Match Facts

April 1, 2017
Start time: 0930 local (0400GMT)

Kusal Mendis, who hit his maiden century in Dambulla, has shown signs of his desire to be a leading batsman in world cricket © AFP

Big Picture

Sri Lanka would have felt hard done by after rain ruined the second ODI, when they put up a total of 311. No team had ever won a 50-over game on the island after being set a target over 300.

But after taking Sri Lanka’s last six wickets in the final five overs, Bangladesh must have thought they were in the contest. Taskin Ahmed’s hat-trick would have charged them up even further and considering they had made their highest total away from home in the first ODI – 324 – things had been shaping up brilliantly before the weather intervened.

Bangladesh may be 1-0 up and eyeing a series win, but with Kusal Mendis living up to his promise and the rest of the Sri Lankan line-up batting around his maiden hundred Tuesday, the hosts would feel like they have got their menace back. Upul Tharanga made an eye-catching half-century as well, but the team management would want him to play a longer innings, while also hoping Thisara Perera’s 9 in Dambulla was a one-off low score. The big-hitting allrounder made 55 off 35 balls only a week ago and another such display could help them end a six-match losing streak.

With the action moving to the SSC, and its slow and dry surfaces, Bangladesh would have an easier time putting behind their bowling performance from the last game. They can expect grip for Mustafizur Rahman’s cutters and turn for Mehedi Hasan’s offbreaks. So should the weather hold up well, a contest with a lot of context is on the cards.

Form guide

Sri Lanka LLLLL (completed matches, most recent first)
Bangladesh WLLLL

In the spotlight

After his Test century in Galle earlier this month, Kusal Mendis had said that he wanted to be a leading batsman in world cricket and his 107 off 107 balls in Dambulla was another reminder of this young batsman’s ambition. He was very much on-side dependent but that was mostly because the Bangladesh bowlers preferred to attack his stumps. Sri Lanka would expect more runs from their No. 3, especially in a crunch situation.

He didn’t get going in the first ODI but Mushfiqur Rahim had a pretty good day behind the stumps, despite missing one stumping. He held a fine running catch to dismiss Danushka Gunathilaka, helped in the Tharanga’s run-out and then produced direct hits to end Dilruwan Perera and Thisara Perera’s stay in the middle. All he needs no are some runs.

Mehedi Hasan and the rest of the spinners will look to extract purchase from a usually-response SSC pitch © AFP

Team news

Sri Lanka made three changes to their XI in the second ODI but while their batting clicked, the newly-formed bowling attack couldn’t be tested. They are likely to remain unchanged, but there is a chance Seekkuge Prasanna will enter the XI.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Upul Tharanga (capt), 2 Danushka Gunathilaka, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 5 Asela Gunaratne, 6 Milinda Siriwardana, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Dilruwan Perera, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Nuwan Kulasekara, 11 Nuwan Pradeep

Bangladesh have Imrul Kayes, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Shuvagata Hom, Subashis Roy and newcomer Sunzamul Islam on the bench but it is unlikely that they would break their winning combination in the third ODI.

Bangladesh (possible): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mosaddek Hossain, 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mehedi Hasan, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Taskin Ahmed

Pitch and conditions

An ODI hasn’t been played at the SSC in six years, but in the interim, it has hosted plenty of List-A games. The average score for the team batting first those games is a remarkably low 146. Sri Lanka’s cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha said he expected this particular track to be batting friendly. Chandika Hathurusingha was slightly surprised that the pitch looked underprepared even two days before the ODI. Weather in Colombo could be troublesome on match day too, with chances of a late-afternoon shower.

Stats and trivia

  • The last ODI played at the SSC was before the 2011 World Cup, while Bangladesh’s last ODI here was in 2005.
  • The rained-out second ODI hurt Bangladesh more as they lost the chance to go up to No. 6 in the ICC ODI rankings. The two teams will retain their places at on the table – Sri Lanka at No. 6 and Bangladesh at No. 7 – regardless of the how the third ODI pans out.


“The seniors have responded to [the responsibility of getting a big score] really well. It comes with the belief and maturity of the players. They are really confident in their preparation now.
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

COLUMBIA, MO. • The starting pitchers’ duel that drew dozens of scouts to Taylor Stadium on Friday was decided after Missouri and Florida’s staff aces became spectators.

The opener of three-game Southeastern Conference series matched two of the nation’s top college arms, Missouri’s Tanner Houck and Florida’s Alex Faedo, both juniors projected as high first-round prospects for this summer’s MLB draft. A crowd of around 40 pro scouts filled the first few rows of Taylor Stadium, radar guns in hand to clock the two power righthanders who have been teammates on USA Baseball’s collegiate national team.

By night’s end, when No. 23 Mizzou finally nibbled away at the Florida starter and his wicked slider, Faedo’s bullpen preserved a 4-3 victory for the No. 9 Gators.

Challenged by coach Steve Bieser to give his bullpen some relief with an extended outing, Houck (3-3) lasted his customary seven innings but gave up four runs, three earned, on a season-high eight hits and a walk. He hit two batters and struck out eight. Mike Rivera’s two-run homer in the sixth was the first Houck allowed all season and proved to be the difference.

The consolation for Mizzou was that star relievers Cole Bartlett and T.J. Sikkema never left the bullpen and become available for the next two games in the series. Sophomore lefty Michael Plassmeyer (4-0) gets the start in Saturday’s game as the Tigers attempt to break a three-game losing streak.

“I thought Tanner was better (than his last start),” Bieser said. “There’s still room for improvement from Tanner for me. … They were tough early on. I don’t know what they had on him, but they were slapping the ball pretty hard around the ballpark. A lesser guy would have probably given up at that point. But he didn’t.”

Houck relied less on his fastball than in his previous starts and used his slider more effectively, though it was a slider that Rivera punished over the fence in the sixth.

“I came out on the short end tonight,” Houck said. “Between the lines I’m a competitor, so I wanted to go out and beat (Faedo). But off the field I wish him nothing but luck.”

Faedo (5-1) matched Houck’s 117 pitches but avoided the big hit. He allowed one earned run on six hits in seven-plus innings.

The Tigers rallied with a run in the seventh and two in the eighth, but reliever Michael Byrne rescued the Gators in the eighth with a three-pitch strikeout of pinch-hitter Ian Nelson with two Tigers on base. Byrne breezed through three more Tigers in the ninth for his third save.

Bieser’s hitters routinely struggled to resist Faedo’s slider when he tempted them to chase it out of the strike zone.

“As much as we prepared to lay off that pitch, I’m not the guy standing in the box,” Bieser said. “I can see it from the (dugout) and say, ‘Why are we swinging at that?’ There’s a reason we were swinging and why a lot of teams are swinging at it. It’s tight and it’s good.”

After a 20-game winning streak pushed the Tigers (21-5, 4-3 SEC) into rarefied air for a program that’s struggled to compete in the SEC the last few years, Mizzou entered Friday’s series opener having lost three of four.

