Clinton Global Initiative With Fareed Zakaria
September 21, 2006
MALE SPEAKER 1: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome former President of the United States William Jefferson Clinton.
WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON: Good morning. We have a really terrific panel this morning but before we start it, I want to begin by announcing the next round of commitments, I would like to ask that Chad Griffin, the campaign manager for Yes on 87, Californians for Clean Energy, and John Presidio [misspelled?], the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, to come up. They and Steve Bean [misspelled?] are involved in committing $40 million to pass the California Clean Energy Initiative, which will be on the state’s ballot this November. It is a $4 billion effort to reduce California's dependence on petroleum based gasoline and diesel fuels by 25 percent over the next decade.
It proposes a package of incentives and grants to support research, production and the uptake of alternative fuels in clean energy technologies and will provide rebates to Californians who buy vehicles that run on cleaner and cheaper alternative fuels, as well as to fund municipal fleets, upgrades and alternative fuel infrastructure. It will be funded by a fee on oil drilling in California and, believe it or not, I think California is the only oil-producing state in America that has no severance tax.
So this is a very, very good thing to do and since California is our biggest state, it pumps a 190 million tons of pollution into the air from cars, trucks and buses that run on gasoline and diesel every single year. This is a big deal and I’m very grateful to them and I want them to sign their commitment before it’s too late.
Now I would like to invite Drew Altman, the present CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation; Richard Weber, [misspelled?] the executive VP of HBO; Allyson Leacock, the president of Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation; and Chris Tucker to the stage, if they are all here. I hope they are.
I congratulate all of you who made it up at this early hour. I had to do “The Today Show.” That’s my only excuse.
This is an exciting project. HBO, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and BBDO Worldwide have made a commitment to increase information and, I hope, the inclination to undergo HIV testing among at risk Africans and Caribbeans by launching a set of TV and radio public service ads featuring high profile African-Americans that are broadcasted broadly across the regions. It’s a $500,000 commitment in the first year plus, worth much more, contributed airtime by 70 African and Caribbean broadcasters.
The ads will debut on World AIDS Day in 2006 in December across 67 broadcasters in 46 African and Caribbean countries and will continue to air in 2007. HBO will support the production of the public service ads and the ad agency, BBDO Worldwide, is going to make them. The Kaiser Family Foundation will provide the messaging support. The Foundation organizes the African broadcast media partnership against HIV and AIDS and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV and AIDS. These coalitions are distributing the spots. I also want to thank Kaiser for web casting CGI this year.
My friend, Chris Tucker, who went with me to Africa a couple of years ago, is one of the high-profile entertainment personalities who will be featured in the project.
If I could just say a word about why this is so important. Over 4 million were newly infected. Nearly 4 million live with the virus. In 2005, nearly 3 million people died of aids. At the end of 2005, 330,000 people were living with HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean and, of course, 64- percent of the world’s population with HIV and AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, only 2.2-percent of those get tested. Ninety-percent of the people with the virus do not know they have it. When this epidemic started, all the activists and the people who wanted to do something, including me, all during the 1980s, tried not to - tried to find delicate ways to talk to about testing because we didn’t want people to be discriminated against and because before the advent of antiretroviral, it was just like finding out that you weren't going to live but maybe you could get better care and prolong your life.
Now country after country after country, including Lesotho, where I work, you are guaranteeing people legally they can’t be discriminated against and is guaranteeing people that they will have the medicine when they need it. We have to do more testing. We need employers involved in this. We need governments involved in this. We need community groups involved in this.
We have in Lesotho, for example, a number of community activists that are recognizable public figures working with our Foundation going into villages, telling people that they have nothing to be ashamed of, that they have the responsibility to find out, that we are never going to get ahead of this if we have four or five million new infections every year. It is not true that people are being irresponsible, because over 90-percent of the people that have the virus that did not know it. So virtually everyone who is spreading it is spreading it in ignorance. And that’s why this testing initiative is so important. There is no telling how many lives these people will save before we ever find them, before we ever get the medicine, before we ever do anything. They deserve our thanks.
I would like to ask them to come forward and sign the commitment now.
I now want to wake everybody up. I’ll give you a laugh. I’m about to show you why I took Chris Tucker to Africa with me in the event I lost my voice.
“Now a lot of people don’t know that me and President Clinton are brothers, but I want to go to the next event and I thank you all for coming.” [Laughter] “I love you very much.” [Laughter] “God Bless You” [Laughter]
Thank you. We got to say something Thank you.
Now I would like to ask Scott Weber, the director general of Inner Peace, Pierre Rowaniendo [misspelled?], the executive secretary in the Institute of Research and Dialogue the former president of Finland, who worked with me a great deal in the Balkans when I was president; to come forward.
