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24 September 2014
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Jawad Amir listening to his radio in the space he hid in for 21 years

From torture to salvation - BBC World Service listeners share their experiences

Tales of torture, salvation and the Dalai Lama are just some of the stories that have poured in from around the world as listeners are invited to share their experiences of how and where they listen to BBC World Service and what it means to them.

My BBC starts on Monday 31 May at 11.00am (BST) on BBC World Service's Outlook.

We hear how BBC World Service gave Jawad Amir a lifeline to the outside world during 21 years in hiding in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein had sentenced him to death for supporting an outspoken Shia cleric, but Mr Amir managed to escape and hide in the space sandwiched between two walls of his parent's house.

He spent his time listening to the BBC Arabic Service, reading the Koran and watching the world go by from a tiny hole in the wall.

After Saddam's statue was toppled in Baghdad Jawad finally felt safe enough to leave his hiding place.

He said: "I found out about the fall of the regime from BBC World Service. I used to listen in the late evening through until the morning. I believe that every person in Iraq breathed the air of freedom."

Former rebel fighter Captain Soe Min from Burma describes how the Burmese police tortured one of his relatives for listening to BBC World Service.

He says: "People listen to the BBC in Burma in whatever way they can. It's not easy. It has to be quiet. If someone complains that you have been listening to the BBC and the authorities find out, you will be arrested and the punishment can be severe.

"My cousin, Aung Din, wanted to know more about the politics of the country and because he listened to BBC World Service he was tortured severely.

"They put headphones on his head and played the BBC on the highest volume. They said to him, 'You want to listen to the BBC? Listen to the BBC!' He is now deaf."

BBC World Service saved Tarnue Kootee Korvah's life when he heard on the radio that his village in Liberia was under attack from guerrillas.

He fled to a refugee camp in Guinea with his family and helped illustrate World Service stories for other Liberians who could not speak English.

Listeners can also share their stories through the My BBC website.

Christine Skarda, a nun in the Himalayas, says BBC World Service has kept her in touch with the world for the last 12 years while on a meditational retreat.

She says her teacher, the Dalai Lama, listens everyday and she takes him as an example.

"I live in a hut in the Himalayas and although the reception is sometimes rather bad I still listen to Newshour. I listen alone of course, in retreat, but with the rest of the world listening at the same time I feel more connected".

Stories from Singapore, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Cameroon can also be heard on My BBC broadcast on BBC World Service in Outlook during the first week of June and on the My BBC website.




Category: World Service
Date: 26.05.2004
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