25/02/2017 Witness


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25/02/2017

Witness hears from the daughter of a missionary, who was killed by indigenous tribesmen in the Ecuadorean Amazon, plus the moment US helicopters were shot down over Mogadishu.


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at more than 40. Now, it's time for Witness, with

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Hello, and welcome to Witness, with me, Tanya Beckett.

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I'm at the British Library in London to bring

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you five more unique glimpses into history

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This month, we'll hear from the victim of one of India's first

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high-profile sexual harassment cases.

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A Berliner who remembers West Berlin's Soviet blockade.

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And the musicians behind a Swahili pop

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But we start in Mogadishu in 1993, when a US raid against a

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Abdul Aziz Ali Ibrahim was an eyewitness to the incident which

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What I remember is, people were lying on

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the streets, even including Americans.

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I knew Somali people would pay a very, very

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The drought came, and many people were dying.

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That was the reason why the United Nations

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intervene by force - to deliver food.

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General Mohamed Farrah Aidid was the most powerful warlord in

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The Aidid militias started fighting with the United Nations

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peacekeeping mission, so Americans started

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going after Aidid, and the

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When it was confirmed that Aidid's generals,

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supporters and allies were meeting, the Americans decided

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This was an enemy territory, and it all

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Just a few kilometres away from my home, I started seeing

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When they passed, the Aidid militias started blocking

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the streets, so even if Americans wanted to go

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Around 3:30pm, we arrived where the meeting was

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When they started, the Aidid militias started shooting.

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When the first helicopter was hit, it was

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And where it landed, it is less than 700 yards

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While the first helicopter was down, they were

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trying to defend themselves, and Americans were trying to protect

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that helicopter, and another helicopter was also shot, so things

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The Somali militias were firing everywhere.

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Every space they can see or shoot Americans, they

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The Americans were firing back, and any threat they

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have seen, they were shooting, including civilians, because they

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18 Americans were killed, and 73 Americans wounded, and I heard

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people saying 1000 Somali people were the casualties.

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The Aidid supporters and militias, they were

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dragging the dead American soldier in the streets of Mogadishu, and the

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people that were celebrating were from Aidid's part, they were not

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We are very, very sorry for the loss of those who came

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The American government decided to pull out their troops

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So, once again, the fighting started by the warring

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Taking down these helicopters, it was a very

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successful operation for them, but for us, it was disaster.

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Abdul Aziz Ali Ibrahim went on to become a

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Next, we're going back to 1948 and one of

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the first confrontations of the Cold War.

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The Soviet Union blocked access to West Berlin, so the Western

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powers started to supply the city by air in what became known as the

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Ulrich Kirchbaum was a child in Berlin

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TRANSLATION: We didn't know anything different.

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It was only three or four years after the end of

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Our flats had been destroyed, but it didn't bother us.

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There was a lot of disease, nothing to eat.

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Berlin was separated into four parts,

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surrounded by the Soviet occupation zone.

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The Soviets tried to force the Western powers out.

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ARCHIVE: On June the 18th, all road traffic from the

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The reason given, a bridge was under repair.

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TRANSLATION: Overnight, all traffic was stopped.

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ARCHIVE: There was one way into Berlin which the Russians couldn't

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put under repair - the right of way by air.

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There are three air corridors to Berlin, from Hamburg,

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from Hanover, and in the south from Frankfurt.

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TRANSLATION: Every plane they could find was sent to Germany

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There had never been anything like it.

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ARCHIVE: It takes a lot to feed 2.5 million people, keep them healthy

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TRANSLATION: They landed here, in Templehof airport.

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There would be American lorries waiting.

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Berliners would unload the planes and they

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would go back to Frankfurt in a kind of loop.

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They would bring medicines, fuel, household supplies, everything

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We stood on the balcony, and we timed it on our

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In the end, every 90 seconds, a plane would come, vroom,

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over our house, then on over the rooftops to land in Templehof.

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And during these flights, one pilot had an idea.

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Gail Halvorsen was a 19-year-old Lieutenant, and he was

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standing at a fence when some children came up to ask him for some

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So, he said, why don't I drop sweets down from the plane?

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So, where three or four years ago, there

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had been bombs being dropped, now, there were little chocolate bars,

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each wrapped in an individual little parachute.

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Whenever he came over, he would move his wings up and down,

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After a year and three months, the airlift came to an end.

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ARCHIVE: It's a great day in Berlin, a day

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Soviet planners did not understand our determination to fulfil our

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obligations to the people under our charge.

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TRANSLATION: The Soviet Union had seen that they couldn't

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get round the Berliners, they couldn't break their will.

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This airlift meant that our gratitude to

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-- This airlift meant that our attitude to

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the Americans, to the English, the French, changed radically.

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We had been enemies during the war, but

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Ulrich Kirchbaum, speaking to us from

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Templehof airport in Berlin, one of the centres of the airlift.

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And he still lives just around the corner.

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Now, we're going back to 1956, when five American missionaries were

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killed by members of an indigenous tribe in the Amazon jungle of

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They had gone there to try to convert them to Christianity.

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Valerie Shepherd's father was one of the missionaries killed.

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My father and the other four missionaries

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definitely knew it was dangerous, but they were willing to give up

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their lives in order for the Huaorani to know the truth,

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My father arrived in Ecuador in March 1952 to

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be a missionary to indigenous or primitive tribes in the Amazon

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He found out about the Huaorani through another missionary who

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This missionary said that the Huaorani were very

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violent, Stone Age, and they knew nothing about the outside world.

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It just caught his heart, and he felt

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that those were the people he was supposed to go to.

