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An Interview With

Mavis Leno


June 15, 2007

 

 

Introduction

This year in ninth grade we studied the history, culture, and current problems of Afghanistan. In an attempt to understand some of the issues better, I sought the help of Mavis Leno. In com parison to her very public husband, Mrs. Leno has chosen to devote her time to women’s rights. She has been intensely involved in the problems relating to gender apartheid in Afghanistan. In 1996 she started her work with the Feminist Majority Foundation and is now Chair of the Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls.

"This is one of the most egregious human rights violations on earth and nobody was paying any attention to it whatsoever."

-Mavis Leno

Spencer:


In 1997 shortly after the Taliban’s brutal treatment of women began you became a voice and support for these women. With your involvement in the Family’s Majority Foundation you helped establish the Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls. My questions today largely relate to your work on this campaign.

You had said it is difficult to force social change. The Afghan culture is very difficult from ours. Does this make it difficult for you to accomplish these goals?


Mrs. Leno:


No. You know what you’re getting into at the beginning of things with human rights issues. Afghanistan, although it’s not a large country contains over 100 cultures because it’s a historic crossroads for countries that surround it. So this has in part had a liberalizing influence on the country, but it also has the same problems that actually we have in America. Wherever there is a huge amount of immigration and a lot of different cultures there are a lot of different versions about how everybody should behave, including women. And in the cities just as in any Western country or any country in the world, in the cities people were quite sophisticated prior to first the war with the Russians and then the Taliban of course was the big debacle. And women basically occupied pretty much the same professional status that women have in America. It was up to them as to how to dress. Very conservative Muslim women voluntarily wore the burka.

Most of them dressed in a modified Islamic matter or they were free to dress in a completely Western manner if they wished to. And, you know, girls went to school with boys and played sports. Women were doctors, lawyers, every profession including elected office. So they had advanced quite a long way down the road, in the cities. In the rural areas it was much more conservative. However, women did not follow the sort of life that was dictated by the Taliban for them to follow because it wasn’t practical. Most of rural Afghanistan is Agrarian and the labor force is your family so women were definitely needed to help with everything and you cannot do that wearing a burka. And you cannot do that without showing any portion of your body and you can’t always do it accompanied by a close male relative. So this was unrealistic and against the cultural behavior of all of the Afghanistan prior to the Taliban.

The Taliban Edicts were issued as soon as they were able to take over the country. They took over the country at gunpoint. There was no popular consensus for them in any part of the country. Their edicts were that women will not work in any capacity whatsoever. Of course that was a hideous blow for the women, not only because you loved to do the profession that you had learned and practiced, but because it was a huge monetary disaster. Thanks to the war with the Russians and then the war amongst the mujahideen. There’s a huge disparity between the amount of men and women in the country because so many men were killed in all these long wars.

They were single mother’s basically and of course, like most traditional cultures they were not only caring for their kids, but for extended family, parents, grandparents, in-laws and so forth. So, this was a debacle for them in a very basic way. And then it was a disaster for the society because there was nobody to fill the positions they took them from. There’s no doubt in my mind that women advanced more quickly in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban because there weren’t enough trained men anymore to do the work that these women learned to do because either very educated people very often just flood the country. And then of course again a lot of men were filled.

You lose your university professors, your nurses, your teachers, your doctors. I mean all the people that really hold the framework of society together. And they replace them with the Taliban who by in large were completely uneducated because the place that they were trained in, mostly in Pakistan were in a religious madrasa. A madrasa is actually a religious school. They are all over the Islamic world and in any country that has an Islamic population. They’re just religious schools. They aren’t sinister in any way, however; in Pakistan they were using them as orphanages as well as schools. And many parents sent their sons out of Afghanistan because of the fighting to keep them from being taken in as soldiers. And many, many boys were orphaned. And they would flee over the border to escape the war and the disastrous conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan had to do something with them so they put them in these religious schools. And these religious schools taught this very pernicious ultra fundamentalist form of Islam that has nothing to do with Islamic practice as is commonly followed in the rest of the world.


Spencer:


And the Taliban sponsored these schools?


Mrs. Leno:


Well, they not so much sponsored them as came out of them. It was these fanatic clerics that taught in these schools that created. They don’t learn to read. They don’t learn to write. They’re not numerate or literate, all they learn is this. And the really sad part of it is that really they did not have a lot of choice in their path in life.

