Witness

Witness

Australia

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

Episodes

Rabindranath Tagore  

In August 1941 one of the greatest poets India has ever produced died. Known as the "Bard of Bengal" Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for Literature and has been called one of the outstanding thinkers of the 20th century. Farhana Haider and has been listening to material from the BBC archives and hearing from Professor Bashabi Fraser, Director of the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies. Photo June 1921, Indian poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore in London. Credit: Getty Images

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The Division of Cyprus  

In August 1974, Turkey ordered its troops into northern Cyprus for the second time in less than a month, leading to the division of the island into a Greek Cypriot part and a Turkish Cypriot part, a division that still exists today. Louise Hidalgo has been listening to a Turkish account of those events from the son of Turkey's foreign minister at the time, Hursit Gunes. Picture: an armoured vehicle filled with soldiers during fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, August 16th 1974 (Credit: Reg Lancaster/ Express/Getty Images

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16/08/2017 GMT  

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

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Nike and the Sweatshop Problem  

In the 1990s students began boycotting Nike after it became linked to sweatshops. Many were horrified to find their trainers were being made by poorly paid Indonesian workers. Photo: Cicih Sukaesih telling her story in America in 1996 (courtesy of Jeff Ballinger)

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Germany's Nudists  

For years Germans have been bathing nude at the beach. Many are members of a naturist movement called the FKK, which was banned under the Nazis and faced official disapproval during the early years of communist rule in East Germany. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to one East Berliner who recalls the heyday of naked sunbathing beside the Baltic Sea, and who still likes to bare all when he goes on holiday. Photo: Bathers enjoying the beach at Baerwalder See, Eastern Germany (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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Reagan's Bombing Joke  

"We have outlawed Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes". It was just an unscripted joke by US President Ronald Reagan but it terrified ordinary Russians. Reagan's advisor Morton Blackwell explains the president's love of anti-Soviet jokes and his determination to destroy Communism. Photo: American president Ronald Reagan in the 1980s at his desk in the White House, Washington DC. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Florence Nightingale  

Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale - known to generations as the "lady with the lamp" - died on August 13th 1910. Lucy Burns hears a recording of Florence Nightingale's voice from 1890, along with memories of her life from her great-nephew Harry Verney and her private doctor May Thorne - and Dr Rosemary Wall from the University of Hull explains her legacy in the world of public health. Recording courtesy of the Library at the Wellcome Collection Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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The Calcutta Killings of 1946  

Exactly a year before Indian independence there were deadly riots in India's second city of Calcutta. They followed mass demonstrations calling for the creation of a Muslim-majority state and persuaded many political leaders that India should be divided on its independence. Thousands of people were killed and thousands more left the city. Justin Rowlatt has been speaking to 2 survivors of the killings. Photo: Calcutta policemen use tear gas during the communal riots in the city. (Credit: Keystone Features/Getty Images)

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The Murder of Naji al-Ali  

The acclaimed Palestinian cartoonist was gunned down in London in 1987. His attackers have never been identified. Naji al-Ali's cartoons were famous across the Middle East. Through his images he criticised Israeli and US policy in the region, but unlike many, he also lambasted Arab despotic regimes and the leadership of the PLO. His signature character was called Handala - a poor Palestinian refugee child with spiky hair, who would always appear, facing away with his hands clasped behind his back, watching the events depicted in the cartoon. Alex Last has been speaking to his son, Khalid, about his father's life and death. Photo: A cartoon by Naji al-Ali published with the permission of Naji Al-Ali family. Copyrights reserved.

