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East Timor

Colonialism and independence in East Timor

 

 

July 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Jose Da Costa looks at the history of colonisation in East Timor and the situation today following 16 years of formal independence.

 

Da Costa was 18 years old when he came to Australia by boat in 1995 seeking political asylum from East Timor. He is a teacher, actor and co-founder of Dili Film Works.

 

This talk was filmed at the May 2016 Socialism for the 21st Century conference held in Sydney, which was organised by the Socialist Alliance and co-sponsored by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

 

Australia’s national interest versus Timor-Leste, 1941-2006

For more on East Timor, click HERE.

By Gaetano Greco, Francesco Faraci and Michael Cooke

In our Manichaean enthusiasms we in the West made haste to dispense whenever possible with the economic, intellectual and institutional baggage of the twentieth century and encouraged others to do so likewise... Not only did we fail to learn very much from the past – this would hardly have been remarkable. But we have become stridently insistent – in our economic calculations, our political practices, our international strategies, even our educational priorities – that the past has nothing of interest to teach us. Ours, we insist, is a new world; its risks and opportunities are without precedent. -- Tony Judt[1]

Brian Manning (1932-2013): Charlie India Echo Tango calling Timor Leste

On November 3, 2013, Brian Manning -- veteran Northern Territory communist, trade unionist, campaigner against racism, long-time activist for Indigenous people's rights and solidarity campaigner with the East Timorese people (among many other causes) -- died in Darwin, aged 81. Brian won enormous respect for his commitment to human rights and his unstinting dedication to changing the system.

As a tribute to Brian, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal highlights another important chapter in his inspiring political life: his important role in the building solidarity the struggle of the East Timorese people for national self-determination. (See also "Brian Manning and the Gurindji `walk offs’".)

The following chapter appeared in the 2003 book,  A Few Rough Reds: Stories of Rank and File Organising, published by the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. This and others chapters are available at http://roughreds.com/rrone/index.html.

[Click HERE for more on Timor Leste. For more on the Communist Party of Australia, click HERE. ]

* * *

By Brian Manning

Cuba's unsung medical training helps develop Timor Leste and Pacific island countries

August 3, 2013 -- Australia-Cuba Friendship Society -- Excerpts from some longer documentaries by Tim Anderson on Cuban health cooperation with Timor Leste, Vanuatu, Nauru and the Solomon Islands. Also a short excerpt from Nauru Television. For more on Cuba's health system and its assistance to other countries, click HERE.

Australia: Cuba's 'Yes, we can' literacy campaign success in outback

June 27, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- Bob Boughton speaks to GLTV's Linda Seaborn about his experience with the Cuban literacy campaign. Filmed in the GLTV studio at the Hobart Activist Centre.

This is an abridged transcript of an interview Linda Seaborn conducted with Dr Bob Boughton for Green Left Weekly. Boughton helped initiate a Cuba-supported literacy program in the New South Wales town of Wilcannia.

* * *

Tell us about the Cuban “Yes, we can” literacy campaign model.

I came across it while working in Timor Leste where the government had invited a group of Cubans to help with their national literacy campaign. They had a model they had developed back in 2000. There are three aspects to the model. One is they mobilise the whole community around the issue of literacy and they build a local campaign structure which drives the campaign.

The second aspect of the model is they have a pre-recorded set of DVDs on which there are lessons, and when you watch the lessons you are watching a class learn how to read and write.

The third aspect of the campaign is that when people complete the 64 lessons, the community or local government organise activities which allow people to continue to build their literacy.

Cuba's internationalism: 11,000 doctors graduate; 5315 Cuban and 5694 from 59 other countries

By José A. de la Osa, Havana

July 19, 2012 -- Granma.cu -- This July, 11,000 students are to receive their degrees as doctors of medicine; 5315 Cubans and 5694 students from 59 other countries, the highest total in the history of Cuba and an eloquent example of internationalist solidarity. These young graduates completed their studies free of charge in Medical Science Universities recognised for their high scientific level and social commitment to the poorest in the world.

Countries with the largest number of graduates are Bolivia, with more than 2400; Nicaragua, 429; Peru, 453; Ecuador, 308; Guatemala, 170; and Colombia, 175.

According to information given to Granma by the Advanced Medical Studies Department attached to the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), the total of this year’s graduates amounts to 32,171 health professionals, both Cuban and from other countries, including the careers of medicine, dentistry, psychology, nursing and health technology, which has 21 units.

East Timor celebrates medical milestone, with Cuba's assistance

By Lisa Zilberpriver 

December 27, 2011 -- SBS (Special Broadcasting Service, Australia) -- Cuba is widely regarded as a world leader in medical outreach programs for developing nations. It began by sending doctors to support Algerian revolutionaries in 1963, and has since extended its programme to encompass more than 100 different countries.

There are more than 30,000 Cuban health workers stationed worldwide. The Cuban government also pays for the education of thousands of students from developing nations at the Latin American School of Medicine.