International Peace Building Alliance, Inner Peace, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace in Kagali [misspelled?] Rwandans are committing today to consolidate peace in Rwanda through establishing permanent forums for debate at the local, provincial and national levels over the next three years.
Inner Peace’s local partner in Rwanda, the IRDP, will establish three national forums and one in each of the country’s 12 provinces, local forums in five districts with participants drawn from all different segments of the Rwandan population to address the problems of rebuilding, how to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, the fight against genocidal etiologies, and fighting poverty. They will share their outcomes through radio, television broadcasts, and articles and will link the forums to a national group of stakeholders including government officials.
Reconciliation through conversations is proliferated in the wake of the conflicts that dominated the 1990s in Rwanda. The Minister for Good Governments in Rwanda, Minister Musoni [misspelled?], has promoted the necessity “to change our way of thinking and be open to countries who can help us to improve our methods of working. In 1998, the Government of Mass Community established the Mass Community for Reconciliation Commission. The mandate of this commission is to insure that the unity of Rwandans is restored through a variety of strategies aimed at the full participation of all the nation’s citizens. The Commission encourages Rwandans to make a thorough self-assessment and to reconcile their own consciousness as they discuss living together. The Commission is encouraging integration and formation of the combined National Forest with the former Rwandan Armed Forces soldiers, former refugees and the promotion of social harmony among Rwandans.
For those of us who have seen this action, it is a truly moving experience. They even have reconciliation villages in Rwanda where you can get a free piece of land to put a house but only if you agree to live next door to someone who is in the opposite ethnic group during the genocide. I know of no country that has been braver in coming to grips with its sad history or one that is making more progress more quickly. And I am very grateful to these people for the contribution they will make. Let’s give them a hand.
For our last commitment of the morning, I would like to invite Mervyan Davis, the group chief executive Standard Charter of UK, to come up. And if a Maria Artello, if she is here or someone from Accion. Standard Charter Bank in partnership with Accion is going to provide $500 million of credit and financial instruments to fund micro-finance in Africa and Asia over the next five years, to provide loans, saving opportunities and technical help to people with limited or no access to credit. Four million people in 16 countries across Africa and Asia will benefit. Let me say that again. Four million people.
In addition to funding micro-finance institutions, Standard Charter Bank will also support capacity-building programs and figure out ways for the institutions to share risks, use employee volunteer programs among others to develop the skill recipients, the skill of loan recipients.
Just by way of background, 80-percent of the world’s population does not have access to credit. Five- to 600 million of them would be eligible for micro-credit. The World Bank estimates there are now over 7,000 micro-finance institutions serving some 16 million poor people. The total cash turnover annually is now estimated at about U.S. $5 billion. And the potential for new growth is staggering. There is a lot of activity here in India in micro-finance and many other countries.
We’ve come a long way since my friend Mohammed Yunis [misspelled?] started the Grameen [misspelled?] movement 30 years ago this year. The Gramean Bank in Bangladesh, over the last 30 years has loaned over 5.5 billion dollars to millions of people with a reclaim-it rate in excess of 90 percent. None have ever put up any collateral, signed any statements, done anything. This is an astoundingly successful thing that has never been taken to scale. And therefore this is a very important commitment today and it gives you an idea of the scope of this: That with $500 million, you can give loans to four million people. Fifty or $100 dollars in a lot of these countries will revolutionize life for people. If you give enough of these loans, you can revolutionize a community and if you give enough you can revolutionize a country.
So, I thank them very much. I would like to ask Mervyn and Maria to come forward now and sign the commitment.
MARIA: Well, last year if you remember I held this up like this. [Laughter]
Now we have a great morning plenary and I see the crowd has swelled as the hour has latened, so let’s get on with the show. Thank you very much.
MALE SPEAKER 1: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our panelists, Queen of the Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, President Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu. And, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our moderator, Editor of Newsweek International Fareed Zakaria.
FAREED ZAKARIA: Ladies and gentlemen, I thought we would get right to the substance of this matter, “Managing Diversity.” It sounds like something we can all agree on and it sounds like something amendable to a lot of platitudes and empty talk. So, I’m going to try and sharpen the discussion by pointing out what can happen when you don’t manage diversity well.
I’m going to ask you to imagine a scenario. When the South African regime changed at the fall of apartheid, a black majority comes into power for the first time and decides that it deserves its share of the spoils having been denied it brutally for generations. And so, the new ANC government decides that it’s going to take this evil army that has oppressed it and disband it. It decides that it looks at the bureaucracy, the civil service filled with whites who have oppressed it for generations, and it is going to disband the entire bureaucracy. Their version of debathification, if you will. And I ask you to imagine what would have happened in South Africa if Nelson Mandela had made those choices.
