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BACK DOOR Newsletter on Timor-Leste (East Timor)

Australian Commentary regarding the 2006 East Timor Crisis
Ema Australianu sira Hateten konaba Susar iha Timor Lorosae laran
Sidadaun sira Australianu Koalia konaba
Emerjensia iha Timor-Leste laran

Note: The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Back Door Newsletter. Back Door seeks to provide a range of opinions on the East Timor crisis for the information of readers.

Last updated: 26 July 2006

Return to Main Contents / Fila fali ba Lista Primariu:
BD: 2006 Crisis in East Timor / Susar/Emerjensia iha Timor-Leste laran

21 July 2006 TLNAIT / ACTJET / IFET: Letter to United Nations on Justice
"The recent crisis in Timor-Leste has created the need for new justice and peacebuilding processes, ... However, the crisis this year has also reinforced the need to deal with “unfinished business” from the past. ... Events between 1975 and 1999 continue to strongly impact the people of Timor-Leste. The reactions of Dili residents to the unfolding crisis were those of a population that has suffered mass trauma which remains largely unhealed. In addition, the severe shortcomings of the local and international justice processes have helped to create a culture of impunity in which a range of actors believe they can, in effect, get away with murder and other crimes."
Rosentino Amado Hei, Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal,
Dr Mark Byrne, Convenor, Australian Coalition for Transitional Justice in East Timor,
John M. Miller, UN Representative, International Federation for East Timor

10 July 2006 Age: Martinkus: East Timor - the story we weren't told
"Three weeks ago I was in East Timor, where senior members of the East Timorese military confirmed what the now deposed prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, has been saying all along: that there had been three attempts since April last year to get senior army commanders to carry out a coup against his government. In light of what has happened since, it seems obvious. An orchestrated campaign has brought down the government." John Martinkus, journalist in East Timor from 1995-2000 & author of A Dirty Little War

30 June 2006 New Matilda: Anderson: East Timor after Alkatiri: nation or protectorate?
"We did not expect that the elected leader of a party with an overwhelming mandate could be forced to stand down in this way in a democracy" Fretilin press release, 26 June 2006
"The Australian role in undermining East Timorese independence is difficult to see now, with a barrage of media influencing the desire to see ourselves as the little country’s ‘saviours’. We are nothing of the sort. Australian friends of East Timor should recognise the shocking prospects of neo-liberal protectorate status, and maintain their support for an independent nation." Tim Anderson, lecturer at the School of Political Economy, Sydney University & visitor to East Timor, before and after independence.

28 June 2006 New Matilda: Martinkus: East Timor - Alkatiri Speaks
East Timor's Prime Minister Marí Alkatiri finally stood down on Monday after repeated calls for his resignation. According to the man himself, the Australian media played a large part in the campaign to get rid of him. 'It started in The Australian,' he said, 'and suddenly it spread to more or less all. Some [report like this] because they are not informed or aware of the situation - but others because they are trying to demonise me.' Right up until his resignation Alkatiri insisted that the crisis gripping East Timor was a foreign-backed coup, and that a series of recent allegations against him were politically motivated." John Martinkus, journalist in East Timor from 1995-2000 & author of A Dirty Little War

23 June 2006 Durnan: Deployment of Troops Inside Timor - Questions that demand honest answers
"We have received over the past 2 days some very disturbing reports from Timor-Leste regarding the Australian government's deployment of our Defence forces throughout Timor-Leste. It appears that our government has decided without explanation to us or indeed the Timorese people that our troops are now to undertake roles outside of their original PEACEKEEPING role. It is important for all parties to the conflict and for the ADF's reputation as peacekeepers that they remain neutral and not be used for political purposes." Deborah Durnan

21 June 2006 Walsh: Toward a New Timor-Leste: the Shared Responsibility of Religious Institutions
Timor-Leste Inter-Faith Conference, Baucau 21 June 2006: This conference is occurring at a time of great challenge for Timor-Leste and its institutions, including the faith community. The world’s newest state has stumbled badly as it tries to get on its feet. Described as a grave crisis by President Xanana Gusmao in his recent address to Parliament, the situation is a tragic mix of fundamental humanitarian, communal, economic, institutional, legal and political issues. ... In 1998, CNRT developed an inspirational mission statement for Timor-Leste called the Magna Carta. Maybe religious institutions could take a similar initiative in the current context with the objective of lifting spirits and rebuilding enthusiasm and commitment to our nation-building project. ... Following are five broad principles that might inform the continued practice of religious institutions in Timor-Leste and your input to any future vision statement.  They are: universal human rights and values; solidarity with the poor; reconciliation; partnership; integrity." Patrick Walsh

