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April 12th, 2012
02:57 AM ET

Healing after Liberia's Civil War

A CNN Writer-Producer returns to Liberia to find it has changed in many positive ways.

Brenda Bush is from Liberia. She spoke to Jonathan Mann about returning to her homeland, and about her American born daughter deciding to move there.


Filed under: Africa • backstory • Interviews • journalists
April 12th, 2012
02:52 AM ET

The Making of An Independent Film: “Faisal Goes West”

Making an independent film takes blood, sweat and tears. And scrounging up the financing can be a major challenge. So, young American filmmaker Bentley Brown decided to take a different approach to make his latest feature: “Faisal Goes West”.

BackStory took a closer look at the challenges involved in making “Faisal Goes West” – a story about a Sudanese family that immigrates to America – from concept to completion.


Filed under: backstory • Entertainment • U.S.
April 9th, 2012
09:41 PM ET

Preserving Titanic History

It's been 100 years since the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank into icy waters off the coast of Canada. Today, the mystery and drama behind the tragedy still captivate people of all ages.

Titanic lies some four kilometers under the surface of the North Atlantic. The wreckage is a memorial to the more than 1,500 people who perished when it sank. Oceanographers discovered the shipwreck site back in 1985.

Ever since then, scientists and historians have been poring over the massive debris field. Backstory producer Chris got a rare look inside the lab where items from the ship are being conserved for future generations.


Filed under: backstory
April 6th, 2012
08:25 PM ET

Deportation after dark

by Traci Tamura

CNN Producer

Recently, I traveled to Nogales, Mexico to work on a CNN story with reporter Thelma Gutierrez and Senior Photojournalist Gregg Canes, about what happens to undocumented immigrants who are deported from the United States back to Mexico at all hours of the night. We spent a couple of nights on the border to meet some of the recent deportees.

We first ran into Mario, who had just been deported from a detention center in Arizona. This family man with three children was living and working in construction when he was first detained in Washington state. Mario had lived in the United States for 25 years, but now all he had to show for it was a backpack filled with dirty clothes and his weathered Bible. Mario told us he has been away from his family for almost two years and one of the things he misses most is his four-year-old son. His eyes welled up when he told us every time he calls home, his young son says, "Daddy, I want to fly over in a helicopter to pick you up and bring you back home."  Mario knows that won't happen but lets his son hold on to that dream for the time being.

Next, we met 19-year-old Ariel. His mother brought him into the U.S. at the age of two, and he grew up as a typical Southern California beach boy. When we found Ariel, he was wearing his hooded sweatshirt and sitting outside a humanitarian aid office for migrants. He was a scared, dazed and confused young man who only had a backpack with a few pieces of clothes, a cell phone that had run out of minutes and a single picture of his beloved mother – who was also deported back to Mexico. Ariel was lost and not sure what he would do next since he was essentially a stranger in his strange "home" land. But as scared as he was about himself, what struck me most was how concerned he was about leaving his younger sister – who is an American citizen – behind. The love and paternal feelings he had toward his sister made him seem older than his years. But when he talked about how terrifying the whole deportation experience was for him, he seemed just like an American teenager from San Diego.

One of the last people we met on our journey was Karla, a single mother deported from Phoenix who was forced to leave her two sons – both American citizens – behind in Arizona. Without relatives to care for them, the boys ended up in the custody of Child Protective Services.  Karla was brought to the U.S. with her sister and mother when she was a teenager. She’d made a home in Phoenix for 26 years until she was detained after a domestic dispute with her boyfriend. Talking through tears at one of the few shelters for deportees, she told us she misses her kids dearly but knows she can’t offer them a better life in Mexico. She tells us that if it came down to it she would rather give them up for adoption than subject them to a dangerous life on the streets where she can’t protect them. As if to punctuate our conversation, gunshots rang out in the night as we talked to Karla. We all jumped a bit. Karla told us that happens all the time and is precisely why she would not bring her children with her.

The fear of being across the border in Mexico at night lessens when you meet and talk with people who are still in the midst of their journey. When we were done with our story we had the liberty to simply drive back across the border… but it's hard to forget the people we met.

April 6th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

Memories of reporting on the siege of Sarajevo

Journalists gather in the city of Sarajevo 20 years after the start of the war. Nic Robertson takes us to some places that have stuck with him through the years.

 

 

CNN Photographer Dave Rust is a history buff and a collector. He preserved some items of significance from his time in Bosnia during the war. He came on Back|Story with Nic Robertson to share.


Filed under: backstory • Europe • journalists
April 4th, 2012
07:31 PM ET

The little team that could

The tiny town of Kiryat Shmona in Israel wins the Israeli football league title. CNN's Matthew Chance takes us to one of their matches.


Filed under: backstory • Israel • Sport