I think we can be pretty sure you would have had an African insurgency. And point of fact, Mandela did not fire anyone from the South African army, kept the entire bureaucracy intact. In fact, ministers in South Africa were allowed to appoint one person, their secretary and that was it. They were governing entirely on top of the old Apartheid structure and slowly began a movement towards a new South Africa.
So it seems to me a wonderful example of how when you try to deal with a diverse country you can either do it through vengeance and hatred or truth and reconciliation. And I make this point really to give you a feel for the fact that this is not a wishy-washy subject, but actually one of the urgent requirements of today and something that President Clinton has always talked about as one of the poor problems of the modern world: managing diversity.
So, I begin by asking Bishop Tutu: how did you do it? How did you manage to resist the understandable anger of black South Africans and the understandable desire for revenge or share of the spoils, a place at the table, and keep that country together so that whites and blacks and coloreds had a feeling of being invested in the future of a new South Africa?
DESMOND TUTU: Thank you very much. It’s great to be here. Well, we were the beneficiaries, first of all, of considerable love and support and caring from the international community. And we owe a very, very great deal to all of those who supported us in the struggle.
During the struggle, as well, we realized apartheid was too powerful for just one small little group to tangle with. And so, when we marched against apartheid, there would be a Christian Archbishop arm-in-arm with Muslim Imam, on one side, and a Jewish Rabbi on the other. And you had people of all races because we were striving to become what some of us have called the rainbow people of God.
And then, how incredibly blessed we were at a quality of leadership. Mr. F.W. Leclair the last apartheid state president deserves all kind of accolades for having agreed that it was better to joy, joy rather than war, war. But more than anything else as everybody would agree, God gave us an incredible gift in the person of Nelson Mandela. And I doubt that we would be speaking had he not been there with his remarkable magnanimity and generosity. But then you see we also have something in our African culture we call uboomtu, uboomtu, [misspelled?], the essence of being human. And uboomtu says we need each other. And uboomtu says anger, revenge are corrosive of this great, good communal harmony. And that to forgive is not just being altruistic. It’s the best form of self interest. I need you in order for me to be me. And anger and resentment and the desire for revenge are corrosive.
And so, we had a spectacle that amazed the world in the Truth and The Reconciliation Commission where people were incredible. People who should have been consumed by bitterness and resentment being ready to embrace the paperjada.
FAREED ZAKARIA: President Karzai, let me ask you, how you [Applause] - How have you handled this? Because Afghanistan is also a land of many peoples, many languages, many sects. When you first came into office, there were people who said Karzai is giving in to the warlords and there were warlords often of different sects and clans and then there was the sense that you were able to consolidate power while, at the same time, giving them some space.
So my question to you is what do you think works best in a multicultural society? Should you give people an enormous degree of freedom and independence, or does that embolden them to then be separatists? Should you draw them together? Reflecting on your own experiences, what has worked better?
HAMID KARZAI: Thank you, sir. Well, Afghanistan before the invasion by the former Soviet Union was a very peaceful country with thousands of years of history behind it. That strength lying in the Afghan society was difficult to break up. Though the pressures that were applied on us for outside first the inquisition or the effort by the Soviets to impose cannibalism on the Afghan people was a very massive power. Then, when we were fighting them as the resistance against the Soviet Union, those who were helping us from outside tried to impose another alien ideology on us, radicalism of the right, radicalism of the left. They both had heavy consequences for our society, for our country. The result was this terrible conflict in Afghanistan fuelled by political organizations that were mostly made outside and also backed by various foreign backers, the neighbors and beyond. But all along in this 20, 25 years of war and misery in Afghanistan, though the appearance of conflict sometime looked as if the people were fighting or ethnic groups were fighting, in reality, it was the Afghan people who were all keeping the country together- against the odds; against Afghanistan.
When I took over, I had this realization in me. I knew that the people were all for this country, that the people have actually kept the country together. When we began to make our Constitution, people were invited from all over the country in a traditional gathering of the Afghan people that goes past into the history called the loyajettia [misspelled?], or the Grand Council. This is the Council of the Afghan people that always get together in times of crises or when you have an important issue to decide upon. They got together, they discussed a new constitution for Afghanistan. They do tribal [inaudible] for Afghanistan. Before we went to this constitution gathering we had for about the year going around the country asking people as to how they felt about the feature, sister of Afghanistan whether they would want a return to monarchy, whether they would want a parliamentary form of government, a presidential form of government, and the associate characters of such a government. The majority decided for a presidential form of government. Now, when it came to a bit more assistive details as to what sort of representation for provinces in the Parliament, as to what would be the national language of Afghanistan, what would be the national anthem of Afghanistan? Afghanistan has two main languages: Farsi and Pashtu. Then there are other languages of the ethnic groups that were present to Afghanistan like Uzbek [misspelled?], like Turkmen, like Balochi, like Nuristani, other languages as well.
