“WOMEN, WAR & PEACE”

March 26, 2019 at 4:45 am

Documentarian Abigail Disney discusses the groundbreaking new edition of the PBS series, “Women, War & Peace II.”

For more information, click here. 

Aired on March 25, 2019. 

Transcript Print

>> THIS YEAR HAS BEEN DEEMED
THE YEAR OF THE WOMAN, AND IT'S
SHAPING UP TO BE JUST THAT.
WE HAVE SEEN WOMEN MOBILIZED,
MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD IN
THEIR COMMUNITIES, ON CAPITOL
HILL, AROUND THE WORLD.
THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED
DOCUSERIES, "WOMEN, WAR AND
PEACE" RETURNS FOR A SECOND
INSTALLMENT ON PBS TO TELL FOUR
STORIES OF WOMEN WHO HAVE RISKED
THEIR LIVES FOR PEACE.
TAKE A LOOK.
>> WHAT I WANT NOW IS FREEDOM.
WE'VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR WOMEN'S
RIGHTS SPECIFICALLY.
>> A BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES.
>> WE'RE IMPROVING BACK HOME.
WE CAN SERVE PUBLIC.
>> WE WANT THE LIBERTY.
>> JOINING ME NOW, ONE OF THE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS OF THE
DOCUSERIES, "WOMEN, WAR AND
PEACE 2" ALONG WITH BEING A
FAVORITE "METROFOCUS" GUEST AND
ONE OF MY GOOD FRIENDS, ABIGAIL
DISNEY, ABBIE.
>> GOOD TO BE HERE.
>> LET ME LOOK BACK AT THE FIRST
VERSION, IF WE CAN.
WHAT HAS THE DIFFERENCE BEEN IN
TERMS OF GETTING IT DONE AND HOW
IT'S BEEN RECEIVED?
>> YEAH.
>> FIRST ONE, SECOND ONE?
>> IT'S HEADWIND, TAILWIND.
THAT'S REALLY THE DIFFERENCE IS
NIGHT AND DAY, BECAUSE, YOU
KNOW, THE FIRST TIME AROUND, WE
HAD TROUBLE FINDING FOOTAGE OF
PEOPLE BECAUSE WHEN THE WAR
CORRESPONDENTS WILL GO OUT
THERE, THEY JUST DIDN'T EVEN SEE
THE WOMEN, UNLESS THEY WERE SORT
OF IN THE CROSSFIRE OR
VICTIMIZED SOMEHOW.
BUT IF THEY WERE ACTUALLY
STANDING UP SAYING IT'S TIME TO
END THE WAR, TRYING TO GET
INVOLVED WITH PEACE TALKS,
NOBODY CARED.
WE'RE INVISIBLE.
SO THAT'S A DIFFERENCE.
THE U.N. HAS GOTTEN ON BOARD.
THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT HAS
GOTTEN ON BOARD WITH THE IDEA
THAT THEY CAN'T BUILD PEACE
WITHOUT WOMEN.
THEY JUST CAN'T.
AND SO THAT'S BEEN A PROFOUND
DIFFERENCE.
AND THEN GETTING IT MADE, THE
NUMBER OF FILMMAKERS WE COULD
DRAW UPON HAS PROLIFERATED, JUST
IN THE EIGHT YEARS, THE NUMBER
OF WOMEN WHO ARE INTERESTED IN
MAKING THIS KIND OF FILM HAS
EXPANDED.
>> AND ARE BEING ALLOWED TO MAKE
FILMS.
>> EXACTLY.
>> SAYING I'LL FUND YOU.
>> EXACTLY, EXACTLY.
AND REALLY, AND GETTING IT ON
THE AIR, IT'S SO MUCH ENTHUSIASM
BEHIND IT THIS TIME.
I'M A LITTLE IN SHOCK,
PERSONALLY.
>> AND THAT'S GOOD SHOCK.
>> YEAH.
>> TO HAVE.
>> HAPPY SHOCK.
>> SO LET'S TALK ABOUT THE
THEMES OF THESE STORIES.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THEM?
>> YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU LOOK FROM
30,000 FEET, IT'S ASTOUNDING
WHAT THE PARALLELS ARE FROM
PLACE TO PLACE.
I MEAN, WHAT YOU SEE IN EVERY
CASE IS WOMEN WHO CHOOSE TO STEP
INTO A SCENE, A POLITICAL SCENE
OR A WAR SCENE THAT ISN'T SEEN
AS THEIRS.