Houck’s last outing was his shortest of the season as Arkansas scored five runs off the junior ace before he could get through four innings last Friday. The Gators (17-9, 3-4) gave Faedo a run before he took the mound.

Leadoff hitter Deacon Liput singled and later scored on JJ Schwarz’s single off Houck’s foot.

With two outs in the third, Houck was a pitch away from erasing a leadoff walk, but second baseman Matt Berler flubbed a routine grounder off the bat of Schwarz to push across another run for a 2-0 Gators lead.

Mizzou didn’t have trouble reaching base against Faedo but couldn’t capitalize early with runners on base. The Tigers stranded leadoff hitter Connor Brumfield at third in the first inning. In the second, MU wasted a leadoff walk to Brian Sharp. The Tigers left a pair on base in the third.

In the sixth, Kameron Misner’s bunt single and steal gave Mizzou a runner in scoring position with one out, but Faedo retired Robbie Glendinning and Sharp to leave another runner stuck on second.

Mizzou finally got to Faedo with two outs in the seventh on Chris Cornelius’ RBI single into shallow center field. Alex Samples, who led off the inning with a double, ran through third base coach Dillon Lawson’s stop sign and scored under the catcher’s tag.

With Houck out of the game, the Tigers rallied for two more runs in the eighth. Trey Harris reached second when left fielder Ryan Larson dropped a pop fly and Faedo nipped Misner on the foot. Glendinning grounded into a double play, but Sharp singled home Harris to cut Florida’s lead in half. Faedo hit Samples to extend the inning with two outs, his final pitch of the night. Out of the bullpen, lefty Andrew Baker gave up an opposite-field single to pinch hitter Brett Bond, who drove in Misner, but Nelson was no match for Byrne, who froze him on strike three.

An American conservative commentator, Tomi Lahren, has been fired from her job on a conservative news network TheBlaze, after making pro-choice comments during an interview on The View. Lahren, known for her constitutional conservative views, explained that it would be hypocritical of her to say that she’s in favour of limited government interference, but at the same time argue that the government should decide what women do with their bodies.

Lahren stated “I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body as well”. The comments Lahren made about abortion rights prompted her boss, Glenn Beck, to permanently ban Lahren from TheBlaze, with many viewers outraged at Lahren’s pro-choice stance.

While Lahren cannot, and should not, be celebrated as a women’s rights hero, her comments have raised an interesting contradiction in US politics. Pro-choice views clearly exist across the political spectrum, not just on the liberal left. As uncomfortable as it is to find allies with people you fundamentally disagree with, Lahren is exposing the deep-rooted hypocrisy in terms of what it means to be a libertarian. Lahren is right that libertarians cannot on the one hand say the government should have limited involvement in things like gun control, yet at the same time dictate what women can do with their bodies.

In the UK, control over a women’s body is a political issue, but not one that is easily divided down party lines. There are many who recognise the role women have in the workplace, to capitalism and who realise that women need to control their fertility in order to maintain a productive position in the economy. Abortion Rights works with all parties and organisations to ensure that a woman’s right to choose is protected by law; in the health services that provide abortions; in schools where sex and relationship education is taught and in our wider culture to campaign to reduce the stigma and lack of access that allow proper choices to be made.

Lahren is not always a friend of women’s rights, and she may have different reasons to you or I for being pro-choice, but one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime – this figure is the same in England and Wales and the USA. Abortion is a common medical procedure and most people agree with a women’s right to choose. We should stop treating this as a philosophical debate about ethics and recognise the central role it plays in women’s ability to control their bodies and therefore their lives. Maybe then we won’t be so surprised that conservative women have pro-choice views.

We will be watching with interest to see where this conversation takes us.
To join Abortion Rights click

A policy panel that then-candidate Donald Trump set up to advise him as president on gun-rights issues has yet to convene and may never formally do so, at least as an official arm of the Trump administration, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Mr. Trump announced the formation of the 64-member Second Amendment Coalition on Nov. 3, 2016, just days before winning the general election. A news release at the time said the group was to be comprised of “grassroots leaders and elected officials who fight for individual liberties, support the right to carry personal protection and will defend the Second Amendment” and that it would “continue to advise Mr. Trump and Governor [Mike] Pence as they protect our Supreme Court and our right to keep and bear arms.”

NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Chairman Chris Cox and Donald Trump Jr. — an avid hunter and outdoorsman — serve as chairmen for the Second Amendment Coalition.

According to USA Today, the White House now says that group was a “campaign coalition” and not intended to be a formal part of the Trump administration.

For their part, coalition members seem of differing opinions about the wisdom or importance of making the group an official federal advisory committee.

While gun-rights advocate John Boch, executive director of Guns Save Life Inc., told USA Today that he welcomed the coalition remaining a private group not formally tied to the White House, Rep. Tom Emmer, Minnesota Republican, said he is looking forward to it being constituted as an official policy arm of administration.

“My assumption is it is viable, it is real, and it’s going to operate in some fashion that will help us as we try to move policy that we think is important to protect Second Amendment rights,” Mr. Emmer said, USA Today reported.

If formally constituted as an advisory arm of the Trump administration, federal law “could require the group to have a charter, open its meetings to the public, maintain records, have procedures for public input and be subject to a number of regulations,” USA Today said.

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USA Hockey and the women’s national team reached an agreement to end a wage dispute and avoid a boycott of the world championships on home ice that would’ve been a black eye for the sport.

Players and USA Hockey finalized the deal Tuesday night and announced it in a joint statement just three days before the tournament begins in Plymouth, Michigan. It’s a four-year agreement that pays players beyond just the six-month Olympic period.

Captain Meghan Duggan called it a “historic moment in women’s sports.” USA Hockey president Jim Smith said people will look back on this day “as one of the most positive in the history” of the organization.

Before this agreement, players said they were paid $1,000 a month around the Olympics, and the new contract is believed to be worth about $3,000 to $4,000 per player per month. Combined with money received from the U.S. Olympic committee, each player could surpass $70,000 in annual earnings, and that number could reach $129,000 in 2018 if the team wins the Olympic gold medal.

Players also received business-class travel, just like the men’s team, and insurance protection they asked for.


PHOENIX (AP) – NFL owners got busy passing several rules changes, adopting resolutions they believe will speed the game and enhance player safety, and perhaps even allow for more personality in player celebrations.

One day after approving the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, the owners sped up discussions on dozens of subjects.

That led to a change in handling officiating of video replays; eliminating “leapers” trying to block field goals or extra points; adding protections for defenseless receivers running their routes; and further discussions with the players about loosening restrictions for on-field celebrations.

The NFL also extended bringing touchbacks out to the 25-yard line for another year; made permanent the rule disqualifying a player who is penalized twice in a game for specific unsportsmanlike conduct fouls; and tabled reducing overtime in the regular season from 15 minutes to 10, a subject likely to be addressed at the May meetings in Chicago.

