« Desert Island Discs

Lyse Doucet, journalist

2022-01-30 | 🔗
Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s award-winning chief international correspondent, reporting from a range of postings including in Kabul, Islamabad, Tehran and Jerusalem for nearly 40 years. Lyse was born in Bathhurst, New Brunswick, in eastern Canada and after graduating with a master’s degree from the University of Toronto she set her sights on becoming a journalist. She took her first step by signing up with the volunteer agency Canadian Crossroads International which offered her a placement in Ivory Coast, West Africa. In 1982 the BBC set up a West Africa office and Lyse began filing reports as a freelance journalist. After stints working in London and Pakistan she made her first visit to Kabul in 1988 and covered the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. This trip was the beginning of her long association with the country – a country she now calls her ‘second home’. In 1989 she became the BBC’s Afghanistan and Pakistan correspondent and later on in her career she reported from India and Indonesia in the aftermath of the tsunami. In 2011 she played a leading role in the BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring, reporting from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. She was appointed an OBE in 2014 for services to British broadcast journalism and in 2019 she was admitted to the Order of Canada. DISC ONE: Habibi Nour Al Ain by Amr Diab DISC TWO: Passionate Kisses by Mary Chapin Carpenter DISC THREE: Searching for Abegweit (Live) by Lenny Gallant DISC FOUR: Annie’s Song by John Denver DISC FIVE: Bi Lamban by Toumani Diabate and Ballake Sissoko DISC SIX: L Einaudi: Elegy For The Arctic, composed and performed by Ludovico Einaudi DISC SEVEN: Here and Now by Derek Roche, featuring Kathy Evans DISC EIGHT: Dawn by The Orchestra of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music BOOK CHOICE: A Persian language book LUXURY ITEM: Essential oils CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Searching for Abegweit (Live) by Lenny Gallant Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music. Radio broadcasts, hallo unlearn event, and this is the desert island discs. Podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island and for rights reasons, the music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening. I My castaway this week is least do so she's made it her life's work to bring the stories of people at the sharp end of war, protest and political turmoil to millions as the BBC chief international correspondent for the past decade and a reporter for almost forty years,
Her reports, most notably from Afghanistan, have earned her global recognition with an obi and an order of canada? One of the highest on us, her home country, can bestow was born and raised in a large catholic family in a small town in eastern canada, where the values of kind and community went on to inform her work as a journalist. The human cost of war is what interests her and when she arrives in a place she embeds herself in the lives of the local people in two thousand and two. She went from gas, two reporter in a heartbeat. When an assassination attempt on her friend the former afghan president, whom it cause, I took place at a family wedding of the risks that come with her job, says no story is worth dying for, but there are stories worth taking risks for we have to protect our lives, but we also have to protect our journalism. These stories matter, they have to be told least doucet welcome to desert island is
what an honour to be here. So thank you for joining us something, even though less your work involves reporting on wars and thereafter Matthew never describe yourself as a war correspondent. Why not? I dont want to be defined by war to everyone. I know who lived in for once, nothing more than to get out of war, and I also don't want to think that my life of travel has been a life of going from one conflict to the other. It's been a life of ups and downs of light and dark of humor and happiness, and so I want to be defined by that whore about three letter. Word ward, this another important distinction that you make that perhaps follows that first idea on. That's your thought that international it is no longer foreign. That's important tee. Tell me more about that wearing the syrian story or the afghan story or the iraqi story. It's down our street and the families who moved in
in our schools where children of Different- just trees all learn together. I we say about these stories of our time that, even as in the most complicated income, next story. If you drill down what are they in essence? In essence, they are about mothers and fathers and streets and neighborhoods and societies. in these kind of human stories. They cross borders lace. It's time your first disk today. What have you chosen and why you taken it with you? It's called habibi, noodle line, which means in arabic. My dear the light of my I end. It was first released in the mid nineties when I was living in juice, I'm ended, lit up the dance floor was just after the signing of an israeli the stingy. End peace deal, the oslo accords and ninety ninety three, and while it it wasn't perfected, held out the possibility of peace, and I can still
Feel that moment of being on the dance floor with palestinians with arabs and sometimes israelis to all coming together with the beauty and the energy of dance and very young generation, it was such an extent in time Habibi a new line by I'm rudy job least set. You ve covered the turbulent story of conniston, since he first went out there for the bbc in nineteen eighty eight and you describe the countries
and whom we have very close friends. What are your personal feelings what's happening there today, following the withdrawal of american troops last august, painful, very painful. My pain of course is only of consequence to me in my closest friends, and I want to say that through there aren't afghans who supports the taliban. This is a very conservative country, but this was not just a leaving of a country a journey. This was leaving of for so many half kansas leaving, of themselves behind so much of who they were what they had worked for and who they want. It to be in all my years of reporting foreseen, seeing this kind of bit of a situation, and now this is what's
