24/02/2018 Witness


24/02/2018

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Now it is time for Witness.

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I am here to guide you through five

extraordinary moments from history.

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We will need a South African judge

who took part in the truth and can

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see a show in -- reconciliation

committee. And we will hear from a

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British scientist about the smog

that used to engulf Britain. We

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start with one of the 50th

anniversary of the Vietnam War.

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During 1968, communists in north

Vietnam launched a huge surprise

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offensive across south Vietnam with

the support of local guerillas, the

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Vietcong. This is one of the members

of the Vietcong which fought

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American and South Vietnamese forces

in the city.

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They have been forced back to part

of the northern side of the river

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dividing the city. The Americans and

their allies cannot drive them out

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without destroying the city.

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TRANSLATION:

The American

bombardment was very heavy. We hid

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underground. When we came out, it

was like standing on the moon.

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Complete destruction. That is how

fierce it was. Of course, facing

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death, we were scared. So afraid to

shoot they wet themselves. But once

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the bullets were fired, everyone

disregarded death. No one cared any

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more. We just tried to find ways to

make death glorified and beautiful

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instead of dying in disgrace.

The

bureau in North Vietnam decided to

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launch a general uprising everywhere

in south Vietnam. On the 31st of

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January, 1968.

It was the lunar

holiday of Tet, normally a time of

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truce. The Vietcong entered the city

with ease and encountered no major

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resistance. Local residents were

also caught by surprise. It was

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because our plan was carried out in

absolute secrecy. The counter-attack

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by the Americans and allies was so

fierce, it was probably the toughest

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one in the Vietnam War. In all other

places, including Saigon, the DR

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Congo tax filled quickly, within a

few days. -- Viet Cong attacks

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failed. But thanks to local support,

this one lasted 20 days. During the

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Tet Offensive, I felt the kiss of

death five times. A mortar was fired

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towards our position one time, and

it burned my hair as it went past

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me. Any closer, I would have been

there. -- dead. We were exposed by

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being in the city. We were not able

to resist American firepower. When

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we drew back into the jungle, we had

suffered great losses the cost and

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civilian suffering has been

terrible.

It was made clear the

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paradox was to win back control

meant that the Americans and south

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it is destroyed what they claimed to

protect.

The Americans realised they

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could not win the Vietnam War with

military force, so they had to find

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a way out. The 1968 battle played a

decisive role leading to our final

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victory.

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During the battle, forces from both

sides committed a number of

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mistakes. So many innocent victims

were killed, not only from one side.

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50 years have passed. It is now the

time for the current leaders of this

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regime to come clean on this issue,

to give justice for the victims.

He

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still lives in the city. In these

times of Brexit, it is hard to

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imagine, but in 1963, Britain was

actually desperate to join Europe!

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British leaders of the day wanted to

become members of what was then

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known as the European Economic

Community. There was a problem, the

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French president was strongly

opposed. Our next guest was a

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British diplomat at the time.

Thank

God for Englishmen.

The British

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people, who only slowly came around

to the idea to join the EEC, were

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really very shocked.

With

communication between countries a

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world apart now only a few hours, it

compels new thinking along the

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economic front.

1961, the British

government applied to join the

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European community. Edward Heath was

appointed.

I have made a full

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statement to the members of the

European economic group. In that

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statement I explained that the UK

government wished to take its full

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part in working for a better

European unity.

The negotiations

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moved to Brussels. This was the

point at which I got added to the

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British negotiating delegation. The

idealism one found in Brussels back

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then was contagious, actually. And I

think all of us who went were

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convinced that for Britain it was

very important for those

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negotiations to succeed. Even back

at the start, people realised that

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Charles de Gaulle had grave doubts

about edition three. -- British

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entry. The six were trading among

themselves. The pattern of Britain

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was outward looking. In particular,

we traded a lot with the

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Commonwealth countries, and, of

course, they had become extremely

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dependent on this. There was a lot

of worry about where the French

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resident's position had reached,

whether he was going to veto British

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men bishops. -- President. --

membership. Attention focused on a

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press conference he was going to

give in the middle of January. He

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was seen we must ask ourselves, is

Britain really ready. I think we

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need in our heart of hearts that he

was really saying he was not going

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to let us in the good the reason

stated by France is over differences

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in agricultural policy. That final

negotiation, the long room with the

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British delegation at the far end,

the French chatting among themselves

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and giggling and not joining the

others, it was very symbolic. All of

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the French on one side, and the five

who supported British entry, very

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much on the other.