And they had no way to compare their ideas about what was in the Koran with what they were being taught because they couldn’t read. And even if they had been able to read it’s hard to come by a Koran in that part of the world that isn’t in Arabic. And these people spoke Pashtun and those languages. They did not speak Arabic. So, you know, you take all the educated women that are working out of the world so to speak, lock them up in their houses and you have no one to replace them with because the people that have taken them over are not educated or capable.

They were also very young. Many, many, maybe the majority were between 17 and 25 so it was a very bad situation and the hardest thing was simply to get it into the newspapers that this was not the way the women lived before because it got very, very little news coverage before we started trying to get some. And the main reason was that so many journalists just assumed that they lived some version of this before the Taliban and this was just not the case.


Spencer:


In the book, The Bookseller of Kabul, Sultan Kahn quoted the poet Ferdusi, “To succeed you must sometimes be a wolf and sometimes a lamb.” Which are you, a wolf or a lamb?


Mrs. Leno:


I would say – let’s say I have wolf tendencies. I think that one of the things that might have helped get this rolling when I spoke on the subject in the beginning is that I felt such intense rage at what had been done to these women and the indifference of the media to it. I mean this is one of the most egregious human rights violations on earth and nobody was paying any attention to it whatsoever, which spoke to a feeling that I’ve had many times earlier. When people would talk about human rights they would conveniently forget that 50% of the human race is female because everything that happened to women tended to be shoved off on culture or religion. Well excuse me, but there is a limit to what you can do to people for either of those reasons. In the first place, you know, human sacrifice was religious and cannibalism was cultural and we don’t tolerate those things.

In the second place it’s a joke to pretend that these women in any way can consent to the culture because they have no means by which they could ascend. They can’t have passports, they can’t vote, they can’t have money of their own, their own families would prefer to see them in the most miserable and abusive marital situation rather than have the shame of seeing their daughter leave. It creates a situation in which the person is a prisoner of their society, not an ascending member. So I really saw this as an issue which is not only urgently worth addressing in it’s own right, but which would also kind of open a discussion on why we don’t attack what happens to women with the same vigor that we attack what happens to men. I think Afghanistan was the line in the sand that women drew and put the world on notice that that’s never going to happen again without an outcry from free women.


Spencer:


Do you think right now we’re doing that, we’re trying to take it with the same force as we do with men’s rights?


Mrs. Leno:


I think so. Now people get very, very angry about how women are treated as well as how men are treated. And I think you’re too young to remember this, but for a very long time it was actually a liberal position that, you know, you honor and respect people’s culture no matter how much it clashes with the beliefs you follow in your own culture. That was because of course earlier on there had been a lot of missionaries and western people in general, western business people and so forth coming into countries who have very different cultures and trying to impose their own beliefs or standards on those culture. So it became a liberal position that his was wrong, but in fact you know you can’t take such a black and white view of things. And it happened that very seldom was their treatment of women considered wrong by these western people.

So, now I think that people are more than willing to look around and say what’s happening to her, not just what’s happening to him.


Spencer:


I guess it’s hard because in America we believe in freedom of religion. In America we don’t practice as they do in Afghanistan.


Mrs. Leno:


Afghanistan has always been an Islamic country, although, you know it has a minority of other religions in it. It is more or less entirely Islamic. And under the Islamic governments of the past women have been given equal rights with men since I think around the ‘60’s. So it wasn’t really how they practice Islam and there are many, many other countries practicing Islam that don’t take this strict view on how to treat women. And in fact, some things that the Taliban have done contradict what the Koran says. For instance, they forbid women to be educated anymore and the Koran has an absolute order that any person in any station of life in either gender, any circumstance, any age has a moral and religious obligation as a Muslim to accept any education that is offered to them. And there are a lot of inconsistencies like this. The Koran is actually more liberal towards women than the Bible. This is definitely about fundamentalism and tribalism.


Spencer:


So how does the Taliban justify this? You see them say it’s in the Koran.