happening in Afghanistan not a day, goes by without a new message arriving in my email, in my whatever social media platform asking for help to leave the country and how to deal with them. not not well, it's obviously, but our job only a journalist to report, but for so many of us these just stories there part of our lives. The people we report on port with have been part of our lives for decades. And so we just report these stories. We feel these story, through our story as well, and I am torn, as Afghanistan also needs its its best and brightest, and some are staying and there be distributing to those who would starve if they didn't have people kind p. all to help them women who are still taking to the streets in ohio
cool students wishing girls and boys who want to be educated. They want go to university. They don't want to feel the world had abandoned them. So I won't afghanistan. To survive, but it also wants many afghans near and dear to me to survive as well its early days at thirty days? This, too shall pass this too. We shall pass and did watching your friends leave the country change your own views about belonging. I have come to believe that the work home is one of the most evocative the most powerful. The most beautiful were words in the english language and I felt it when I came back from months in Afghanistan and I went home in a way that so many of my half conference, I knew knew that, possibly they wouldn't never go home and I went to my cole, my little town on the
Beta, shut off the schiller bay, the bay of heat on the eastern corner of canada, and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape, also just washed in gratitude. I can come home, it didn't matter that had been a federal election, In canada, it didn't matter who was in power or not. I had the right to go home. Let's he had disc number two: what's it going to be and why the chosen it with its takes us in a completely different direction. This is called passionate, kisses we've heard about the passion of journalism, but there are other passions in the and this is by mary cheapen carpenter and american singer, and it really lyrics release spoke to me. This was released in the nineteen nineteen. You know. Is it too much to demand? I want a full house and a rockin ban pins that won't run out of ink and cool and quiet and time to think
women, often women, folk respond. You have choices to make about what matters to you in your life relationships versus the life that your rather nomadic life that you're living and, of course we all want to that in some way in some way, we can have it all we have to redefine what all is. We should try to have what matters to us ass now on a comparable, bad, mainly taken carpenter and passionate kisses lease diesel.
Let's go back to the beginning of your own story than you were born in bathurst new brunswick, which is on the east coast of cannon the little town. Now I once radio, Google, now, they'll find it what are you, memories of the place and of growing up there? You were probably connected to your family, but you're also connected to your community, and I grew up with a very strong fan rooted in a very strong family, six kids, three boys, three girls, and I think this is what has anchored me. Not just think. I know this is what has anchored me to allow me to go so far away is because I have something very strong which keeps me rooted. You backward leases, a mix of cultures, including irish, and also akkadian on your father's side that the occasions were french settlers who arrived on the east coast of canada in the seventeenth century, and they were actually deported by the british at the height of the seven years wall. It was very
violent deportation in which thousands of people died and as an utterly research the history of the occasions. What did you think when you discovered more about them? experience. Their story was a story of defeat of sadness, of loss of families, loss of identities. fast forward to where we are now in august, the fifteenth is a day of celebration of the akkadian people, because over the centuries they did come back. They came back to their lands and the occasions now have a national day. They haven't an anthem, they have a flag and who, incidentally, for me august fifteenth, is also the day
cobble. Afghanistan fell to the taliban, and I say now that tragedies can over time be turned into a revival of of what was lost. I've really come to admire what the akkadian people have. I think it's a historically it's a huge achievement, and one that I am. I am very proud of. I'm not. my family doesn't speak french barbecue be described as it is, and assimilated family. Even though some of my answer and uncles do speak but I thought my name is least to set. These are both french name site. I've learned french because it's it's part of who I am
inches often get in touch asking about your accent lease, especially at the beginning of your your career. When you were broadcasting from west africa, I think you even have to explain it on air. What did that involve? I would have to go on the program which, at the time, took listeners, questions and sold those I think, the last time I did it they they said I you haven't Adrian ancestry, and so I said yes, it's my katy in revenge. They didn't give us our land back, but they gave me a job and I got a letter from akkadian from around the world, including someone is that leaves you the cylinder yawn of broadcasting intercourse that so far fetched, but it was an eye you, sir It was a nice saw, it was a nice compliment. I think it's time for disk number. Three, sadly, not silly. You ve got something else for us. What what have you chose had once your next election today, it's from