Before the current Constitution, our national anthem was in Farsi and all the Afghan people, when it was played, stood for it in respect. Now, according to the new constitution, the national anthem is in Pashto. And again, all the Afghan people stand for it and respect it. Now, in the current national anthem, though there is a difference. In the current national anthem, the Constitution says that the national anthem must mention all the big ethnic groups of Afghanistan. So, we have mentioned in our national anthem 14 ethnic groups of the country from the biggest to
FAREED ZAKARIA: Must be quite a song. [Laughter]
HAMID KARZAI: ¯ to the ¯ it’s, we thought it might be very long, but the poet was great. We shortened somehow, so we now sing it in a minute. [Laughter] And also the constitution, as the people assembled in the Grand Council of Afghans demanded, has given all the languages of the country official status within their own areas. They can have their education in their language. They can have newspaper in their language. We have radio programs in all the languages. We have reading programs, television programs and the main languages, which is the two official languages. You can write in any of the two official languages. You can speak in any two official languages. And if one use both the languages, it’s perfectly enough. I give my speeches almost all the time in two languages. When I start, I say in Pashto and then the next minute of time in Farsi, the next minute of time back and forth through the necessary Pashto, back and forth Farsi. And people understand.
That was the original strength of the country. Now, emerging from conflict. The past 30 years have seen, by various political actors, exclusivity. They wanted to throw everybody away and only have themselves in power. When I began, I said, "No, we should have everybody included. We should try to put things together and move forward." And that worked very well. There is criticism of that. I’m being criticized for being too tolerant of some warlords or some people who do not suit the vision that we have for tomorrow. I take that criticism. It maybe be desirable to do away with something sooner, but is it possible, is the question.
FAREED ZAKARIA: What do you do, Mr. President, about the Taliban, for example who have some roots in Afghan society? This is not quite like al-Qaeda. They have roots. They are in Kandahar; they are making a comeback by all accounts. And some would argue you are not being tough enough there. You are perhaps being too tolerant.
HAMID KARZAI: I am, yes. Those Taliban who are Afghans, who do not have an association with al-Qaeda, who are not part of terrorism, who are not backed by entities from outside of Afghan, they are part of the Afghan people. They already are in the society. They live in their villages. They are us. And we have a peace program headed by one of our very respected religious figures, the former president of Afghanistan, President Mjuaridi [misspelled?], who is heading this program. And this program is trying to attract as many Taliban back into civilian life, into peace, into their homes, as possible.
So there, too, we are trying very hard to have them all come back. Other than those who have committed clear crimes against people or who are still committing crimes against the international community or Afghanistan.
FAREED ZAKARIA: Now, Your Majesty, when people think about the Arab world, they think that this is not a part of the world that is managing diversity well. They look at Iraq and the conflict between the Shiites and the Sunnis. They look at the Israeli/Palestinian issue and the anger between then Jews and the Muslims and Arabs. Is there, is the Arab world going through a kind of intolerant phase? How should we think about this problem? And is it fair to say that it is not managing diversity well?
QUEEN RANIA AL-ABDULLAH: Well, I think you have to look at in terms of what’s going on inside the Arab world and what’s going on between the Arab world and the West. And I think what we’ve found, what I'm finding very alarming is just how much the rifts between East and West have deepened. And I think that is something that we have to address. You know extremist ideology I think has -¯ is getting a lot of resonance.
And we really need to examine why that’s happening. And I think that extreme ideology throughout history has always existed- whether it’s religious or political or otherwise. But they have always existed on the fringes because, by nature, human beings are moderates.
But what happens is that they are being pulled into the center by two forces. The first force is the lack of knowledge that we have of one another. So, for example, when the West looks at the Arab world, they don’t see it in its diversity. So when we look at some of the extremist groups, we tend to lump them all into one group, which is wrong. So it's great that people know there are Shiites and Kurds and Sunnis inside Iraq. But we need to look further and see what they represent. We need to realize that there are different types of Shiites, for example, in the Arab world. There are the ones that are secular, the ones that are religious; they are the political groups who have different agendas, etc.
So, this kind of nuance approach is critical in this day and age for us to be able to deal effectively with some of the challenges that we are facing. Otherwise, we will not be able to understand what the issues that we are with dealing are. So I think the challenge for the 21st century is to have a more sophisticated and nuanced approached in understanding one another. And I find that quite baffling because, you know, at this day and age, with increased globalization on a daily basis, we are dealing with people from different countries and different cultures. We are using products that come from different countries, etc, yet we are not armed with the knowledge that we need to really understand one another and that only comes through human interaction, person to person interaction. That’s something that we really have to emphasize going forward.
