With Naga Munchetty. President Bashar al-Assad's forces retake Darayya after 5 years of conflict in Syria. Plus tiger parenting and Clive James on not being dead.
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Five years on since the start of the Syrian uprising,
Darayya surrenders after its near total-devastation.
Assad's soldiers chant their victory.
Thousands of civilians and hundreds of rebel soldiers are bussed out
of one of the first towns to rise up against their government.
Here in Geneva, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry,
has finished his talks with Russia's Sergei Lavrov.
Both leaders talked about narrowing their differences -
can they really make a difference
when it comes to ending the war in Syria?
We'll be asking a former Obama advisor
if the US has any leverage left in Syria.
Is the billion-pound parenting industry a waste of time?
We talk to the woman who's telling parents to ditch the books
and let their kids' brains do all the work.
The legendary tv critic Clive James on boxed sets, reality TV -
There was a wave of obituaries, of fond goodbyes, tears in eye,
And there I was, alive and reading it!
And our final Proms playout, Rick Astley.
The UN says that the world is watching,
this as hundreds of rebel fighters and thousands of civilians
begin to evacuate the besieged Damascus suburb of Darayya -
the longest stand-off between government-led forces
and rebels in Syria's five-year war is ending.
And as the US Secretary of State, John Kerry,
meets his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva today
for further talks to try to bring peace,
they might do well to reflect on the story of Daraya,
that some of the first protests against Assad began.
committed one of the war's biggest massacres to date.
And after years of inaction from the international community,
it is here where the government forces are now resurgent
Four years of resistance against all the odds came to an end in Darayya
today. Besieged, starved and bombed by the Assad regime, residents are
being bussed out of this suburb and the army is moving in. Regime
soldiers chanted pro-government slogans at them as they left, some
in tears. Civilians heading for government-controlled areas, rebels
for opposition held it live province. -- Idlib. This man worked
as a media activist in the local council. He leaves tomorrow.
TRANSLATION: People are feeling profoundly bitter, is days the agony
of being sent from their homeland. These are the people who sacrificed
their lives to stand for the city, it is a very tough situation for
civilians because this is the very same regime that has been bombarding
them with napalm, barrel bombs, rockets and chemical attacks. It is
the very regime that has been besieging them and preventing food
from reaching them. If people had another choice, they would have
opted for it, but people have no choice. The story of Darayya is, in
many ways, the story of the Syrian uprising. It was one of the first
areas to break out in peaceful protests against the regime five
years ago. Demonstrated carried roses towards government soldiers,
and the activist behind these protests was arrested, tortured and
killed. When the Free Syrian Army began to take control in 2012, the
response was brutal. A massacre of hundreds of people, blamed on Assad
loyalists, one of the worst the conflict had scene at that stage.
But over the years, more was to come.
After rebel forces took full control of the district, Darayya, like other
opposition held areas, was the target of the regime's air force,
blamed for the majority of deaths in Syria during the conflict. Darayya
is just a few minutes from the centre of Damascus and the heart of
the regime. It and other rebel held suburbs were besieged by government
forces. Food and medicine began to run out,
with residents reduced to boiling herbs. Despite pleas for help, the
UN managed to deliver aid only once in four years. The failure to break
the siege has angered many. Darayya was a symbol of everything that
revolutionary Syrians wanted for their country. It produced a
democratic local council, its self organised in a democracy. The
militias defending the town were under civilian control, unlike
elsewhere in Syria, they certainly were not jihadists, they were three
army fighters. It is a place which preserved its values of intelligent,
nonsectarian, revolutionary resistance. Today, unfortunately, it
is become a symbol of the slow annihilation of these democratic
hopes by the Assad regime and the collaboration of the rest of the
world. The regime accuses rebels of having helped people hostage in
Darayya, but others worried today's Benz will encourage Assad to
continue his siege tactics elsewhere. What lies ahead for
Darayya and the Syrian revolution? is our chief international
correspondent, Lyse Doucet. We saw rebels fleeing the town of
Darayya in that report, how much of a blow is this to the rebels? This
is a huge development, it is a symbol both in terms of the
symbolism but also the strategic value. For the Syrian government,
Darayya is the gateway to Damascus, there was no way they were going to
let Darayya fall, and that is what we have seen over the past four
years, every time we went to Damascus, we could see bombs topping
on Darayya. As the report said, the UN only managed once in four years
to distribute aid in the town. But the opposition, as we have been
hearing, it was a symbol of their resistance, and what was supposed to
be an icon of what the rebels wanted to achieve a cross Syria. And now
today it is a symbol of defeat. The Syrian government wants to send a
message to say to those who have been meeting in Geneva that they do
not need world powers to bring about peace in Syria, the Syrians will do
it themselves. But of course for the Syrian government, that is on its
own terms. Where you are, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov have met today,
you have been at negotiations like this before, what sense are you
getting of any possible deal? John Kerry has always been described as
an optimist, his aides tell us that he is going to work to the very last
day of President Obama's presidency in January to try to make a
difference in Syria, to try to fight against the so-called Islamic State,
which tilt controls large swathes of Syrian territory, but also to try to
bring about a truce. More than 12 hours ago, when he went into talks
with Sergei Lavrov, some of the negotiators said they had made
progress over the past several weeks in trying to narrow the differences.