Former British

diplomat, Juliet Campbell. And now

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we go to China to be in 1968,

Chairman Mao officially launched a

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scheme to provide healthcare to

rural areas by giving thousands of

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people a six medical training and

sending them out to work in

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villages. -- basic. They were known

as barefoot doctors. Gordon was one

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of them.

I became a doctor after I

graduated from high school simply

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because I was one of the most

educated young people. I did not

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have any training, any experience,

knowledge, in medicine, whatsoever.

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Chairman Mao says the six must he

healed and has caused a shakeup in

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health services in China. -- sick.

Medical attention has been provided

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where there was none before. The

most striking the Parliament was a

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training of a vast core of barefoot

doctors. They have farm work to do

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as well in training is limited, but

it can save countless lives.

We

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provided basic services to

villagers, mostly in common cold

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conditions, infections, diarrhoea

things like that. Sometimes we had

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to take shoes off to work in the

farm. We were not always barefoot. I

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do have shoes! I started as a

barefoot doctor to not only treat

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people, but animals. We had horses,

pigs, so in the beginning, I

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practised work injecting by giving

shots to pigs and horses, not as

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difficult as humans. All the people

in the village believed to my care

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would be good enough for them to

take care of their health. Because

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if I was not there for their

healthcare, who would be there

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otherwise? No-one. One of my

relatives, she had a problem with

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her teeth. So then she said, my

little brother, can you do something

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for me? And I said, yeah, let me

give it a try. After three or four

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days, her problem was gone. That

news spread to the whole village.

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Epidemics were checked. One doctor

said smugly that the only diseases

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we get in China are from Hong Kong.

Certainly, cholera and smallpox took

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fewer victims than in the old days.

Most people in China and many people

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in other countries like outside of

China perceived the barefoot doctor

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system very highly. My view is

somewhat different from that. Back

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in the 60s and 70s, as a result of

the cultural Revolution, the Chinese

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higher education system was shut

down. But if I could choose between

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going to the countryside for years

or going to college, mostly I would

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choose college. Since that was the

only choice available to me, there

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was something positive.

And he is

now eight professor of health

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economics at Peking University. --

A. Remember, you can watch the show

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on line. Just go to BBC .co .uk.

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Next, we are off to South Africa

which in the 1990s face the daunting

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challenge of

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which in the 1990s face the daunting

challenge of facing the legacy of

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apartheid rule. We spoke at two just

as Sisi Khampepe who served on the

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country's Truth and Reconciliation

Commission.

We are charged to

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unearth the truth about our past. To

lay the ghosts of that passed so

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they will not return to haunt us. I

was a member of the truth commission

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and also a member of the amnesty

community.

South Africans face a

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collective tested today. The

reaction to these hearings will show

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whether they are able to expose the

sins of apartheid yet free

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themselves from the desire for

revenge against those who propped up

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a system.

The Truth and

Reconciliation Commission allowed

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amnesty only if the perpetrator

confessed that they committed the

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crime.

I did terrible things. I did

terrible things to members of the

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ANC.

I grew up in Soweto. It was

rampant with security police. It

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felt like hell. Being in the city

required a special permit if you

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were a black person. Absolutely no

freedom of movement. I had also

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suffered as an activist by being

shot in the leg by the police while

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attending a funeral for my fellow

students. It was at a graveyard

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where the police again started

shooting. I survived. Others were

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killed on the spot. It is a scar

that is a constant reminder of where

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I come from. I knew the harshness of

the system first-hand. Yet as a

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member of the amnesty committee, I

had to decide that these people had

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to be granted amnesty. Not because

they were apologetic but merely

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because they disclose the truth.