And it just reminds me that, you know, living in the same neighborhood is not multiculturalism. You have to invite people into your home. You have to have an open mind and open heart. And we have to try to combat a lot of these stereotypes and the prejudices that exist in our part of the world because when there is prejudice, then there is fear and what we're seeing now is an ideology of hatred turning into a culture of fear, and when people are scared, then they choose isolation over integration. And that’s why we are seeing that the diversity is not being managed very well.
The other factor that I think that brings extremists into the center is when you have grievances that have not been dealt with. And I think the main grievance that we have left to fester for way too long is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And for me, that just acts like almost like a blockade that rivals any army or any navy in stopping the goodwill from flowing between East and West because there is so much despair. There is so much frustration. There is so much lack of hope. It affects- this is the issue that is at the core of our region and the heart of every Arab. People really feel with that cause. And as you know, the extremists, they tend to feed off of this despair. So, the more there are injustices in our part of world, the more of an argument that extremists have to recruit people into their ranks.
So, if you tell me, you know, if we solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem, will Bin Laden disappear overnight? He will not disappear. He will still exist. But his ability to lure people into his ranks will be greatly diminished. And that is why it’s critical for us to try to find a solution to this problem. And I hope that today people realize that finding a solution for the Israelis and Palestinians, although it directly affects the Israelis and the Palestinians in the Arab world, but all of us have a stake in that peace. Because it affects all of our lives in very direct ways. Whether it’s a threat of terrorism that can affect people from all over the world or it’s even the prices of oil. For example, there’s a great pressure among, in some of the oil producing countries, for them use the oil as a card. And you know, if oil prices go up to a $150 a barrel or $250 or $200 a barrel, then that’s going to affect your average guy living in Ohio. So, it’s very important that we all realize that we actually have a stake in the peace in the Middle East and to really - it takes courage, it takes global commitment and it takes honest brokers but we have to do it.
And if we keep ruling out political approaches and relying on military actions, we are seeing that military action is not the way to deal with things.
FAREED ZAKARIA: But may I ask you about [Applause] - They like you. May I ask you about this issue of extremists and intolerance? Because it does strike one from the outside that there has been a raise over the last decade of a kind of extreme interruption of Islam that is quite intolerant. So two Western journalists get captured in Gaza and they are forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, which, it seems to me, is a terrible betrayal of the Palestinian cause, which has included among its ranks very prominent Christians. Indeed, in many ways, Arab Nationalism was invented or certainly articulated best by Arab Christians.
So, when people look at that in the West, I think they wonder, when are Arab moderates going to condemn this kind of extreme intolerance? What is your sense of how things are going in the Arab world there? You are, you and your husband are among the most prominent Arab moderates. Do you feel that you have been able to stand up to these extreme forces? Are you being joined by others in the Arab world? Or are you - is this a lonely path?
QUEEN RANIA AL-ABDULLAH: I just want to say that not only the example that you cited, not only is it betrayal to the Palestinian people but it’s also a betrayal to Islam itself because there is no coercion in Islam. You can’t force people to become Muslims if they don’t believe. And whether we are -whether people are becoming more radicalized in our part of the world, I mean - I would like to say for example, like two months ago, before the war in Lebanon began: here's, Lebanon, which is made up of a group of people that are peace-loving. They are very moderate and open and modern by nature. They are the natural allies to the global community.
And then this war took place, and innocent civilians were being killed. Over the summer, it was a very long hot summer and I don’t mean temperature wise. We were seeing, on a daily basis, bodies of babies being put in plastic bags, vital infrastructure was destroyed. A quarter of the population was displaced. And I can say that over the course of two months, the Arab public became much more radicalized. Because they saw this injustice. They saw this grief. And even the moderates, what we thought was a moderate majority started to shrink, and you can see this shrinking taking place. And the extreme voices came out as the victorious ones. And you could see that the voice of moderation, the voices that called for peace and diplomacy and engagement, they are losing currency. They are being marginalized.
So, if you want to strengthen the moderates, we have to see - people have to see the dividends of moderation. They have to see the dividends of peace. And now, they are not seeing them. So again, I just want to say that if we want to gain the moderates, if we want to increase - it's almost percentages, you know, the percentage of extremists to moderates. If you want to increase and strengthen your moderate block, then people have to really feel an important difference in their lives. They have to see justice. They have to see an honest engagement and an interest in their cause.