It will be up to the foreign ministers to close the gaps, but
when they came out, they said, we made progress, we narrowed the
difference. Sergei Lavrov talked about dots separating them, John
Kerry said there was greater clarity on what it would achieve to take a
truce, and also strengthened cooperation between Moscow and
Washington. But they are not there, and Kerry said, we do not want to
announce a deal unless we are sure there is a deal. The big question
is, when can they achieve that? As always - Lyse Doucet, thank you very
much. Earlier I spoke to a form of foreign policy adviser to the Obama
administrations, Vali Nasr sits on the foreign policy advisory board to
the State Department. I began by asking him how much power the US
Government has when it comes to the situation in Syria today. The US is
negotiating without any leveraged, and without any ability to offer
anything concrete. So it is at a disadvantage. It is understood that
it can play a very important role, but not without much more engagement
in Syria. So what is the incentive from Sergei Lavrov to offer any
compromise? So it doesn't serve Russian interests to be seen as the
ones who are rejecting talks. They are always ready to talk, they
always give the positive signal, they always try to encourage the
process going forward. But without any US ability to cajole and
persuade, it is not going to go very far. And I would also say that the
Russians are every bit as interested in engaging the US, because they
think it moves the US somewhat more towards the middle and towards them,
and away from the opposition and its backers in the region. So for them,
the diplomatic process is part of the management of the situation in
Syria to their own advantage. How much is the position of John Kerry,
facing talks with Sergei Lavrov, how much is it the fault of President
Obama being ineffective when it comes to Syria? I think to a good
extent, because Secretary Kerry is trying very hard to find a
diplomatic opening, but diplomacy only works if the other side takes
you seriously, that they think there is a cost to not engaging, or a cost
to not doing the right thing. Right now, the only pressure that comes on
Russia and on Iran is coming from extremists on the ground, which is
not very good news, and they know it, that ultimately the West would
be very worried about that. But there was no clear that the United
States may bomb targets or may get involved or may change the shape of
the conflict to their disadvantage. The US is simply trying to persuade
them to do the right thing, and that doesn't really go very far. Should
President Obama have pursued the idea of bombing in Syria in 2013?
Yes, I do think that diplomacy in a case like Syria would work if the
other side would have thought that the United States is willing and
able to get involved in a way that will change the facts on the ground
to their disadvantage. So they would be really incentivised to prevent
the United States from getting involved. If they think that the
United States is not going to get involved, there is no real downside
for them to continue the course that they are at. So the US lost
credibility, essentially, over the red line in Syria when it threatened
that it was going to use force and then it didn't, and since then it
hasn't even threatened to use force, and as a result the Russians and
Iranians do not see any threat to losing their position on the ground
in the war in Syria. So who could bring that threat? We are looking to
the next administration now, hypothetically, Hillary Clinton is
in power, a former Secretary of State, is she the person to bring
the threat? Is she the person to assert United States power when it
comes to negotiating over Syria? I think both the Russians and the
Iranians take her very seriously, they think that she is somebody who
believes in America's role in the world, its leadership role, and it
is willing to use force, and definitely even her track record at
the State Department on Syria, while she was in office, suggested that
she was much more willing to lend American power to support the
opposition, to provide no-fly space, to support forces on the ground
militarily in a way that would have changed the dynamics of fighting on
the ground. So I think, yes, but the Iranians and the Russians would
think that a Clinton Administration is likely to get a lot tougher, and
be willing to actually use hard power to force a change of opinion
in Moscow and Tehran. Does the United States have to accept that
Assad is going nowhere, he is firmly in place? I think it has accepted
that, although it cannot say it in public, because so early on it
associated itself with the need of Assad to leave power. The US has
done nothing other than rhetorical exhortation is about him leaving,
and the more powerful ices became, and the more American policy was
focused on Isis, the more the US sort of washed its hands of any
serious effort to remove Assad from power. Go by is Vali Nasr, thank you
for your time. Thank you. It's not uncommon for a new parent
to seek advice when it comes to raising a child, be it
from relatives, friends But a new book says
that books are not the answer. and allow our offspring
to develop naturally and forget
the traditional guidelines. People take classes,
visit online forums and read books. Doctor Spock's common-sense book
of baby and child care It was published in 1946
and since then it has As the extended family went
into decline in the 1950s, parenting guides became
increasingly in demand. Raising a child became a skill
you could learn, with dos and don'ts that promised
to help anxious new parents raise Fashions came and went,
parents bought books advising them to leave their child to cry
and books recommending sharing They read about the benefits
of pushing your children to succeed Alison Gopnik, a developmental
