tv Witness BBC News July 30, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm BST
and edinburgh a headache — in trade terms at least. now the weather. spring showers, but not spring? it's not summer, it's a bit of everything, all over. all over the place, the weather. we are never going to satisfy everybody today with the forecast because it is so changeable. i just want to point out one area to give you an example. central parts of cornwall and devon, the way the showers are moving, any town or city within this line is getting shower after shower, after shower. it really is an awful day. some of those in the south—east and eastern areas haven't had many showers at all. overall, looking gci’oss showers at all. overall, looking across the uk, there was a lot of them around and the risk of catching a downpour is pretty high. we had thunder and lightning as well and events have been affected, notjust by showers but by heavy rain that we had last night. showers will continue after dark in northern and
western areas tonight. central and eastern, and southern areas of the uk will tend to clear. where the skies clear in the north it could be very chilly, down to 5 degrees. towns and cities nowhere near as cold. tomorrow, showers return. there will be fewer across more southern areas, most of them across scotland, northern ireland and western areas. they are very difficult to predict, what time and they will occur. —— and where they will occur. hello. this is bbc news. president trump has criticised china on twitter, saying it's doing nothing to halt north korea's weapons programme after pyongyang test—fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile in a month. the australian prime minister says counter—terror police have foiled an attempt to blow—up a plane. four people have been arrested in raids across sydney. the threat of terrorism is very real. the disruption operation, the
effo rts real. the disruption operation, the efforts overnight, have been very effective, but there is more work to do. the international trade secretary liam fox has said the government would not be keeping faith with the eu referendum result if it allowed the free movement of people to continue after brexit. but the chancellor philip hammond has previously said it will be some time before full migration controls can be introduced. a record number of criminals have had their sentences increased after victims and members of the public asked for them to be reviewed. now on bbc news, witness. hello, i'm lucy hockings.
welcome to witness, here at the british library in london. this month, we have another five people who have witnessed extraordinary moments of history first hand. we'll be talking about the legalisation of homosexuality in britain 50 years ago. a breakthrough for women in the men's world of motor racing, and the moment the russian ballet star rudolf nureyev defected to the west. but first, we go back to 1946, and a turning point for china. the country was wracked with a civil war between communists and the nationalists. translation: i never even thought about joining the communists. i followed the nationalist party all the way. i'm 99 years old, and i still haven't changed my mind about that. the country was weak and divided. for most people, life was wretched. someone had to rescue china from these miserable conditions. there were two men willing to try.
one was chiang kai—shek, who was leader of the nationalist troops. the other was mao zedong, who wanted to turn china into a communist state. the two men were to become bitter rivals. translation: chiang kai—shek was a patriot. we worshipped him back then. we were probably influenced by germany's worshipping of hitler. we worshipped our leader too. i was the head of a battalion in the nationalist army and fought against the chinese communists in the civil war. chinese people fighting each other, it was a complex situation. it was all about which path china should take for the future. we thought they were the chinese traitors. in the civil war, chiang kai—shek made many mistakes. mao zedong also made mistakes, but chiang kai—shek
made more than mao did. i was involved in one of the last big battles. we suffered 200,000 artillery shells, but i survived all of that. the nationalists had the military advantage, but our soldiers were too spread out. so mao zedong won, and chiang kai—shek lost. but mao didn't win completely, and chiang didn't lose completely. by the autumn of 1949, the communists had driven the nationalists out of all the major cities. they fled to the island of taiwan. translation: you could say leaving mainland china was the lowest moment in his life, but he never accepted defeat. i worked with chiang kai—shek very closely for five years.