FAREED ZAKARIA: President Karzai, how do you handle this issue of the rise of extremism? One of the disturbing things in Afghanistan has been the rise of suicide bombings and this kind of Jihadi terror attacks. This quite alien to Afghan history. Most people don’t realize that there are actually very few Afghans involved in al-Qaeda, involved in suicide bombing. It’s very, very rare to find one. These were Arab armies camped in Afghanistan. But now you have Afghan jihadis, Afghan suicide attacks. What is going on?
HAMID KARZAI: We don’t exactly know who these suicide bombers are. When we were fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, there were Soviet nationals in Afghanistan, in the streets and bazaars. Their wives, their families. Our resistance forces never touched them. Even the soldiers that were captured were delivered back to the Soviet Union, to their families through, ICRC.
Radicalism, the way that we see it today in that part of the world, indeed as you say, it is very alien to Afghanistan culture. We are Muslims, a very deeply devout Muslims. Very deeply believing Muslims. And that’s why we are moderate, because we are deeply believing people.
Extremism is political. The experience of Afghanistan shows that extremism was brought into the Afghan life from outside for a political purpose. It became a tool, an instrument of policy for others to try to turn Afghanistan into an extremist society, so as to take away its cultural identity, its national identity away from it. That is a long story. I'm not going to go into that. But we do suffer today form extreme violence in Afghanistan. I don’t know if that violence it really comes from someone who believes in extremism or who has an interpretation of an extremist Islam as Islam. Probably this violence there is more political to try to subvert people, discourage them, take away hope from them and try to bring defeat into the political process that we have launched in Afghanistan.
Part of it maybe extremism, an extremist manner. In the sense that an extremism man with an extreme ideology sees life the way he interprets it. But the other part, maybe, a more sophisticated, more calculated, cruel political activity in Afghanistan to try to subvert the movement of Afghanistan towards a democratic, better society.
FAREED ZAKARIA: When looking at the, this issue of the rise of a certain kind of anger in the Islamic world, Bishop Tutu, I wondered if you would reflect on an event that has taken place recently. That is, the Pope’s speech to an academic conference in Germany. And I want to ask you how you reflect on the whole episode. It has struck me as one of these cases of where the Pope said something that, really, he didn’t need to say. It was rather a bizarre grenade that he dropped almost unthinkingly, but then the reaction to it also seems somewhat extreme.
It seems an odd way to prove that Islam is a religion of peace, to threaten the life of somebody for having made a speech. So, how do you reflect on this issue?
DESMOND TUTU: I think, before I answer that, we should have to say something that is fundamental: there is no faith that I know that propagates death, murder, as a principle of that particular religion. There is no faith that I know which does not, in fact, seek to propagate compassion, justice, love, caring. And we need to hold on to that and underscore the fact that religion, in and of itself, is actually morally neutral. It is neither good nor bad. As I’ve sometimes tried to say, it is like a knife. When you use a knife for cutting bread, it’s good. If you use that knife to stick into somebody’s guts, it’s bad.
And I am deeply concerned that even here, you know, we are sliding into the thing of saying "Muslim terrorism". Muslim – I haven’t heard people describe the guy who bombed Oklahoma. Those, that’s an example of Christian terrorism. I haven’t heard them speak about the guys who are fighting in Northern Ireland- Christian against Christian- that those are Christian terrorists. They will say IRA. I haven’t heard that the Christians were responsible for the Holocaust, the Christians were responsible for apartheid. Somehow, we are able to define Christianity. Most Christians would be appalled if you said that that is a characteristic of Christianity. We would say it is a perversion. I think that the Pope probably wishes that he hadn’t said what he said. [Laughter] And has tried to apologize. But he shows how very difficult it is to say sorry- very difficult. I find it difficult to say sorry to my wife in the privacy of my bedroom. [Laughter] And rather than say sorry in public is one of the most difficult things, and that is why it was such an incredible experience to have people in the Reconciliation Commission say, please forgive me, in the glare of television lights.
We are part of a world that needs to remember a very simple thing. We are family. And we can try until we are blue in the face, we won’t win a war against terror, so-called, as long as there are conditions in the world that make people desperate.
And so I hope, I mean that we will get to learn that we can survive only together. We can be free really only together. We can be safe and secure only together. And that God didn’t make a mistake of creating us. God created us different, not so that we should be alienated from one another, but that we should know our need of one another, that ultimately there can be no such thing as the totally self sufficient. In fact, the totally self-sufficient is subhuman.
FAREED ZAKARIA: Your Majesty, do you think that the Pope's apologies have gone far enough? Do you believe that in the Arab world, in the Muslim world, this will to continue to simmer? And is it fair for people to ask, why do these protests often get violent? Why do they threaten the lives of people? It is one thing to feel, to take offense at something, but why respond to it by burning the effigy of the pope?