16 June 2006 On Line Opinion: Anderson: Achievements of a "failed state"
The post-independence crisis in Timor Leste has drawn attention to the fragility of institutions in that newly independent country. Australian intervention in 2006 has been accompanied by menacing suggestions of a “failed state” - not just a state that cannot govern itself, but one that poses a threat to others, thus justifying intervention. Yet foreign intervention is anathema to independence and self-governance (in East Timorese terms, “ukun rasik an”). ... The immediate danger to Timor Leste's established right to self-determination is likely to be an Australian neo-colonial dominance that could reverse the independent path the nation has undertaken, with its new constitution, national development plan and distinctive policies." Tim Anderson, lecturer, School of Political Economy, Sydney University & member, Committee of Management of AID/WATCH

9 June 2006 ANU - Development Studies Network:
One-Day Seminar, Canberra: Beyond the Crisis in Timor-Leste: Options for future stability and development  [scroll down the page]
[Includes six papers in word document format and three powerpoints from some presenters including East Timorese]
Includes papers by Chris Dureau, Damien Kingsbury, Bob Lowry, Rebecca Spence & Richard Tanter and a powerpoint presentation by Helen Hill

English Original:
8 June 2006 Nautilus: Tanter: Ten questions about East Timor for which we need answers
"The dominant characteristic of the coverage of East Timor in the past two weeks has been utter confusion, both inside and outside the country, this is really a time for a little humility amongst the foreign pundits and experts." Richard Tanter, Acting Director of Nautilus Institute at RMIT

Bahasa Indonesia Translation by Rachman Jafar:
8 Juni 2006 Nautilus: Tanter: Sepuluh pertanyaan mengenai Timor Leste yang memerlukan jawaban
Richard Tanter, pejabat direktur Institut Nautilus di RMIT, mengatakan bahwa karena "Karakteristik dominan dari liputan mengenai Timor Leste dalam dua minggu terakhir ini adalah kebingungan yang sangat, baik di dalam maupun di luar negeri, dan kini adalah waktunya bagi para penasehat dan ahli asing untuk agak rendah hati." Tanter mengajukan "sepuluh pertanyaan yang memerlukan jawaban dan mengundang diskusi yang serius."

8 June 2006 Online Opinion: Byrne: The Traumatic Birth of a Nation
"While everyone in East Timor seems to welcome the current deployment of Australian military forces and police, Australia also bears some responsibility for the collective trauma of the East Timorese people today. We acquiesced in the Indonesian invasion in 1975 and ignored warnings of impending trouble leading up to the vote on independence in 1999." Dr Mark Byrne, Senior Researcher at Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre

8 June 2006 Dunn: Treating Timor Leste's Breakdown
"While the Australian troops, the New Zealanders and the Portuguese enjoy a special popularity, it is important that this operation come under a UN mantle as soon as possible. A UN presence will serve to reassure the Timorese of the commitment of the international community to their nationhood, and also to reassure our Indonesian neighbours, who remain suspicious of Australian intentions, that we have no intention of making Timor Leste an Australian dependency." James Dunn, author of report to UNTAET on Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor, Jan-Oct 1999

2 June 2006 MMET: Connelly: Crisis in East Timor
"Many news reports attribute much of the trouble to ethnic rivalries, with bad feeling being shown to exist between those from the east (Loro Sa’e) and those from the west of East Timor (Loro Monu). Such rivalry does exist but it is more a product of Indonesian manipulation during the occupation than a long standing fact of Timorese life and culture. History and current affairs show that the vast majority of those who seek to wield and maintain power often orchestrate disturbances based on existing divisions within society. There are many questions arising from the state of turmoil in East Timor. These include questions about the suitability of current leadership, the involvement of outside forces and the place East Timor’s independence has regarding West Papua’s difficulties and aspirations." Sr. Susan Connelly, Assistant Director, Mary MacKillop East Timor

1 June 2006 Age: Hill: Stand up, the real Mr. Alkatiri
"The Australian Government and media have demonised East Timor's PM without knowing all the facts, ... Who is Mari Alkatiri and why does he arouse such hostility from Australian politicians and media presenters? While Alkatiri was being told by Australians he should resign, he was also taking phone calls from the Portuguese and other prime ministers, wishing him well and urging him not to." Helen Hill, teacher of sociology at Victoria University

29 May 2006 Dunn: The  East Timor Crisis: A Quest of Legitimacy?
"Timor’s problems are common to nations whose independence was achieved through armed resistance. Indonesia endured this kind of instability for more than a decade, and similar problems have persisted in Papua New Guinea. In East Timor’s case, it was the harsh Indonesian occupation, and not the UN intervention or the failings of national independence that must bear most blame for today’s crisis. The east-west hostility is without historical foundation. In fact it flows from Indonesian occupation policy, in particular the special attention devoted by the occupying power to those adjacent to West Timor." James Dunn, author of East Timor: A rough passage to independence

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