tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 18, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EST
she was surprised i was so relaxed. she was with her mother in law. her mother-in-law was from edible. -- formidable. she said, when my mother-in-law is sitting at the table, she saying, why don't you eat from that, why don't you take that? i said, she is taking care of you, showing respect. she likes you. oh, she said, i thought i told her no. no she should not insist. for her it was a clash of culture. for me i knew my mother would have done the same thing back home. >> or any italian. >> you are an afghan citizen.
you were criticized by some for not being islamic during the campaign, not eating -- being in your lebanese roots. some people say the country should not have u.s. first lady. how did you deal with that? >> i was born in a christian family. we prayed in arabic. when you pray to god, it was pretty much the same. for me, it's not a difference whether i am muslim or christian.
for all the indications that come to see me, it has never been an issue. they are happy that i am there that i'm opening my doors to them, listening to what they have to say. >> it seems like that works well. you have a caretaker gene. when you came back to afghanistan, you got involved in [indiscernible] can you describe that? >> it takes care of the children who work on the streets. i have always liked that organization. the children are the ones that pay the price of civil war. they find themselves either with no parents or parents that have been debilitated or are not able to work, and they are the ones
who have to earn a living for the family. i have tried to help us much as i could. basically, whenever we had the dinner at home and there were some foreigners, i would tell them about it. often some of them would come and visit and make a donation. american supporters could benefit from the 501(c) tax deduction, and get help an institution that they really liked. this is what the organization is. >> i have heard about it for years from trish silverman, who is here and partly responsible for you being here. >> mary jo meyer, the head of the foundation, is sitting right there too. >> welcome. >> i love how you are very
outspoken about a lot of things. in your speech you made the point that international aid has graded a culture of dependency in the country -- created a culture of dependency in the country. how would you go about tackling that? >> what i mean by that is that humanitarian assistance is wonderful, but it is short-lived. it does not change the situation. bringing food, blankets, tents floor covers -- all of that is wonderful for people who really need it, but you come back the next year and there are even where people there. i don't think humanitarian assistance is the answer.
and especially, don't send clothes. kabul as a whole market of secondhand clothes. -- has a whole market of secondhand clothes. why are these people in camps? the are usually internally displaced people, displaced may be because of the civil war where they are. they may have been displaced because some warlord decided to take away their land. they may have been displaced because there is a flood or a landslide. the solution to this problem is not to bring them every year well-known russian of fries -- ration of fries, flour sugar cooking oil, two blankets, and one tarp.
it does not solve the problem. what i would like from the agencies, the international aid -- people, stop thinking in terms of humanitarian assistance and start thinking in terms of development. developing institutions means training people. it's very easy to come and help and say, i'm going to show you how it's done. no it's like -- i was at a dinner recently and they were talking about how they are having their hands on the wheel also. i said, no, take off your hands from the wheel. let them drive as if it were a driving school car, and you have the emergency brake next you. but let them drive.
let them learn to drive. as long as you have the hands of the wheel, they will not learn how to drive. you believe and everything will fall apart. -- will leave and everything will fall apart. train people to be in charge. let them make mistakes. people learn from their mistakes. they are not going to learn by seeing you do things. this is how i'm trying to tackle it. i'm not quite sure how i'm going to do it, though. >> are there models you would cite as that is the way to do it? >> not that i know of. i'm sure there are. i'm sure my husband knows, and i rely on him. >> one of your other frustrations is that afghans who go to the west to become
educated, go to university, and then don't want to come back. you want to talk about that more, you told me. >> yes. there has been quite a few young people who have had scholarships to comment study. -- coeme and study. in the united states there are 300 of them this year, altogether. it has started several years back. there is a tendency for them not to want to come back to afghanistan. and here i would like to say i don't know if there are some here in the audience, but please, remember, this money was given to you not because of your beautiful eyes. it was given to you because you are going to go back to your country and help rebuild your country.
