Convenor/Dr. Andy McNaughtan (02 9960-5550),
Secretary/Stephen Langford (02 9331-5986),
Treasurer Brenden Doyle (email: email@example.com),
Warehouse/ Ian Hodges (02 9523-3764)
Ex Officio/Alix Mandelson (02 9331-1496),
Special Projects/Jeff Lee (02 9500-1638).
Newsletter correspondence should be addressed to the editor, Newsletter c/-PO Box 703 Leichhardt, 2040. or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AETA’s postal address: c/-Secretary PO Box 751, Darlinghurst 2010. (Please include email address).
Events in East Timor itself will become a focus for the rest of 2001 as the slowness of the UNTAET stewardship moves into the uncertainty of the unfolding Timorese attempts of building a truly open and democratic political structure. The ongoing security threat posed by the Indonesian-controlled “militia”, the camps in West Timor, the failure to find justice for those who were victims of war crimes are problems that have to measured against the desire for national reconciliation and the immediate demands of reconstruction and survival.
In Australia we have the luxury of distance to scream the appropriate slogans from the margins - in an Australian election year! Lethargy, burn out and reorganisation of priorities cannot be used as excuses that allow Downer and Co. off the hook. The ‘arc of instability’ is growing. The benefit for Peace Brigades International (PBI) to help fund a mission to Aceh (April 11th) is a chance to consolidate. So too the M1 protest (May 1st) needs to ram home how the impact of ADB/World Bank/WTO neo-liberalist demands are impoverishing the region and causing social disintegration in places like PNG, East Timor and elsewhere.
Canberra’s decision to deny Max Stahl a visa to transit through Darwin to Dili to finish a fothcoming documentary as the August 30th election approaches will haunt them. So will the treatment of asylum seekers imprisoned in various gulags in the Australian outback. The refugee issue is like Kundera’s ‘struggle against forgetting’. The launch of the John Martinkus book and the work of pre-Interfet photojournalists in the foyer of State Parliament (July 2001) will be a reminder of what has become history - a genocide -narrowly, but only partially, averted?
(from Jefferson 6.4.01).
During her two month stay Maureen spoke at the book launch (with Xanana), addressed the 25th Anniversary dinner of AETA’s Melbourne Branch, established links with all the relatives of the ‘Balibo Five’, (Shirley Shackleton, The Stewart family and many others), to forge a united demand for the exumation of the so-called burial site in Jakarta. She went to Dili and Balibo in East Timor to follow up on the progress of the War Crimes investigation into the ‘Balibo Five’. She launched a Coroner’s Inquest in NSW (with the assistance of solicitor Rodney Lewis from the ICJ) concerning the whereabouts of her missing brother - a resident of NSW when he disappeared. She addressed an AETA dinner in her honour at the Dali Restaurant in Glebe in December before returning to her home in Bristol, U.K. Maureen had many deeply moving stories to tell about her activism in the UK from her first contacts with John Pilger, her appearance as a witness for the ‘Ploughshares Women’ court case, intimidation by Bakin agents during pickets of the Indonesian Consulates, her appearance at the UN Decolonisation Committee Hearings in New York, etc.
THE EAST TIMOR OLYMPIC TEAM demonstrated the depth of feeling among the Australian community. It is a pity our big spenders (remember Michael Knight?) could not find the resources to feed and house, or even offer a single viewing ticket to the ‘reserve team’ who flew into Sydney with the four competitors. Well done to Kim Gago who organised emergency assistance while the Olympic fat cats ignored their responsiblities. Well done to the competitors for their historic efforts. Well done to the Timor Australia Council (Philomena and friends) who went out of their way to organise a terrific community reception at the Cabramatta Community Centre and to Bill Buckley and Uni of NSW for the initial leg work to organise the team coming to Australia. The appalling arrival situation for the para-olympic team was highlighted in the media when their Commonwealth Police escort had to buy them a spare set of clothing again highlighted the lack of diplomacy and decency from the upper echelons of the Olympic bureaucracy. They also (along with the Cambodian land mine victims) received a lot of sympathy from the Australian public.
THE XANANA GUSMAO VISIT in November was
organised by Professor Stuart Rees and the Centre for Peace & Conflict
Studies at Sydney University to present him with the Sydney Peace Foundation
prize. At the same time Xanana launched the Lansell Taudevin & Jefferson
Lee edited book EAST TIMOR MAKING AMENDS? (published by Otford Press on
behalf of AETA-NSW). Kirsty Sword spoke at State Parliament Amnesty
Group on the issue of women raped and tortured in war. An excellent two
page article appeared in <italic>The Australian</italic> from Sian
Powell following her address. AETA organised a photo display in the Seymour
Centre to coincide with Xanana’s lecture. Many thanks to the venue and
photographers like H.T.Lee and Stephen Tickner, who came down from
THE ANIN MURAK CHOIR VISIT went off brilliantly thanks to the months of preparation by Sister Susan Connelly and the Mary McKillop Institute of East Timor Studies (9623-2849) who are the distributors of their wonderful CD with cover lyric sheets in both english and tetum. The tour received a Mayoral Reception from Frank Sartor followed by a month long tour of regional NSW which included positive articles in the local press and raptuous crowds from Lismore, to Maitland, to Coffs Harbour, to Bathhurst, to Dunedoo, to Kangaroo Valley, to the Governor General’s House in Canberra, to mention just a few locations, with the finale in the Sydney Town Hall. The poster display from the Design School students at the University of Western Sydney was superb thanks to the hard work of Media Lecturer Peter McGregor (9678-7356) and the students. Two of the students have been sponsored by the Kangaroo Valley group to come here for further studies. Other offers are pending.