by any and who is from prince edward island, which is a neighbouring province to my own and its celebrate that rich heritage of of my region, which, of course is a canvas both of a sometimes painful history, but also a canvas of many many different cultural influences. The indigenous people predominantly magma. The akkadian people and the chaotic influences irish and and scottish my brother. Few years ago sent this song. He went to illegal and constantly sent to all of us, and he said this siblings said this reminds me of growing up in in bathurst new brunswick, so this is searching for a big way. searching
such aid on a searching surging shall dearest, lacks lenny gallant searching for adequate least to set your father. Clarence was a supervisor at the local paper mill, audio memories of him I think for many men of his generation, that work is what define In them and my aim, we were laughing When my father had to do his report, like everything had to come to a standstill your father's doings report, no stopping that music stop standing in the hallway. Looking at yourself in the in the mirror, but he was very
loving father, and he did me time to some of your family holidays. Everyone piling in the back of a light green station wagon in going to the end of green gables and prince edward island, and then my mother. Who really was that the rock of the household? She I lovely to my mother's stories and chow, she tells about that you how she had to fight for her education, her mother lillian. giving money bordering money, but even like hiding it- be that the money she made from selling the butter from the farm saw her daughters would get educate It is as well as your sons and my mother after she finished high school went and worked at a bank, and then she became a mother and she poured her heart and soul into it, and I have to say I too meets two we women who say that they grew up with their mothers pressures and expectations, and my mother, all was whatever you do is is
fine. You know if you, whatever your grades, are that's good enough. You did did well of learning, though so she Didn'T- have to push much dickie. I remember you, you have these snapshot in your fine of running down the street to the local corner, store run by the family called asked and I didn't know growing up. I only found out decades later that the family was from lebanon. We thought they had interesting food good and interesting names. We never knew then like, whereas Lebanon. But I remember you know my teepee toll was going up in pointing in getting a little note book with the crests of all the provinces and territories in canada, and so that's for me For me, journalism is also just continuing my education of the world time for this. none before then release what's in X, choice. This song annie song, it's my mother's favorite song and I'd like to think I can see when I slam opened the door when I come back from school. She sitting at her
sewing machine how well kids are all at school and in those moment of quiet, I'd like to think my mother was listening to any song, like like the man Then what What and like asleep. You. denver and Annie song. I want to ask about your first break lease, how you you took your first steps into journalism, so eve and university. In nineteen. Eighty, two new joint volunteer agency call canadian crossroads international. I think
m that put you in a placement to the ivory coast in west africa, and it was at a small private school on. You said that it was an experience that changed your life being there What way I've it's such a good. I started in the like a village living in the village and being part of the village She was such a good way to to start to be part of the heat and dust of of that community. It also sharpened up the the questions that you asked. I think there was a particular incident, and you know this is something that you you've gone on to do. Making an effort to to talk to women in a community that was born incident. I think I will the pounding, yams women, village repenting out, and you were asking them questions in and they complete. Around what you're thinking one day and you know in the village, had so pay what a great name had so pay their report impounding anything I caught? It takes such a lot of effort.
and I said to one of the girls I said: wouldn't you like to have another kind of life and pounding. The yams and you it was in front of a formal sitting, has just been what a stupid question. Why would you ask, and why would I answered question because I can't have another life and it was my first brush with being told like K journal, try to understand better the society to understand what it is, how we live and what matters to us and what can change for us now? I'd like to think that a lot of people in societies where I visit that those who do want change- but this was my first a rude awakening and come on, get better with your questions. Let's have some more music lease number five: what's it going to be the cora it's plates empty in the sahel countries of west africa
Sahel is a belt which goes right across the african continent between the deserts of the north and the human savannas of the south. When I hear the core rights it's my heart sores. It brings me back to those landscapes and one of the albums yo peace. By used to listen to when I lived in west africa ancient new strings with two moneyed YAP tank was one of the great masters of cora with molokai ceased both of them are from Molly, and this is called be long the.
beloved ban to me
Need your body and molokai, Sissoko least, to set you the bbc in west africa. First, several years on and ninety nine, you became the broadcasters, afghanistan and pakistan correspondent. It taken your first trip to Afghanistan, the previous christmas. What you member vita, I still remember, going to the desk of- hotel- and this of course was was a harsh winter? It was the cold war when soviet troops were in afghanistan and in this the hotel, be? There was no one else there. There was dimly lit I can still see the the perception is on the other side sing, and how long will you stay, and I thought well? Is it going to be six days six weeks, and I think I said six weeks, but of course here I am.
