BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    June news

"During the struggle of liberation a surprising energy has been emanated from our people and this energy has to continue to produce the propelling force that is necessary for the development of the country. ... The well-proportioned development of the Timorese society will be realized only within an economical policy that will dispense in a fair way the wealth our country will produce. We have to avoid that a without-laws capitalism lashes our people and our country. " David Dias Quintas Corona, FRETILIN rep in Italy
See also: BD: FRETILIN - Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor / Frente Revolucionaria do Timor Leste Independente

BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development'

Open letter to FRETILIN

from David Dias Quintas Corona FRETILIN ITALIA

To the President Lu Olo
To the Vice- President Mari Alkatiri
To the Vice- President Mahuno
To the Central Committee of FRETILIN
To the cadres
To the militants
To the external Delegations

I would like to greet you warmly  and  to remember the martyrs of the Maubere people fondly. My name is David Dias Quintas Corona and I have been the representative of our party in Italy since 1991; I am proud to say that my militancy helped me during these years to grow up free and bound  up indissolubly with the history of our people. I would like to thank the party for the trust it gave me many times, like the Conference in Peniche for the constitution of the CNRT and the last Conference of the Cadres held in Dili in May 2001.

I would like to express my opinions , waiting for the next Congress, with this open letter , and to give my humble share for the prosecution of the activity of our party. I am sorry to be unable to be present at our Congress because of  lack of time and  means. This Congress will  mark the exit from clandestineness  and the end of the armed fight; I hope that we will  have the possibility to rule our country.

In order to govern we have to present a valuable project  that allows our country to leave precariousness rapidly and to cast us into the future without any troubles. On many occasions I have expressed my appreciation for the decision about the organization of the first congress after the liberation, that takes into account not only the opinions of the Central Committee, but also of all the militants who wish to participate in the decisions that will be taken.

Our tradition of  party-movement  requires us to study an organization and a program bound to the needs of our people. The will of the Maubere people was the starting point of our formation and the unmistakable peculiarity of our political practice . The FRETILIN rooting in the territory is not surprising. We have been the first who understood the common denominator of our anticolonial defeats from Manufahi to Uatulari and this has become the embryo of our nationalism and the ground to construct the connection with our people.

The unity of  different ethnic groups was not easy, but we were able to set the country free, because we believed in  ourselves and we were proud to be a community with its own history, its own culture and  tradition. . We are the product of the Timorese will to redeem ourselves from centuries of  humiliation : we have recorded, canalized   and satisfied it, within our limits. We were an instrument in the hands of the people and we have to continue to be the same.

I don’t only want to glorify twenty five years of FRETILIN life. We have also made mistakes of evaluation and excesses in the running of power. We have the will to analyse our mistakes  inside our party. I ask for the prosecution of the effort to find the causes of behaviours that  have put our nature of democratic movement into shade. We are entering in the new millennium with both undeniable mistakes and successes. From my point of view I have  observed that somebody has interpreted the policy of national union as the shortcut to begin a process of revisionism against an only accused person: the Timorese political parties and peculiarly our party.
This is unacceptable and we have to refuse without historical compromises  to have been considered accused persons: we  have to  interpret the history without distortions . Individual responsibilities must be separated from collective ones. In order to value the historical process that began in 1974  we have to take into consideration the final results. According to a  notorious political doctrine the end justifies the means, only if  you are able to reach it. The end of the Indonesian occupation is the result, but nothing can justify  gratuitous and unwarranted violence. But nobody can accuse us of using only and always  violence in these years of struggle. The lack of continuity of the political activity has produced, in my opinion,   the fragmentation of our political system . We have not to forget that the start of our tragedy was the civil war and that during the invasion ABRI tried to convince the youngest generations that we were unreliable because we were unable to join the anti-integrationist groups together. But we have showed a great maturity  when we restored the relationship with the former adversaries, even if somebody think that the renunciation  to the one-party system was a betrayal. We have to do the choice of pluralism without delay.

We have to affirm the principle of laicality   of policy and we have to appreciate the dialectics with interlocutors who , like us, have in mind the welfare of our community. However I think that  the renewal  of  the Timorese policy  has not to cut the bonds with our past. On the contrary I assert the importance of the rediscovery of our roots of  mass-party and the revaluation of the theory and the tradition of Nicolau Lobato.

I ask  the congress to mark the official party line openly and our representatives in the Constituent Assembly to set as insurmountable points : the independence, the inviolability of the East Timor boundaries, the constitution of  a new state based on the universal principles of the Human Rights. The independence is a point of no return: our state extends from the boundaries to Tutuala ; Oe-cussi, Jaco and Atauro form part of  East Timor and nobody has to split our country up neither nowadays nor in the future.

I ask  our party to fight in order to mot out  illiteracy, to guarantee the right to  health, to fight the cancer of  juvenile work, to guarantee  equal  opportunities  to women, to assure  welfare to the poorest people. We have to remove all the obstacles that do not allow the rights of citizenship.