AND SO WHAT IS THE FIRST THING
THEY HAVE TO DO GET TAKEN
SERIOUSLY, AND THEN THEY NEED TO
STAY IN AGAINST ALL ODDS.
SO THAT HAPPENS IN EVERY FILM
ACROSS ALL NINE FILMS.
EACH OF THEM HAVE THEIR OWN
NUANCES, BECAUSE ONCE YOU GET
DOWN TO 5,000 FEET YOU START TO
SEE THAT CAIRO, THE SEXUAL
HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
ISSUE WAS DEBILITATING TO THE
WOMEN, AND THAT THEIR OWN ALLIES
IN THE MOVEMENT DIDN'T STAND UP
FOR THEM I THINK WAS REALLY THE
END OF THE MOVEMENT.
THERE IS A TERRIBLE RESULTS IN
TAHIR SQUARE I THINK BECAUSE
THEY WERE FRACTURED ON GENDER
LINES.
THE BANGLADESHI WOMEN NEED TO BE
TAKEN SERIOUSLY AT HOME BY THEIR
SPOUSES, BY THEIR PEERS, BY
OTHER PEOPLE IN THE POLICE
DEPARTMENT.
AND THEIR DEPLOYMENT IS ACTUALLY
SOMEWHAT SUCCESSFUL IN THAT.
AND THEY SEE THEMSELVES ALSO AS
STANDING AS AN EXAMPLE FOR ASIAN
WOMEN WHEN THEY'RE DEPLOYED
THERE WHICH IS KIND OF
WONDERFUL, AND THEY COME HOME
REALLY PROUD.
IN PALESTINE, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS
A NON -- THE FIRST INTIFADA WAS
A NONVIOLENT INTIFADA.
AND THEY STEPPED INTO A NEGATIVE
SPACE.
THEY STEPPED INTO A VACUUM,
BECAUSE MOST OF THE MEN HAD BEEN
EITHER IMPRISONED OR SENT OUT OF
THE COUNTRY.
SO THEY WERE REALLY STEPPING
INTO A VACUUM.
AND WHAT THEY DID IN THE VACUUM
WHAT WAS NATURAL TO THEM, WHICH
WAS ORGANIZE AND CREATE LIKE
ECONOMIC RESISTANCE AND RALLIES
AND QUIET THINGS THAT WERE
ESSENTIALLY A NONVIOLENT
MOVEMENT.
EVEN WHAT WE WERE GETTING BACK
HERE ALL THROUGHOUT WAS ROCK
THROWING YOUTHS AND THINGS LIKE
THAT.
SO WHEN THE MEN WENT TO OSLO,
THE WOMEN WEREN'T INVITED TO
OSLO, AND --
>> AND YET HAD BEEN ENORMOUSLY
INSTRUMENTAL IN GETTING
EVERYBODY TO THE TABLE.
>> AND TURNED TO VIOLENCE VERY
QUICKLY AFTER THE MEN RETURNED.
AND THEN NORTHERN IRELAND.
I LOVE THESE WOMEN IN NORTHERN
IRELAND.
THEY ARE REALLY GREAT.
AND NOBODY WANTED THEM.
ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING THINGS
TO ME IS THAT WHEN THE WOMEN
SPOKE, THE MEN ON BOTH SIDES
WOULD MOO LIKE COWS, MOO.
AND THESE ARE MEN WHO COULDN'T
AGREE ON WHAT TO HAVE FOR
BREAKFAST.
>> BUT THEY'RE AGREEING LET'S
NOT LISTEN TO OUR WOMEN.
>> EXACTLY.
THAT WAS UNANIMITY THERE, THAT
WAS THE ISSUE.
IT WAS KIND OF THE SAME AND
ALWAYS A LITTLE DIFFERENT, AND
THAT'S ONE OF THE FUN PARTS OF
WATCHING THESE THINGS TOGETHER.
>> TALK ABOUT HOW YOU GATHERED
UP THESE FILMS?
BECAUSE AS YOU SAID NOW AS
OPPOSED TO WHEN YOU FIRST DID
THIS A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, NOW
MORE FEMALE FILMMAKERS TELLING
MORE.
>> RIGHT.
>> WOMEN'S STORIES.
>> RIGHT.
>> NOR OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM TO
DO IT.
MY SUSPICION IS YOU HAD MORE
CHOICES, CHOICES ARE OFTENTIMES
VERY GOOD BUT CAN ALSO BE VERY
DIFFICULT.
IT'S SORT OF THE GOOD NEWS AND
THE BAD NEWS.