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My father and a missionary pilot took several

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flights over the Amazon jungle, looking for this group of Indians,

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and eventually came upon this one very small settlement of the

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It seemed an old man stood behind the house and waved

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with both of his arms, as if to signal for us to come down.

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The pilot by that time had found a spit of a beach

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along the river that he knew the Huaorani could walk to.

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These five men decided to set up camp on that

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After three days of waiting at the camp, there were

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three Huaorani that came out of the jungle -

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The joy of the five men was that they

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were perfectly friendly and there didn't seem

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But the Huaorani were, of course, suspicious of these white

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men and really had no idea of the goodwill

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They might be deceiving them, they said.

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They might be tricking us, and we had better kill them

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We believe it was around three in the afternoon, ten men arrived at

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the beach, and with their spears, they brutally speared all five of

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the men and left the bodies in the water.

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After my father's death, my mother got to know two Huaorani

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women who had fled the tribe because of

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and they said, we want you and the pilot's

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While we lived with them, and we were there almost two and a half

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years, I, of course, got to know all of the tribe

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and the ten men who had done the killing.

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Amazingly, I really don't remember being afraid

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They were always laughing, and they would always make my mother

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laugh, so I simply enjoyed being with them.

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Of course, it was a tragedy, and of course, I have often

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wished that I had known my dad, still do.

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believe that God allowed this to happen so that more and more

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people could actually see what real commitment to Christ means, and I

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really don't believe their lives were wasted.

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Today, the Huaorani tribe still lives in the Ecuadorian

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Remember, you can watch Witness every month on the BBC News

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Channel, or you can catch up on all of our films,

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along with more than 1000 radio programmes, in our online

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And now to the Indian state of Punjab and the country's first

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high-profile sexual harassment trial.

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In 1988, Rupan Deol Bajaj was a high-ranking female civil servant,

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but none of that mattered when she was sexually harassed

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at an official party by the state's top policeman.

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She may be working-class, an officer, she may

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In 1988, I was serving as special secretary

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There was a dinner party hosted by the Home

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Secretary, and Mr KPS Gill, who was the director-general of police, was

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He called out to me and said, Mrs Bajaj, I want to talk to

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He got up and he came and stood in front of me,

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He put the finger in my face like that, and he said, up.

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So, I said, Mr Gill, go away from here.

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And I got out from the gap in between him and me,

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and when I was going, that

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Always, people have considered it to be a very trivial

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thing, but I could not get over the enormity of it.

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Letting it go meant living with lowered self esteem,

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gulping down my humiliation, facing that person every day, facing all

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Consequences of complaining, I had not really

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Nobody was willing to take up the case for me

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because they were so frightened of the DGP.

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He was the highest-ranking police officer, with all the powers

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No one wanted to do anything against him.

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And I found that no one had ever filed in

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section 509 and 354, which are the lesser offences

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17 long years of my life, all of it was taken up by this one

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The lower courts had quashed the case, they had thrown it out.

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The case reached the Supreme Court, and

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it was the Supreme Court which called for all the records,

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reinstated the matter, and also laid down...

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They reprimanded the High Court judge and said, this cannot be

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All the people, in every household, this

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was the talk between husband and wife.

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I attended the proceedings of the trial throughout, along with my

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But on the day the verdict came, I specially requested, I said,

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KPS Gill was expecting to win, so they had

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And then my husband's driver rang up and said,

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madam, he has been convicted on both counts.

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I fought against the mindset of a society.

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People have started saying, now, offences

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Rupan Deol Bajaj retired not long after the final judgment in the

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She now runs an academy helping people get into the Indian

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Finally, this week, we are going back to Kenya in 1980, when

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the booming tourist industry turned a Swahili pop song into a global

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# Kenya nchi nzuri, Hakuna Matata...#

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The tourists were just crazy about this

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It went silver then gold, then it went platinum.

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That came as a complete surprise to me.

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I started the group, Them Mushrooms, in 1972.

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Me and him were working in a cement factory in Mombasa.

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There was a lot of tourists coming into Mombasa, so

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it was a very vibrant scene in Mombasa.

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We were playing mostly Congolese stuff and Kenyan music, or

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whatever, but when we realised that we could make more money and playing

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for less time for tourists, we switched to play these cover

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versions of chart music from Europe and from America.

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One night, I think it was late 1979, I was sitting at

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the pool bar after a performance, and there were these tourists in the

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pool, played around and joking, trying to speak Swahili.

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And I got this idea, maybe we should write a

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song with the simplest words in Swahili and get the tourists to

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learn Swahili while they sang along and danced to our music.

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All guests and visitors are welcome to Kenya.

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When we finished, another tourist would come and say, can you do this

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We had to do it about 20 times, and any financial

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We had to do it about 20 times, and then the financial

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director of PolyGram said, here's my card.

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We didn't know that it was going to be this big.

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After recording, the rest was history.

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When we signed the agreement with PolyGram at that

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time, I didn't know much about copyright ownership.

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We were just happy to have our music recorded and

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so many people have wanted to do cover versions of it.

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Most Kenyans say this is a song for the tourists,

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But they are proud of it and at least it has

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given some kind of identity to Kenya.

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Any Kenyan who goes overseas, they are always asking, you know

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the song and start singing, which is a big honour for us.

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Billy Saro Harrison, and Terry Kalanda Harrison,

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That's all from Witness for this month.

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We'll be back here at the British Library in March.

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Next month, don't miss our India direct

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From me and from the rest of the witness team, goodbye.

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After a burst of cold air at the end of the week, things are more mild

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this weekend. It has been cloudy and windy across many parts, but there

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Witness hears from the daughter of a missionary, who was killed by indigenous tribesmen in the Ecuadorean Amazon, along with an account of the infamous moment US helicopters were shot down over the Somalian capital Mogadishu.