That was really difficult.

Did you

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then shoot that man?

Yes, that is

correct. People would cry. Just by

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listening to the explanation that

was given of how people were

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tortured. People were killed.

What

kind of man uses a method like this

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on other human beings?

There were

occasions when people who applied

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for amnesty did say sorry. Those

were few and far between. But it was

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extraordinarily difficult for me

when people did not even care to

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apologise.

There was no other way

other than to eliminate these

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people.

These hearings provided a

forum for those who have been

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treated, in the past, as if they

were rubbish.

Archbishop Desmond

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Tutu was the star of the Truth and

Reconciliation Commission. Without

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his leadership, the commission would

not have been able to attain its

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objectives. I think the amnesty

process assured that people were not

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vengeful. That there was proper

public acknowledgement and

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recognition of those who had

suffered.

We are asking from you to

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please forgive us.

Going through a

process of coming out from our

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grief. But here we have the lovely

people who are generous. Their

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generosity is always amazing. I wake

up every morning and I am grateful

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that after all, I am a South

African.

Just as Sisi Khampepe

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talking to Witness in South Africa.

Finally, it is hard to imagine now

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but London used often to be shrouded

in thick smog for days at a time. In

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1952, conditions were so bad that

thousands of people died in the

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government eventually had to act.

Scientist Brian Commons was called

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in to study the killer smog.

Ordinary fog does little harm. Smog,

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a mixture of smoke and four, has

become one of the greatest mass

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murderers of modern times.

The smoke

began on a Friday and it was black.

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It was described as a pea soup

because it was a little yellow wish.

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You could smell it. It tasted a

little acidic. And it caused

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absolute havoc. The levels of

pollution were horrendous.

You could

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not see your feet. I remember on one

particular occasion I wanted to

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cross a wide road and I shuffled

across and after about ten minutes I

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did not know where I was and,

finally, I ended up on the same side

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of the road as I started. It was

extremely cold. Brought a and, of

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course, Londoners wanted to keep

warm. And so they don't call on

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their open fires. The pollution did

not rise up, it tended to drift down

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and pervade the streets and

everything else. The smog got in

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every way. You could not avoid it.

Special filtering masks are the

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latest weapon devised...

Quite a

number of people had bronchitis

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because of industrial pollution

exposure and because they smoked. Of

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course, when a breeze polluted air,

this became very hard for them.

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Heaven help the doctor on a night

like this... What can you do when

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records and experience tells you the

city 's death rate is about to jump.

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As many as 100,000 people in London

were made ill by the pollution at

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the time, particularly people with

asthma, cardiovascular problems.

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Also the very young and the elderly,

they also suffered.

If you looked at

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his x-ray you would see plenty.

And

to see somebody fighting for air is

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a harrowing experience. Trying to

get Aero into their lungs. And, of

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course, it was dirty air. Even in

the ward. -- trying to get a. There

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were estimates that there were some

4000 Access deaths and there was a

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shortage of cough and because there

were so many people who died. --

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4000 Access deaths. The government

recognised that we needed to study

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the pollution and that is why we set

up an air pollution research unit in

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Saint Barts Hospital in central

London. I was a founding member of

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that. In 1956, the government

decided to pass something called the

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clean air act to try and discourage

and minimise the amount of smoky

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flues are being used.

New flats with

our chimneys are part of the

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campaign...

We still had smog but as

time went on we had the availability

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of smokeless fuels like natural gas

and oil. Without that, we would have

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been in a bad way.

Doctor Brian

Commons there. That is all from

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Witness this month here at the

British library. We will be back

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next month with more first-hand

accounts of extraordinary moments in

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history. For now, from me and the

rest of the team, goodbye.

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Introduces another five important moments in history, including Judge Sisi Khampepe sharing her memories of serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.


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