i really respected him. he was very strict, but he was always very good to me. chiang kai—shek‘s life was very orderly. he'd get up at six in the morning every day. he didn't smoke or drink. he was very disciplined. he issued a lot of orders — to be honest, so many that it was hard to keep track of them. some people say chiang kai—shek was a dictator. but this is unfair, and it's slander. but because we were still against the communists in mainland china, he did impose martial law. obviously, that is antidemocratic, but it was to protect taiwan. his goal wasn'tjust to make taiwan independent. he wanted to achieve freedom and democracy
for the whole of china. he never gave up. he told us, "don't ever think we've lost the mainland." "marxism will eventually fail." history proved him right. chiang kai—shek died in taiwan ini975. general hau pei—tsun went on to become the head of taiwan's army and eventually the country's premier. next, injulyi961, rudolf nureyev, one of the world's greatest ballet dancers, defected to the west while on tour with his soviet ballet company. i remember him as a great dancer — as a great personality in many ways. he had enormous technical prowess
and enormous charisma. this kind of stylistic dancing, with unique movements and fantastic stage presence, is something we have not seen before and very rarely since. it shows you, typically, the choreography and the genius of rudi. i travelled to russia a lot in those days. when i went to leningrad, when i went to the performances at the kirov theatre, he was dancing, of course. he was recognised in russia, the ussr, as one of the great dancers, no question about that. when i came back to london, i started to negotiate with the russians, and they agreed to send this company
to england for a season. this is an original poster for the first appearance of the kirov ballet, or the mariinsky ballet. among the stars you can see nureyev. no, he never turned up for this one. they went to paris and, of course, from paris, they were coming straight to london, and we didn't expect anything, we just went to the airport. on 16th june 1961, rudolf nureyev set off for the airport to fly to london with the rest of the company on the next leg of their tour. he didn't yet know that soviet authorities had decided he was a security risk and were planning to send him back to russia instead. at the last minute, rather than board the plane to russia, nureyev broke away from his minders and asked the airport authorities for asylum in france. he jumped over the barrier and decided to defect.
nureyev‘s defection caused a worldwide sensation. he became known as the man who had pierced the iron curtain. i think it was a simple question of being by nature, by temperament, wild, and being provoked into going back to moscow when he was looking forward to going to london. he was totally disinterested in politics. he was interested in art and his own glory. but the idea of communism is... it was not a factor for him. at the tender age of 23, nureyev found himself of the centre of a media spotlight, which would not dim for years to come. what sort of parts do you want to dance most of all? actually, i am a romantic kind of dancer, but i would like to try modern things — to try every different way. he was a great dancer, of course.
but he was able to mesmerise the world of ballet. he was a great influence. he transformed the whole aspect, the whole scene of ballet. it's impossible to overestimate the influence — it was unique, certainly, to this very day. rudolf nureyev died of complications from aids in 1993. victor hochhauser is still working as a ballet promoter. now, in july 1990, indigenous canadians spent months in a stand—off with the country's security forces over plans to develop a golf course complex on top of a sacred burial ground. mohawk activist ellen katsi'tsa kwas gabriel was there.
to see the tanks coming in... we even had the fighter jets fly over us. the mood was very tense. this is all for a golf course. this was all for some group of rich people, the elite, and their playground. like many other indigenous peoples, we call the earth our mother. the place where our ancestors rest is extremely important. they wanted to extend their nine—hole golf course into an 18—hole course. but at the same time, they also wanted to dig up our burialground to extend their parking lot. we set up a blockade on a secondary dirt road. at that time, the majority of people at the barricades were women. we are matrilineal, our clans comes from our mothers, and we are the ones who are supposed to protect the land. it is the duty of the men
to protect the people. the women said we would go to the front, when the police arrived, and the men said they would watch us and protect us if anything happened. on the morning ofjuly11th, we were interrupted at 5:15 in the morning by a swat team, and so we went towards the front of the barricade — towards the highway — with our hands in the air to make sure that they saw we had no weapons. but they still met us with a lot of aggression and a lot of force. what i said to them was that this is our land and we have every right to be here. they were not too happy with that — that is why they wanted to talk to a man, because i guess the women were being very unreasonable to them. originally, people said there would be no weapons, but there were individuals who carried their weapons. we couldn't do anything about it. we said it was a peaceful barricade. around 8:30, the police started firing tear gas and concussion grenades at us.
concussion grenades — for those who do not know — sound like gunshots. they're quite a loud noise. i had to tell some of the people i was with to run, you know, "let's run for cover." it was scary because we didn't know if anyone was killed — on both sides. the police force continued to block the roads of people coming in or out. they prevented food, medicine. they were quite aggressive and always provoking. it was a siege, a 78—day siege. well, we did decide to end it. we just had enough and we said, "we're going back to our homes." september 26th is when it was supposedly finished. a big melee happened. some of the soldiers had their bayonets on, because they were afraid, they were totally afraid of the people who were coming out.
