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AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, with freedoms under attack in Iraq and Egypt, two of the oldest civilizations on Earth, imagine a world where one remarkable leader, confined to a wheelchair, stood up for free speech and the end of armed conflict.

As the Nazi bombs fell every night on London, killing thousands of civilians 73 years ago, on this day, January 6th, back in 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, just elected to an unprecedented third term, went before a joint session of Congress to make this case to help Britain and to prepare Americans for joining the war.

He didn’t speak of what or how; instead, he spoke of why. And he called that why the Four Freedoms, not just for Americans but, as he stressed in his speech, for people everywhere in the world.

“The freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of every person to worship in his own way, the freedom from want and the freedom from fear,” all these decades later, Roosevelt’s dream of a world guided by his Four Freedoms has accomplished a lot. But a lot still remains to be realized.

And that’s it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website, amanpour.com, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.


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AMANPOUR: And solutions to crises on Earth may seem even more clearly from 250 miles up in space is definitely in these days, as the Hollywood blockbuster, “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock proved, while reminding us of the extreme dangers of space exploration.


AMANPOUR: After a break, the real thing: International Space Station commander Col. Chris Hadfield, who willingly put himself in harm’s way to expand humanity’s horizons.

And, oh, by the way, was a great zero gravity singer, too.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): That, of course, was courtesy David Bowie; Chris Hadfield when we come back.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

And now to outer space and Col. Chris Hadfield, who is an astronaut for our age, tweeting and posting and singing his way across the stratosphere, bringing joy and humor to the deadly serious work of space exploration.

He rocketed to fame with the extraordinary and weightless music video, a cover version of David Bowie’s legendary “Space Oddity,” that’s now been viewed more than 20 million times.


AMANPOUR: Canadian Chris Hadfield has spent a total of six months in space, a long-time NASA specialist, his dream was to be an astronaut, which was a bit tricky since Canada didn’t have any when he was born.

When he finally did make it up there, he became the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong. And once back here on terra firma, he wrote a memoir called, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” in which he shares the precious lessons of space travel with all of us who are stuck here on Earth.

Welcome to the program, Col. Hadfield. Thank you for joining me from Toronto.

COL. CHRIS HADFIELD, ASTRONAUT: Hello. Oh, it’s my pleasure. All of us who are stuck here on Earth, (INAUDIBLE) —



AMANPOUR: Well, you weren’t stuck here.

What was it like to be up there? I mean, what were your sensations? What was the experience of just seeing Earth, just doing ordinary things up there?

HADFIELD: It’s two primary things, Christiane. One is being weightless. And that is like magic. You can fly, you can tumble, you can effortlessly soar everywhere you go. So that is a wonderful, permanent freedom.

But then the other half, which you asked about, is when you look out the window and you see the entire world every hour and a half. You go around the world. And it turns underneath you. So it’s like a gift that is just unwrapping itself perpetually underneath you from the war-torn areas that you were just talking about around the Gulf right to the most beautiful, tranquil, verdant, peaceful parts of the world, all, every 90 minutes. It’s a wonderful perspective to have.

AMANPOUR: And you did tweet your way through your mission; you described, for instance, looking at Italy and seeing it as a diamond set in a ring.

But let me ask you why you decided to be such a communicator. Did you do that consciously? Was that just you?

HADFIELD: Well, it’s probably some of both; I mean, what would you do if you were there on behalf of everybody else on Earth? You know, with that perspective, with those cameras, with the rare human opportunity to be one of the first to see our world that way, and to see our world as a discrete place in the universe and not as some vast surface area?

It’s such a wondrous, personal, rich experience. It’s just — it was an obligation to share it with everybody that entrusted me to go on their behalf. So I did my best to do just that.

AMANPOUR: Well, and you obviously did a great job because you’ve become so popular and your God’s eye view, as you called it, has really resonated down here on Earth.

And then when you did come back here to Earth, you wrote that memoir about the lessons learned and a guide for those of us on Earth.

Give me a bullet point of the most important lesson for those of us here.

HADFIELD: You know, a lot of people live their lives in fear, or at least they allow fear to dictate some important part of their decisions in life or their behavior. I’m not going to do that because I’m afraid; I won’t get married; I won’t get divorced; I won’t get whatever, won’t change jobs, you know, little things or big things.

As an astronaut, you have to somehow confront something that should be terrifying, which is to ride a rocket ship or to do a space walk like you showed with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in the outset there.

And so how is it that an astronaut can confront something that is so inherently terrifying and yet make it normal and prevail and allow that richness to result even though they’ve — they have normally their natural reaction would be to turn and run?

And I focused a lot in the book on just that. How you can shape your decisions and your life and your own actions so that you can get around it and fear then does not dictate the limitations on your life and allows you, if you can manage it, to do some things in your life that are — that are just right on the edge of impossible?

AMANPOUR: And also you obviously have a very tight relationship with the possibility of death, because anything could go wrong up in space.

But I also want to ask you about something that you experienced before being an astronaut, when you were a NASA specialist; you were in Kazakhstan during the Columbia flight back in 2003. And we all know that when it reentered Earth, it burnt up and everybody was killed.

Tell me about what happened there and lessons learned.

HADFIELD: Well, it was a horrific personal tragedy. Of course the astronaut community is very small. I knew everyone on board. I knew Rick Husband (ph), the commander of Columbia, like a brother. We’d been at test pilot school together. And so just at a personal level, it was a horrific loss.

At a professional level, it was also, of course, horrific because I had sat in my apartment in Star City in Russia and replayed on my little laptop that damage that had occurred to Columbia, that piece of foam coming off. I’d watched it and somehow decided that it was OK, that, yes, obviously it hit the wing but we’re going to be all right.

And if I had stood up — I mean, I had enough of a voice. I was NASA’s director of ops in Russia. I had enough of a voice to stand up and say, we cannot reenter the atmosphere. We have to do a space walk and at least go look.

But I, like everybody else, just made the wrong assumption. And it led to the death of my friends and a huge learning point and trouble period for the whole space program.

So it really, I think, helped us refocus on what is actually important, what is really necessary to pay attention to, sweat the small stuff and visualize failure. Don’t make assumptions about success. And we learned a lot from it.

And as a result, we flew the shuttle for the rest of its life completely successfully, didn’t hurt one more person and finished building the space station. So their lives were not in vain. But it was surely a very difficult period to get through.

AMANPOUR: And as we say goodbye, what is your enduring memory, your enduring vision of being up there?

HADFIELD: Floating down deliberately to the huge cupola window with — the Earth is in the darkness, waiting patiently for a sunrise. And we come around the world like coming around the corner into the light. And the sun bursts into existence because of our speed. And the whole space station glows this deep blood crimson and settles down as the sun comes through the atmosphere and to this scintillating, glistening blue of the solar rays.

And you get to see 16 sunrises like that every single day. And I tried to miss none of them. It’s a magical experience.

AMANPOUR: That is — that is really wow.

Chris Hadfield, thank you so much indeed for joining me. Thank you.

Well, our problems here on Earth must seem so insignificant when viewed from space, just a tiny pea, pretty and blue. That’s how Neil Armstrong described it from the moon.

And after a break, we discussed a remarkable leader who had the perspective to stand up for four vital freedoms, so simple, so universal and yet still so elusive.




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