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excellent Al Jazeera interviews with various leaders and revolutionaries from East Timor to mark the 10 year anniversary of the vote of independence from Indonesia.





please comment

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Spent some time there in 99. Was one of the more fucked up places I've been.


What happened for 25 years in ET is just another fucked up example of what we do to each other.


I've also met and spent some time with Ramos Horta and quite a lot of Fretlin and Falantil. Pretty inspirational experience.

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thank you guys for adding to this. definitely the more awareness the better. i just read this article from the sydney morning herald.

i will write my thoughts later. gotta head to work








Australia should push for justice for war crimes in East Timor rather than accept excuses of good relations with Indonesia.


ONE of the most compelling moments in the recent film Balibo depicted a no-holds-barred punch-up in a swimming pool between Australian journalist Roger East and the East Timorese independence activist Jose Ramos-Horta.


It was late 1975, the Indonesian special forces had just murdered five Australian newsmen in Balibo and Jakarta was poised to invade East Timor, the tiny country on Australia's doorstep.


Balibo, the movie, depicted the veteran journalist East as something of a washed-up hack who'd reluctantly come to East Timor at Ramos-Horta's insistence to run the East Timor News Agency. East was portrayed as being disproportionately obsessed at times with solving the murders of the five young Australians while comparatively inured to the broader injustices being perpetrated against the East Timorese.


The fight between East and Ramos-Horta is a neat dramatic metaphor for anyone who has, over the years, pondered the horrible deaths of the five Australians – and the massive injustices and human rights abuses dealt to the East Timorese for 24 years from 1975. It flares after Ramos-Horta criticises East for caring only about the dead journalists when he should be concerned about finding justice for the East Timorese.


It is a gritty, tense and immensely unsettling scene that forces viewers to confront the moral relativism through which we view the murder of the Australians amid the context of broader atrocity against the East Timorese. Ramos-Horta, I found myself thinking, has a point; what happened to the journalists was terrible but it was also part of a much larger Indonesian crime against the East Timorese.


It was a brilliant scene in a remarkable film. But as the movie's consulting historian Dr Clinton Fernandes points out on his website about Balibo, the swimming pool scene was "entirely fictitious". "It was written into the movie partly to confront the audience with the obvious point: 'why care so much about five journalists when so many East Timorese are dying?' The fact is those who campaigned – and still campaign – for justice for the Balibo Five also campaigned for the independence of East Timor. The journalists were murdered because they were trying to tell the world the truth about East Timor," he says.


Today, of course, Ramos-Horta is East Timor's President. The former guerilla fighter Xanana Gusmao is the country's Prime Minister. Many of their countrymen and countless individuals and human rights groups the world over, have a burning desire to bring to justice the Indonesian soldiers and intelligence officials who oversaw 24 years of atrocities. Ramos-Horta and Gusmao are more pragmatic.


Gusmao's Government recently narrowly survived a no-confidence motion. It was moved in protest at the Prime Minister's extra-legal decision to free Indonesian militiaman Maternus Bere, wanted by the United Nations for his part in the massacre of women, children and priests in a church at Suai, East Timor, in 1999.


Besides his alleged involvement in the Suai massacre, one of Bere's associates Egidio Manek abducted a girl, Juliana Dos Santos – known in East Timor as Alola – and forcibly took her to West Timor to be his wife. Under international law, Bere is also complicit in the abduction and sexual slavery or Alola.


In 2001 the Alola Foundation, a charity to support the women and children of East Timor, was established in her name. Its patron is, somewhat ironically given recent events, Kirsty Sword Gusmao, the Australian-born wife of Xanana.

Bere was arrested in East Timor on August 8 and was being held in pre-trial detention pending his criminal case. But on August 30, the 10th anniversary of the East Timorese independence vote, Gusmao took the extraordinary step of unilaterally freeing Bere.


In his speech to the nation on August 30, Ramos-Horta didn't mention Bere but he made it clear "there will be no international tribunal" in relation to Indonesian war crimes. He asked the UN to disband its serious crimes investigating team in East Timor. He said: "As the nation knows, my position is clear and firm on this issue: as an East Timorese and head of state, as someone who has lost brothers and a sister, as someone who almost lost his life, as someone who has criss-crossed this beautiful island of ours in the past 10 years, and know what the vast majority of the people feel and demand today, I am saying let's put the past behind. There will be no international tribunal."


On September 2 UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay wrote to Ramos-Horta, expressing deep concern about the release of Bere. "This decision is extremely regrettable as it has grave consequences for the prospects of accountability for the serious crimes which occurred in 1999. It would seem to violate ... Timor Leste's Constitution, as well as the country's penal code. It also counters successive Security Council resolutions which call for accountability for past crimes. You will equally be aware of the United Nations' firm position that there can be no amnesty or impunity for serious crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide," Pillay wrote. "I appreciate your Government's desire to develop healthy relations with Indonesia ... However, I trust you will appreciate your Government should not avoid its international obligations in the name of bilateral co-operation."


