Exclusive - Andrew Harper Extended Interview Pt. 2

  • Aired:  09/03/13
  •  | Views: 35,174

In this exclusive, unedited interview, Andrew Harper discusses the evolution of the Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. (7:11)

>> Stewart: SO WE ARE BACK

WITH ANDREW HARPER.

ONE OF THE THINGS I DIDN'T

MENTION, AND HUMILITY PROBABLY

PRECLUDES YOU FROM TALKING ABOUT

IT, WHEN I MET ANDREW, HE WAS,

YOU KNOW, MOVING A LITTLE

GINGERLY AND I THOUGHT WELL THAT

IS UNUSUAL.

HE IS A MAN OF PHYSICAL STATURE,

A YOUNG MAN, I WONDER WHY HE IS

MOVING SO GINGERLY.

A MONTH BEFORE YOU WERE IN LIKE

A CRAZY DEATH CRASH IN THE

NORTHERN PART OF JORDAN NEAR THE

IRAQ BORDER.

HOW ARE YOU NOW?

>> YOU KNOW, IT WAS PRETTY TOUGH

BECAUSE ONE OF OUR KEY

COLLEAGUES WITH NEWS THE

JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT WAS KILLED

IN THE CRASH.

>> Stewart: AN AWFUL

SITUATION.

>> YES.

AND IT WAS A SITUATION WHERE WE

WERE UP ON THE BORDER CLOSE TO

IRAQ AND WE WERE ACTUALLY

LITERALLY BRINGING PEOPLE ACROSS

THE BORDER AND THERE WAS, AT

THAT POINT YOU HAD PEOPLE

FLEEING HOMES AND IN HAMA, THE

BOMBING AND THERE WAS I HAVE

SPOKEN TO THAT BEFORE BUT YOU

HAD CHILDREN WHO LITERALLY

BECAUSE OF THE INTENSITY OF THE

BOMBING DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE TO

GRAB ANYTHING, AND SO THEY JUST,

THE PARENTS GRABBED THEM, THE

ONES THAT ARE ALIVE, GRABBED

THEM OUT OF THEIR BED, THE

CHILDREN OFTEN GRABBED THEIR

TEDDY BEARS THEY HAD CLOSEST TO

THEM WHICH WAS THE MOST VALUABLE

ITEM AND THEN THEY BASICALLY

TRAVELED FOR THREE WEEKS OR SO

TO GET TO THE DESERT CROSSING

AND THAT'S WHERE WE WERE AND SO

WE WERE BRINGING PEOPLE ACROSS.

>> Stewart: IMAGINE BEING IN A

SITUATION THAT IS SO DESPERATE

THAT YOU LOOK TO IRAQ FOR

STABILITY.

THEY ARE NOW TORN BY ALL TYPES

OF SECTARIAN STRIFE.

YOU KNOW, FOR YOU, I MEAN, YOU

ARE IN THE WEEDS OF THIS RIGHT

NOW. IS THERE ANY SENSE OF

OPTIMISM? ANY SENSE YOU ARE

SEEING ORDER BEING BROUGHT TO

LIFE? WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER

VICTORIES IN THIS?

>> WELL, THE VICTORIES ARE

WHERE, WE ARE A HUMANITARIAN

AGENCY AND WE DEAL WITH THE

VICTIMS AND SO WHAT WE HAVE TO

DO IS BE AS PREPARED AS POSSIBLE

AND UNFORTUNATELY IF YOU SAY,

OKAY, HOW IS THE OUTLOOK FOR

SYRIA? OUR OUTLOOK IS WE WILL

BUILD ANOTHER CAMP OF 100,000

PEOPLE AND GETTING READY FOR

MORE PEOPLE TO COME ACROSS

BECAUSE THERE IS NO INDICATOR OF

OPTIMISM.

THERE IS NO POSITIVE SIGNAL,

THERE IS NO SENSE OF HOPE, AND

THIS IS THE MOST OBVIOUS WAY TO

LOOK AT WHERE THE SITUATION IS

GOING IS TALKING TO THE REFUGEES

AND THE REFUGEES IN THE CAMP ARE

EVEN MAKING MORE SUBSTANTIVE

HOMES, LIKE THEY ARE ACTUALLY

CHANGING THEIR TENTS INTO HOMES

BECAUSE THEY PLAN TO BE THERE --

>> Stewart: IT IS MELANCHOLY

TRANSFORMATION WHEN THEY FIRST

GET THERE, NOBODY THINKS THEY

WILL BE THERE FOR ANY LENGTH OF

TIME AND THIS IDEA OF CREATING

STABILITY.

YOU KNOW, YOU TOLD ME THAT FOR

SIX MONTHS YOU COULDN'T REALLY

GO INTO THE CAMP, I MEAN, WE

WENT RIGHT THROUGH IT AND PEOPLE

WERE OUT AND COMMERCE AND ALL OF

THAT BUT SIX MONTHS AGO THAT WAS

NOT THE CASE, YOU WERE NOT ABLE

TO GET IN.

>> ONE OF THE BIGGEST TESTS IN

REGARDS TO HOW SAFE AND SECURE

THE CAMP IS IS BY CAULK WALKING

THROUGH THE CAMP AND I WOULD

WALK THROUGH THE CAMP BECAUSE

YOU HAVE TO, YOU CANNOT SORT OF

BE AN ALIEN TO THE REFUGEES

BECAUSE IT IS YOUR JOB TO BE

FRONT AND CENTER.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> AND THAT IS HOW YOU CAN

ACTUALLY IDENTIFY MOST

VULNERABLE BECAUSE THE MOST

VULNERABLE OFTEN WILL NOT COME

TO YOU, YOU HAVE TO GO AND SEE

THEM.