there were a lot of arrests on that day. this ain't a surrender either! we're still not surrendering, because the land dispute is still in full force, it's not been settled. i mean, the golf course sparked a discussion about the real issues that indigenous people have been fighting for for centuries, which is land dispossession, protection of our languages and culture, our way of life. so it woke up people. i would say it woke up people. and ellen is still campaigning for indigenous rights. remember, you can watch witness every month on the bbc news channel, or catch up on over 1,000 radio programmes in our online archive. next, we're going back tojuly 1967, when the british parliament passed a bill to decriminalise homosexuality. before then, being gay in this country was notjust illegal —
it was widely seen as a disease. witness has been to liverpool to meet the radio presenter pete price, who was sent for aversion therapy to try to cure him of his homosexuality. it was very difficult growing up in the ‘60s as a gay man, because to touch another man, to hold, to feel, to have emotions, you could go to prison. archive: for many of us, this is revolting — men dancing with men. homosexuals in this country today break the law. it was very dangerous at that time as well, because queer bashers were out and people were getting blackmailed and people committed suicide. it was a very sad time. i was 18, going on 19, when my motherfound out that i was a homosexual, and she took it badly, then went to the doctors. and the doctors told us, "there is a cure." i've now since found out it was called aversion therapy. didn't know anything about it,
so mum said, "will you do it?" i said, "yeah, for you, i'll do it." they put me in a mental institute. in those days, it was called a loony bin. they weren't psychiatric wards, this had bars on the window. i was very, very frightened. so i went in to see the psychiatrist, and he had an old—fashioned tape recorder, reel to reel, and he described all the sexual acts that gay people did, using graphic language, graphic language, to make you feel disgusting. then they put me in a room. i still didn't know what was going to happen to me, i really didn't know, except they asked me what i drank, and in those days i drank stout, guinness. i had a male nurse in there, there was no windows, and they had a stack of what they called "dirty books". they were men in bathing costumes. there was nothing erotic about it
in any shape orform. so i'm supposed to look at the books, listen to the tape, which the nurse was operating, with this vile conversation that i had with the psychiatrist, and he was giving me guinness. halfway through the hour he injected me, which made me violently ill. so i asked, "could i use the bathroom?" he said, "no, just use the bed." i was violently sick and defecated in the bed, and i'm lying in my own faeces, my own vomit, feeling incredibly ill. i was a frightened young man, i was 18 going on for 19. i was very, very scared. i wasn't thinking of a cure, ijust thought i was going to die cos this was torture. at the end of 72 hours, i had nothing left. i just wanted out, and i decided i'd had enough. "i volunteered to come in, i'm volunteering to leave." i rang a pal of mine to get me out, and i stank, i stank of filth.
i got a bath, and i must have got eight hours of trying to scrub the filth off me. after the treatment, i decided enough was enough, and i woke up one day and said, "i am what i am, i've got to be who i am and accept who i am." i channelled the way i was through my entertainment. all the big stars i've worked with. and i learnt to be who i was, and i became outrageous, and that was the way i got acceptance. isn't she lovely? got a brother? i think i've been happy with myself as a homosexual, but i actually don't believe that i belong anywhere. i can never forgive what they did to me, ever.
pete price still presents a popular evening radio show in liverpool. finally this month, in 1977, racing car driverjanet guthrie became the first woman to compete in the prestigious indianapolis 500 motor race. she spoke to witness about competing as a driver in a male—dominated sport. archive: race drivers are a special breed of american folk hero. they have always been men — until janet guthrie. i had no house, no husband, no jewellery, no insurance. i had one used—up race car. i was playing in a millionaire's sport from the very beginning, and not having been born with a trust fund, i learned how to build my own engines and do my own bodywork. i thought there was a reasonably good chance that i would be successful at it, because i wanted it a lot, i loved the sport. it was the passion of my life, really.