and was it the story? Was it the country? Was it the people that kept you going back? It's just in the warp in width of life that sometimes countries cross our path and their our paths become the When did you ever feel at a disadvantage working as a female journalist know, but in my case I was working in predominantly muslim countries. At the time where did you see women as people to be protected for journalists who translates into giving you privileges? Of course, I'm so a provision, don't wanta you're in a year in our rusty helicopter flying over the hindu kush. When you worry about rockets and wood I mean in the mountains and they give you the front seat. They release you sit in front of the all banks or you get the front seat of the basque people. Take take care of you Maybe they see you as less neighing end, but also hope and kenneth its heart. Isn't it that army chiefs of staff, soldiers leaders.
the poor, their part in Seoul t, because they see you as a they. Dont have signed their family. Often they don't meet women and their use, To some one to to listen, and they will near they tell you: share their story. He became a friend of Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, and, as I mentioned earlier, you find yourself could open it oscillation attempt on him at a family wedding in kandahar in two thousand and two to you. And approached the president one to pay his respects, but the other opened fire How do you remember the incident very worm in that? It's so hard now, these days to have exclusives, but there we were exclude exclusive and we received security. People called up and said lee's. Were you wearing your flak jacket body armor, I said well, no. I was at a wedding. You don't wear a flak jacket to a wedding which has reminded me that sometimes these risks happen when you least expect them, but it's it's engine
simple that present cars. I thought that it had been his american bodyguards who saved him, but when we were finally flew back to kabul in the dead of night, he watched the BBC report morning and saw that. Did it actually been an afghan boy? Is that boy you love? The president jumped on the other boy who was firing the gun. The boy was killed, but he stopped the assassination attempt. So he was the hero, so it change than now native army, instead of it being armored cars, I said by american bodyguards. Although they did play a role, it was Hamid Karzai saved by brave afghan boy. It's time for your next disc lease. What's it going to be well, it's called an elegy for the arctic and it's by one of our most brilliant pianists of our time, the italian pianist
And composer ludovico in audi harm, it was done for greenpeace was filmed in the arctic and my sister andrea, introduce me to his music and you can hear not just the music of a piano, but the music of nature telling us help help in our climate crisis of our time, elegy for the arctic. The.
the. The. Yeah energy, the arctic ludovico. I least set in twenty eleven. You began reporting on civil war in syria now, if described it as a war on child, and you ve made many powerful films featuring children from all sides. Does the story that
odin tell cut to the heart of what is happening in a different way: happening time and again after our ride to finish a syria trip, and I think back about what was staying with me. What touched me the most? What were the stories of courage, because there was always so many and more often than not it was a child who had stood up spoke out, did something brave. They were able to articulate and All these stories themselves and children often feature in our stories as they should, but sometimes there there, because you know their expressions, are they the look of children there so innocent, but I benighted memory was a sort of, but was a a change in my my approach to journalism. I thought we should tell their stories, but allow them to tell the stories themselves and
I have said about your role in the past. I don't believe in emotional broadcasting, but I do believe in empathy. Tell me that the distinction, my feeling is that getting emotional is not really part of our broadcasting. Something happens and it's part of the story. There was a story that did from Afghanistan where I was at the airport. He was interviewing a journalist and she was in tears and you could tell my my voice by my whips caught in my throat and I was also finding it really really difficult. So I too, I don't believe in emotional because I mean just would have lost control of villiers storytelling but empathy, I absolutely believe in. Although people would we get this even people, emailing or messaging us all your taking sides. This buys whenever I believe see ingrained in all of us that we don't take sides in our reporting, but I feel no hesitation, and taking the side of the people there,
children in syria who were targeted, tortured traumatize- and I do see my job as a journalist to try to feel a little bit about what they are. Going through. They are no different from you are I put ourselves and other people shoes lease. Let's take a break for some music to seventh choices, What is it and why you taking it with you to the island, the next song I want to play is called here and now, and it was composed by my brother in law. Derek approach is a brilliant. Sir musician plays many instruments in the backup. Vocals are by a canadian singer. The evans and it was composed at my window on the baying, where, where we up or baby to shut up, it's a lovely tribute
in the early morning, waiting on a sunrise and being on a couple of the way Paul manages the grasses blowing softly by the wind? The yellow flowers grow in the sky is everywhere clearer than I've ever here and now by Derek Roche least. He said what about getting back to that place. testing to normality once your home, especially if you ve been witness to something or experience something traumatic how'd, you do that things day with you, but it's important to and we have to take care of ourselves to in the same way we try to take care of other people, and for me this was such a fan of san. After months there I did go home. I did just go by the water's edge and spend time with my family.