I'VE GOT GREAT CHOICES NOW.
HOW AM I GOING TO PICK?
>> OUR PROCESS THIS TIME IS
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
THE FIRST TIME, YOU KNOW, WE DID
A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF RESEARCH,
AND WE HAD STORIES THAT WE
NARROWED DOWN.
STORIES AREN'T THE PROBLEM.
AND THEN WE, YOU KNOW, HIRED
FILMMAKERS AND SENT THEM OUT.
WE MADE THOSE FILMS FROM ZERO.
IN THE CASE OF NILA, THE FILM
ABOUT THE INTIFADA, THAT WAS A
FILM THAT WAS UNDER WAY, AND WE
KNEW THE FILMMAKER AND WE KNEW
SHE WAS DOING IT, AND WE KNEW
THIS WOULD WORK.
SO WE -- WHILE IT WAS BEING
MADE, WE PULLED HER INTO OUR
PROCESS.
THE NORTHERN IRELAND FILM, I HAD
WANTED TO MAKE THAT FILM FOR SO
LONG.
I HAVE A SOFT SPOT IN MY HEART
FOR IRELAND.
>> ALL OF US WHO ARE IRISH.
>> EXACTLY.
>> LOOK AT THAT AND THINK HOW
CAN WE SAVE THIS.
>> AND WE COULD NOT LET THAT
STORY GO, BECAUSE IT'S REALLY SO
GOOD.
IT'S REALLY SO GOOD.
WE FOUND A FILMMAKER IN IRELAND,
AND WE WORKED WITH THE NORTHERN
IRISH BROADCASTER THERE AND
CO-PRODUCED THAT.
SO EVERYTHING IS A DIFFERENT
STORY, BUT THERE WERE SORT OF --
IT WAS MUCH EASIER TO EITHER
PULL SOMEONE ELSE'S PROCESS INTO
OURS, OR PULL OUR PROCESS INTO
SOMEBODY ELSE'S.
IT WAS MUCH MORE STREAMLINE AND
LESS EXPENSIVE BY A LONG WAY.
>> IN TERMS OF EACH OF THESE
STORIES, AND YOU MENTIONED
COMMON THREADS THAT ARE WOVEN
THROUGH ALL THIS.
AND I DON'T WANT TO GIVE AWAY
ALL OF THEM, BECAUSE I WANT
PEOPLE TO WATCH THEM.
THEY SHOULD WATCH THEM.
THEY ARE COMPELLING.
THEY'RE THOUGHTFUL.
THEY'RE PROVOCATIVE, WHICH THEY
ARE INTENDED TO BE, AND THEY'RE
GREAT STORYTELLING.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEM, WHAT
SURPRISED YOU THE MOST DO YOU
THINK ABOUT THESE VARIOUS
STORIES THAT YOU TOLD?
>> YOU KNOW, I DON'T GET
SURPRISED MUCH THE WAY I USED
TO, BECAUSE EVERYWHERE I GO,
THERE IS A STORY LIKE THIS.
EVERYWHERE I GO.
WHAT SURPRISES ME IS THE WAY I
HAVE TO KEEP TELLING IT TO
PEOPLE AGAIN AND AGAIN, BECAUSE
IT'S ALMOST LIKE THIS --
EVERYBODY'S GOT A WATERPROOFING
ON THEM AND THEY JUST CAN'T LET
THE STORIES IN.
SO IT GETS FORGOTTEN.
>> AND IT IS JUST BECAUSE
THEY'RE POPULATED BY WOMEN?
IS IT THAT SIMPLE, DO YOU THINK
THAT THE STORIES DON'T GET
EMBRACED?
>> THING IS A LANGUAGE OF
MATTERING, RIGHT?
AND IT'S ABOUT WHO HAS A CERTAIN
ACCENT AND WHO WAS EDUCATED
WHERE AND WHO DRESSES A CERTAIN
WAY.
AND THAT LANGUAGE OF MATTERING
REALLY MATTERS IN THE PEACE
TALKS.
AND THE FIRST THING IN A PEACE
TALK IS THE GUN.
AND THEN THE SECOND THING ALMOST
IMMEDIATELY THAT PEOPLE -- THAT
IS AN INDICATOR IS GENDER.
AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS SHAKE
GENDER LOOSE FROM THAT
CATEGORIZATION.
WE NEED TO GET IT TO STOP
MATTERING IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR
NOT YOUR VOICE HAS ANY
AUTHORITY.
OF COURSE THE GUY WITH THE GUN
IS THERE, BECAUSE WE NEED TO
STOP SHOOTING.