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A city famous for its over-the-top persona is eagerly welcoming an NFL franchise that boasts an equally outsized reputation and the promise of big-league legitimacy for the desert gambling oasis, which up to now has seen major sporting events just passing through.

Las Vegas is no stranger to big time events catering to all tastes. Champion boxers lace up their gloves at glitzy hotel-casinos on the Strip. Thousands turn out for NASCAR races. The National Finals Rodeo rides into town every year.

With the addition of an NHL expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, and as of this week the Raiders, Las Vegas believes it has arrived as something substantially more than a one-off venue.

Jubilant state and local officials were quick to welcome the team after the league’s relocation approval Monday. Sports fans who had been confined to minor league baseball and an assortment of lower-division hockey teams gathered downtown to celebrate Monday night.


GENEVA (AP) – Lionel Messi is banned from Argentina’s next four World Cup qualifying games, dealing a blow to a campaign by the 2014 runner-up that has stuttered without him.

Messi’s suspension for “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee” during a home qualifier last week against Chile started on Tuesday, shortly before his teammates played Bolivia in La Paz.

Without Messi, Argentina went on to lose the qualifier 2-0.

The five-time FIFA player of the year can appeal to FIFA, but is on track to return for Argentina’s final match in the 10-team South American qualifying group, hosting Ecuador on Oct. 10.


WASHINGTON (AP) – Retired star gymnasts testified before Congress that they were sexually abused by a former USA Gymnastics doctor and recommended a bill that requires tougher sex-abuse reporting for Olympic sports.

Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, and three-time national champion rhythmic gymnast Jessica Howard recounted their experiences before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

They told the committee of their abuses by Dr. Larry Nassar, who is in jail without bond in Michigan and also faces federal child pornography charges.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is co-sponsoring a bill that requires organizations overseeing Olympic sports to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to law enforcement or child-welfare authorities.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – An Arkansas House committee advanced a measure to exempt college sporting events from a state law allowing guns after the Southeastern Conference appealed for guns to be banned from facilities such as football stadiums.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the new state law last week allowing concealed handguns at colleges, government buildings, some bars and even the State Capitol.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the exemption measure after it was amended. Under the amended exemption, college stadiums such as the University of Arkansas’ Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences would be able to designate sensitive areas where they wouldn’t want people to carry concealed handguns. To prohibit concealed carry in those sensitive areas, they would have to put together a security plan for those areas and submit it to Arkansas State Police for approval.


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea has approved the North Korean women’s ice hockey team to compete in an international event next month at Gangneung, a venue for the 2018 Olympics.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said the North Korean team would be permitted to stay from April 1-9 to participate in the group rounds of the Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

North Korean athletes haven’t competed in South Korea since the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon.

Relations between the rival Koreas have significantly worsened over the past year after a series of rocket launches by North Korea.

The women’s world championship is one of the many sports events South Korea plans to host at its Olympic facilities to prepare for next the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.

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The tension is building ahead of the much-anticipated opening round of the 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship next weekend at Donington Park…

The rivalry has never been more intense before the opening races of the season.

There is local interest in the form of Lincolnshire ace Peter Hickman, who will be riding for Smiths BMW.

The Louth-based rider finished seventh in last year’s BSB contest, just missing out on the end-of season ‘Showdown phase for the top six.

The grid also features 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli and five-time BSB title-winner Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, who is ready to lock horns with his arch rival, returning 2015 champion, Josh Brookes.

Above, Shane Byrne of the Be Wider Ducati team (centre), Leon Haslam of the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team (left) and Jason O’Halloran of the Honda Racing team (right) celebrate finishing first, second and third respectively in Race One of Round 8 of the 2016 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park Circuit, near Louth

Ten riders have already celebrated BSB race victories with Byrne holding the record, but home hero Leon Haslam is feeling bullish about going one better this season with JG Speedfit Kawasaki after finishing runner-up last season to the Kent ace.

Honda Racing unveiled their new Fireblade in pre-season testing and Jason O’Halloran scored a debut victory with the team last season, but Yamaha are also fighting back strong with the

McAMS Yamaha team of race winners James Ellison and Michael Laverty.

John Hopkins proved he is not going to settle for less than podiums when it comes to his return with the Moto Rapido Ducati team; the American determined to fire himself back into title contention after he missed out in 2011 against Tommy Hill in the most dramatic finale in BSB history.

Luke Mossey has yet to claim an elusive first race win, but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider was the man to beat at the recent Spanish test at Cartagena, smashing the lap record and proving that he is out to do more than just repeat his Showdown finish of last season.

Throw into the mix young guns Glenn Irwin, rookie Bradley Ray and Taylor Mackenzie and there is guaranteed to be fireworks at the season opener next weekend!

The MCE British Superbike Championship continues to grow its television broadcast content and reach.

In the UK, each round will be broadcast exclusively live on Eurosport with the traditional hour-long delayed highlights programme on ITV4 for British fans adding up to over 300 hours of coverage. Beyond traditional TV distribution methods the Eurosport Player, ITV Hub and the official BSB YouTube channel will deliver more content than ever before.

The International appeal of the Championship is underpinned by its global TV distribution. Principle broadcast partner Eurosport serves Pan-Europe whilst there is Live coverage on OSN Sports across the Middle East and North Africa, Fox Africa for Sub Sahara countries, Eurosport for Asia and Pacific territories and highlights to the USA, Canada and Latin America on Discovery’s Velocity and Turbo channels respectively.

30 March – 2 April Donington Park GP

14 – 17 April Brands Hatch Indy

29 April – 1 May Oulton Park

16 – 18 June Knockhill

30 June – 2 July Snetterton 300

21 – 23 July Brands Hatch GP

4 – 6 August Thruxton

18 – 20 August Cadwell Park

8 – 10 September Silverstone GP (Triple header)

15 – 17 September Oulton Park

29 September – 1 October Assen

13 – 15 October Brands Hatch GP (Triple header)

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I want to preach this morning from the subject: “The Birth of a New Nation.” And I would like to use as a basis for our thinking together a story that has long since been stenciled on the mental sheets of succeeding generations.

It is the story of the Exodus, the story of the flight of the Hebrew people from the bondage of Egypt, through the wilderness, and finally, to the promised land. It’s a beautiful story. I had the privilege the other night of seeing the story in movie terms in New York City, entitled the “Ten Commandments,” and I came to see it in all of its beauty—the struggle of Moses, the struggle of his devoted followers as they sought to get out of Egypt. And they finally moved on to the wilderness and toward the promised land. This is something of the story of every people struggling for freedom. It is the first story of man’s explicit quest for freedom. And it demonstrates the stages that seem to inevitably follow the quest for freedom.

