Lyse Doucet is an international BBC correspondent known for her work in the Middle East. She joined Jon McComb this morning ahead of her attendance at Canadian Women 4 Women in Afghanistan‘s fundraising event later this week.
— lyse doucet (@bbclysedoucet) May 4, 2015
“We’ve seen extraordinary successes in Afghanistan, take education, the reason why I’ve come here to speak at this event on Tuesday evening,” Doucet told Jon McComb in studio Monday morning. “Many Canadians will remember during the time of the Taliban, no Afghan girls went to school at all.”
Doucet, originally from Eastern Canada, has been a foreign correspondent with the BBC for nearly 30 years, with postings all over from Jerusalem to Afghanistan. Her TV documentary Children of Syria, looking at the impact of the war on the youngest, received wide critical acclaim. A follow up, looking at the lives of children in Gaza and southern Israel, will be broadcast this summer.
“There is no news anymore that is foreign, all news is local, because the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State […] is not just threatening Iraq and Syria; they are threatening European Countries, they are threatening Canada.” Doucet said.
She first started reporting from Afghanistan in 1988, and has been regularly visiting ever since. “You have to remember this is a country where for 30 years, that’s a generation, has only known war,” Doucet said. “With the fall of the Taliban in 2001, many Afghans dare to hope this could be their best chance in a generation to bring peace.”
When asked about ISIL, Doucet notes that the threat they pose is to be taken seriously, and it is both a modern and a medieval threat. “They are going back to the very foundations of Islam in the 7th century […] we have not seen that before. The kind of extreme Islamist interpretation and brutality of […] the beheading videos, of journalists, of aid workers, of Iraqis and Syrians in the hundreds,” she said. “But it is also a very modern Islamist threat, in the sense that it is using the most modern of technology, slickly produced videos, and recruitment campaigns on the internet.”
“I think one of the biggest lessons of all is when we work in someone else’s land that we have to ask them first what they want, and what’s best for their country,” Doucet said about helping foreign countries as a Canadian, “We cannot assume that we know all the answers. We can bring some of the answers […] we are a rich country, we are a privileged country, we have resources, we have the foundations of rule of law, good educations, we have everything we need. The question is, what do we make of it both politically, morally, in terms of what people bring to it?”
Doucet has eight honorary doctorates from Canadian and British Universities. She has a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto and a BA Hons from Queen’s University in Kingston.