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Discovering The Great Pacific Garbage Patch  

In the summer of 1997 Captain Charles Moore was on his way home from a yacht race when he came upon a huge patch of floating rubbish in the Pacific Ocean. In 2013 he spoke to Lucy Burns about the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how it opened up a new chapter in research into ocean waste. Photo: Fishing nets and assorted garbage collected from the North Pacific Gyre (Credit: Environmental Images/Univers/REX/Shutterstock)

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The Camp David Summit  

In 2000 the US led a major effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President Bill Clinton brought the two sides together at the leafy presidential retreat in Maryland. The Israeli leader, Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, failed to reach any agreement and the summit ended in failure. Farhana Haider has been speaking to the senior American diplomatic interpreter and policy adviser, Gamal Helal who attended the Camp David summit. White House photo released 16 July 2000 US President Bill Clinton (C) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (L) and Palestinian Chairman Yassar Arafat and Gamal Helal at a working dinner at Camp David, Maryland during the Middle East Peace Summit. Credit: SHARON FARMER/AFP/Getty Images

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China's Crackdown on Falun Gong  

In July 1999, the spiritual movement Falun Gong was banned in China. Thousands of people were arrested. The Chinese government says Falun Gong is an "evil cult", but followers of the movement say they have been the victims of state persecution. Witness speaks to Falun Gong practitioner Chao Yu and journalist Ian Johnson. PICTURE: Falun Gong practitioners stage a sit-in protest outside the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong on October 1 2002. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Birth of the Water Baby  

In 1977 a state hospital near Paris began quietly changing the way women gave birth. Obstetrician, Dr Michel Odent, believed that childbirth had become too medicalised and he wanted a more natural approach. He introduced a pool to ease the pain of labour. Eventually some babies were even born in the pool. Claire Bowes speaks to Dr Odent about the innovation that has become a revolution using the power of water. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Surviving the "Auschwitz of the Balkans"  

During World War Two, Croatian fascists tortured and killed tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people in several concentration camps. The most notorious was Jasenovac. Dina Newman speaks to Milenko Cekic, a Serb survivor of Jasenovac. Photo: Milenko Cekic speaking to the BBC in 2017. Credit: BBC.

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The Death of Evita  

On July 26 1952 Argentina's controversial First Lady, Eva Peron, died in Buenos Aires. During her short life she had become an icon for women and the poor in the South American nation. In 2012 Krupa Padhy spoke to two very different Argentine women who remember meeting her. Photo: President Juan Peron and his wife, Eva Peron, at a demonstration in Buenos Aires, August 1951. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Pioneer North Sea Divers  

In the 1970s, deep sea divers were at the sharp end of the North Sea oil boom. Alex Last has been speaking to the former diver David Beckett, who wrote The Loonliness of a Deep Sea Diver, about his dangerous life working under the waves. Photo: A saturation diver works to fix an undersea oil pump in the North Sea (BBC)

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Chiang Kai Shek: The Man Who Lost China  

The battle for China between Communists and Nationalists left Mao the victor in 1949. Defeated Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai Shek, fled with his troops to the island of Taiwan, but he vowed to return. Hau Pei Tsun is a former chief aide to Chiang Kai Shek. Now 99 years old, he speaks to Rebecca Kesby about his memories of the controversial leader, and their fight for the soul of China. Photo: General Chiang Kai Shek, cerca 1943 (Keystone/Getty Images)

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When Homosexuality Was a Crime  

In July 1967, homosexuality was legalised in England and Wales for the first time. Before that gay men lived in fear of arrest, beatings and blackmail. Some even underwent so-called aversion therapy at psychiatric hospitals in an attempt to 'cure' themselves. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Liverpool comedian and radio presenter, Peter Price, who still bears the psychological scars of what he was put through when he was 18. Picture: Comedian Peter Price (copyright: private collection)

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Khrushchev's Soviet Housing Programme  

In the 1960s, millions of Soviet families were able for the first time to move to a flat of their own. This was due to a mass construction programme of standardized housing. Dina Newman speaks to a resident of one of the first five storey apartment blocks, and to Clem Cecil, a campaigner for preserving architecture. Photo: a five-storey building dating from the 1960s in western Moscow on June 11, 2017. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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The Welsh Language Act  

In July 1967 there was a breakthrough for the Welsh language. The Welsh Language Act allowed people in Wales to use Welsh in a court of law - and it was also the first significant victory for a campaign to preserve the ancient language. Lucy Burns speaks to Dafydd Iwan and Lord Elystan Morgan about the campaign. PICTURE: Rain clouds gather over the Welsh flag flying beside the beach on June 15, 2012 in Barry, Wales (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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