so at least you spent two years here, go spend two years in kabul. then you want to come back to the states, well and good, but you have at least to repay all this money that has been spent on you. somebody mentioned that i should say, the amount that was spent on you, this is the amount you should repay if you want to stay in the states. this might be too harsh, but ever it comes to that, that is what i will advise to do. people should feel that they have to come back and help the country. how is a country going to grow if the people that retrain and sent to the best universities here decide, i would rather stay here? >> we are going to open this up to audience questions.
it needs to be a short question. it has to end with a question mark and not be getting on a soap walks -- box. i have heard you say in number of times that you are frustrated with the coverage of afghanistan and the image portray in the western media. what is the real afghanistan we are missing? >> foreign ngo's and agencies need to justify why they are working in afghanistan. they need to say that the sky is falling. they need to say, the situation is terrible. otherwise, they will not be able
to raise the funds they need to function there. somehow, this has gotten to the journalists. it's laziness on the part of the journalists. they need to go around and see for themselves. i've read somewhere that afghanistan is the worst country for a girl to be born in. hogawash. it's not true. there are difficult situations, there are difficult challenges, but still, you can have a good life in afghanistan. there is a lot of room for improvement, but it's a beautiful country and a beautiful people. what i resist is when i see an article that tries to say everything is going wrong in afghanistan, the economy is
falling apart, security, there is no security in afghanistan. 34 million people live in afghanistan. maybe i don't know the number of people being killed and it's too much, every life counts, but it's probably less than the number of people who get killed on the roads here in the united states. let's be a little more optimistic about the country. it is a new administration. there are real hopes.
maybe these things are going to be tackled little better. let's be hopeful, let's be positive. i think afghanistan is going to be a beautiful country, and i hope all of you will be able to one day come and visit it. [applause] >> where are the mics? right here in the front. >> good evening. i came to the united states through the initiate teach afghan women program. i'm very happy. it is a wonderful time for me to be here today. i will never forget today. the first thing i would like to say --
>> we will ask a question. we have a short period of time. >> students who don't go to afghanistan, they are working here. they are working for the country, for their women. we would love to go back and will go back, but we want the security to protect us trade we need protection and security. >> do you want to respond to that? >> yes. i know situation is probably not ideal for girls who want to work in afghanistan, but it's getting much better. if you want to change the situation, you have to be part of it right that's how i think. but thank you for trying to do something from here anyway. i have been talking to people at the embassy, and maybe by the end of the academic year, we try to have like a job fair for yo
utou to know what jobs are available in afghanistan, and connect people with qualifications with jobs that would be appropriate. >> other questions? >> my name is margaret rogers. i'm proud to be on the board of the foundation. i have also worked in afghanistan. my question is about the taliban. you started out saying there was not much progress with regard to the peace talks. as somebody who has lived there in a taliban dominated robbins -- province, are their prospects for a more peaceful country given the strength of the taliban? >> i don't think i say something that you don't know, but the
first priority of my husband is to bring security to afghanistan. i have a lot of confidence in him. i think he knows how to think outside the box and how to figure out how to solve problems. i hope that eventually the situation will get much better. >> any specifics moving forward? >> no,. >> back here. >> thank you. what is your opinion of kurdish female freedom fighters? >> i'm proud of them. [applause]
they are taking part in defending their country, and i think they're doing very well. i meant the ones in the academy 36 of them. they made me feel great proud to have them with me. i hope they will be able to one day defend their country too. >> where are the mics? right here. >> my name is elise hampton. i want to thank you for taking the time to come out this evening. my question is very simple. >> can you speak louder? >> sure. if you could prioritize three things in order that afghanistan needs, what would they be?