Mrs. Leno:


Well, they don’t know what’s in the Koran because most of them have never read it. They were taught again by people who had a very distorted view of Islam and also, I mean we see this in every religion, we see it all the time in America. You know, there are very liberal and conservative versions of Christianity, very liberal and conservative versions of Judaism, etc, etc. Because basically people tend to try and take their cultural and ethnic beliefs and impose them on the religion they’re following. And also, when you go back to what religion’s originally said when they sprang up their messages, they are remarkably similar. Once you start to see how it works in the culture it’s frequently adopted by the people that are in power and turned into a version of morality and religious belief that you should do whatever is required to keep losing power. And that certainly has caused women to be second class citizens in almost every religion, but that’s changing, but here in the west as well as in Islam there are people who don’t want it to change.


Spencer:


Yesterday I met with Sister Janet Harris who for over 30 years has been the voice for troubled teenagers in the LA area. She gives meaning to a phrase you have used, “Maba shuma hasteem,” which in Pashtun means, “We are with you.” You, like Sister Janet have let those who are oppressed or alone in their fight know that someone is trying to help. How important is this?


Mrs. Leno:


Oh I think it’s urgent because what happened in Afghanistan is very similar to what Hitler did in Germany and it’s what most dictators and tyrants do.


Spencer:


A very dark war.


Mrs. Leno:


Exactly. What happens is you take all communication with the rest of the world out of the country. They tore down the satellites, they confiscated radios. Not a lot of people have television, but they confiscated that and took away computers which was a very big thing in Afghanistan.

So they’ve isolated the country. No one can tell their story to the outside world. They were very hostile to any press that tried to come in and see first hand what was going on except in the very early days some western media was allowed in, but they quickly realized it was a mistake and that was the end of that. So not only have these women gone from leading very full and practical and useful lives to living in their houses in those burka’s which are just a nightmare.

With the burka there is no peripheral vision. And the mesh does not come down to your nostrils so you have to breath through the cloth. Under the Taliban there were savage punishments, beatings, even killing sometimes because their religious police didn’t follow any rules.

So they have thee savage punishments for a woman who would accidentally show her ankle or something like that, but the burka is only joined up to about here and then it’s open in the front and you have to hold it closed.

You can barely breathe and you only have one hand to do anything with because the other one has to be holding this closed for fear of being beaten to death by some psycho 18 year old, you know. So they were in these dreadful circumstances and on top of everything else they had no way to know whether anybody knew what happened to them or cared or was trying to do anything.

So that was the first order of business because it took us a long time to get in place things that we could do to get into the country and help the women and that was mostly done by helping to fund or give funds to already existing Afghan woman’s NGO’s [non-governmental organization] that had been formed mostly in Pakistan by the refugee camps because it was too dangerous for them to be in Afghanistan. They would go in smuggling medical stuff for women that could no longer get medical treatment and equipment and training. They would setup home schools for girls who could no longer be educated. In the beginning we didn’t have those connections.

So the main thing that we thought that we could do at the start was get everybody aware that this was happening and then, you know, get women in particular angry and ready to participate in whatever needed to be done. You know, I do a lot of speaking now and this is something I can’t ever emphasize enough when I speak to people. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. People think, well what can I do? You can write the State Department. Believe me, all politicians, rich, poor, influential, whatever, they all have to get reelected. And if you’re telling them that your vote hinges on how they act towards this issue that you care about believe me, it gets attention. And it was effective for us, you know, before 9/11 when all of a sudden everybody wanted to help. We had managed to get such a flood of letters and petitions into the State Department that they told us for two years running this was by far the biggest set of complaints that they got about any human rights issue.


Spencer:


That was a wake-up call.


Mrs. Leno:


Exactly. Well it gave us access then because when you want to do something through the State Department you run into bureaucracy. A lot of the people that have the final say so or can stick something in a little technical snarl and leave it there forever are not elected officials, they’re government employees. They just don’t want to lose their job, that’s all they care about. And anything you do presents more of a risk of losing your job than to not do it. So they definitely don’t want to do anything they’re not already doing. And so it took a while to really shove through some of the things that we wanted, but we were able eventually to get permission from the State Department to bring any girl from Afghanistan that we could get out of the country and get her a scholarship and living accommodations in this country. And that allowed us to do a lot of good.

We also, we asked them then and we’re asking them now to give government funding to small indigenous NGO’s. Their problem they say, and I understand it, it is a legitimate question, is accountability. You know, if you’ve got a NGO that’s run by six women who only speak Pashtun it’s harder to find out are they really doing what they say they’re doing, is the money going where it’s supposed to go? However, I’m not knocked out with the accountability of the big NGO’s. There have certainly been a lot of scandals about that. And it is so much effective to go through these little NGO’S, at least in Afghanistan. I don’t have experience of them in other countries.