not been going to bed with this, the sound of the waves at the birds on being there First snow thank cards with my aunt, john calls to remind ourselves of the way that life should be in the way that it should be for so many people who live with longing that it should be that today, one day for them your job is unpredictable. All consuming you know you described earlier is a nomadic life. Have you had to make sacrifices in you in your personal life so that you can follow the career that you still love? We think is important not to live with regret along the way there been choices, relationships which didn't work out or proposals which I entertain. But then life took different turns, but the way it's worked out, yes, it's worked out when, in a way that I'm I'm happy that I live constantly.
bathed in the sense of gratitude gratitude for the life that I live, the friends that I have The people who love me and I love them, and in return I'm clean he reminded of how gratitude is so much a part of of who I am. I'm about to cast your way to our desert island of costly sport approach. Will you take to building a life there? My wonder many years ago I started detecting, I think, is very important to find calm in the midst of the storms and to try to be curious, explore the island find ways to embrace the day and vivid your best day every day, one more piece of music before you go? What's it going to pay This is a piece of music I have to confess. I still can't really listen to it. Without crying it's called dawn. It was composed
by a sixteen year. Old afghan cellist mean a creamy she's, studying at interlocking arts academy in the united states. The peace was arranged and conducted by your fellow classmate twenty year old said the time and venus our son for him he's now studying in Boston, would also entry we said he would mean a decided that this peace, which about women's rights, would be incomplete. Because the story of women's rights has still not been written in afghanistan and, of course they didn't know. None of us knew even the taliban didn't know that by the end of the year and a few months time. The taliban would be back in power have connections to the music where our solid meaner studying would be closed down. Physicians would be on the run in women being erased from public life. But I still say, they're to meet the needs of all afghans. But it's a difficult time Please you in afghanistan last summer, do you
none to return. I think I needed a bit of time, but of course I will go back to us. Stand because afghanistan is still part of me The
The the
don't composed by cellist, mina, carry me with us and for him, performed by meaner with the afghanistan national institute of musics orchestra solely stew, that I'm gonna send you away to the islands, I'm giving you, the bible and the complete works of shakespeare to take with you. You can take one of the boot. What will it be? I think I'm going to take a book to study or keep studying the persian language such beautiful musical language. I love words, ends so and discover in. Another language is always of delight, so it will keep me very busy and my mind occupied. Those are the luxury item. What would you like? I think I will take what I'd take now is a luxury item, and I take it enough that I share them around with my colleagues and friends and that's essential oils, small files of essential oils, their good for health good for it gee I wake up in the morning and I used to say,
shell oil said I, like the blends that I like to help me wake up, but to the days I think that is a luxury that I I'd like to have him, of course, essential lorries are from the earth, so who knows, I could maybe even make a few myself. Finally, least, which one track of the eight that you share with us today, would you saved from the waves if you had to it's a really difficult choice, but I think our good take searching for have a great by legal and because it reminds us of the importance of knowing where we come from to know where we are going in who you are, and it also reminds us of the struggles of people but also their survival, and their celebration least he sat. Thank you very much, for letting us here. Your desert, island discs. Lauren is one such of leisure.
I hope you enjoy Conversation with lease will leave it to get to grips with persian, grandma energizing, essential oils might be necessary for that with, too many of the correspondence, including endlessly John simpson, Alex Crawford on christine alarm. You can find their episodes in Alan discs programme archive I'm through BBC sands, the steward Manager for today's programme was Sarah Hockley. The assistant producer was christine Pavlovsk II and the producer must pull him again. The next time I guessed will be the statisticians professor said David spiegel halter. I do hope. You'll join us. Lunch Jonathan myerson, am I right: and directed nuremberg, the new scripted port
nuremberg? So I grew up taking this my father draw for granted with several of the british prosecutors war criminals with nuremberg million grew up. Taking this huge trial for granted. The trial major nazi war criminals with six million murdered and ten in enslaved, how didn't happen in the justice, it wasn't until I started researching that I discovered bag very nearly didn't happen in the end up your delivered Sentences were carried out, but justice was your vengeance. Subscribe to nuremberg on BBC sounds, and you have your own mind.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-05.