>> the first thing is security. the second thing is greater order and the way the country is being managed. third thing i don't know. i feel once there would be security and once the country -- the mechanisms of governing the country are in place, people will find it -- each person will find what do they want to do, and they will take part in building their own country.
i don't think afghans need to be told that they should be proud of their country, that they should serve their country. they have it. the circumstances were not provided. >> thank you. i'm with the u.s. army. i will be deployed to afghanistan in june for a program. what advice would you give to me? i will be working with the ministry of interior or ministry of defense. what kind of advice would you give me when i am advising an afghan? thank you, ma'am. >> thank you for your service but what i would like to see the ministry of the interior or the ministry of defense, is that what you're saying? ok try to bring order in those ministries. [laughter]
if you see corruption, don't look the other way. unfortunately, i think often foreign advisers see corruption and are worried to step on people's toes, and particularly in those two ministries if you can enforce the respect of women because unfortunately, it does not exist. >> we did not touch on that much, corruption. to you see that getting better? >> yes. i think people are more wary of engaging in corruption. i heard an anecdote when my husband became president. there was a whole list of
people maybe 60 names of people who wish to become ministers. the minute they found that my husband was going to be president they [indiscernible] [laughter] it doesn't mean there is no corruption anymore. there is. i think what my husband is trying to do is deal with it by building systems that will make it less possible for people to be corrupt. >> we have time for one more. right here. >> i'm hanna. i want to ask this question -- >> can you talk slower and louder? >> sure. i want to ask this question on behalf of all the afghan youth in the west. what can we do to help rebuild
afghanistan? what areas should we focus on? >> ok -- >> let's say she wants to come back. tell her where to go. >> it would be good at first to come for a short trip for you to see. we had talked about organizing activities in the summer for young people who want to come back and try and help. it is a personal choice. i don't want to impose on anyone to decide to stay here or decide for them to go to afghanistan. come and see and this is something we have been thinking. i'm looking at my chief of staff here.
we have been talking about creating programs for young people in the summer, so they would come and get reacquainted. from the same family, you will have one child who just falls in love with kabul and the other says, i can't wait to go back. it will not reflect badly on anyone if ever they don't want to stay, but if you come and just love it, you are find. >> -- fine. >> are there sectors that really need that young talent, like teaching for example, an engineering? >> there certainly must be. i don't know myself. my children are told her. -- aren't older. i don't move in circles with very young people. there might be things they can do with the organization that
takes care of young children, or even if they have a specific thing they like, for example they like art they can get with budding artists in afghanistan. we have photographers associations. or if they want to go in the provinces, we can find maybe some midwife to shadow. [laughter] the possibilities are immense but at this point, i don't know. i have only been your first lady for four months. please, bear with me. >> thank you for being not only insightful, but inspirational for a lot of the people in this room. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015]
>> this week, while congress is in recess, booktv and american history tv are in prime time. wednesday, it is world affairs talking about china's secret plan to replace america as a superpower, the egyptian revolution, an emerging crisis in europe. thursday, politics and the white house with david axelrod, mike
huckabee and april ryan. friday, biographies of robert e darley and joseph stalin -- robert e. lee and joseph stalin. on wednesday on c-span3 "the birth of a nation." the showing of the entire 1915 film, followed by a re-air. thursday, historians debate the social changes of the 1970's at the 2015 american historical association meeting in new york city. booktv and american history tv this week in prime time. >> tomorrow morning on "washington journal," a reuters correspondent looks at president obama's executive order on immigration, and a recent decision to a texas court judge
-- by a texas court judge that blocked that order. "washington journal" his life thursday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. up next remarks from president obama on combating violent extremism. he spoke on the second day of the three-day white house event. this is 35 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. i want to thank everyone for being here today. law enforcement officers, community leaders, teachers elected officials, foreign ministers, and entrepreneurs thanks so much for taking part today and spending your time here in these discussions with us.
this summit focuses on domestic and international efforts to prevent terrorist attacks like those we have seen most recently in copenhagen and paris, boston and sydney, and which sadly occur daily in places like nigeria, iraq, syria, and beyond. here in the u.s. thanks to the tireless efforts and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our diplomats and intelligence personnel and law enforcement officers, since 9/11, our defenses have been pardoned, plots had been disrupted, and alliances have been strengthened. but countering violent extremism in all its forms is not just an american problem or a western problem. it is an international problem. every community touched by violence faces the same questions. how can we prevent people from embracing hateful ideologies before they turn to violence?