BUT YOU ARE DEALING WITH A

POPULATION THAT IS -- HAS BEEN

BOMBED, THEY HAVE BEEN SHOT AT,

THEY HAVE NO TRUST OF AUTHORITY.

THEY HAVE COME ACROSS FROM --

SYRIA IS A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND

THEY HAVE COME ACROSS FROM WHAT

IS A LOVELY ENVIRONMENT INTO A

DESERT AND NO MATTER WHAT WE DID

TO JATRI IT IS STILL A CAMP IN

THE DESERT, IT IS A MISERABLE

PLACE AND SO THEY WERE

FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY WHICH WE

WOULD BE AS WELL AND SO -- BUT

AS TIME MOVES ON AND AS THE CAMP

GOES FROM AN EMERGENCY RESPONSE

TO SOMETHING MORE SUSTAINABLE

THEY STARTED A ADAPTING AS WELL,

AND AT THE SAME TIME THEY ALSO

HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, NOT

EVERYTHING SHOULD BE DONE FOR

THEM.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> BECAUSE THEY WILL

UNFORTUNATELY HAVE TO BE THERE

FOR SOME TIME.

>> Stewart: AND YOU BRING SOME

ORDER TO IT AND TRY TO CREATE

SOME SEMBLANCE OF

ADMINISTRATION, BUT I IMAGINE,

YOU KNOW, BATTLING THE BLACK

ECONOMY AND THE GRAY ECONOMY IS

ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT

CHALLENGES.

>> SHOULD WE BATTLE IT AS WELL?

LIKE WHAT WE ARE SEEING IS THE

COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES WHICH ARE

TAKING PLACE, THIS IS GOOD,

PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO WORK AND

TRYING TO SELL THINGS IN THE

CAMP,.

>> Stewart: I MEAN MORE LIKE

DRUGS, WEAPONS, THINGS THAT COME

THROUGH, THE LESS SAVORY --

>> APART FROM THE CHICKEN.

>> Stewart: THE WEAPONS AND --

>> THERE IS A LOT OF RUMOR, A

LOT OF INNUENDO BUT WHEN IT

COMES TO PEOPLE WOULD BE MAD TO

HAVE ANY WEAPONS IN THE CAMP

BECAUSE -- REFUGEES, EVEN THOUGH

THE REFUGEES HAVE TO RESPECT THE

LAW AND WE WORK VERY CLOSE WITH

THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT AND

JORDANIAN AUTHORITIES TO IMPOSE

THAT LAW ON THE CAMP BECAUSE IF

YOU DON'T HAVE RULES ON LAW IN

THE CATCH YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE

IN SOUTHERN SYRIA THEN.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

I THINK ONE OF THE MOST

HEARTBREAKING SNRIETION THE

WORLD IS STANDING ABOVE, IT IS

ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, THE

BORDER BETWEEN JORDAN AND SYRIA,

BY THE DAM, IT IS INCREDIBLY

BEAUTIFUL AREA AND AS SOON AS IT

GOT DARK -- YOU KNOW, GUNFIRE

AND BOMBS AND IT WAS -- IT IS

HEARTBREAKING TO KNOW THAT THERE

ARE PEOPLE THERE SUFFERING THOSE

--

>> AND IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING

LIKE YOU TALKED ABOUT THE U.N.,

IT IS NOT JUST THE U.N., IT IS

ALSO THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT

FAKING THE LOAD OF IT AS THE

OTHER GOVERNMENTS ARE, THE

JORDANIAN ARMY, THE BORDER

GUARD, FANTASTIC, THEY ARE OFTEN

PUTTING THEMSELVES BETWEEN THE

REFUGEES AND THE FIRING IN ORDER

TO PROTECT THEM, AND I WAS

TALKING TO ONE BORDER GUARD THE

OTHER DAY WHO WAS REFERRING TO

THAT THEY WERE HIDING THEIR GUNS

BEHIND THEIR BACK WHEN PICKING

UP THE CHILDREN SO THE CHILDREN

WOULD NOT BE SCARED.

>> Stewart: YES.

>> AND THOSE, THERE ARE OTHER

SITUATIONS WHEN THE BORDER

GUARDS WOULD BE GIVING THE

REFUGEES THEIR MOBILE PHONES TO

CALL THEIR RELATIVES TO LET THEM

KNOW THEY SAFELY GOT ACROSS INTO

JORDAN, THESE ARE SOLDIERS.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> THEY DON'T HAVE THE

RESOURCES, THEY ARE JUST DOING

IT OUT OF PURE HUMANITY AND IT

IS RIGHT THING TO DO AND ONE OF

THE MOST TELLING THINGS IN

REGARDS TO JORDAN IS THE FACT

THAT YOU HAVE UNDER FIRE AT THE

BORDER AND THE JORDANIAN

SOLDIERS WHENEVER THEY WOULD

MEET A GROUP OF REFUGEES AND

BRING THEM ACROSS AND SAY YOU

ARE SAFE NOW.

AND THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL IN THAT

SORT OF SITUATION AND WE WOULD

EVACUATE THE BORDER, TAKE THEM

TO THE CAMP AND THEN THINGS

START TAKING PLACE.

>> Stewart: WOW.

I CAN'T THINK YOU ENOUGH FOR

VISITING WITH US AND HOPEFULLY

GETTING THE STORY OUT THERE A

LITTLE BIT WIDER AND HOPEFULLY

THINGS CONTINUE TO PROGRESS AS

BEST THEY CAN IN THAT SITUATION.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR

SERVICE.

WE APPRECIATE IT.

ANDREW HARPER.

UN REFUGEES.ORG.

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