Defending his decision to hand Bere to the Indonesian Embassy in East Timor on August 30, Gusmao said: "It was purely a political decision for our good relationship with Indonesia."


In late 1975 when the ailing Whitlam government turned a blind eye to the murdered journalists and the continuing human rights abuses in East Timor, and implicitly supported Indonesian invasion plans, such pragmatism in the name of good bilateral relations with Jakarta was railed against. Not least by the likes of Ramos-Horta.


For the next fortnight, UN diplomats will debate whether to establish an international tribunal to investigate and prosecute war crimes in East Timor. Australia has effectively said it is willing to abide by East Timor's wishes. While Gusmao's and Ramos-Horta's positions are seen as regrettable by many who continue to fight for justice, East Timor cannot be expected to take the international lead. Australia can and should play a pivotal role.

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a lot of people don't know about east timor because it is such a small country.

that and it is nasty politics.


however, i think purplemushroom put up a good video with chomsky breaking down that there was intense coverage in the 70's. so it can also be a generational break in awareness. that and people do not like to read very much.


on that note, this month is domestic violence awareness month and next month is international awareness of violence against women. which in relation to east timor i would like to post a link to the organization that the article talks about Alola Foundation this is an organization that advocates for women.


some things that affect women in east timor is:

inadequate access to birth control. this includes even basic education about how to use it and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

access to prenatal care

forced marriages of very young girls(14) to very old men(40-50)

domestic violence




so peep it.






also, anything you come across about advocacy or just awesome stuff thats going on there post it. i mean just because some terrible shit has gone down does not mean there has not been tremendous progress. i will get on it. i dont want to be an orientalist and make timor seem like something its not.

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oh well my interest in east timor is my friend was tortured by the indonesian government and kicked out of her country for fighting for independence. so she stayed in canada for a minute until the vote in 1999. was allowed to return and then went to university in the us under a student visa.


i met her along with a lot of other real young people that fought in the revolution while at university.


opened my eyes to something i never heard of. now i just know all these people from there that helped ensure that east timor got its independence.


i do know people from burma and somalia. i am familiar with the history but i am not confident enough in my own knowledge to speak on it.

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Fundasaun Mahein, 4 October, 2010

Press Release


In the 12th Mahein’s Voice (Mahein Nia Lian), in this edition, FM provides an in-depth analysis on the work of the Committee B of the National Parliament, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security issues. On the other hand, FM identifies the role of the Committee from a political and contextual standpoint. At the end, FM presents a summary and recommendations that focus on lessons learned and challenges encountered by the Committee in implementing its roles.

In the history of the Timor-Leste National Parliament, the Committee B, Committee for foreign affairs, defense and national security issues, was established in July 2002. It has eleven committee members who have a lot of work with very broad areas to cover. Generally, in most national parliaments of a democratic country, there are almost always made up of representatives of political parties, who then establish and become members of permanent committees, including committees such the committee B. Permanent committees national parliament are pillars of the national parliament, because they represent the people, through their elected representatives, that can scrutinize executive activities and civil services in order to exercise accountability processes within the government system.

In regards to their level of understanding, the members of the committee B in a learning process; they are learning from qualified direct experience related to the Committee portfolio. Further observations in other areas are that the national parliament has limited resources to support this sovereign institution to become strong and credible in exercising their roles. With these limitations, people tend to see that there is lack of checks and balances in the works of legislative and executive branches. There is a lack of cooperation between the legislative branch and executive branch. Some facts illustrate that some legislations were developed in bedrooms. Timorese people feel that their interests are not adequately represented by the parliament. As demands inundate the parliament; these add more difficulties to the parliament as they lack a proper research division. Additionally, a limited number of staff in the secretariat of the parliament creates an unfavorable condition for the members of parliament to effectively and constantly communicate with constituents.

Members of the national parliament Committee B and civil society, are both actors on the front line, directly accountable to the people who should exercise control over policy. The media outlets have not adequately monitored the performance of the democratic systems. Civil societies are still in the learning phase of how ordinary people and interest groups in the community of can make an effort to contribute and influence policy and legislation related to Committee B. Civil society and the media must demand that Committee B carries out its legal authority and exercise checks and balances over proposed laws and security policies.

In Timor-Leste’s political culture, a civil supremacy tradition is non-existent. Many people consider that FALINTIL-military are the fighters; they are the liberators and in any circumstance, should be respected. In addition, there is a lack of civilian regeneration that poses a difficult understanding in military and security issues. As a result, we can see that only a small number of public officials, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) activists, academia, and journalists have the capacity to manage the security sector, to provide a control function and to help educate the public on defence and the policy of national security in Timor-Leste.

