September 3, 2001
Dili, East Timor
I was distressed to learn that Amy Goodman’s reporting on East Timor has been questioned and that some have alleged that the November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz massacre may not have taken place. As an East Timorese, I want to express my outrage that her account of the massacre has been challenged by a campaign of innuendo and insult. As a former journalist, I want to express my wholehearted support for Amy Goodman and the staff of Democracy Now!
As an occasional guest on her program, I can attest to her professionalism. Her reporting on East Timor, some of it done at great personal risk, has always been accurate, ground-breaking and vitally important.
Her presence and actions at Santa Cruz are undisputed by observers. The massacre of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators and mourners was a turning point in our struggle for self-determination. At that tragic time, the presence of foreign journalists like Amy, was key. Their words and pictures were a vital source of accurate information on the massacre in the face of official Indonesian denials and misleading reports. This reporting inspired action and policy change worldwide.
I have especially admired the non-Timorese who have dedicated themselves to East Timor. It is not their country, and journalists traveling there faced special risks. Although she knew that five foreign journalists had been murdered by the Indonesian military in East Timor at the start of the invasion in 1975, Amy went to East Timor in 1990 and 1991 to cover a story most ignored.
In East Timor, we have renamed a major road Avenida Liberdade da Imprensa, or Freedom of the Press Avenue. On that road, a Dutch journalist was murdered in September 1999. We have dedicated a memorial to his memory and the memories of the other journalists killed while covering East Timor.
We are now working to build our own media and train our own journalists. I can only hope, that they will contribute to our democracy by probing deeply and asking the critical questions—the way Amy has always done.
Pacifica and WBAI should be proud to have a journalist of such high caliber working for them. They should be supporting her, not attacking her, and improving her working conditions, not hindering her ability to do her job.
Contact: John M. Miller (718)596-7668; firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to statement and additional background
can be found at
José Ramos-Horta Added June 12
* Mr Jose Ramos-Horta is an internationally-renowned spokesperson for the East Timorese cause. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for “sustained efforts to hinder the oppression of small people”.
* Mr Ramos-Horta has been a dynamic and determined advocate for a free and independent East Timor. From 1976 until 1989, he was the permanent representative of the Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independente (FRETILIN) at the United Nations. He currently holds the position of Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs, United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.
BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news