how can we replace the dark worldview of extremists in the muslim world or elsewhere with an alternate vision for a brighter future? how can we work together more effectively with our governments, international partners, and local communities? this summit is a place we are looking to find the answers to those questions and develop action plans that hold all of us accountable as we move forward. allow me to make two brief observations from the last a and a half of discussions carried the first is that governments cannot meet this challenge alone. as you heard from vice president biden and others, it is local communities, teachers, religious leaders, family, friends. those are the people best equipped to provide an alternate path before someone is radicalized to violence.
while governments can help ultimately the solutions will have to be rooted and found in local communities. the second point i want to emphasize is that countering violent extremism is a constantly evolving challenge. we've got to keep refining our approach so we can respond to new threats. we can't just rely on traditional tools when we arguing with internet savvy terrorists who reach across oceans with the click of a mouse, extremists who exploit young people using facebook and twitter. we need to be creative, think outside the box. we need to leverage our vast intellectual talents creativity innovation take on extremist bankrupt ideologies. i sat down with silicon valley's most creative and innovative minds, some of whom have joined us today to discuss this challenge.
our conversations included content creators authors, all of whom have an important voice in countering extremist propaganda online. one anecdote to the hatred is to lift up the voices of freedom and tolerance. today we are seeing people step up to do their part. looking ahead, i challenge tech and social media communities to expand these efforts, give young people more opportunities to raise their voices above the noise of extremists. is plenty of work to do. i hope the past two days have done as much to inspire you and energize all of you as they have me. we are going to count on each one of you for your good ideas and your leadership going forward. and now, i have the privilege of
introducing someone who has been laser focused on making countering violent extremism a central part of our counterterrorism strategy from his very first days in office, including by developing the first governmentwide strategy to prevent extremism here at home. please join me in welcoming the president of the united states barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. everyone, please have a seat. thank you for the introduction. lisa is an example of the countless dedicated public servants across our government a number of whom are here today working tirelessly every single day on behalf of the security and safety of the american people. we very much appreciate her.
thanks to all of you for your attendance and participation. for more than 238 years, united states of america has not just endured, but we have thrived and surmounted challenges that might have broken a lesser nation. after terrible civil war we repaired our union. we weathered a great depression. we became the world's most dynamic economy. we liberated europe, face down communism and won. communities have been destroyed by tornadoes and floods, and each time we rebuilt. the bombing that killed 168 people could not break oklahoma city. on 9/11, terrorists tried to bring us to our knees.
today, a new tower soars above new york city. america continues to lead throughout the world. after americans were killed at fort hood, the boston marathon it did not divide us. we came together as one american family. in the face of horrific acts of violence, at a sikh temple in milwaukee, or a jewish community center outside of kansas city. we've reaffirm their commitment to freedom. repulsed by the notion that anyone should ever be targeted because of who they are what they look like, or how they worship. most recently with the brutal murders in chapel hill of three young muslim americans, any muslim americans are worried and afraid. i want to be as clear as i can be. as americans, all faiths and backgrounds, we stand with you in your grief and we offer our love port.
-- love and support. my point is this. as americans, we are strong and resilient. when tragedy strikes, when we take a hit, we pull together. we draw on what is best in our character. our optimism, our commitment to each other, our commitment to our values, our respect for one another. we stand up and we rebuilt, and we recover. we emerge stronger than before. that is who we are. [applause] and, i say this because we face genuine challenges to our
security today. just as we have throughout our history. challenges to our security are not new. it did not happen yesterday. or a week ago, or a year ago. we've always faced challenges. one of those challenges is the terrorist threat from groups like al qaeda and isil. this is not our challenge alone. it is a challenge for the world. isil is terrorizing the people of syria and iraq. beheading and burning human beings, unfathomable acts of cruelty. we seen deadly attacks. in the face of this challenge we have marshaled the full or subunit is government and we are working with allies and partners to dismantle terrorist organizations and protect the american people.
