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
Hello, and welcome to Witness, with me, Tanya Beckett.
I'm at the British Library in London to bring
you five more unique glimpses into history
This month, we'll hear from the victim of one of India's first
high-profile sexual harassment cases.
A Berliner who remembers West Berlin's Soviet blockade.
And the musicians behind a Swahili pop
But we start in Mogadishu in 1993, when a US raid against a
Abdul Aziz Ali Ibrahim was an eyewitness to the incident which
What I remember is, people were lying on
the streets, even including Americans.
I knew Somali people would pay a very, very
The drought came, and many people were dying.
That was the reason why the United Nations
intervene by force - to deliver food.
General Mohamed Farrah Aidid was the most powerful warlord in
The Aidid militias started fighting with the United Nations
peacekeeping mission, so Americans started
going after Aidid, and the
When it was confirmed that Aidid's generals,
supporters and allies were meeting, the Americans decided
This was an enemy territory, and it all
Just a few kilometres away from my home, I started seeing
When they passed, the Aidid militias started blocking
the streets, so even if Americans wanted to go
Around 3:30pm, we arrived where the meeting was
When they started, the Aidid militias started shooting.
When the first helicopter was hit, it was
And where it landed, it is less than 700 yards
While the first helicopter was down, they were
trying to defend themselves, and Americans were trying to protect
that helicopter, and another helicopter was also shot, so things
The Somali militias were firing everywhere.
Every space they can see or shoot Americans, they
The Americans were firing back, and any threat they
have seen, they were shooting, including civilians, because they
18 Americans were killed, and 73 Americans wounded, and I heard
people saying 1000 Somali people were the casualties.
The Aidid supporters and militias, they were
dragging the dead American soldier in the streets of Mogadishu, and the
people that were celebrating were from Aidid's part, they were not
We are very, very sorry for the loss of those who came
The American government decided to pull out their troops
So, once again, the fighting started by the warring
Taking down these helicopters, it was a very
successful operation for them, but for us, it was disaster.
Abdul Aziz Ali Ibrahim went on to become a
Next, we're going back to 1948 and one of
the first confrontations of the Cold War.
The Soviet Union blocked access to West Berlin, so the Western
powers started to supply the city by air in what became known as the
Ulrich Kirchbaum was a child in Berlin
TRANSLATION: We didn't know anything different.
It was only three or four years after the end of
Our flats had been destroyed, but it didn't bother us.
There was a lot of disease, nothing to eat.
Berlin was separated into four parts,
surrounded by the Soviet occupation zone.
The Soviets tried to force the Western powers out.
ARCHIVE: On June the 18th, all road traffic from the
The reason given, a bridge was under repair.
TRANSLATION: Overnight, all traffic was stopped.
ARCHIVE: There was one way into Berlin which the Russians couldn't
put under repair - the right of way by air.
There are three air corridors to Berlin, from Hamburg,
from Hanover, and in the south from Frankfurt.
TRANSLATION: Every plane they could find was sent to Germany
There had never been anything like it.
ARCHIVE: It takes a lot to feed 2.5 million people, keep them healthy
TRANSLATION: They landed here, in Templehof airport.
There would be American lorries waiting.
Berliners would unload the planes and they
would go back to Frankfurt in a kind of loop.
They would bring medicines, fuel, household supplies, everything
We stood on the balcony, and we timed it on our
In the end, every 90 seconds, a plane would come, vroom,
over our house, then on over the rooftops to land in Templehof.
And during these flights, one pilot had an idea.
Gail Halvorsen was a 19-year-old Lieutenant, and he was
standing at a fence when some children came up to ask him for some
So, he said, why don't I drop sweets down from the plane?
So, where three or four years ago, there
had been bombs being dropped, now, there were little chocolate bars,
each wrapped in an individual little parachute.
Whenever he came over, he would move his wings up and down,
After a year and three months, the airlift came to an end.
ARCHIVE: It's a great day in Berlin, a day
Soviet planners did not understand our determination to fulfil our
obligations to the people under our charge.
TRANSLATION: The Soviet Union had seen that they couldn't
get round the Berliners, they couldn't break their will.
This airlift meant that our gratitude to
-- This airlift meant that our attitude to
the Americans, to the English, the French, changed radically.
We had been enemies during the war, but
Ulrich Kirchbaum, speaking to us from
Templehof airport in Berlin, one of the centres of the airlift.
And he still lives just around the corner.
Now, we're going back to 1956, when five American missionaries were
killed by members of an indigenous tribe in the Amazon jungle of
They had gone there to try to convert them to Christianity.
Valerie Shepherd's father was one of the missionaries killed.
My father and the other four missionaries
definitely knew it was dangerous, but they were willing to give up
their lives in order for the Huaorani to know the truth,
My father arrived in Ecuador in March 1952 to
be a missionary to indigenous or primitive tribes in the Amazon
He found out about the Huaorani through another missionary who
This missionary said that the Huaorani were very
violent, Stone Age, and they knew nothing about the outside world.
It just caught his heart, and he felt
that those were the people he was supposed to go to.
My father and a missionary pilot took several
flights over the Amazon jungle, looking for this group of Indians,
and eventually came upon this one very small settlement of the
It seemed an old man stood behind the house and waved
with both of his arms, as if to signal for us to come down.
