In late 1975, East Timor declared its independence from Portugal after 400 years of domination. But the freedom only lasted a little while, as the country was later that year invaded and occupied by Indonesia, which led to a 24 year rule. It is estimated that up to 200,000 people, one-third of the local population, died as a result of it.
This invasion was commanded by General Suharto, then Indonesia's dictator, with Australian encouragement and United States approval. Here is how a few bloggers connected to East Timor reacted to the news of his death at the age of 86 this Sunday January, 27.
José Prereira [pt] introduces Suharto for those who didn't know him:
Este é o Homem que a Democracia Americana sempre apoiou.
A lança americana na Ásia.
Na chacina dos 500.000 comunistas.
Na invasão de Timor Leste.
This is a man who has always been supported by the American Democracy.
The American's spear in Asia.
In the slaughter of 500,000 communists.
In the invasion of East Timor.
His name was Suharto.
Pedro Fontela [pt] list his legacy and says he is among the ones celebrating the news:
Suharto, ex-ditador Indonésio, morreu, finalmente. Falta-me a hipocrisia para sugerir que possa sentir qualquer sensação de pena. Menos um tirano genocida no mundo, ainda bem para nós! Haja uma celebração!
Suharto, the former Indonesian dictator, died at last. I lack the hypocrisy to suggest that I can feel any pity for him. It is one less tyrant genocidal in the world, good for us! May there be a celebration!
Timor Lorosae Nação [pt] also publishes the ex-dictator's biography and states that Suharto, who he says is ‘the biggest criminal of Contemporary History after the World War II’, does not deserve respect in his death:
Enfim, entrou, por favor, no Inferno e lá ficará a consumir-se nas chamas alimentadas por tanta mortandade, carnificina e terror que espalhou por todo o sudeste asiático.
Não lhe desejo mal. Somente que sofra uma vez por dia por cada vítima do seu consulado de sangue e cadáveres. São só uns milhões.
Está muito bem onde está. O Inferno para quem o merece.
At last, he has gone no Hell and there he will be to be consumed in flames fed by so much killing, bloodshed and terror that he spread around the South-East Asia.
I don't wish him any harm. Only that he suffers once a day for every victim of his blood and bodies consulate. These are only a few million.
He is very well where he is. Inferno is for those who deserve it.
Isabel Faria [pt] criticizes Ramos Horta, the actual President of East Timor, for stating that people should not harbour resentment towards the deceased general:
Desculpem lá, um ditador deixa de ser um ditador depois de morto? Um assassíno que não é julgado pelos seus crimes não tem que se preocupar porque depois de morto (…)
Nota final: No dicionário rancor, significa : ódio profundo e oculto; ressentimento.
Até posso entender que Ramos Horta refira o primeiro significado da palavra…porque se referir o segundo, está a trair a luta do seu povo e do povo indonésio contra a repressão e pela liberdade. E a memória dos que por elas morreram.
Excuse me there, is a dictator no longer a dictator after they die? Should we not be concerned by a dead murderer who was not judged for his crimes? (…)
Final note: In the dictionary, rancor [the Portuguese word used by Horta] means: deep and hidden hatred; resentment.
I do understand it if Ramos Horta has meant the first meaning of the word … because if he refers to the second, he is betraying the struggle of his people and the Indonesian people against repression and freedom. And the memory of those who died for these.
Timor Online [pt] has been collecting blogs and media reactions to the news, both in English and in Portuguese.
Only in May 20, 2002 East Timor became free. It was the first new sovereign state of the twenty-first century.