Prior to March the sixth, 1957, there existed a country known as the Gold Coast. This country was a colony of the British Empire. And this country was situated in that vast continent known as Africa. I’m sure you know a great deal about Africa, that continent with some two hundred million people. And it extends and covers a great deal of territory. There are many familiar names associated with Africa that you would probably remember, and there are some countries in Africa that many people never realize. For instance, Egypt is in Africa. And there is that vast area of North Africa with Egypt and Ethiopia, with Tunisia and Algeria and Morocco and Libya. Then you might move to South Africa and you think of that extensive territory known as the Union of South Africa. There is that capital city Johannesburg that you read so much about these days. Then there is central Africa with places like Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo. And then there is East Africa with places like Kenya and Tanganyika, and places like Uganda and other very powerful countries right there. And then you move over to West Africa where you find the French West Africa and Nigeria, and Liberia and Sierra Leone and places like that. And it is in this spot, in this section of Africa, that we find the Gold Coast, there in West Africa.

You also know that for years and for centuries, Africa has been one of the most exploited continents in the history of the world. It’s been the “Dark Continent.” It’s been the continent that has suffered all of the pain and the affliction that could be mustered up by other nations. And it is that continent which has experienced slavery, which has experienced all of the lowest standards that we can think about that have been brought into being by the exploitation inflicted upon it by other nations.

And this country, the Gold Coast, was a part of this extensive continent known as Africa. It’s a little country there in West Africa about ninety-one thousand miles in area, with a population of about five million people, a little more than four and a half million. And it stands there with its capital city Accra. For years the Gold Coast was exploited and dominated and trampled over. The first European settlers came in there about 1444, the Portuguese, and they started legitimate trade with the people in the Gold Coast; they started dealing with them with their gold, and in turn they gave them guns and ammunition and gunpowder and that type of thing. Well, pretty soon America was discovered a few years later in the fourteen hundreds, and then the British West Indies. And all of these growing discoveries brought about the slave trade. You remember it started in America in 1619.

And there was a big scramble for power in Africa. With the growth of the slave trade there came into Africa, into the Gold Coast in particular, not only the Portuguese but also the Swedes and the Danes and the Dutch and the British. And all of these nations competed with each other to win the power of the Gold Coast so that they could exploit these people for commercial reasons and sell them into slavery.

Finally, in 1850, Britain won out and she gained possession of the total territorial expansion of the Gold Coast. From 1850 to 1957, March sixth, the Gold Coast was a colony of the British Empire. And as a colony she suffered all of the injustices, all of the exploitation, all of the humiliation that comes as a result of colonialism.

But like all slavery, like all domination, like all exploitation, it came to the point that the people got tired of it. And that seems to be the long story of history. There seems to be a throbbing desire, there seems to be an internal desire for freedom within the soul of every man. And it’s there—it might not break forth in the beginning, but eventually it breaks out, for men realize that freedom is something basic. To rob a man of his freedom is to take from him the essential basis of his manhood. To take from him his freedom is to rob him of something of God’s image. To paraphrase the words of Shakespeare’s Othello:

Who steals my purse steals trash; ‘t is something, nothing;
‘T was mine, ‘t is his, has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my freedom
Robs me of that which not enriches him
But makes me poor indeed.

There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom. There is something deep down within the very soul of man that reaches out for Canaan. Men cannot be satisfied with Egypt. They try to adjust to it for awhile. Many men have vested interests in Egypt, and they are slow to leave. Egypt makes it profitable to them; some people profit by Egypt. The vast majority, the masses of people, never profit by Egypt, and they are never content with it. And eventually they rise up and begin to cry out for Canaan’s land.

And so these people got tired. It had a long history—as far back as 1844, the chiefs themselves of the Gold Coast rose up and came together and revolted against the British Empire and the other powers that were in existence at that time dominating the Gold Coast. They revolted, saying that they wanted to govern themselves. But these powers clamped down on them, and the British said that we will not let you go.

About 1909, a young man was born on the twelfth of September. History didn’t know at that time what that young man had in his mind. His mother and father, illiterate, not a part of the powerful [chieftaincy] life of Africa, not chiefs at all, but humble people. And that boy grew up. He went to school at Atchimoto for a while in Africa, and then he finished there with honors and decided to work his way to America. And he landed to America one day with about fifty dollars in his pocket in terms of pounds, getting ready to get an education. And he went down to Pennsylvania, to Lincoln University. He started studying there, and he started reading the great insights of the philosophers, he started reading the great insights of the ages. And he finished there and took his theological degree there and preached awhile around Philadelphia and other areas as he was in the country. And went over to the University of Pennsylvania and took up a masters there in philosophy and sociology. All the years that he stood in America, he was poor, he had to work hard. He says in his autobiography how he worked as a bellhop in hotels, as a dishwasher, and during the summer how he worked as a waiter trying to struggle through school. (recording interrupted)

“I want to go back home. I want to go back to West Africa, the land of my people, my native land, for there is some work to be done there.” He got a ship and went to London and stopped for a while by London School of Economy and picked up another degree there. Then while in London, he came, he started thinking about Pan-Africanism and the problem of how to free his people from colonialism, for as he said, he always realized that colonialism was made for domination and for exploitation. It was made to keep a certain group down and exploit that group economically for the advantage of another. And he studied and thought about all of this and one day he decided to go back to Africa.

He got to Africa and he was immediately elected the executive secretary of the United Party of the Gold Coast. And he worked hard and he started getting a following. And the people in this party, the old, the people who had their hands on the plow for a long time, thought he was pushing a little too fast and they got a little jealous of his influence. So finally he had to break from the United Party of the Gold Coast, and in 1949 he organized the Convention People’s Party. It was this party that started out working for the independence of the Gold Coast. He started out in a humble way urging his people to unite for freedom and urging the officials of the British Empire to give them freedom. They were slow to respond, but the masses of people were with him, and they had united to become the most powerful and influential party that had ever been organized in that section of Africa.

He started writing, and his companions with him and many of them started writing so much that the officials got afraid and they put them in jail. And Nkrumah himself was finally placed in jail for several years because he was a seditious man, he was an agitator. He was imprisoned on the basis of sedition. And he was placed there to stay in prison for many years, but he had inspired some people outside of prison. They got together just a few months after he’d been in prison and elected him the prime minister while he was in prison. For awhile the British officials tried to keep him there, and Gbedemah says, one of his close associates, the minister of finance, Mr. Gbedemah, said that night the people were getting ready to go down to the jail and get him out. But Gbedemah said, “This isn’t the way, we can’t do it like this; violence will break out and we will defeat our purpose.” But the British Empire saw that they had better let him out, and in a few hours Kwame Nkrumah was out of jail, the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast. He was placed there for fifteen years but he only served eight or nine months, and now he comes out the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast.