The pilot by that time had found a spit of a beach
along the river that he knew the Huaorani could walk to.
These five men decided to set up camp on that
After three days of waiting at the camp, there were
three Huaorani that came out of the jungle -
The joy of the five men was that they
were perfectly friendly and there didn't seem
But the Huaorani were, of course, suspicious of these white
men and really had no idea of the goodwill
They might be deceiving them, they said.
They might be tricking us, and we had better kill them
We believe it was around three in the afternoon, ten men arrived at
the beach, and with their spears, they brutally speared all five of
the men and left the bodies in the water.
After my father's death, my mother got to know two Huaorani
women who had fled the tribe because of
and they said, we want you and the pilot's
While we lived with them, and we were there almost two and a half
years, I, of course, got to know all of the tribe
and the ten men who had done the killing.
Amazingly, I really don't remember being afraid
They were always laughing, and they would always make my mother
laugh, so I simply enjoyed being with them.
Of course, it was a tragedy, and of course, I have often
wished that I had known my dad, still do.
believe that God allowed this to happen so that more and more
people could actually see what real commitment to Christ means, and I
really don't believe their lives were wasted.
Today, the Huaorani tribe still lives in the Ecuadorian
Remember, you can watch Witness every month on the BBC News
Channel, or you can catch up on all of our films,
along with more than 1000 radio programmes, in our online
And now to the Indian state of Punjab and the country's first
high-profile sexual harassment trial.
In 1988, Rupan Deol Bajaj was a high-ranking female civil servant,
but none of that mattered when she was sexually harassed
at an official party by the state's top policeman.
She may be working-class, an officer, she may
In 1988, I was serving as special secretary
There was a dinner party hosted by the Home
Secretary, and Mr KPS Gill, who was the director-general of police, was
He called out to me and said, Mrs Bajaj, I want to talk to
He got up and he came and stood in front of me,
He put the finger in my face like that, and he said, up.
So, I said, Mr Gill, go away from here.
And I got out from the gap in between him and me,
and when I was going, that
Always, people have considered it to be a very trivial
thing, but I could not get over the enormity of it.
Letting it go meant living with lowered self esteem,
gulping down my humiliation, facing that person every day, facing all
Consequences of complaining, I had not really
Nobody was willing to take up the case for me
because they were so frightened of the DGP.
He was the highest-ranking police officer, with all the powers
No one wanted to do anything against him.
And I found that no one had ever filed in
section 509 and 354, which are the lesser offences
17 long years of my life, all of it was taken up by this one
The lower courts had quashed the case, they had thrown it out.
The case reached the Supreme Court, and
it was the Supreme Court which called for all the records,
reinstated the matter, and also laid down...
They reprimanded the High Court judge and said, this cannot be
All the people, in every household, this
was the talk between husband and wife.
I attended the proceedings of the trial throughout, along with my
But on the day the verdict came, I specially requested, I said,
KPS Gill was expecting to win, so they had
And then my husband's driver rang up and said,
madam, he has been convicted on both counts.
I fought against the mindset of a society.
People have started saying, now, offences
Rupan Deol Bajaj retired not long after the final judgment in the
She now runs an academy helping people get into the Indian
Finally, this week, we are going back to Kenya in 1980, when
the booming tourist industry turned a Swahili pop song into a global
# Kenya nchi nzuri, Hakuna Matata...#
The tourists were just crazy about this
It went silver then gold, then it went platinum.
That came as a complete surprise to me.
I started the group, Them Mushrooms, in 1972.
Me and him were working in a cement factory in Mombasa.
There was a lot of tourists coming into Mombasa, so
it was a very vibrant scene in Mombasa.
We were playing mostly Congolese stuff and Kenyan music, or
whatever, but when we realised that we could make more money and playing
for less time for tourists, we switched to play these cover
versions of chart music from Europe and from America.
One night, I think it was late 1979, I was sitting at
the pool bar after a performance, and there were these tourists in the
pool, played around and joking, trying to speak Swahili.
And I got this idea, maybe we should write a
song with the simplest words in Swahili and get the tourists to
learn Swahili while they sang along and danced to our music.
All guests and visitors are welcome to Kenya.
When we finished, another tourist would come and say, can you do this
We had to do it about 20 times, and any financial
We had to do it about 20 times, and then the financial
director of PolyGram said, here's my card.
We didn't know that it was going to be this big.
After recording, the rest was history.
When we signed the agreement with PolyGram at that
time, I didn't know much about copyright ownership.
We were just happy to have our music recorded and
so many people have wanted to do cover versions of it.
Most Kenyans say this is a song for the tourists,
But they are proud of it and at least it has
given some kind of identity to Kenya.
Any Kenyan who goes overseas, they are always asking, you know
the song and start singing, which is a big honour for us.
Billy Saro Harrison, and Terry Kalanda Harrison,
That's all from Witness for this month.
We'll be back here at the British Library in March.
Next month, don't miss our India direct
From me and from the rest of the witness team, goodbye.
After a burst of cold air at the end of the week, things are more mild
this weekend. It has been cloudy and windy across many parts, but there
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.