ABC News’ Global Affairs Anchor Christiane Amanpour said when she’s out in the field, “I always fear for my safety… all our colleagues do.” Before joining the “This Week” foreign policy roundtable this Sunday, Amanpour sat down for a behind-the-scenes web exclusive answering viewer questions from Facebook and Twitter on her career and experiences in the Middle East.
“Now that doesn’t mean to say that I don’t go. We do go… Employing that sixth sense that with experience comes, you sort of know when to hold them and when to fold them. You know sort of when to put your foot forward and when to draw back a little bit. You’re not out there gung-ho and… out there sort of being a cowboy,” Amanpour said.
“But you are out there because it is vital to be there to tell the stories. No matter how dangerous it is out there, you cannot just sit back at home as opinion-mongers, armchair warriors, as I like to call people who… think that they can tell you what’s going on overseas from sitting back here in New York or Washington or wherever it is in the United States.”
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When making your Holy Land special, Back to the Beginning, did you learn anything from the past that can be applied to the current affairs in the Middle East?
“Well, the current affairs of the Middle East could really be solved if everyone would hear the other’s story and decide that victory is not a zero-sum game. You cannot win by forcing the other one to lose. You absolutely have to come to the table. The parameters of the Middle East peace accord are out there; they were shaped during the Clinton administration, and everybody knows what a final peace will look like. A land for peace, an arrangement around Jerusalem, keeping certain settlements but giving up others in the occupied territories…”
“What I learned when I was doing this incredible special with my son, going back to the Old Testament, was something fundamental that perhaps many of us forget. And that is… from the beginning, the three main religions, the monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, come from the same root. We are the Abrahamic faith. We follow the same patriarchs. And to be able to see that with my own eyes and follow their trails, whether it’s Abraham, Moses, whoever it might be, and take my son there was really, really amazing.”
Who do you consider the most important person that you’ve interviewed?
“I’ve had the very great opportunity to be on a platform, ABC and CNN, where I’ve been able to interview many, many important people throughout the last 20 years. I would say that from presidents to prime ministers, men and women, it’s all been really, really interesting. One of the most game-changing interviews I ever did was with the reform president of Iran. It was such a surprise, because everybody’s so used to the ayatollahs and just being anti-American and being very authoritarian to the Iranian people. Up comes this man, his name was Khatami. I got the first exclusive interview with him, and what he said really changed the way Iran behaved for many years and also the way the West and the rest of the world looked at Iran. So that, for me, in terms of how it was a cultural, political game-changer was very important.”
Lightning Round: iPhone or Blackberry?
“I use a Blackberry, but I think the iPhone technology is beautiful.”
Favorite movie of the year?
“Five Broken Cameras, about the Palestinian narrative in the occupied territories. The Gatekeepers, the Israeli film about interviewing all the security chiefs – it is fascinating. Searching for Sugar Man, about this fantastic singer who was unknown except in South Africa and now has a second life because of this film. The Invisible War, so important about the wholesale assault of women in the United States military. This must stop. The military is trying, but it must go all the way to make this stop.”
“I was raised in Iran, I love Persian food. It’s rice, it’s sauces, it’s warm, it’s comfortable. It’s delicious.”