Such a legacy is further strengthened in some development programs which hinder civilian in monitoring the performance of security sector, for instance, the current incidents at the border in Oecusse, where the Indonesian military (TNI) destroyed a vulnerable community’s houses. This experience serves as a lesson for the Timor-Leste government on how to manage the border and the culture of the people who live in border areas of Timor-Leste near Indonesia. On the other hand, anti-state groups, such as ninjas, still exist; and although the government has paid the veterans, some of them still demand their rights. In this circumstance, the government is implementing the development process of the government structure, setting up laws, producing new laws and developing the the relationship between the army, police and civilians.

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i guess taking care of veterans is not just a problem in the us






Veterans in Timor-Leste since the Crisis of 2006.


In the Voice of Fundasaun Mahein, 17th Edition we will discuss the issue of Veterans. The report stated that, the problem of veterans will never die if the individual veterans and veterans’ organizations are not happy with the process that deals with veterans. During 24 years Timorese struggled in the mountains. After the war those who fought became war veterans.


Mahein Nia Lian also quoted that the government has tried hard to overcome the issues related to the reintegration of veterans, such as creating legislation which provided assistance to Veterans in the form of pensions and awarding medals. These measures are not enough but are a step in the right direction. However, these laws the government created have not been implemented properly due to a system that is plagued by a lack of human resources, and limited governance capacity.


The main objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the complicated problems related to the reintegration of all veterans, based on interviews with key actors representing 5 districts in Timor Leste. Those districts are Liquica, Ermera, Manatuto, Baucau, and Dili. The end of Mahein Nia Lian includes diagnostic recommendations to help solve the veterans’ issues, both in the short and long term. It is not a fast or easy process. Strong will and consistency will be necessary for progressive improvement


FM recommends that the government formally recognize the role of child solders. Based on international law it violates the international convention that Timor- Leste has ratified, but in Timorese history the children of the country contributed in a very significant way, therefore, the recognition of child solders is complicated, but it is necessary.


FM recommends that the government develop and implement a policy for on state funerals for veterans including:


1. Parade and Honour Guard ceremony for funerals


2. Build a Cemetery for Veterans of the Resistance in all the districts.


It is suggested that a small group of F-FDTL soldiers lead the honor guard for veterans to participate in funeral ceremonies in the cemeteries.


FM recommends that the government implement and enforce the existing law to allow for a special seating area for Veterans during National Holiday ceremonies.


FM recommends that the government design and distribute at its own expense a special Tais for veterans which they can wear on special occasions


For more information on this issue, please contact


Nélson Belo,


Director of Fundasaun Mahein


Web: http://www.fundasaunmahein.wordpress.com


Email: direktor.mahein[at]gmail.com


Telp. +670 737 4222

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there is an election coming up in timor and currently their is a hand off occurring in security to timor. They found a grenade on the beach, and a bomb in a laptop bag during a security conference with an Indonesian General. Not sure what that means, but, my feeling is general is that explosives are harmful to our health.

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so much conflict, so little reading time.


thx laughs.

interesting, meeting revolutionaries.

i wish more people were exposed to stuff like that, if only to see how good we've got it. [not for long]


yeah, gotta read i guess, i'm more well-versed in burma and darfur but there are so many dirty wars deserving attention.

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My bestfriend has been in timor for about a year now. Working at another friends ngo.

I haven't heard from him in a few days.

To give you some background, since the change of control our timorese friend who started this ngo and encouraged my best friend Pisti to go help in east timor, well he has been publicly encourage the murder of malae. White foreigners.

The last time I talked to Pisti he and some of our other timorese friends were confronted by other timorese.

I don't know if any of yall read the article I posted about ninjas in timor. But that is a product of the translation and lack of a better term. It's like martial arts groups.

Pisti was attacked with a machete. However, he has lost so much weight since being there that when he kicked the door closed the machete just barely missed his leg.

Anyways that was the last time I talked to him.

I have just been talking to friends that are there. One of my friends is the advisor to Jose ramos huerta for christsake!


If you hope dream or pray......


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So, I talked to my senator(state) today. Still no word from anyone in timor.

My friend who was tortured she was the last one to talk to him. Don't know what to say.

The news is pretty much the same.

Talking about Australia and troop withdrawls. Different things for the election.

His family......well that's another story.

I just want to hear his voice you know or get a new email.

So yeah. Pisti, if your out there......

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so yeah. i guess if any of you know someone is east timor.

could you please bring my friend home


The last place he was, was bidau santa ana

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11/04/2011 20:14:46] Steve Catt: I am alright. this place is just getting tense. Leaving a club on saturday night these guys with knives and machetes waked up and asked my friends if we wanted to fight. we said we didn't even know them, and had no reason to fight. they started going crazy and whacked my buddy a rfew times in the head, and stabbed another freind of mine, before went back inside. we tried to close the door, and the machete dude was blaocking us, so I kciked him in the stomach, and his machete almost took my leg off, then we locked the door.


This was the last time Pisti and I talked.

Pisti Pisti. Please

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I don't know if I should do this but I can't believe anything would happen to this guy.

I'm going to have a heart attack

Can you guys just keep an open ear. He has to be ok.

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i'd keep trying. and keep on and keep on


like most things, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.


good luck to you and yours.

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