Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
One of the year's most talked-about films revisits a dark chapter in American history. '12 Years a Slave' tells the story of Solomon Northup – a man born free, but sold into slavery in 19th century America. The film won big at the Golden Globes, and is nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director.
Becky spoke with John Ridley, the screenwriter behind '12 Years a Slave' – who himself is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Ridley said that although writing the script was challenging, he had strong original material to work with – in the form of Solomon Northup's memoir.
"Solomon's memoir is a truly special document. The way he speaks, the eloquence, the depth of reportage, at a time when many Americans were not familiar with the institution of slavery," Ridley said.
Becky asked Ridley about one of the main criticisms of the film – its depiction of brutal violence. Ridley says that response from viewers tells him the filmmakers have done their job in making audiences aware. "We had no idea what the system of slavery is like, and for a lot of us our recollection of slavery is 'Gone with the Wind.' It's 'Song of the South.' It's 'Birth of a Nation. And for people to genuinely – not in a dismissive way – say 'this is powerful stuff' – it really sort of tells me that we as people have not done a very good job at educating ourselves on what it takes to enslave people."
A shocking case of sexual violence is casting light on the power of village councils in India. A 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang raped on the instruction of a village elder, who objected to her relationship with a man from a different community. More than a dozen people have been arrested so far.
Becky spoke to Amnesty International's Kadambari Gladding on India's efforts to crack down on village rule. Gladding says the government needs to act swiftly in order for things to change.
"It's important for the government to start recognizing that the decrees that are issued by village councils like this are actually illegal," Gladding said. "I mean, to incite violence against a woman simply for falling in love with someone outside their community is illegal."
Gladding also urged the Indian government to do more to promote human rights across the country – not just in urban centers. "Mindsets need changing and honing to be more conscious of human rights and to be able to respect the rights of women to choose their own partners."
Pop star Justin Bieber is out on bail, after his arrest on charges of drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license.
Becky spoke to a man who knows the pressure of being young, rich and famous – actor Corey Feldman. The former teen heartthrob said he experienced the same pressures as a young star.
"Most kids have these problems," Feldman said. "The only thing is that they're not in the spotlight, it's not focused on them. It's not the whole world watching when somebody gets a hiccup in life."
Feldman advised Bieber to move on by acknowledging his mistakes and surrounding himself with a new group of people. "If he's able to embrace the idea that now it's time to learn the next lesson in life and humble himself a bit, he'll be just fine."