the job of Ottawa. That's the job of Washington, to say Hey! This experiment worked in that place. Can it apply in our other cities? And can we support the spread of those lessons.?

AMT: Parag Khanna, we have to leave it there. Thanks for your ideas today.

PARAG KHANNA: Pleasure. Thank you.

PARAG KHANNA: That is Parag Khanna a senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He's the author of Connectoography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization, talking to us about diplomacity. He spoke to us from Singapore. That is our program today stay with Radio One for Q The French rock band Phoenix plays music from its new album and its members are talking to Tom Power about how writing songs about hope and love, help them cope with the attack on the Bataclan. Remember you can always take The Current with you on the CBC Radio app you can check out past episodes of our program you can start listening in just a few seconds. The app is free and available from the App Store or Google Play. We're going to leave you with a preview of a conversation to come this week on the current Manal Al-Sharif made headlines around the world in 2011 for getting behind the wheel of a car in Saudi Arabia. She was jailed. It did not stop her from continuing a campaign to fight for Saudi women and their right to drive and to give women equality. We're going to leave you with Manal Al-l Sharif sharing her views on the niqab and the pressure on women to cover their face. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti thank you for listening to The Current.

SOUNDCLIP

Until today we face a huge problem in Saudi Arabia between the girl that covers her face and the girl that doesn't cover her face. Like men would not marry a girl who doesn't cover her face. It's a huge thing in Saudi Arabia. Personally, my face is my identity. It was so liberating to me when I uncovered my .. to fight with my society, I had to fight against my [unintelligible] as well. I had to fight against my ex-husband. It was one of the reasons I left my ex husband because everyone insisted I cover my face. And I insisted after I discover that I have a face that I will not cover it again it's my identity and you cannot take that away from me. And it puzzles me to see women who live in liberal countries democratic countries where they have the choice. They don't really go through the real meaning of covering the face or not covering the face. The call is for those women to go back and read in the textbook about the truth about that origion of covering the face. And it has nothing to do with Islam. The clerks in Islam when it comes to covering the face very few scholars talked about covering the face. It's all tradition and culture

Back To Top »

CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.