QUEEN RANIA AL-ABDULLAH: Well, I think the timing of the remarks was unfortunate because it’s not only the content, I think, that enraged, but I’m not sure that the reactions would have been violent had it taken place at a different time in history. I think it underlies the undercurrents of fear and suspicion that exist in our part of the world at the moment. So, yes, I was you know I think that the Pope tried to clarify his, what he said and I think we have to look at his remarks in the full context of his speech and what the overall message that he was trying to send was. But I think this highlights the need for more interreligious and intercultural dialogue between all of us. And to realize really that what we have in common as Christians, Muslims and Judaism is overwhelmingly much more common. We have so much more in common than we have that separates us. And at the essence, the message between the three religions is exactly the same, so the fact that we would choose to focus on the one percent difference and ignore the 99 percent similarities is really rather unfortunate. But I would like to say that it's more of the politics that is behind it rather than the religion. What's separating us now is a lot of the political grievances that we are experiencing around the world. Really, when you speak to people, when you talk about the ideals of tolerance and acceptance and dialogue, people tend to agree with that. People say yes we’re for tolerance. Yes, we are for dialogue but, in the meantime, we are doing hurtful things to one another. And we really need to ask ourselves, why is that?
I would like to go back to what I said earlier, is that we really need to have more knowledge of each other. So that we can kind of combat these trends. So, I would just like to agree with what Archbishop said and say that we have to turn these ideals into aspects that are part of our conduct and an integral part of our lives.
And just like you had in the United States, the civil rights movement, that turned American society from a society where segregation existed to a society where there is zero tolerance for it. We need to have a movement that makes acceptance part of our daily lives. It’s part of what we do.
A lot of people here are from the private sector and we’ve seen for example, over the past two decades how corporate social responsibility turned from a trend to departments with teeth within organizations. I think that the trend for the next phase is to have multicultural responsibility. And not only will that be something that is morally correct to do, but I think it will also be –when I look at companies and those that understand other cultures and those that have diverse work force and those who understand the nuances of other countries and places, they are the ones that seem to be more competitive, more creative, and have more growth. At the end of the day, it could be more profitable.
So I think multicultural responsibility is something that we have to foster, whether it’s in the private sector or public sector or in civil society. And only then can we really try ¯ will we really understand each other and become a global family. When you say global family, what makes a family a family, I think a family is a family because the different members understand each other. They understand what makes you tick. They understand all the things that you like and dislike and that’s what makes you a family.
So, until we get to know each other really well, we will not be a global family.
FAREED ZAKARIA: Mr. President, let me ask you to add to that but ask a specific application of Her Majesty point. We, the United States, are engaged in your country in a particularly sensitive act of multiculturalism. How is the American army doing at respecting the diversity and the reality of being in a foreign country? How have you found that interaction between Afghans and Americans?
HAMID KARZAI: Before I go there, I would like to add something here. I hope I’m wrong. I believe that there is a serious misunderstanding of Islam in the West. That a lot of the ordinary population of Christians and Jews, especially, don’t know what is there in the Koran, what is there in the heart of the Muslims?
In Islam, Jesus Christ and Moses are the prophets of God. And if you don’t believe in them, as a Muslim, as they are the prophets of God, you cease to be a Muslim. This is not understood by a lot of Christians. Jesus Christ and Moses are prophets for us, the prophets of God. And if you say no, they are not, you are no longer a Muslim. You cease to be a Muslim. You are kafer.
Therefore, I think it is extremely important, as the Honorable Archbishop said, to have a program of enlightenment all around. There is a lot of misunderstanding in our societies as well about the West, but that misunderstanding is not religious. That is political. In the West, the misunderstanding is religious about Islam. In our societies it is political about the West- double standards, you know, exploitation, going back into the history of colonization and all that. There are hurt feelings in our part of the world. Lack of - well, I shouldn’t say that. [Laughter]
FAREED ZAKARIA: Oh come on, now you have to say.
HAMID KARZAI: If you want me to say it, I'll say it -lack of morality when it applies to dealing with the rest of the world. Afghanistan was suffering before September 11. From 1996, if you only take the period of the Taliban- unbelievable misery. The same people who came and blew up Twin Towers in New York, the same people, went to Afghanistan, murdered thousands of children and women and families, destroyed mosques. They first killed Muslims before came to New York. And the poorest of Muslim world. The Afghanistan was the poorest of the Muslim world. They destroyed vineyards with grapes hanging on them, fresh. Thousand of vineyards were burned or destroyed, thousands of lives were gone.
And I kept coming to the West, pleading with them that there is something serious going on in Afghanistan. Come and help us or it will reach you. Because I knew and a lot of other Afghans knew that there was hate preached in those mosques in Pakistan and Afghanistan. That there were people who were using mosques and the holy name of Islam to preach hatred against the rest of the world.
