[00:05.18]though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books.
[00:09.24]This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs.
[00:14.08]Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours,
[00:17.37]I paid the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London.
[00:27.56]There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men,
[00:35.25]and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them.
[00:40.57]I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends.
[00:48.36]I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries.
[00:54.05]I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.
[01:03.48]Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes,
[01:09.36]or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to think independently of their government.
[01:15.34]Visitors to our offices included those who had come to give information,
[01:19.58]or to try and find out what had happened to those who they had left behind.
[01:25.17]I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time,
[01:32.05]who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland.
[01:37.21]He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him.