This was the struggling that had been going on for years. It was now coming to the point that this little nation was moving toward its independence. Then came the continual agitation, the continual resistance, so that the British Empire saw that it could no longer rule the Gold Coast. And they agreed that on the sixth of March, 1957, they would release this nation. This nation would no longer be a colony of the British Empire, but this nation would be a sovereign nation within the British Commonwealth. All of this was because of the persistent protest, the continual agitation, on the part of Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah and the other leaders who worked along with him and the masses of people who were willing to follow.

So that day finally came. It was a great day. The week ahead was a great week. They had been preparing for this day for many years and now it was here. People coming in from all over the world. They had started getting in by the second of March. Seventy nations represented had come to say to this new nation, “We greet you and we give you our moral support. We hope for you God’s guidance as you move now into the realm of independence.” From America itself more than a hundred persons.
And the press, the diplomatic guests, and the prime minister’s guests. And oh, it was a beautiful experience to see some of the leading persons on the scene of civil rights in America on hand to say, “Greetings to you,” as this new nation was born. Look over, to my right is Adam Powell, to my left is Charles Diggs, to my right again is Ralph Bunche. To the other side is Her Majesty’s First Minister of Jamaica, Manning,

Ambassador Jones of Liberia. All of these people from America, Mordecai Johnson, Horace Mann Bond, all of these people just going over to say, “We want to greet you and we want you to know that you have our moral support as you grow.” Then you look out and see the vice-president of the United States; you see A. Philip Randolph; you see all of the people who have stood in the forefront of the struggle for civil rights over the years coming over to Africa to say we bid you godspeed. This was a great day not only for Nkrumah but for the whole of the Gold Coast.

Then came Tuesday, December the fifth, many events leading up to it. That night we walked into the closing of Parliament—the closing of the old Parliament, the old Parliament which was which presided over by the British Empire, the old Parliament which designated colonialism and imperialism. Now that Parliament is closing. That was a great sight and a great picture and a great scene. We sat there that night, just about five hundred able to get in there. People, thousands and thousands of people waiting outside, just about five hundred in there, and we were fortunate enough to be sitting there at that moment as guests of the Prime Minister. And at that hour we noticed Prime Minister Nkrumah walking in with all of his ministers, with his justices of the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast, and with all of the people of the Convention People’s Party, the leaders of that party.

Nkrumah came up to make his closing speech to the old Gold Coast. There was something old now passing away.
The thing that impressed me more than anything else that night was the fact that when Nkrumah walked in and his other ministers who had been in prison with him, they didn’t come in with the crowns and all of the garments of kings, but they walked in with prison caps and the coats that they had lived with for all of the months that they had been in prison. Nkrumah stood up and made his closing speech to Parliament with the little cap that he wore in prison for several months and the coat that he wore in prison for several months, and all of his ministers round about him. That was a great hour. An old Parliament passing away.

And then at twelve o’clock that night we walked out. As we walked out we noticed all over the polo grounds almost a half-a-million people. They had waited for this hour and this moment for years. As we walked out of the door and looked at that beautiful building, we looked up to the top of it and there was a little flag that had been flowing around the sky for many years. It was the Union Jack flag of the Gold Coast, the British flag, you see. But at twelve o’clock that night we saw a little flag coming down, and another flag went up. The old Union Jack flag came down, and the new flag of Ghana went up. This was a new nation now, a new nation being born.

And when Prime Minister Nkrumah stood up before his people out in the polo ground and said, “We are no longer a British colony. We are a free, sovereign people,” all over that vast throng of people we could see tears. And I stood there thinking about so many things. Before I knew it I started weeping; I was crying for joy. And I knew about all of the struggles, and all of the pain, and all of the agony that these people had gone through for this moment.

And after Nkrumah had made that final speech, it was about twelve-thirty now and we walked away. And we could hear little children six years old and old people eighty and ninety years old walking the streets of Accra crying, “Freedom! Freedom!” They couldn’t say it in the sense that we say it—many of them don’t speak English too well—but they had their accents and it could ring out, “Free-doom!” They were crying it in a sense that they had never heard it before, and I could hear that old Negro spiritual once more crying out:

Free at last! Free at last!
Great God Almighty, I’m free at last!

They were experiencing that in their very souls. And everywhere we turned, we could hear it ringing out from the housetops; we could hear it from every corner, every nook and crook of the community: “Freedom! Freedom!” This was the birth of a new nation. This was the breaking aloose from Egypt.

Wednesday morning the official opening of Parliament was held. There again we were able to get on the inside. There Nkrumah made his new speech. And now the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast with no superior, with all of the power that MacMillan of England has, with all of the power that Nehru of India has—now a free nation, now the prime minister of a sovereign nation. The Duchess of Kent walked in; the Duchess of Kent, who represented the Queen of England, no longer had authority now. She was just a passing visitor now. The night before she was the official leader and spokesman for the Queen, thereby the power behind the throne of the Gold Coast. But now it’s Ghana—it’s a new nation now, and she’s just an official visitor like M. L. King and Ralph Bunche and Coretta King and everybody else, because this is a new nation. A new Ghana has come into being.

And now Nkrumah stands the leader of that great nation. And when he drives out, the people standing around the streets of the city after Parliament is open cry out, “All hail, Nkrumah!” The name of Nkrumah crowning around the whole city, everybody crying this name, because they knew he had suffered for them, he had sacrificed for them, he’d gone to jail for them. This was the birth of a new nation.

This nation was now out of Egypt and has crossed the Red Sea. Now it will confront its wilderness. Like any breaking loose from Egypt, there is a wilderness ahead. There is a problem of adjustment. Nkrumah realizes that. There is always this wilderness standing before you. For instance, it’s a one-crop country, cocoa mainly; sixty percent of the cocoa of the world comes from the Gold Coast, or from Ghana. In order to make the economic system more stable it will be necessary to industrialize. Cocoa is too fluctuating to base a whole economy on that, so there is the necessity of industrializing. Nkrumah said to me that one of the first things that he will do is to work toward industrialization. And also he plans to work toward the whole problem of increasing the cultural standards of the community. Still ninety percent of the people are illiterate, and it is necessary to lift the whole cultural standard of the community in order to make it possible to stand up in the free world.

Yes, there is a wilderness ahead, though it is my hope that even people from America will go to Africa as immigrants, right there to the Gold Coast, and lend their technical assistance, for there is great need and there are rich opportunities there. Right now is the time that American Negroes can lend their technical assistance to a growing new nation. I was very happy to see already people who have moved in and making good. The son of the late president of Bennett College, Dr. Jones, is there, who started an insurance company and making good, going to the top. A doctor from Brooklyn, New York had just come in that week and his wife is also a dentist, and they are living there now, going in there and working and the people love them. There will be hundreds and thousands of people, I’m sure, going over to make for the growth of this new nation. And Nkrumah made it very clear to me that he would welcome any persons coming there as immigrants to live there. Now don’t think that because they have five million people the nation can’t grow, that’s a small nation to be overlooked. Never forget the fact that when America was born in 1776, when it received its independence from the British Empire, there were fewer, less than four million people in America, and today it’s more than a hundred and sixty million. So never underestimate a people because it’s small now. America was smaller than Ghana when it was born.

