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East Timor: Blogger Counters Newspaper Article on East Timor

An Australian Age story on East Timor argues that East Timor was better off under Indonesian rule. Living Timorously counters the points made by the newspaper. East Timor was a former Portuguese colony that was forcibly integrated into Indonesia in 1976.

5 comments

  • lidia tindle

    Not sure how anybody can argue that it is better to be occupied and face being killed or tortured on a daily basis.

    What I, as somebody who lived in East Timor for 8 months from 8th May, 2006, is that East Timor would be better off without Western governments interferring.

    Lidia

  • derek challis

    Lidia is correct, The age jounalist should spend some time asking the relatives of the 250,000 people who died during the Indonesian years. Also find out what happened at Karas(Carass), now known as the “village of the widows” in Viqueque district.

    Derek

  • ale

    I was in E. Timor in 2000 and people’s pride and happiness about their independence was so obvious that I cannot believe someone actually believes that they’d rather be part of Indonesia again!!

  • Rodolfo Souza vicente

    Only people with lack of information, eveidence and lack of history knowledge can be automatically believe what is saying in the news without known the root problems in East Timor. As a new fresh country it is normal if facing new challenges and problems as a part of democracy growing up together with their step to gain the better future.

    Around the world have so many countries with their own problems at the first time Independent even until now there still have outstanding problem did not sort out yet just take the sample like Indonesia there is still problems their people still living under marginal poverty ,lot of issue of etnics,corupt etc. still un-resolve because their government used forces to stop the issue without justice. that excatlly the same what was happen to East Timor when under Indonesia rules for 24 year which Suharto implemented strong military to handling the issue and ignore the justice.

    What is The age argues it’s not bases and dont know the history and background of East Timor and Indonesian.
    As one new baby born can not straight walking and talking but they will crying and sometimes falling but the time will coming and they will grow up and walks on their own foot so far their parents will always lookafter and pay more attention and dont let him fall over into the wolf and crock interesting which have waiting too see the country falling and they can free to have what they expecting.

  • Victor

    As one of the few foreigners (“malae”) traveling in East Timor prior to the referendum, I can comment from an outsider’s perspective on the situation in East Timor. I saw first hand the beatings of ordinary people in markets and at security checkpoints around East Timor from 1990 to 1999, at the hands (and feet) of Indonesian policemen and soldiers. While I never witnessed the killings with my own eyes, I think the Santa Cruz Massacre video, and Indonesian military’s own torture pictures, speak for themselves as to the horrors prior to the end of occupation.

    Liberty has its price. The corrupt Indonesian bureaucracy gave jobs to tens of thousands of Timorese. Subsidies kept prices of certain goods, particularly oil, low. Materially, the East Timorese were probably better off in the foot of Indonesia, but it was definitely not worth living in a police-state.

    Discrimination is not easily overcome. Way back in January and February of last year, the allegations of discrimination against “Western” East Timorese within the army was not addressed nor investigated. First the army and then the East Timorese government failed miserably in not initiating such independent investigations. Peaceful protests by members of the armed forces were met with contempt by the Army command and the Prime Minister. Sadly, even President Gusmao failed to address these grievances. Without a peaceful method of conflict resolution, both the government and disgruntled soldiers resorted to violence, which devolved into regionalist and ethnic violence in the wider community resulting in dozens or hundreds of deaths and hundreds of thousands of homeless.

    IMO perhaps laws need to be enacted to quell discrimination among the two or three dozen ethnic groups that now make up East Timor. A priority must be placed on enacting legislation that protects all people in East Timor. In the United States, we have a civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department that investigates and prosecutes allegations of discrimination, a special office and court should be created to handle these problems in Timor. France, Malaysia, Singapore, and other nations criminalize ethnically divisive and hatred-laden speech.

    Economically, East Timor needs to start expending the petroleum revenues to develop the infrastructure of the whole country. Due to an inadequate road system, a market based economy can not take shape. Tens of thousands of jobless, disaffected youth should be given the opportunity to build the country’s infrastructure like the U.S. did in the 1930’s. Forestry and reforestation could create long-term solutions to erosion and a revitalization of a traditional industry (i.e. sandalwood and other forest products). East Timor’s fisheries are relatively untapped, and should be given attention. With Timor on the Australia’s doorstep, tourism has so much promise, especially if promoted properly. I just don’t buy this World Bank idea of holding a trust fund for future generations. The future generations’ fortune is in the activities of East Timorese today.

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