Oprah Talks to Christiane Amanpour
Oprah: Do you get punchy?
Christiane: A bit. I've learned how to catnap in downtime.
Oprah: Has proper media attention been given to the genocide that's happening in Sudan right now?
Christiane: Not enough—though columnist Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times stands out as an exception. We're trying to go there, but the government of Sudan has essentially shut down all media organizations for the past several months. Last summer I went there twice with my team. First we went to Chad and saw all the people being herded out. Then when we finally got visas, we went into Darfur and did a week of programming. I had an exclusive interview with the president of Sudan. They let me in at ten at night, and I had the flu and a sore throat, and it really was a surreal kind of thing. It was at a time when he was trying to make better relations with the rest of the world, so he was saying all the right things—but doing all the wrong things.
Oprah: Now the media is banned?
Christiane: We can't get visas. That has a real impact on our ability to tell the story. I can't do it based only on the pictures I took last year. But every opportunity I have, I talk about it.
Oprah: What did you see when you were there?
Christiane: We didn't actually see the marauding and killing, but we saw people with severe malnutrition living in camps. We heard stories of women who'd been brutalized.
Oprah: It's not like Rwanda?
Christiane: There aren't thousands of corpses piled up, but it's still a very brutal assault on the people by government-backed militia.
Oprah: Is there a story you wanted to cover but didn't?
Christiane: There are lots of stories. One person can't get to everything. I really love to report on women and children. Women are the backbone of so many families and societies. They are also, by and large, the oppressed members of so many parts of the world. I love success stories, when I can show women who've beaten the odds, women who found their voices. As for children, few lobby for them; they don't have their own organizations. Sure, there's UNICEF and certain nonprofits, but children have virtually no rights.
Oprah: No voice.
Christiane: The next big issue I want to cover is pediatric AIDS. Some inroads have been made on adult AIDS in Africa and in other parts of the world. People have given a lot of money and berated a lot of drug companies to make affordable medicine. But what about the children's crisis? I've heard that in one year, 500,000 children die of AIDS and there are no drugs for the poorest. Drug companies are saying, "Give half the adult dose to a child." But a child's biochemistry is different from an adult's.
Oprah: True. What reporting have you done that makes you proudest?
Christiane: Bosnia. That's my most significant, extended body of work. Just by doing my duty as a reporter—along with my colleagues—I believe we made a difference. My proudest lifetime achievement is my son and my family.