There is a great day ahead. The future is on its side. It’s going now through the wilderness. But the Promised Land is ahead.
Now I want to take just a few more minutes as I close to say three or four things that this reminds us of and things that it says to us—things that we must never forget as we ourselves find ourselves breaking loose from an evil Egypt, trying to move through the wilderness toward the Promised Land of cultural integration. Ghana has something to say to us. It says to us first that the oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed. You have to work for it. And if Nkrumah and the people of the Gold Coast had not stood up persistently, revolting against the system, it would still be a colony of the British Empire. Freedom is never given to anybody, for the oppressor has you in domination because he plans to keep you there, and he never voluntarily gives it up. And that is where the strong resistance comes—privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance.

So don’t go out this morning with any illusions. Don’t go back into your homes and around Montgomery thinking that the Montgomery City Commission and that all of the forces in the leadership of the South will eventually work out this thing for Negroes. It’s going to work out; it’s going to roll in on the wheels of inevitability. If we wait for it to work itself out, it will never be worked out. Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil. The bus protest is just the beginning. Buses are integrated in Montgomery, but that is just the beginning.
And don’t sit down and do nothing now because the buses are integrated, because if you stop now we will be in the dungeons of segregation and discrimination for another hundred years, and our children and our children’s children will suffer all of the bondage that we have lived under for years. It never comes voluntarily. We’ve got to keep on keeping on in order to gain freedom. It never comes like that. It would be fortunate if the people in power had sense enough to go on and give up, but they don’t do it like that. It is not done voluntarily, but it is done through the pressure that comes about from people who are oppressed.

If there had not been a Gandhi in India with all of his noble followers, India would have never been free. If there had not been an Nkrumah and his followers in Ghana, Ghana would still be a British colony. If there had not been abolitionists in America, both Negro and white, we might still stand today in the dungeons of slavery. And then because there have been, in every period, there are always those people in every period of human history who don’t mind getting their necks cut off, who don’t mind being persecuted and discriminated and kicked about, because they know that freedom is never given out, but it comes through the persistent and the continual agitation and revolt on the part of those who are caught in the system. Ghana teaches us that.

It says to us another thing. It reminds us of the fact that a nation or a people can break loose from oppression without violence. Nkrumah says in the first two pages of his autobiography, which was published on the sixth of March—a great book which you ought to read—he said that he had studied the social systems of social philosophers and he started studying the life of Gandhi and his techniques. And he said that in the beginning he could not see how they could ever get loose from colonialism without armed revolt, without armies and ammunition, rising up. Then he says after he continued to study Gandhi and continued to study this technique, he came to see that the only way was through nonviolent positive action. And he called his program “positive action.” And it’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? That here is a nation that is now free and it is free without rising up with arms and with ammunition; it is free through nonviolent means. Because of that the British Empire will not have the bitterness for Ghana that she has for China, so to speak. Because of that, when the British Empire leaves Ghana, she leaves with a different attitude then she would have left with if she had been driven out by armies. We’ve got to revolt in such a way that after revolt is over we can live with people as their brothers and their sisters. Our aim must never be to defeat them or humiliate them.

On the night of the State Ball, standing up talking with some people, Mordecai Johnson called my attention to the fact that Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah was there dancing with the Duchess of Kent. And I said, “Isn’t this something?” Here it is the once-serf, the once-slave, now dancing with the lord on an equal plane.” And that is done because there is no bitterness. These two nations will be able to live together and work together because the breaking loose was through nonviolence and not through violence.

The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermaths of violence are emptiness and bitterness. This is the thing I’m concerned about. Let us fight passionately and unrelentingly for the goals of justice and peace, but let’s be sure that our hands are clean in this struggle. Let us never fight with falsehood and violence and hate and malice, but always fight with love, so that when the day comes that the walls of segregation have completely crumbled in Montgomery that we will be able to live with people as their brothers and sisters.

Oh, my friends, our aim must be not to defeat Mr. Engelhardt, not to defeat Mr. Sellers and Mr. Gayle and Mr. Parks. Our aim must be to defeat the evil that’s in them. And our aim must be to win the friendship of Mr. Gayle and Mr. Sellers and Mr. Engelhardt. We must come to the point of seeing that our ultimate aim is to live with all men as brothers and sisters under God and not be their enemies or anything that goes with that type of relationship. And this is one thing that Ghana teaches us: that you can break loose from evil through nonviolence, through a lack of bitterness. Nkrumah says in his book: “When I came out of prison, I was not bitter toward Britain. I came out merely with the determination to free my people from the colonialism and imperialism that had been inflicted upon them by the British. But I came out with no bitterness.” And because of that this world will be a better place in which to live.

There’s another thing that Ghana reminds us. I’m coming to the conclusion now. Ghana reminds us that freedom never comes on a silver platter. It’s never easy. Ghana reminds us that whenever you break out of Egypt you better get ready for stiff backs. You better get ready for some homes to be bombed. You better get ready for some churches to be bombed. You better get ready for a lot of nasty things to be said about you, because you getting out of Egypt, and whenever you break loose from Egypt the initial response of the Egyptian is bitterness. It never comes with ease. It comes only through the hardness and persistence of life. Ghana reminds us of that. You better get ready to go to prison. When I looked out and saw the Prime Minister there with his prison cap on that night that reminded me of that fact, that freedom never comes easy. It comes through hard labor and it comes through toil; it comes through hours of despair and disappointment.

And that’s the way it goes. There is no crown without a cross. I wish we could get to Easter without going to Good Friday, but history tells us that we got to go by Good Friday before we can get to Easter. That’s the long story of freedom, isn’t it? Before you get to Canaan you’ve got a Red Sea to confront; you have a hardened heart of a pharaoh to confront; you have the prodigious hilltops of evil in the wilderness to confront. And even when you get up to the Promised Land you have giants in the land. The beautiful thing about it is that there are a few people who’ve been over in the land. They have spied enough to say, “Even though the giants are there we can possess the land, because we got the internal fiber to stand up amid anything that we have to face.”

The road to freedom is a difficult, hard road. It always makes for temporary setbacks. And those people who tell you today that there is more tension in Montgomery than there has ever been are telling you right. Whenever you get out of Egypt, you always confront a little tension, you always confront a little temporary setback. If you didn’t confront that you’d never get out. You must remember that the tensionless period that we like to think of was the period when the Negro was complacently adjusted to segregation, discrimination, insult, and exploitation. And the period of tension is the period when the Negro has decided to rise up and break loose from that. And this is the peace that we are seeking: not an old negative obnoxious peace which is merely the absence of tension, but a positive, lasting peace which is the presence of brotherhood and justice. And it is never brought about without this temporary period of tension. The road to freedom is difficult.