-WAREHOUSE SITUATION We (Timor Appeal Committee
& AETA) now have a storage depot at 17 Lord St, St Peters, thanks to
Friends of the Earth and other tenants. It is open to recieve targeted
donations on Saturdays 12-2pm or by appointment. However please call Ian
Hodges (9523-3764) or Alix Mandelson (9331-1496) before delivering anything.
The building has been sold but we believe it will be possible to use space
there for some months. We also have use of a larger storage space in Robert
St. White Bay, but this is subject to commercial security restrictions
so we can only unload there with prior approval. We are using it to store
a large donation of school furniture from Knox Grammar School in Sydney.
(This includes 390 school desks, teacher desks, 250 chairs and other equipment,
intended for Bebonuk Public School at Comoro, West Dili). We are seeking
transport assistance to get this where it is needed from Australian Navy
and some commercial firms. Any leads or suggestions on transport welcome.
Institute for Post-Colonial Studies Seminar
“The Problem of International Involvement in the Formation of East Timor,”
78-80 Curzon St., Nth Melbourne, (4/4/01). Speakers were Helen Hill (VUT),
Dr John Hajek (Uni. of Melb.), Dr Balthasar Kehi (Yarra Theological Union).
Details from Dr. Julie Stephens, email: email@example.com
THE REST OF PAGES 4-5 ARE A REPRINT OF
ADITJONDRO INTERVIEW IN JAKARTA POST 2/2/01.
This year (Year 2001) a major agriculture
project is underway with seeds donated by Rotary Victoria and planting
technique help from Thailand. The Canossian Convent in Baucau needs electricals,
plumbing, hot water generator, etc. The girls have to cart buckets of cold
water upstairs for the “bathroom”, washing etc.. Also in Baucau the Doncaster
Rotary have helped establish a rolling steel mill providing 300 jobs.
Donations of steel coil are needed. Cottage industry stuff- sewing and
embroidery co-ops (tias making), soap, furniture, etc are being set up
to market to the tourist/NGO community and eventually export to Australia.
Donations of cotton, wax, palm/coconut oil machines, carpentry, wood sculpting
tools and sewing machines are all needed. (we can purchase a lot of these
in Dili if people send money!) An update was received from Alix here in
Sydney (April 2001) saying ETSHP are now distributing a container of goods
sent from Sydney in March which included 100
boxes of sewing material for OPMT, a Timorese women’s organisation,
and items from the now closed Marrickville warehouse for the Hadomi Foundation
Orphanage. ETSHP is requesting 20 to 30 pairs of magnifying spectacles,
available from chemists or K-Mart (for women weavers) and a portable blood
pressure guage for Fatumaca village clinic for use on house calls. [DONATIONS
TO THE ETSHP CAN BE MADE DIRECTLY OR THROUGH AETA - CONTACT ALIX MANDELSON
(02) 9331-1496. The next issue of the newsletter will carry a report on
FUTO - Foti Ulun Timor Oan (For the Children of Timor)]
MEDIA WATCH on Important EAST TIMOR Commentary
- George Aditjondro articles in Arena (Melb) December 1999-Jan/Feb 2000 is followed up by his interview “East Timor becoming guests in their own land”, Jakarta Post, (2/2/01) Aditjondro lifts the lid on Australian carpet-baggers, UNTAET bureaucrats and CNRT inaction with great controversy.
- Paul Monk in November 2000 Quadrant. In an article ostensibly reviewing the Death in Balibo book this former Dept of Defence employee turned academic tracks down some of his old workmates to argue there may be insufficient evidence to conclude some of the crucial (but now missing ) October 1975 intelligence intercepts on Indonesian orders to kill the Balibo journalists actually existed in the first place. A half-hearted snow job Paul! Blind Freddy can see and smell “cover up”. Follow up revisionist letters appeared in January and March 2001 editions of Quadrant (thnaks Paddy).
