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Tom's Take

March 17th, 2010
12:57 PM ET
Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane

On AMANPOUR. today, we look at the Catholic Church global sexual abuse scandal. Has it now reached into the top levels of the Vatican? There are new questions about what role, if any, Pope Benedict XVI played in handing pedophile priests to new parishes rather than to the law when he was an archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.
We look at the culture of impunity at the root of this crisis. Could this be due to a lack of women in positions of real power? Would the extent of the abuse have been averted if women provided a moral compass? Some cite the clergy’s celibacy vows as the culprit. Will all this force a debate about fundamental reform? This scandal is just one of the stories in the news today. Here are some perspectives.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL – How far did the cover-up go in the Catholic Church?

–       Pope today says he hopes upcoming pastoral letter on the scandal will “help repentance, healing, and renewal”
–       Sources say Pope’s letter is likely to be released on Friday or Saturday
–       Abuse scandal extends across the globe, from Germany to Ireland… Brazil to Australia… from the U.S. to Switzerland. It’s worst crisis in Catholic Church in centuries

QUESTION: Was there an international conspiracy by the Catholic Church to hide the true extent of the scandal over priests who abused children?


Filed under:  1 • Tom's Take

Activist: China trying to silence critics

March 17th, 2010
01:35 AM ET

Watch the complete edition on Ai Weiwei on our podcast.

Watch the complete edition with Ai Weiwei on our podcast.

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

(CNN) - Leading Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei declared that China's government has no humanity - and that the Communist Party is trying to silence anyone who disagrees with it.

"They crack down on everybody who has different opinions - not even different opinions, just different attitudes," Ai told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

"Simply to have different opinions can cost (dissidents) their life; they can be put in jail, can be silenced, and can be disappeared," he said.

Ai is no stranger to controversy or danger. He helped design the iconic Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but then called for a boycott of the games because in his opinion China was using them as propaganda.

He also faced a barrage of official criticism in 2008 when he assembled activists to collect the names of thousands of unidentified students who were killed in the massive Sichuan earthquake. He also slammed local governments for allowing the construction of shoddy schools that collapsed.

Ai has paid a heavy price for his dissent. He says he was beaten in a hotel room by Chinese police and later needed emergency brain surgery for injuries he suffered in the assault.


Filed under:  1 • China

Rwandan president rejects human rights criticism

March 17th, 2010
01:32 AM ET

Watch the complete interview with Rwanda's president on our podcast.

Watch the complete edition on 'The Story of Stuff' on our podcast.

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

(CNN) - Rwandan President Paul Kagame hit back Monday at human rights activists who say he's behaving like an autocrat and fueling a bloody civil war in Rwanda's neighbor, Congo.

"If you are talking about people in the human rights community from outside... I have an issue with this," Kagame said, 16 years after he was hailed as a hero for ending a genocide that killed at least 800,000 people.

"You tend to make a judgment of a country, 11 million people, on what a couple of people have said and (they) don't take into account what Rwandans say."

Kagame added, "Nobody has asked the Rwandans ... it's as if they don't matter in the eyes of the human rights people. It's our own decisions in the end."

He said everyone in Rwanda has to play by the rules and be accountable. "There has to be leadership to make things move in the right direction," Kagame stated.


Filed under:  1 • Rwanda