part of the fun is to accept the risk and deal with it gracefully and well. you have to have an interest in what it's like out there at the limits of human capability. i was saying to myself, you know, "you really must come to your senses and make some provision for your old age." and that was the point at which the phone rang and a voice completely unknown to me said, "how would you like to take a shot at the indianapolis 500?" guitar riff it was sometimes said that the indianapolis 500 wasn't the most important race — it was the only race. that's how most of the united states feels about it. over 400,000 people showed up. you can't imagine how many people that is until
you see them in person. when i got my big chance at the top levels of the sport, it made a huge commotion. they simply hadn't had the experience of running against a woman, and they were sure i was going to kill them all. all i had to do at the beginning was open up a newspaper, and there was some other driver saying that his blood was going to be on the official‘s hands. seriously, when i say commotion, it was big. oh, i was so happy. i was happy that i had put a car in the field for the indianapolis 500. i think a lot of drivers would tell you the first time you make the field at indianapolis is a moment you will never forget. of course, then you figure out that what you really want to do is win the thing. you're thinking who's behind you, what are their driving habits, who's ahead of you, what mistakes
are they likely to make? on the first lap, you just really want to keep yourself out of any trouble. in that race, i had a mechanicalfailure. when we finally decided the car was not going to be fixable, i left the pits and headed back to the garage. there was a lot of enthusiasm in the stands at that point. janet is not a newcomer to car racing... my best finish at indianapolis was ninth in 1978, with a team iformed and managed myself. my best finish in indycar racing was fifth at milwaukee. i wasn't racing to prove anything about women, because the fact that i was a woman, in my opinion, had nothing to do with it. a racing driver was what i was, right through to my bone marrow. in 2006, janet guthrie was inducted into the international motor
sports hall of fame. that's all from us this month. i hope you'lljoin me next month, back here at the british library. we'll have five extraordinary accounts of history through the eyes of the people who were there. for now, from me and the rest of the team at witness, goodbye. the weather today is certainly not behaving itself. some of those showers are vicious, thundery downpours as well, causing some
problems in places. big puddles and muddy out there. but there is some fine weather around this morning. a fine weather around this morning. a fine picture from norfolk, some fine sunshine. many of us across eastern parts of the uk and the south—east have so far had a fine day and escaped the showers. but there are many of them, mostly across the northern, western areas and now central areas are getting no showers as well. in northern ireland and western scotland, there could be some flooding around as a result of those showers. a lot of rainfall falling in such a short space of time. these blobs or blue, individually, don't look like a lot. but some of them are bringing hail and thunder as well. they only last five or ten minutes and then the sun is out again. notice the isle of wight, sussex, into kent, maybe essex. perhaps they are missing most of the showers today. not bad everywhere. tonight, showers are going to continue for a while. they are so going to continue for a while. they are so vicious that even have to doubt there will continue. most of
them will, but across north—western areas we are close to low pressure, further south the showers will die away. the low pressure creating all of this weather is still with us on monday. you can see it is there in the north—west of the neighbourhood. this is where most of the showers we re this is where most of the showers were once again be. the further away you are from buffalo, east anglia and the south—east, the drier the weather will be. temperatures up to 22 degrees, feeling a little bit walmart a result. how about tuesday? stills bear —— feeling a little bit warmer. how about tuesday? a little bit warmer, 22 celsius. wednesday, rather than showers you have a more substantial area of cloud and rain. the showers are hit and miss. this isa the showers are hit and miss. this is a band of rain that will be sweeping across the country. earlier in the date had reduced cornwall, devon, wales, and then northern ireland. most of us will be engulfed by the cloud and rain during the course of wednesday and wednesday
night, into thursday. the weather stays unsettled, the end of the week, thejet stays unsettled, the end of the week, the jet stream and the wind and rain superhighway is racing in our direction, sending low—pressure and weather fronts. at this stage, it doesn't look like the weather is going to be behaving itself, at least not for a while yet. this is bbc news. the headlines at 3pm: president trump has criticised china on twitter, saying it's doing nothing to halt north korea's weapons programme after pyongyang test—fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile in a month. security has been tightened at airports across australia after the authorities said they'd disrupted a plot to blow up a plane. four people have been arrested following raids across sydney. the threat of terrorism is very real and the disruption operation, the efforts overnight have been very effective but there is more work to do. the international trade secretary liam fox has said the government would not be keeping faith