In Afghanistan first of all if you have an all woman NGO, those women know exactly what the situation is in every territory in Afghanistan because as it stands right now some parts of Afghanistan are working very well as far as women and their rights go. But a lot of others have become more conservative than they were after the Taliban were defeated because the Taliban are trying to creep back in and they’re using a terrorist campaign to do it. Then there are parts that are very difficult to penetrate. These women know what language and culture the particular area follows. Because they’re women they will be welcome to do things for the women in any area which a man would not be welcome to do. If they can’t speak the dialect or language of the particular area, they know where to get somebody who can, and they know the method that works. They know the people to talk to. And if you get these big NGO’s they have the money and the organization and sometimes a long history of working in their particular area, but they don’t have this. And of course everything that they do costs a lot more money because they have bureaucracies. And you know Afghanistan is a very poor country.

It doesn’t cost much to do something that will make a difference there. And these women, you know, they know how to make every penny count. Right now we’re working on a plan in conjunction with Dr. Sema Semar, who is head of Human Rights. She was the head of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan. And we worked with her almost from the beginning of our campaign when she was living in Pakistan and in this country going back and forth trying to do something for the women and against the Taliban. And you know, now she’s the head of Human Rights there. And my God, she works in all these little villages in Afghanistan and then she works in Darfur.


Spencer:


Talk about genocide.


Mrs. Leno:


Oh my God. And she’s a very optimistic person.


Spencer:


Well you have to be when you’re doing that kind of work.


Mrs. Leno:


Absolutely. She has talked to us about one of the big problems in Afghanistan for women right now is that they have the second highest mortality of women in childbirth in the world. And so they also are in need of jobs that women who live in rural areas. If you want to equalize a woman’s position in a society, that’s the quickest way. When somebody has money, suddenly their status is elevated, no matter what.

So in rural areas they’re really, you know no matter what you might be able to train the woman to do she’s going to have to move somewhere else to do it you know because there’s really farming and that’s about it. So one of the things that a lot of NGO’s are doing is teaching these women things that they can do in their home, you know, rug weaving and things like this. But another thing that would be so obvious and useful would be to train these women as midwives. Then you would have women earning, without having to remove themselves from their culture and their area. It is culturally comfortable in every part of Afghanistan for a woman to help a woman who is pregnant and in childbirth. And of course it’s going to save a lot of lives. And it’s so inexpensive to do this. It’s just heart rendering that this hasn’t been funded before. So, you know, it’s one of the important things that we’re still working on with the government is to get government funding for some of these programs and let people who are of the culture and in the culture take care of things because they know how to do it.


Spencer:


In school we study the importance of opium to the economy and Afghanistan. And the U.S. wants to destroy the opium trade because it funds the Taliban. However, many villagers as you know rely on the opium to survive. What is your opinion on what needs to be done?


Mrs. Leno:


Well it’s very obvious. We have actually a very similar problem in this country in the states that grow tobacco. You know, tobacco spoils soil for other plants so one of the biggest problems that people, like senators and representatives from those tobacco states have is they don’t want their farmers to go under, but of course they don’t want smoking to continue to be subsidized in any way whatsoever. So there’s a lot of work being done on alternative uses for the land that has tobacco on it now. The same thing would work fine over there.

The whole thing is, every program that we initiate has to be two-fold. It has to be get rid of this, and then part two, put this in its place. We have completely failed to do that in Afghanistan on every level. We got rid of the Taliban, but we didn’t help the new government with the things we told them we were going to help them with. And it wasn’t just us, the allies didn’t do this either you know. If only everyone would step up with what they originally promised in terms of funding for reconstruction and peacekeepers on the ground.

And they also dabble in human trafficking and gun running so everything you don’t want to have going on. And of course they don’t want stability to come to this country and the government that is in place now to prevail because that government is dedicated to eradicating all the ways they’re making a living and also because ciaos is the friend of evil. So what we have to do is get rid of the opium by giving these people some kind of alternative.


Spencer:


Yes that’s so important. What I found interesting was most of the Afghan people don’t seem to be drug addicts.