But finally, Ghana tells us that the forces of the universe are on the side of justice. That’s what it tells us, now. You can interpret Ghana any kind a way you want to, but Ghana tells me that the forces of the universe are on the side of justice. That night when I saw that old flag coming down and the new flag coming up, I saw something else. That wasn’t just an ephemeral, evanescent event appearing on the stage of history, but it was an event with eternal meaning, for it symbolizes something. That thing symbolized to me that an old order is passing away and a new order is coming into being. An old order of colonialism, of segregation, of discrimination is passing away now, and a new order of justice and freedom and goodwill is being born. That’s what it said. Somehow the forces of justice stand on the side of the universe, so that you can’t ultimately trample over God’s children and profit by it.

I want to come back to Montgomery now, but I must stop by London for a moment, for London reminds me of something. I never will forget the day we went into London. The next day we started moving around this great city, the only city in the world that is almost as large as New York City. Over eight million people in London, about eight million, three hundred thousand; New York about eight million, five hundred thousand. London larger in area than New York, though. Standing in London is an amazing picture. And I never will forget the experience I had, the thoughts that came to my mind as we went to Buckingham Palace. And I looked there at all of Britain, at all of the pomp and circumstance of royalty. And I thought about all of the queens and kings that had passed through here. Look at the beauty of the changing of the guards and all of the guards with their beautiful horses. It’s a beautiful sight. Move on from there and go over to Parliament. Move into the House of Lords and the House of Commons. There with all of its beauty standing up before the world is one of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Then I remember, we went on over to Westminster Abbey. And I thought about several things when we went into this great church, this great cathedral, the center of the Church of England. We walked around and went to the tombs of the kings and queens buried there. Most of the kings and queens of England are buried right there in the Westminster Abbey. And I walked around. On the one hand I enjoyed and appreciated the great gothic architecture of that massive cathedral. I stood there in awe thinking about the greatness of God and man’s feeble attempt to reach up for God. And I thought something else—I thought about the Church of England.

My mind went back to Buckingham Palace and I said that this is the symbol of a dying system. There was a day that the queens and kings of England could boast that the sun never sets on the British Empire, a day when she occupied the greater portion of Australia, the greater portion of Canada. There was a day when she ruled most of China, most of Africa, and all of India. I started thinking about this empire. I started thinking about the fact that she ruled over India one day. Mahatma Gandhi stood there at every hand trying to get the freedom of his people, and they never bowed to it. They never, they decided that they were going to stand up and hold India in humiliation and in colonialism many, many years. And I remember we passed by Ten Downing Street. That’s the place where the Prime Minister of England lives. And I remember that a few years ago a man lived there by the name of Winston Churchill. One day he stood up before the world and said, “I did not become his Majesty’s First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.”

And I thought about the fact that a few weeks ago a man by the name of Anthony Eden lived there. And out of all of his knowledge of the Middle East he decided to rise up and march his armies with the forces of Israel and France into Egypt, and there they confronted their doom, because they were revolting against world opinion. Egypt, a little country; Egypt, a country with no military power. They could have easily defeated Egypt, but they did not realize that they were fighting more than Egypt. They were attacking world opinion; they were fighting the whole Asian-African bloc, which is the bloc that now thinks and moves and determines the course of the history of the world.

I thought of many things. I thought of the fact that the British Empire exploited India. Think about it! A nation with four hundred million people and the British exploited them so much that out of a population of four hundred million, three hundred and fifty million made an annual income of less than fifty dollars a year. Twenty-five of that had to be used for taxes and the other things of life. I thought about dark Africa. And how the people there, if they can make a hundred dollars a year they are living very well they think. Two shillings a day—one shilling is fourteen cents, two shillings twenty-eight cents—that’s a good wage. That’s because of the domination of the British Empire.

All of these things came to my mind when I stood there in Westminster Abbey with all of its beauty, and I thought about all of the beautiful hymns and anthems that the people would go in there to sing. And yet the Church of England never took a stand against this system; the Church of England sanctioned it; the Church of England gave it moral stature. All of the exploitation perpetuated by the British Empire was sanctioned by the Church of England.

This speech “The Birth of a New Nation� was made by Dr. King in April,1957. Montgomery, Alabama


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Despite being held hostage and shot at by a rebel death squad, an Ulster family have developed an unbreakable bond with one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

Bob McAllister, now 91, began his working life as an iron turner in Belfast’s shipyards until God’s Word directed him to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1952.

The McAllister family from Northern Ireland who have formed a lifelong bond with DR Congo

The McAllister family from Northern Ireland who have formed a lifelong bond with DR Congo

Bob, a soldier during WWI, and his wife Alma, a midwife, were members of the Bethany Congregation in Agnes Street (now Immanuel Presbyterian Church). Their bible studies led them to missionary work and God directed them to the Congo.

They arrived, both aged 28, not long after getting married. Bob said: “We knew we’d be living in a mud hut and so we were. We knew it would be hot and so it was. I went down with sunstroke early on.

“We were living in the jungle. There was a small mission station, that was the beginning of things.

“It took us about nine months to learn the Congo version of the Swahili language and we started preaching. My wife was able to do medical work even before we got the language. We hitch hiked through the forest roads to different vehicles to get out and preach.”

David said he had an idyllic childhood growing up in the jungle

David said he had an idyllic childhood growing up in the jungle

He added: “There was no hardship about leaving Northern Ireland. My wife, she was an orphan, and my mother was dead and my father was living in the States. I was living with my granny and my wife was living with her aunt and uncle.”

When asked about home comforts he said: “When you’re raised in Belfast and you go abroad you always miss your Irish fry, but we adjusted to South African food very quickly.”

Within eight years the family grew to five with the arrival of Billy, then David, then Ruth.

Bob said his happiest memories of the Congo were those early days when his family were growing up, his wife was delivering vital midwifery services and he was preaching the gospel out in the villages.

“Sometimes there was a wee mud church to preach in, sometimes there was none, you just preached under a tree,” he recalled.

“We did a lot of preaching at night times. There was always a fire, they never let it go out.

“It was a very dangerous place. We were always prayerfully seeking the Lord’s help.

“You never knew what would happen, every day people were being shot and butchered with bush knives. It was all around us.

“Still we never felt like coming home. We had a calling for the Congo and we put our best into it and stayed there happily.”

Dark times were to follow however in 1964 when his family was among a group of missionaries held hostage by rebels. At the time his children were 12, 10 and four.

“We believed the Lord looked after us,” said Bob. “We’d no fear. Our wee daughter was just four years of age and she said, ‘Daddy, are they going to kill us? and I said, ‘I don’t know, just keep praying’ and so we did.”

He continued: “We had been held under house arrest for four months when we heard on the radio the order for the rebels to kill all the white people.

“The rebels were beaten, the Belgian paratroopers had arrived to rescue us, so they were told to kill us that morning.