- Greg Sheridan’s review of DOCUMENTS ON AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN POLICY: Australia & the Indonesian Incorporation of Portuguese Timor 1974-1976, DFAT/MUP, 2000, in The Australian newspaper’s (Monthly) Review of Books, December 2000. Sheridan takes two pages to slag off at the solidarity movement (“the East Timor industry”) and distort the historical record in his typical revisionist style. Luke Slattery (editorARB) fails to print letters sent in by Jenny Hereira (Hobart East Timor Committee), Stephen Langford (AETA), Jefferson Lee (AETA), etc. in the February 2001 edition.
- Lindsay Murdoch,”Officials deterred from sending children home”, (SMH, Sat. 17/3/01,p.15) Story on how children taken from families in West Timor camps were dumped in orphanages in Jakarta and now Hati Foundation (with links to Jakarta government) and Abilio Soares (nephew of former Jakarta-appointed Governor of ET and now secretary of the Foundation) is blocking the family reunions through the UNHCR. According to Murdoch’s article Soares “continues to refer to East Timor within the framework of “Indonesian unity”. “
- Hugh Rimmington’s coverage of new Defence Minister Peter Reith’s visit to Australian peacekeepers in Maliana (in the wake of John Moore resignation) was featured on Channel 9 News.
- Brian Walker, Head of the International Rescue C’tee (IRC) in Dili sent a letter to Pacific News Bulletin critical of UNTAET performance. It was reprinted in the Febuary 2001 edition of PNB,
-ABC-TV Foreign Correspondent special report on President Wahid’s Global Diplomacy was commented on in critical terms
by George Aditjondro at the Asiet Meeting (Friday 5/4/01).
- Paul Daley “Gareth’s crisis management”,
SMH/insight/ Friday 9/3/01, p.11 Gareth states “The truth of the matter
is that...we[the Hawke-Keating Govts] did as much as we possibly could
to advance the East Timorese cause within the environment as we found it
with the cards that we had....The notion that we, you know, had anything
to answer for morally or otherwise over the way we handled the Indonesia-East
Timor relationship, I absolutely reject..” Evans went on to outline the
possible future use of mercenaries in IPKF’s as a rapid deployment option
given the reluctance of Western Govts to commit their troops to Rwanda/Bosnia
style situations. He advocated the ‘Gurkha’ rather than the ‘Sandline’
model of mercenaries. A critical letter to the editor pointed out the real
Evans ET legacy.
-Mike Carlton column (SMH 24/3/01,p.26).....on Canberra’s slowness on Civpol tax exemptions for their ET service. Carlton reported that Canberra still hasn’t honoured its pledge to give Civ Pol ‘back pay’ for taxing them on their income while they were in East Timor when all other salaries for the Australian armed services were tax exempt.
- SBS-TV Insight Program (Thurs 29/3/01) on Tax Exemption for Churches , Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists,etc. Local family farmers in Northern Victoria are complaining that the Mormon Church is not taxed on its huge agricultural agri-business in the NSW Griffith area. The church argues it sets aside a large percentage of its profits for charity and religious work for example their project in the West Timor camp last year was worth $500,000 and they have other projects in East Timor.
-April 2001. Media coverage of the Xanana Gusmao resignation from National Congress (29/3/01). Xanana was quoted (out of context and in edited form) on various television news reports as referring to the rest of the leadership as “rubbish” which appears to misrepresented his argument.
Sunday 29th April , 11am-1pm, Opera House
forecourt. Shareholders Rally to Defend “YOUR ABC”.
- Tues. May 1st. M1 Blockade of the Stock Exchanges around the world.
Let’s raise the regional issues!
- June 7-10th, Jakarta, Indonesia, Asia-Pacific People’s Solidarity
Conference. Details Asiet 9690-1977 or
- August 30th 2001, East Timor’s historic national elections date.
- TEBE Dance of Life CD, from Timor Assoc of Victoria, released in late 2000 (15 tracks.....$30).
- ANIN MURAK Songs of Timor Loro Sa’e CD, Anin Murak Choir from Dili , 2000 (19 tracks.....$23).
- Remember East Timor CD, Mary McKillop Singers from Sydney (8tracks.....$20)
- ALL IN THE FAMILY CD, Rock compilation 1994 ($20)
- LOVE FROM A SHORT DISTANCE CD, Rock compilation 1996 ($20).
- LIBERDADE CD, Rock Compilation, 1999, ($25)
-Dili All Stars CD/Cassette, 6 track Rock/Reggee compilation ($12)
- SOLIDARITY CHOIR. CD ..new release April 2001 includes the track “Four Strong Women”....($25)
- Enda Kenny, Bakers Dozen CD, includes track “from Darwin to Dili “ ($25)
(This newsletter is compiled by Jefferson
Lee, AETA (NSW) Special Projects Officer, 1998-2001).
Current AETA Resource List (Australia-East Timor Association) Resources on ETimor added Apr 26
AETA (Melbourne) provide a community-based non-profit service that includes the provision of books, educational materials and music CDs/cassettes. This diverse collection of resources includes materials that are otherwise difficult to obtain. - BD