Mrs. Leno:


You know what is very interesting there is we got a lot of information about a year before 9/11. All the people that we were talking to who were in and out of Afghanistan started telling us that a lot of the Taliban were becoming heroin addicts. I think it’s because things were not going very well there and basically, I mean these people deeply believed in their religion, there’s no question about that. Even if they were hideously nasty and misguided they definitely thought that they were doing what Allah wanted and that they would be rewarded accordingly and then everything started to go wrong and that didn’t jive with what they believed or what they had been taught. And it was clear that everything was sliding downhill. And I think they became very depressed and they started turning to using heroin.

Hit a bad patch, become depressed, things don’t seem to be going where you want them to go, here’s a little relief. However, I don’t know if there is much heroin use in terms of the non-Taliban community, the farmers and so forth. Possibly because although they live a hard and basic life it’s also a simple family-centered life so they probably don’t. It’s a life where they have absolute faith in their religion. So they have, I think a lot of emotional reassurance that a more complex city life doesn’t give you.

It’s very important for people to remember that drugs are political. Drugs come into this country, both from Latin America and from the Middle Eastern countries. They are definitely sold not only with the thought of profit, but with the thought of destabilizing the western governments.

They are so demonized and people are so terrified that something – you know, people are liberal until it comes to their kids. So when it comes to drugs there’s always this terror about your kids if we let it be licensed in any capacity or allow any form of drugs be legalized. Furthermore, there are many people who sell drugs who don’t want drugs legalized.

If you took almost any person from anywhere in the west or the successful eastern countries and plopped them down on a farm in any region of Afghanistan to live for a week, they would have a huge response. But for some reason when you tell people, it doesn’t penetrate in the same way. After 9/11 a woman put out a documentary that got wide coverage and in it was about the stoning of a woman and a beheading of a woman in an arena. Now we knew that that footage had existed for a long time because a very radical activity feminist group in Pakistan had smuggled somebody into Afghanistan to take the film, which is one of the few advantages of the burka.

You can be up to a lot without anybody knowing what you’re doing or who you are. And they finally decided to let this woman use it. And people, friends of mine, people that I had spoke to on this issue for years and years, the next time I saw them after this documentary came out they said, “Oh my God, we saw that, it was unbelievable. I had no idea.” It’s like how many times did I tell you? What do you mean you had no idea?

The film got a huge response. It was a hugely effective tool and I think it was one of the things, including I like to think our work, that helped to cause our government to say that the return of women’s human and civil rights in Afghanistan was a non-negotiable issue as far as the new Afghan constitution was concerned.


Spencer:


How long have you been with this Women’s Feminist Majority Foundation?


Mrs. Leno:


I joined the Feminist Majority in, well I started working with them at the end of ’96 because they had a bill here for the election that year here in California that would eliminate affirmative action so I got on board with them on that. And I had been looking to get back into activism and feminism with a particular emphasis on women’s human rights which I thought feminism in general was dropping the ball on as far as other countries. And as soon as I started working with the Foundation I realized that they were cutting edge and doing everything that I thought should be done. They had already taken on board this one international issue which was Afghanistan. They were having trouble getting the ball rolling.

Now we have problems with press coverage because the government I believe would like everybody to just consider Afghanistan all fixed, because they are pouring all this money into Iraq. We’re already going to have a huge fiscal disaster because of the money we’ve spent there and will have to spend in the future. And it’s hard then to decide to go back and try and do what you should have done in the beginning in Afghanistan or what we said we’d do. So there’s this tendency to not get much coverage about how badly things are disintegrating there and they are disintegrating very badly and its urgent that we go back because otherwise this will happen again.

Exactly the same thing will have to be done in ten or twelve years that we’ve already done. The Taliban will come back. They will be a welcoming, nurturing culture for terrorism. The terrorists will do something to us again and back we will have to go. And all the people that died the first time will have died for absolutely nothing. All the money, all the man power and woman power, the destruction of so many things in the country, all down the drain as it had never been done because we’ll have to do it again and that is just insane.

 

Spencer:


We seem to know how it’s going to happen. How do we fix that so it doesn’t happen?

Mrs. Leno:


We step up to the plate and really do what we said we’d do in the first place. We go back. I mean, they’re pleading for help. All of them, please, more peacekeepers, more rebuilding of infrastructure which is very important because first of all you can’t really – there’s a lot of natural resources in Afghanistan, particularly mining, gemstone, and oil resources that could definitely be one way that you could take people off the opium profit you know.