THAT'S THE FUNDAMENTAL FIRST
PRINCIPLE OF THE PEACE TALK.
BUT BEYOND THAT, TO ASK HIM TO
CONSTRUCT THE CIRCUMSTANCES
UNDER WHICH PEACE IS MADE, IT'S
RIDICULOUS TO EVEN THINK THAT
THE GUY WHO PICKED UP THE AK-47
IS GOING TO BE AUTHORITY ON HOW
WATER GETS DELIVERED TO A
COMMUNITY, WHICH IS AFTER ALL
THE FIRST CAUSE TO BEGIN WITH.
>> YOU HEAR OFTENTIMES AND NOT
JUST WOMEN SAYING YOU KNOW WHAT?
THROUGHOUT HISTORY, IF WOMEN
WERE IN CHARGE, FAR LESS WARS,
FAMINES, DISASTER.
>> YEAH, YEAH, YEAH.
>> AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU, COME
AWAY LOOKING AT THIS, THAT MAY
WELL BE EXACTLY RIGHT.
>> THAT'S ANOTHER BIG DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN THE FIRST TIME AND NOW
IS PEOPLE WERE NOT SAYING THAT
THEN.
NOBODY WAS SAYING THAT THEN.
AND IT HAS SHIFTED SO QUICKLY
THAT TO HEAR MEN SAYING THAT NOW
IS JUST -- I ALMOST HAVE TO RUB
MY EYES TO MAKE SURE I'M AWAKE,
BECAUSE I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M
HEARING THIS OUT OF MEN'S MOUTHS
AND OUT OF ANYBODY'S MOUTHS.
YOU KNOW, THE THING TO REMEMBER
IS NOBODY'S PROCLAIMING THAT
WOMEN ARE PERFECT OR BETTER.
THAT IS A REALLY IMPORTANT THING
TO SAY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, AND WE
ALL KNOW THE MARGARET THATCHERS
AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WOMEN WHO
SCRAMBLED TO THE TOP OF THESE
SYSTEMS AND ARE JUST AS BAD OR
WORSE THAN DICTATORS.
SO THAT'S NOT THE ASSERTION
HERE.
THE ASSERTION IS THAT WOMEN,
WHAT THEY DO IN THEIR LIVES IN
ALMOST EVERY CULTURE IN THE
WORLD IS FEEDING, HOUSING,
CLOTHING, EDUCATING, TAKING CARE
OF THE SICK, TAKING CARE OF THE
DEAD.
YOU KNOW, IF YOU WERE TO PUT A
BUNCH OF ACTIVITIES TOGETHER AND
GIVE THEM A NAME, IT WOULD BE
PEACE, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE PEACE
IS THE NECESSARY PRECONDITIONS
TO SUCCEEDING AT ALL THE THINGS
WOMEN ARE ASKED TO DO IN EVERY
CULTURE IN EVERY WORLD.
>> THEY HAVE HISTORICALLY.
>> THE SUBSTANCE OF OUR LIVES
OVER THE COURSE OF ALL OF OUR
LIVES, WHAT WE KNOW IS PEACE.
AND SO, YES, THERE IS -- AND I
WOULD ALSO SAY THAT LIKE I DON'T
KNOW IF IT'S BIOLOGY, AND I
DON'T KNOW IF IT'S THE Y
CHRO
CHROMOSOME, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT
IS, BUT THERE IS NO MORE
GENDERED ACTIVITY THAN WAR.
THERE JUST ISN'T.
I CAN EXPAND THAT TO SAY
VIOLENCE.
THERE IS A PREDISPOSITION OR
TENDENCY, WHO KNOWS.
BUT THE COROLLARY TO THAT IS
THERE IS A GENDERED ELEMENT TO
PEACE.
AND SO WE IGNORE IT AT OUR
PERIL.
>> HOPEFULLY THESE STORIES WILL
MAKE US PAY MORE ATTENTION TO
IT.
AS I SAID, THEY'RE THOUGHT
PROVOKING.
AND I THINK WHAT IS THE
SIGNATURE OF GREAT FILMMAKING IT
IS MAKES YOU THINK, WHICH IS I
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.
ABBIE, ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> FABULOUS WORK AS ALWAYS.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING YOU
BACK.
>> THANKS.
>> YOU BE WELL.
>> THANKS.
>> AND OUR REMINDER FOR YOU,
FOLKS, "WOMEN, WAR AND PEACE 2"
PREMIERES MONDAY, MARCH 25.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© 2019 WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019