We knew that they were going to get to you. Some but no attention was paid because you in the West were not hurt. It was only us and that didn’t matter. Well, that is wrong.
Seriously! And when September 11 occurred, when the West came to Afghanistan, they suddenly found that this is a different world, that the Afghan people welcomed them. They embraced them. There was –in central Afghanistan, a bombing raid. Coalition planes were chasing Taliban who ran out of their headquarters, went into somebody’s home, and the planes chased them there. And as the Taliban entered that home, the family ran out of the home. At the same time, the bomb came and hit the house. It killed the Taliban or did not kill the Taliban, but it killed seven children, members of the family of that house.
Later on, when we took the provincial capital, the population took it and we went there. The Americans came, the Special Forces came with medical supplies and things to help us. It was the month of Ramadan we were sitting over iftar. That the American Special Forces came.
The man who had lost his family was there with me, taking dinner with me. And I did not know what to do. Whether to introduce the Americans to him or to say something else but I decided to introduce. I said, “Sir, these are the Americans who have come to help us here in Afghanistan.” And he said, “Oh, great.” And he stood up and shook hands with them and asked me to translate. He said tell them that in the bombing, 10 days ago, you killed seven of my family, children and grandchildren and all that, but I have three more left of my daughter’s children and if they too die for the cause of liberating Afghanistan from extremism, I will accept it and you are welcomed. That's how strong that feeling is. So, the question of the clash of civilizations, of the clash of cultures, I think that is a lot of nonsense. There is great part of humanity that accepts each other, that wants to help each other, that the help that you give to Afghanistan or to other societies in Africa and Asia, is accepted with warmth, with gratitude.
Another serious mistake that we make again in this regard is that we take the voice of the bad as the voice of the people. That isn’t the case. We forget the people because they don’t have an organization. Because they don’t have a voice. We take the extremist, the killer, the murderer, the brutal, as the representative of either societies or communities or countries or religions. And that has to stop.
FAREED ZAKARIA: Bishop Tutu, let me give you the last word. Very simply, tell us if you are optimistic, because I look at this conversation and the surrounding debates that have been taking place and the atmosphere and it’s seem one that can make -that have made a lot of people despair and believe we are in a clash of cultures and civilizations. Are you hopeful?
DESMOND TUTU: Absolutely. Am I there?
FAREED ZAKARIA: Yes, you are.
DESMOND TUTU: [Laughter] Some people would say he’s not there [Laughter] I am part of something that has a very pretentious name, a high level group appointed by the Secretary General of the UN, for something called the Alliance of Civilizations. And we are the most diverse bunch of creatures you would ever imagine. I sit next to the former president of Iran, President Khatami and we were saying how we wished the world could see this. But people coming from different parts of the world- Adhering to different faiths or no faith at all- be able to get on amicably. Even when they were disagreeing, nobody thought that they wanted to throttle another.
That, in fact, it is possible for human beings to differ and yet to be friends. Now, I want to say as a final thing. You and I are frequently appalled by the evil that is around in the world. And that makes us blind to the fact that there is a great deal of good. Well, you are an instance of that. You are here, you don’t need to have been here, except because, I mean that Bill Clinton is so persuasive. [Laughter] But you are here. And the incredible generosity that you have exhibited is part of saying this is a moral universe. This is a universe with good, where right and wrong matter. It is a universe in which, ultimately, good will prevail. Ultimately.
That you and I are people who are made for goodness. This is why the people we admire are not the macho, the aggressive, the successful. I mean: Mother Teresa- there are many things you could say about her. Macho is not one of them. [Laughter] And yet, the world reveres her. Reveres a Mahatma Gandhi, reveres a Martin Luther King Jr., reveres a Dalai Lama. Why? It is because fundamentally you and I and all of us are made for goodness. You and I are creatures who are made for transcendence, were made for love, were made for caring, were made for embracing one another. I have looked the door but I mean, although God looks down and sees all of the ghastly things and God says "Oh, dear. Whatever got into me to create that lot?" [Laughter] And then God sees and God sees the others, the ones who wipe the tears from the eyes of the many, the ones who say we want to do something about poverty eradication. We want to do something about the HIV pandemic. And God begins to smile through the tears. And a little angel walks up to God and wipes God’s tears from God’s eyes. And God says, yes, they have vindicated me. Because you and I are ultimately made for goodness. And that is what is going to prevail.
FAREED ZAKARIA: As the saying goes, from your lips to God’s ears. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Great pleasure. Thank you.
Male Speaker 1: Ladies and gentlemen, the plenary session is now concluded. Your working sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. Please proceed to your next destination. Thank you.
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