psychologist at Berkeley, 30 years of scientific research
into child development, she says, has revealed how
remarkably sensitive Babies are naturals at learning
and they learn by playing, Parenting is going the wrong
way, says Gopnik. We shouldn't be using prescriptive
techniques to raise our kids. Just provide a rich,
nurturing environment and children's Well, Professor Alison Gopnik
is here to explain all. Thank you for joining me. So, the
book, it looks at the carpenter and the gardener, explain the
difference? OK, the idea about being a parent that comes from these
parenting books is that you can take a child and you can shape them into
a particular kind of adult if you have the right kind of techniques
and expertise, the way a carpenter can take a piece of wood and turn
that into a chair. I think that is not the view that comes from the
science, when you look at the science, the core thing in this
book, a better picture is a picture of a gardener, a picture of
creating, a rich, stable environment in which all sorts of Flowers can
blame and also has a surprising variable unpredictable things can
happen and it is not that gardening is not hard work, it is, but the
picture is not that you are bringing about a particular result, you are
trying to present a framework and an environment in which children can
develop themselves. You mention the science, give me a brief example of
the science behind this. If you look even at the very youngest children,
they have incredibly powerful learning mechanisms and they learn
best by observing the people around them in tremendously subtle and
sophisticated ways and be going into the world and playing. Those kinds
of learning, especially for young children, below the age of five, are
much more powerful than any of the kinds of variants that parents
self-consciously try to do based on things like the parenting books. So
the children, we don't have to make children learn, we just have to let
them learn. Is this book focused on children in the younger years? The
formative years? A lot of the research has been on children in the
first years and they know a tremendous amount of learning and
development goes on in those first years but I think the general point
applies also to school age children and adolescents and even
undergraduates, that we have a model that somehow there is a set of
self-conscious techniques we can use and we can guarantee we will get a
particular outcome. And a better way of thinking about this is a
children, by their very evolutionary nature, are designed to pick up the
material that is in the culture around them, the values, and change
them and shape them and advise them and turn them into something new.
Our job is to provide a framework in which that revision and change and
shaping and discovery and variability and exploration can take
place, not to bring about a particular result. Part of the
nature of a parent is to give a child all the tools they can
possibly give to succeed in an ever increasingly competitive world. Why
shouldn't parents actively teach children? It is very difficult, I
imagine, to be able to step back and say, developed at your own pace? It
is ironic because in the post-industrial world that we live
in, the tools you really need to succeed aren't any particular set of
skills or knowledge, the tools you need are the ability to be in a new
situation and in a new environment and create something create
something new, something that has never been before. That is what a
place like Silicon Valley thrives on and it is interesting that in that
context people realise that play is the best mechanism for doing that.
The irony is that by trying so hard to teach children to succeed, we may
not actually be giving them the tools that they need to succeed in
the real change in future that they face. The thought that comes from
the science is from an evolutionary perspective, the thing that makes
human beings so special was our very long extended immature childhood and
it is a puzzle about why our baby is dependent on us for so very long,
why does it take so much energy? A whole village and not just parents
but grandparents and cousins and friends to just raise a child? And
the answer seems to be that that protective period of immaturity
gives children a chance both as individual children and as a
generation of children to come out exactly the
way we want, it would be self-defeating, we will be defeating
the whole point of childhood. You are suggesting to a lot of people
that they go against their instincts and don't parent and that parenting
is a concept we should not adopt any more? What should we be doing as
parents? I think our instincts are good. I think people's instincts are
to love their children, articulate the values that are important to
them, can be the things that we think are important, care for them,
no matter who they are, unconditional, those instincts are
the right instance, they are exactly the gardener instincts that will
give children a good environment and the parenting idea is not something
that is instinctive, it is something that developed very late in the 20th
century, it is pretty strange, this way of thinking about being a parent
compare to what we have done for most of human history. It is a
special thing that came with industrial schooling and a thing
that came with the fact that for the first time, people were
having children who had not actually experienced much raising of children
before but who had done things like work and go to school and therefore
thought that raising children are caring for children was a kind of
variant of working and going to school. That is not our natural
instinct, that is something that is quite unusual and historical, it is
only just becoming dominant in the last little while. Alison Gopnik,
thank you for joining us this evening.