“They lined us up and had guns to our heads but they just couldn’t shoot. There was a gun pointing at every face but they couldn’t pull the triggers. They put the guns down and told us to get back into the house.

“On second thoughts they realised they hadn’t killed anybody from our group so they took the only two men left – a Canadian missionary called Hector McMillan and myself. The rest of the men were still in prison.

“They took us out for execution leaving the women and the children in the house. McMillan and I were marched to where they were going to shoot us outside. Suddenly we heard shooting in the house.”

Back in the house was his son David, then 10. Now a missionary following in his father’s footsteps, he said: “I recall every second of it. It happened in slow motion.

“The rebels would come in to the house from time to time, sometimes they were friendly, sometimes they were very mean. It was a very savage regime.

“As a 10-year-old boy you’re afraid but also mesmerised. Many times they would line us up, shoot their guns into the air and tell us to be good people. Afterwards I’d be running around picking up the empty cartridges.

“That particular morning we knew what was going to happen because we could heard the announcement on the rebels’ radio.

“Being lined up and knowing that you’re going to be killed in the next second, I remember looking at the gun and wondering about the mechanics of it, how you got it cocked, how you got it loaded. Young boys are kind of silly that way.”

Having survived the firing squad, David was back in the house as he watched his father led away to be executed.

“I remember after they’d taken dad out, one of the rebels came back in with an automatic machine gun and started shooting at the women and children all around him in the sitting room.

“Dad was an old GI from World War Two, I remember he’d told us if anything happens hit the dirt so you’re harder to hit.

“We hit the deck when the shooting started. For some reason, none of us cried or screamed. It was very quiet.”

Amazing no one was killed in the volley of gun fire, though two of the young people were wounded.

David said: “One of the children was 18 months old, right up to children of 17. Even the two who were wounded didn’t cry out so I think the rebel thought he’d killed 19 people with his burst of gunfire.

“It was just after that we heard shots outside.”

Bob explained what was happening in the forest as the shooting took place inside the compound. He said: “We were being marched down the forest trail and McMillan stopped to see what could be done about the shooting at the house.

“They shot him and he fell to the ground just beside me.

“I said to them, ‘You’ve shot one of my best friends’.

“They opened up fire on me but the bullets aimed at me didn’t hit me. One grazed my forehead. I threw myself down to the ground and pretended to be dead.

“They went on their way, thinking I was dead, because they were running for their own safety into the jungle.

“My wife, being the only medical missionary, came out to see if she could help us, she’d seen the two bodies on the ground. My wife shouted over to me, ‘Bob, are you alright?’ I said ‘Yes, where’s Hector?’ and she said, ‘He’s with the Lord’.

“We picked up the body and took it back to his wife, she was in the house with her six sons.”

David said: “That day was when it started to sink in for me as a 10-year-old that this was a serious situation.”

Asides from the rebellion, David said he had amazing upbringing he had in the forest villages with his brother Billy and sister Ruth.

He said: “All our friends were Congolese and we’d go into the deep forest every day, into the streams and rivers.

“It was idyllic. In the evenings you had the campfires and the jungle music. During the day, the whole forest was your playground. Playing hide and seek, waiting for your friends to find you and you’d look up and there was a big chimpanzee looking at you.

“I remember in the morning waking up and seeing elephants tracks in the garden where mum was trying to grow flowers and her saying in her wee Belfast accent, ‘Auch Bobby, they’re trampling my flowers, do something about it’. Like dad was going to be able to stop the elephants.”

He added: “Although dad was an evangelist he was also a great engineer and mechanic, so when they weren’t hunting, he’d be training the Congalese men in brickmaking and laying so they could build medical units for mum to do her midwifery in.

“We had a very happy childhood until independence and the rebellion came along and then all hell broke loose.”

Of the group of evangelists the McAllister family was part of in Congo, 13 missionaries and six children were killed during the rebellion.

Less than a year after being rescued, the family returned to the same place where they’d been held hostage.

David described the scene upon their return: “While we were back in Ireland many of the locals were still living in the forest and many of them died of starvation.

“When we got back I saw a young boy of 12 who was a walking skeleton. Talking to them and asking where ‘so and so’ was was very sad. Finding out kids we’d grown up with had died in the forest, that had a huge impact on my life.

“The people who were still there were so happy we had come back. They said to mum and dad, ‘You must really love us because you brought your kids back’.

The family remained in Congo until 1969 when they returned to Northern Ireland to put their children through further education.

Bob and Alma retired to Canada and the USA to live with their daughter Ruth, her husband, and their children, but returned to Congo again to help out during an outbreak of cholera.

They came back to Northern Ireland for good in 2001 and settled in Armagh.

Alma sadly passed away in 2007. Her husband said her claim to fame was “in 30 years as a midwife in the jungle she never lost a patient”.

Bob said he was extremely proud his three children got doctorates and went on to “make a difference”.

David is Tearfund’s Director in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while Billy heads a programme called Congo Initiative. Ruth is also an evangelist who awaits her opportunity to bring God’s word to the Congo.

David, now 62, said: “Congo did not happen by chance for me. I could see the bigger picture that God must have for me, being born there and growing up there, and experiencing the troubles and happy times there.”

Bob McAllister’s last visit to DR Congo was for the commemoration of 50th anniversary of the rebellion in 2014.

His return to the country was featured in a documentary which he hopes has been viewed by The Queen herself.

When he met Prince William and Kate at the Royal Garden Party in Hillsborough in 2016, the Royal couple were fascinated by his story.

He said: “I asked Kate if she’d seen the documentary. She said she hadn’t so I gave her a copy out of my pocket. I pulled out a second one and said could you kindly give that to Her Majesty The Queen. She said, ‘I certainly will’. I’d loved to think she’s seen it.”

His son David, who still lives in DR Congo, said: “The story of this old missionary man called McAllister has been well told around the campfires. He was almost like a rock star when he returned.

“Every church he’d go into was packed out. Even in his old age and his dotage he still came back because he has a heart for the people.”

Of his most recent visit Bob said: “When the rebels were in control back in 1964 they told said they were taking over the country and they were going to burn all the churches.

“They did burn the mud churches, but now, in the places where the missionaries were murdered by the rebels, there are brand new churches made of brick with permanent roofs. There are more churches now than ever before.

“There’s murders, there’s shootings, there’s riots and immorality, bribery and corruption, but the church in Congo is really strong.

“Spiritually it’s been a success. Africans are taking full responsibility. They’re not dependent on missionaries. We’ve worked ourselves out of a job which is the aim of any missionary.”

The family’s story featured in a highly-acclaimed documentary – A Deadly Mission: from Belfast to Congo – and is also the subject of a book – The Line Of Fire.

Bob and his sons David and Billy will take part in a special event this Saturday at 7.30pm in Carnmoney Church, Newtownabbey when they will tell their story of hope and horror in the Congo.