given the complexities of the challenge, and the nature of the enemy, which is not a traditional army, this work takes time and will require vigilance and resilience. in perspective. i am confident that just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail. part of what gives me that confidence is the overwhelming response of the world community to the savagery of these terrorists. not just revulsion, but a concrete commitment to work together to vanquish these organizations. at the united nations in september i called on the international community to come together and eradicate the scourge of violent extremism. i want to thank all of you across america and around the world for answering this call. tomorrow, the state department governments and groups for more than 60 countries will focus on the steps that can take as governments. i will speak about how her own nation's have to may -- remain relentless in our counterterrorism efforts against
groups that are plotting against our countries. but we're here because we have a specific challenge. countering violence and extremism. something that is not just a matter of military affairs. by violent extremism, we don't just mean the terrorist killing innocent people. we mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists. the propaganda is -- the propaganda, the fundamentalist to recruit, or incite people to violence. we all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist. there is no way to predict who will become radicalized. around the world, and in the united states, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different
faiths, by people of different faith, which is of course betrayal of all of our faith. it is not unique to one group. or to one geography, or one. -- or one period of time. we are here because of the thread of isil and we are focused on prevention, preventing these groups from recruiting or inspiring others to violence in the first place. i have called upon governments to come to the united nations is fall with steps that we can take together. today when i want to do is suggest several areas for i believe we can concentrate our
efforts. first, we have to confront squarely and honestly the twisted ideology these terrorist groups used to incite people to violence. leading up to the summit has been a fair amount of debate in the press and among pundits about the world's -- words we use to describe the challenge. i want to be very clear about how i do it. al qaeda and isil, and groups like it, are desperate for legitimacy. they try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors. they propagate the notion that america, and the west generally, is at war with islam. that is how they recruit. that is how they try to radicalize young people.
we must never accept the premise that they put forward. it is alive. nor should we grant these terrorists the legitimacy they seek. they are not religious leaders they are terrorist. [applause] we are not at war with islam. [applause] we are at war with people who have roots in islam. just as those of us outside muslim communities need to reject the terrorist narrative that the west and islam is in conflict, i believe muslim communities have a responsibility as well. al qaeda and isil do draw selectively from the islamic texts.
they do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the muslim faith. that islam is somehow inherently violence. that there is some sort of clash of civilizations. of course, the terrorists do not speak for a billion muslims that reject their ideology. no religion is responsible for terrorism. people are responsible for violence and terrorism. [applause] to their credit, there are respected muslim clerics and scholars around the world to -- who push back on this twisted interpretation of their faith.
they want to make very clear what islam stands for. we joined by some of those leaders today. they preach that islam calls for peace and justice, and tolerance towards others. terrorism is prohibited. that the koran says that anyone who kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind. those are the voices that represent over one billion people around the world. if we are going to effectively isolate terrorists, if we are going to address the challenge of their efforts to recruit our young people, if we are going to lift up the voices of tolerance and pluralism within the muslim community, we've got to acknowledge their job is made harder by a broader narrative that it does exist in many communities around the world
that suggests the west is at odds with islam in some fashion. the reality, which many leaders have spoken to, there is a strain of thought that does not embrace isil tactics, but does buy into the notion the muslim world has suffered historic grievances, sometimes that is accurate. it buys and the believe that it flows from the conspiracy, by the the idea that islam is incompatible, that it is polluted by western values. those beliefs exist.
in some communities around the world, they are widespread. it makes individuals, especially young people who may be disaffected or alienated more rife for radicalization. we've got to be will to talk honestly about those issues. we've got to be much more clear about how we are rejecting certain ideas. suggesting leaders like myself reject the notion that terrorist like isil genuinely represent islam, muslim leaders need to do more to discredit that we are determined to suppress islam. that there is an inherent clash of civilizations. everybody has to speak up clearly that no matter what the grievance, violence against innocent damages islam and muslims.