It's a black joke in showbusiness that death is a great career move.
One person in a position to bear out the double-edged truth
of this is Clive James, the TV critic, memoirist,
He was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010.
Soon after he went through a very public estrangement from his wife
after revelations about a long affair of his.
In wry observation, he says he was willing to accept
He spent much time binge-watching television series and used
the little energy he had to read and write.
Out of the crisis came some of James's most admired work.
With the help of groundbreaking drugs he is still here and is taking
what some might see as a morbid pleasure in what he calls
Stephen Smith went to see him at his home in Cambridge,
where he's just written a book about his passion for TV boxsets.
If I look like a heap of sh*t or a wreck, let's just
I'll write it into the show for you, I promise.
The methylamine keeps flowing, no matter what.
Breaking Bad, an acclaimed drama about a man who is buying himself
some time through drugs, has been entertaining Clive James,
a man who is buying himself some time through drugs.
I must say that, straight away, I have been useful, haven't I?
Because I have brought you into a new field.
The appeal is you can't stop watching.
It is like getting on a train and never stops.
I used to be in the TV criticism business years
ago and when I left it, the wind-up piece that
I wrote in my last week, I predicted that American TV
I made a slow start with Game of Thrones.
I didn't really want to start, actually, because it's got dragons.
And I saw five minutes of the first episode.
I didn't even want to see them hatch!
I was talked into it by my younger daughter.
And I found myself, against my expectations,
If you look at what the terrestrial channels here still provide,
recently we have had things like The Night Manager,
War and Peace, Peaky Blinders, even dear old Downton Abbey.
No, no, the ones you name, you just happened to chance upon
the shows that I think are nowhere beside the American ones.
What was the one that was set in Egypt?
I thought it was pretty close to being nonsense, that one.
And if I were still in the TV criticism business,
Are you to blame for reality television, Clive?
People sometimes say so and I am very flattered but
The truth is, I put the reality shows that were being made elsewhere
Some of them extremely improbable, like the Japanese game show,
If you are worried that there is such a thing as a television
producer who wants to roast people in a plastic box,
bomb them with pepper, dress them as bats and hang them
upside down with their pants full of cockroaches,
ask yourself what you would rather he was doing instead?
What happened next wasn't funny at all.
They all became believable and we started to do them.
I may have been a participant in the biggest deterioration
What an ironic end thought for such a high mind?
Some of the reality TV shows don't work.
One of the channels not long ago tried one about ski jumping.
Yeah, but that was the problem, wasn't it?
Because there are not that many actual celebrities.
You can't really send Helen Mirren over a cliff!
Now, you have described this time as your posthumous years.
Because I was really on the way out, then.
I picked the exact moment in history where preventative medicine
for the thing that I have got, which is leukaemia,
It has got a wonderful name, it's called ibrutinib.
And as I have said in my new book, it sounds like a piece of film
dialogue, doesn't it?
You can see Russell Crowe playing it!
It has got an overdeveloped neck, hasn't it?
The granddaughter of the Girl from Ipanema is the princess of that
The former prime-time host has had time to read his obituaries and,
with a book of poems, to write a few of them, too.
I was rather embarrassed because I did almost die in 2010
and 2011 and I think it was the second time,
Please don't take this the wrong way.
The only sensible thing to do would be...
You have become the Julian Assange of leukaemia, in a way, haven't you?
Everyone is waiting for the next development.
Everyone is waiting for Julian Assange to starve
I'm not so sure he was very wise to go in there.
Well, I suppose if one might be harsh and personal,
one might say you should have faced the music a bit earlier
You could try that but you're not going to get far.
You wrote that lovely poem about a maple tree in your garden.
All about, essentially, how it would outlive you.
I may have to write another poem about that but at the moment I am
A replacement tree, much smaller, but I like to think sturdier,
All week we've been giving you a taster of the BBC Proms
and tonight we've got a very special guest.
He performs at Proms in the Park in Hyde Park on Saturday 10th
September in the finale of the festival,
But here with us, singing us out with his current single
from his new album "50", is Rick Astley.
# Sometimes I just don't feel like waking up.
# Sometimes I feel like I am breaking up.