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VOA慢速英语:著名的女法官主持皮斯托瑞斯的审判

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Famous Woman Judge Presides over Pistorius Trial

Hello and welcome. I’m Jim Tedder in Washington. For today’s program, we have something a littledifferent. First we’ll travel to South Africa to hear abouta woman judge who is in charge of the Oscar Pistoriustrial. He is the famous sports star who is accused ofkilling his girlfriend.

Then we’ll stay in the area to hear from ourcorrespondent, Anita Powell. She will tell us about thejourney she has made from covering stories in smalltowns in the U. S. state of Texas, to reporting on majorinternational news for VOA. We are happy that you canspend some time with us today as we hear about ourworld …As It Is.

Thokozile Masipa is perhaps the most famous womanin South Africa. She currently serves as the judge in the murder trial of one of the best known sports stars in the country. Christopher Cruise tells us moreabout her.

接受审判

Oscar Pistorius shows emotion during his trial in South Africa.

When South African officials announced Judge Masipa would try the case,local newspapers reacted with interest. They noted that a judge known for herposition on domestic violence would be deciding the case. She has givenstrong sentences to men whom she finds guilty of abusing women. OscarPistorius is charged with killing his girlfriend.

South African officials say Thokozile Masipa was not chosen to hear the casebecause she is a woman. They said she was chosen because she is aknowledgeable and respected legal expert.

The judge is now at the center of a case that has broken legal barriers. It is the first South African criminal trial to be broadcast live on television.

Thokozile Masipa was one of the judges and magistrates who have helpedchange the country’s legal system over the past 20 years. In 1994, 160 of 165judges were white men. Today, the judges are much more representative ofSouth Africa’s population. Last year, the Department of Justice said 100judges are black men. Seventy-one others are white men. Forty-nine areblack women, and 21 are white women.

Reporters are not permitted to talk to Judge Masipa or her two aides duringthe trial of Oscar Pistorius. The three will decide whether to believe the starrunner. Oscar Pistorius says he shot his girlfriend because he thought she was a criminal who had entered their home.

People who have met Thokozile Masipa say she is intelligent and works hard. She was born in 1947 and grew up in the Soweto and Alexandra townships ofJohannesburg. Blacks were forced to live in those areas during the years offorced racial separation known as apartheid.

She struggled to find a job as a social worker because of her race. Afterworking different jobs, she became a news reporter in the late 1970s. Shebegan studying law at night while working during the day and caring for hertwo children.

Judge Masipa told a film crew years ago that the first years were not easy. She began working against apartheid as the system was coming to an end. She says her race, and the fact that she was a woman, hurt her. She saysher legal opponents would often call and ask to speak with Mr. Masipa. Theyexpected her to be a man.

In recent years as a judge, she has shown that she will use her position tofight domestic abuse in South Africa. James Grant is a law professor at theUniversity of the Witwatersrand. He says she has been doing a good job in the Pistorius trial.

“(I) think very well under the circumstances, given that this is, at least on, on, in respect of the media issue, it’s trailblazing. This is a first for South Africaand she’s having to make lots of decisions on (the) spur of the moment. I thinkshe’s doing relatively well.”

Judge Masipa has not spoken much during the trial. When she does speak,her voice is so low that people in the courtroom have difficulty hearing her. But there is no question that she is in control of a trial that has captured theattention of millions of people around the world. I’m Christopher Cruise.

What is a Reporter's Life Like?

Thanks, Chris. Have you ever considered being a reporter? It can be anexciting job. But it often takes a long time to work your way up from coveringevents in small towns to “hitting the big time” …working for major newsorganizations. Today we hear of one such success story. Here is VOAcorrespondent Anita Powell in South Africa.

I began my journalism career by writing stories about the actions of cityofficials in three fast-growing towns in Texas, near Austin, the state capital. During that time I learned a lot about American democracy.

But after three years I became tired of reporting about activities in these smalltowns. After I left, I was happy that I would never again have to sit in agovernment meeting room for five hours watching elected city officials makedecisions.

I understood how happy I was that I was no longer a local reporter on my firstday with American troops on a patrol near the Iraqi capital Baghdad. We weretrying to visit the mayor. But, a roadside bomb exploded. We had to waitunder the hot sun in military vehicles for bomb experts to come.

I had two thoughts as I waited.

First, this would never happen in Texas.

And second, this may not be fun. But at least I don’t have to attend long citycouncil meetings anymore!

City government may be democracy at its closest to the people. But the truthis it is mostly very uninteresting.

Virgil James is a spokesman for the city of Johannesburg. He told me at themayors’ meeting that the actions of city government may not be exciting. But he said these actions are necessary.

The yearly meeting was held in a much nicer place than the place whereLeander, Texas city council meetings were held. Leander is one of the citieswhere I used to report. For some reason, the meeting of big-city mayorsmade me feel a longing for Leander. So I called the city’s former mayor, JohnCowman. He was surprised to hear from me. I had not spoken to him in 10years. He offered advice to mayors of cities much larger than Leander.

“It all boils down to one thing: education. It is the bottom line. You need aneducated populace. You need to empower them through education. If youeducate folks, this world will be better.”

I attended my first city council meeting in Leander more than 10 years ago. About 14,000 people lived there then. More than twice that many live therenow. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.

Dealing with the fast rate of growth was not easy. Mr. Cowman was a divisivemayor. And the city council meetings were often uninteresting and could bedifficult to report. Sometimes citizens were very unhappy with the decisionscity officials made. They would come to the meetings and show theiremotions loudly and angrily.

I did not understand at the time that I was watching something special or, asMr. Cowman claims, that I was part of it.

“Everything you do learn, really starts at the local level, Anita, and you’re livingproof of it. We went through the war together. And see, that’s why I love youfor that, you know, it’s like, wow. You reported things in our area that wereoccurring and so you were part of the team. And that’s the way we all viewedthings. And yeah, there were some times I (said) ‘That darn Anita Powell,’ or ‘I’m afraid of her.’ But in the end look where we ended up.”

I have now come to know how important my days reporting about Leanderwere. I understand that the story of city government is really the story ofpeople’s hopes and fears and homes. Anita Powell, VOA News,Johannesburg.

Thanks, Anita, for sharing your story with us. I’m Jim Tedder in Washington. More Learning English programs are just moments away, and there is worldnews at the beginning of the hour on VOA.


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