[applause] when all of us together are doing our part to reject the narratives of violent extremist, when all of us are doing our part to be very clear about the fact that there are certain universal precepts and values that need to be respected, in this interconnected world, that is the beginning of a partnership. as we go forward we need to find ways to amplify the voices of peace and tolerance, and inclusion. we need to do it online. we also need to lift up the voices of those who know the hypocrisy of groups like isil firsthand, including former extremists. their words speak to us today.
i know in some discussions the voices have been raised. i've witnessed horrible crimes committed by isis. it is not a revolution or jihad. it is a slaughter. i was shocked. this isn't what we came for, to clear -- to kill other muslims. i'm 28 years old, is this the only future i'm able to imagine. it is the voice of so many who were temporarily radicalized and then saw the truth. they have warned other young people not to make the same mistakes. do not run after illusions. do not be deceived. do not give up your life for nothing. we need to lift up those voices. in all of this work, the
greatest resource are communities themselves. especially like those young people who are here today. we're joined by a talented young men and women who are pioneering new innovations and social media tools, new ways to reach young people. we are joined by people who want to support their efforts. i want to challenge all of us to be old -- to build ways to unleash creativity in young muslims, not just to expose the lives of extremists but to power you to service and with that people's lives. -- lift up people's lives. that can be a calling for your generation. that is the first challenge. we've got to discredit these ideologies. we have to tackle them head on. we can't shy away from these discussions. too often, folks are
understandably sensitive about addressing some of these rude issues. but we have to talk about them honestly and clearly. [applause] because, and the reason i believe we have to do so because i'm so confident when the truth is out, we will be successful. the second challenge is, we have to address grievances terrorists exploit, including economic grievances. poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist anymore that poverty alone causes, to become a criminal. there are millions of people billions who live in abject poverty and are focused on what they can do to build up their own lives, and never embrace violent ideology.
conversely there are terrorists who come from extraordinarily wealthy backgrounds, like osama bin laden. what is true is that when millions of people, especially youth are impoverished and have no hope for the future, when corruption inflicts daily humiliation on people, when there are no outlets by which people can express their concerns, resentment festers. the risk of instability grows. where young people have no education they are more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and radical ideas. it is not tested against anything else. they have nothing to way of. -- weigh. we have seen this across the middle east and north africa. terrorist groups are all too happy to step in to avoid -- two a void.
they can support their families. they offer social services schools, health clinic to do what governments will not do. they try to justify their violence in the name of fighting the injustice of corruption that steals from the people, even while those terrorist groups into committing even worse abuses like kidnapping and human trafficking. if we are going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism, the international community has to offer something better. the united states intends to do its part. we will keep promoting development and growth that has broadly shared so more people can provide for their families. we will lead a global effort against corruption because the culture of the bride has to be
-- the bribe has to be replaced. countries have to truly invest in the education and skill and job training are young people need. that is boys and girls, men and women. countries will not be successful if the half their populations are denied opportunities. [applause] america will continue to forge new partnerships and entrepreneurship's, and innovation, and science and technology. young people can start new businesses and create more prosperity. just as we address economic grievances, we need to face a third challenge. addressing the political grievances that are exploited by terrorists. when governments oppress their people and denied human rights or marginalized ethnic and religious groups, or favor certain religious groups over others, it sows violence and
makes those communities more vulnerable to recruitment. terrorist groups claim that change can only come through violence. if peaceful change is impossible that plays a extremist propaganda. the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability is more democracy. [applause] it is institutions. institutions that uphold the rule of law and apply just as equally. it is security forces and police that respect human rights and treat people with dignity. it is free speech and strong civil societies where people can organize and assemble an advocate for peaceful change. it is freedom of religion where all people can practice their faith without here and intimidation. -- without fear and intimidation. [applause] all of this is part of countering violent extremism.
fourth, we have to recognize our best partners in all of these efforts, the best people to protect individuals falling victim are their own communities, their own family members. we have be honest with ourselves. terrorist groups deliberately target their propaganda in the hope of reaching and brainwashing young muslims. especially those who may be disillusioned. that is the truth. the high-quality videos, online magazines, the use of social media, terrorist twitter accounts are designed to target today's young people online in cyberspace. by the way, the older people here, as wise and respected as you may be, your stuff is often boring. [laughter]
compared to what they are doing. you are not connecting. as a consequence you are not connecting. these terrorists are a threat first and foremost to the communities they target. communities have to take the lead in protecting themselves. that is true here in america as it is true anywhere else. when someone starts getting radicalized, family and friends are the first is the something has changed in their personality.