 

Spencer:


A different form of income.

Mrs. Leno:


If there aren’t roads and bridges that take you from one place to another you can’t set up an industry. It has to be carted and then as the country falls more and more into an uneasy situation where things are here one day and blown up the next by terrorists, you know it does not encourage people from the rest of the world to invest in factories and manufacturing over there which could easily happen if it was stabilized. It’s just we have to go back, we have to address what is happening. A lot of war lords are creeping into the government now and this is no good for women and it’s no good for Afghanistan. We should have finished the job, but we didn’t. You know, it was though we thought once the Taliban were defeated they would evaporate, but of course they’re still there and they want to come back.

 

Spencer:


They’re not as powerful.

Mrs. Leno:


They’re not as powerful, but unfortunately Pakistan is very supportive of the Taliban so they give them safe harbor and money and so forth. And our swell friends the Saudi’s give them money too.

 

Spencer:


Right. We need to be friendly with the Saudi’s for the oil.


Mrs. Leno:


You have to pursue what is realistic and as long as we’re shooting up oil, you know, that’s our big addiction, our government is never going to say anything about Saudi Arabia until the royals fall. And that probably will happen within the next 10 or 15 years and then we got hell to pay. That is going to bad.


Spencer:


Our military is so strained right now, if there was attack in American we wouldn’t know how to resurface. So it’s going to be hard to get back to Afghanistan even after Iraq. Because after Iraq they’re going to want to bring the troops home.


Mrs. Leno:


We went in there and took out a man who, nobody’s going to argue he’s an evil man, but that country was a secular country. And women had a much better life under Saddam than they have right now. Now they’re back to veils and burka’s and religious police and stuff that they did not have for a long, long time. And obviously, I mean if you’ve seen any documentary footage of what is going on there, you only have to see about 20 minutes of anything like that to realize that naturally it’s tragic that our soldiers get killed there, but for every one of our people a hundred of their people are dying, people that have nothing to do with any of this. They’re just shopkeepers and family people and they can barely conduct their lives. It’s hideous. So we can’t leave them in that. We have to stay to help at least you know.


Spencer:


We are in Afghanistan to some extent aren’t we?


Mrs. Leno:


Oh yeah, we are. We are not there in the numbers that we need. And we just are out of funds. One things that we are trying to do right now, and we have a lot of support now for it in the Congress is to request that the funding for Afghanistan and the funding for Iraq not be together the way they are now, but to be separated so we can really see what Iraq is getting and what Afghanistan is getting, really what they’re supposed to be getting. Because everybody likes to expose things in the government, but when you try to get funding for it it’s a whole different issue.


Spencer:


You can talk about it, but you don’t support it.


Mrs. Leno:


Yeah. I mean I’ve done the rounds more than once to try to get things that have already been passed, you know measures to help people in Afghanistan that have already been passed without any descent whatsoever and signed by the president no problem.


Spencer:


But you can’t fund it.


Mrs. Leno:


But when you try to get people to fund it they’re all like oh, we think that’s great but I need my funding for this, I need my funding for that. You know.


Spencer:


Now our funds are really short.


Mrs. Leno:


You know it’s smoke in mirrors. You can be seen to be fabulously supportive, but you don’t have to actually be. And I think a lot of people don’t realize that.


Spencer:


I can understand that. It is very hard.


Mrs. Leno:


Particularly because of Iraq you’re slicing up a pie. But really you have to play good chess. And there are so many humanitarian disasters in this world that we cannot throw men and women and money and machinery at them all. But we already started the job in Afghanistan.


Spencer:


We need to finish it.


Mrs. Leno:


Exactly. This is a country which was a liberal country relatively speaking and where the government, although it’s getting to slide because as I said the war lords are getting into the government, it is very supportive of going back to the life they had when they had a king. Because it was the king that liberalized everything for women and the country was great. It was thriving, but it wasn’t heaven you know.

There was a lot of injustice to the poor and a lot of illiteracy. But they were on their way. They were going in the direction that would make things better for everybody. They lived this way before and they can return to it a lot more easily than for instance, Iraq where there, there’s no history of nonsectarian behavior or democracy.


Spencer:


I want to thank you very, very much.


Mrs. Leno:


I’m very pleased to have talked to you.