I am fully aware of the difficulty to combine  ideals with the reality of  politics. In  politics  the end often justifies the means, but we have to do our best in order to  avoid  to forget our ideals. We have to guarantee our people the respect of the ideals they fought for, in front of an ocean of barbarism and indifference.

 We have not won alone: a large crowd fought together with us. We built a wonderful chain of solidarity that crossed the continents and united different political opinions.. We were a symbol of hope for all people who do not  accept injustice. In  Indonesia  we also  found  women and men , who share our  hunger of freedom  and whose struggle set  them free from  President “Pak” Suharto. The Maubere people defeated the Portuguese colonialism  making an alliance with the Portuguese people and entering into a brotherly friendship with the countries that fought against the Portuguese empire. A people formed by  illiterate beggars fought during 24 years, building international relationships and sharing many deep values: if we had lost the referendum of 30tth August 1999, we would have offended these values. We have to feel the responsibility not to betray  the hopes of that part of  humanity  that fought with us.

 Dear comrades, a terrible work is waiting for us. Everything our people conquered cannot be dissipated. During the struggle of liberation a surprising energy has been emanated from our people and this energy has to continue to produce the propelling force that is necessary for the development of the country.  Economic backwardness  must not frighten us. Only few nations in our continent were able  to reduce speedily the technological gap that separates our countries from the western countries. Also in Indonesia the savage application of external models of development produced many tearing grieves. The well-proportioned development of the Timorese society will be realized only within an economical policy that will dispense in a fair way the wealth our country will produce. We have to avoid that a without-laws capitalism lashes our people and our country.

 First of all we have to do an agricultural reform, that distributes the land between the little growers, that supports  cooperative production , that builds a credit system rooted in the territory.

We haven’t to forget that our social structure is mostly based on family units who live working in little plots of land. We have to turn our attention to them. We can reach the aim of food self-sufficiency  in a short time, if we give our people the cultural and technical means to exploit their own traditional competence.

 I ask that every economic choice respects our environmental  heritage.  Suharto’s Indonesia trampled every principle of ecological respect. The deforestation of Borneo is an example of the wretched decision to immolate everything for the God of  Profit. I ask a strategy that units tradition and modernity. I want to exploit and respect the tradition of spirituality , that our people use to solve every daily problem.

 Mankind has to find solutions to the terrible environmental problems.  Animism is the best example of integration between man and  environment. The Sonda arcipelagus  we belong to is one of the earth lungs and the human being survival pushes us towards an ecologically sustainable  technology. Our culture is able to produce a territory respectful development  based on the recycling of  resources. I think that we have to refuse both  western industrialization and an agriculture based on large land estate or monoculture. Suharto’s Indonesia is a bad example: during thirty years the “General” and his technocrats applied the theory of economic free trade leading the country to the political and economical disaster. Although Indonesian GDP has been cited  as an example of good administration in the years before 1998, the country attracted foreign investments because of  low level of wages and lack of trade-union guarantee .The corruption and the military dictatorship drove the system of ‘Orde Baru’ towards collapse. The Indonesian crisis is able to produce terrible consequences not only for the Far-Eastern countries . I hope President Wahid is able to take his country out of the crisis and I promise that I will fight to avoid similar problems in my country.

 A year has gone by since I visited our country. I remember  devastation, pillage, violence of the Indonesian army against our people and our land. Like most of us  I feel pain for the relatives I lost in these years and especially in the days before and after the referendum. Nowadays I can’t  still forgive. All the same I know that we have to begin  reconciliation because we do not have to stop the country fomenting hatred and revenge. In order to continue to live we have to feel confident about the future. The liberation war has finished . I respect people who thought that the integration with Indonesia  was the best solution for us, I understand  determination in the defence of  their principles and I recognize their loyalty and consistency. I wish that Timorese people who have decided to remain Indonesian citizens will continue to  be themselves . I ask the people who decided to be members of this nation to devote themselves to work for the reconstruction as well as I devote myself. I ask the future state to force everyone guilty to make amends for their iniquities; the party has to watch over this.

 Even if from afar I feel the solemnity of the time that our party is going to face in the next congress. I am very sorry to be unable to be present; I would like to contribute to build a project for our country and I am at FRETILIN disposal   as cadre and militant.

 I would like to finish with a homage and regards to Timorese women. They have been of great merit to be mothers, sisters, companions and protagonists in the struggle. They carried out a very important task  in the jails, on the mountains, in the diaspora and in the clandestineness . Although they were offended, they have been an example of our strong will to stop the invasion.

 I thank  Buibere very much and I wish a good work to the party.  Struggle and our lives are continuing !

David Dias Quintas Corona.


See also:

BD: FRETILIN - Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor / Frente Revolucionaria do Timor Leste Independente - A collection of recent speeches, documents, statements, news and reports

BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' - A collection of recent press releases, reports, and articles

BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    June news
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