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    Cry Freedom

    Автор книги John Briley

    Время прослушивания 04:16, Дата публикации

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    Where the River Buffalo flows into the warm Indian Ocean, on the south-east coast of South Africa, lies the city of East London, with its wonderful climate, beautiful sandy beaches, clear sea, and evergreen trees. It is the home, too, of the Daily Dispatch, the respected newspaper which in November 1975 began a new battle with the South African Government. Donald Woods, editor of the Daily Dispatch, sat at his desk looking at the stories for the front page of tomorrow's newspaper. There was a story on the government's refusal of a new appeal for the release of Nelson Mandela. There was also a story on the pardon for Richard Nixon by President Ford of the United States of America, which Woods had intended to use as the main story. But news had just come in of a police raid on the black township called Crossroads, in Cape Town, more than a thousand kilometres away on the south-west tip of South Africa. Woods moved the stories around on his desk. He would make the Crossroads story the main story, and move news of a Japanese factory in Durban to the back page. 'Boss!' Ken Robertson, one of the journalists on the Daily Dispatch, burst into the office and threw a bundle of photographs on to Woods' desk. He lit a cigarette and began to smoke as Woods looked through the photographs. They were pictures of the police raid on Crossroads: a woman holding a baby in her arms in front of her wrecked home; two policemen beating a boy; an old man sitting in an armchair, with broken walls around him; a policeman with a whip chasing a girl; a bulldozer smashing through a tiny kitchen. Woods looked up at Ken in amazement. 'How did you get these?' Ken smiled. 'I got them. Do we dare use them?' Woods examined the pictures again. In Cape Town black workers could get work without work permits. Some of these workers brought their families with them, which was also against the law, and built a room for them out of wooden boxes or bits of tin. White employers benefited from the low wages the illegal workers accepted. However, from time to time, so that the town did not become permanent, the police came with whips and burning tear gas, forcing the men into police buses and moving them out of the city. Then the bulldozers came to tear apart the houses made of wooden boxes, and bits of tin. Woods suddenly smiled. 'I'll print them,' he said. 'I'll even put your name underneath them.' 'Thanks!' Ken responded. 'If the police pick me up, your name will be the first on my lips!' The law did not allow newspapers to print photographs of police beating black people, but if there were enough violent pictures the government sometimes let the matter drop in order to prevent the newspapers giving the public more information. 'Come on, tell me. How did you get these?' Woods demanded once more, staring at Ken through his glasses. His thick grey hair made him look older than his forty-two years. 'The newspaper will have to pay my expenses, that's all I can say about it. Drinking is the hardest part of my job!' Ken picked up one of the photographs. It showed a wall, covered with large pictures of the serious, handsome face of a young black man, with the name BIKO underneath. 'What about Mr Biko?' Ken asked. 'Will you use his name?' 'Was Mr Biko meeting his supporters in Crossroads?' 'I think so. I was told that his name was everywhere.' Woods sat back in his chair and took off his glasses for a moment. 'No. Leave him out of the story. I want to write about him and his Black Consciousness in an editorial.'