Tim Anderson is a senior lecturer in political economy at the Univeristy of Sydney. He has closely followed Cuba's medical outreach programs for several years. He hosted an East Timorese graduate of Cuba's program on a visit to Sydney health institutions in October that was organised by the Australia Cuba Friendship Society.

Left debates Libya: Imperialist nature of war is now clearer

Aftermath of a NATO airstrike on Tripoli.

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE for articles and associated comments.]

By Michael Karadjis

June 23, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Renfrey Clarke has written a very detailed and thoughtful piece of discussion, and despite my disagreement with it, I welcome the fact that people are willing to put forward unpopular positions (among the left) and have them thrashed out, especially when it is done in such a careful and thorough way.

Timor Leste and Australian activists reject Australian government's racist refugee policy

Statement by Luta Hamutuk, Timor-Leste Institute for Research, Advocacy and Campaigns

Dili, July 7, 2010 -- According to Australian foreign affairs policy announced by the Australian prime minister in Sydney recently and published by a range of media, including the Indonesian newspaper the Java Post, “Prime Minister (PM) Julia Gillard has tightened Australia immigration law. Not wanting to be bothered by the economic and social problems caused by asylum seekers, the Australian leader plans to build a detention center for asylum seekers in Timor-Leste” As quoted by Associated Press (Java Post, 07/07/2010).  

The above statement shows how Australian foreign policy contains “racist characteristics” toward Timor Leste and the region.

Luta Hamutuk's position

Luta Hamutuk, as a member of civil society in Timor Leste, would like to declare our position on this statement as follows:

Sosialis Australia Tolak Rencana Pusat Suaka di Timor Leste

Oleh: Data Brainanta

8 Juli 2010 -- Berdikari -- Aktivis partai Aliansi Sosialis (Socialist Alliance – SA) di Australia menolak rencana PM Julia Gillard untuk membangun pusat pemrosesan suaka regional di Timor Leste.

Kandidat SA dari Perth, Alex Bainbridge, menggambarkan bahwa rencana menampung pencari suaka Australia di Timor Leste bukan didasarkan atas belas kasihan dan keadilan, sebagaimana dikatakan oleh PM tersebut, melainkan untuk mendorong pemenjaraan lebih banyak lagi.

“Kebijakan yang sesungguhnya kita butuhkan adalah yang berdasarkan belas kasihan dan rasa keadilan – yakni menempatkan mereka di tengah-tengah komunitas [masyarakat] Australia,” kata Bainbridge.

“Fakta sederhananya, pemenjaraan adalah pemenjaraan – apakah pemenjaraan itu di Pulau Christmas atau Leonora, Timor Leste atau Nauru,” tambahnya.

Timor Leste: `Foreign soldiers should stay out of Timorese politics'

By La’o Hamutuk

March 11, 2010 -- La’o Hamutuk calls on the military and civilian commanders of Australian and other foreign soldiers in Timor-Leste to direct their soldiers to avoid involvement in local politics, including asking Timorese citizens their political views or encouraging them to identify with one political grouping or another.

We recently received the attached letter (also below) from Mr. Mateus Fernandes Sequeira, Chefe do Suco of Lore I (Lautem District), which describes Australian and New Zealand military observers inviting local residents to a community meeting on February 23. After arriving by helicopter, the soldiers asked the residents to raise their hands if they like the AMP [Alliance of the Parliamentary Majority coalition] government better than the previous one. In addition to this being none of Australia’s business, coercing people to publicly express their political leanings in this newly sovereign nation is dangerous and destructive. It can lead to violence or retaliation, undercutting the “stabilisation” that the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) is ostensibly here to secure.

East Timor: The struggle for full independence — 10 years on

Oil rig in the Timor Sea. Timor Leste's oil wealth has not benefitted the people.

By Mericio Akara, translated by Vannessa Hearman

September 30, 2009 -- Dili -- What is commemorated as Timor Leste’s (East Timor) “liberation” is the United Nations-facilitated referendum on August 30, 1999. 

East Timor, which had been a Portugese colony, was already an independent country, as a result of the pro-independence political party Fretilin declaring East Timor independent on November 28, 1975. But barely days after the independence proclamation, on December 7, 1975, the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia used all its military firepower to invade Timor Leste.

The invasion was brutal and the occupation lasted 24 years before the UN referendum in 1999. During the occupation, the Indonesian military tortured and slaughtered our people. Such terrible acts became an everyday spectacle in Timor Leste.

Los! Hau Bele! -- `Yo! Si Puedo' comes to Timor Leste: Cuba assists the eradication of illiteracy

By Bob Boughton

In Timor Leste [East Timor], which is one of the world’s newest countries and Australia’s poorest Asia-Pacific neighbour, Cuba is delivering an educational aid program which aims to eradicate illiteracy, currently affecting nearly 50% of the adult population, within a period of less than 10 years. The Timor Leste national literacy campaign, utilising the Cuban-developed Yo! Si Puedo (Yes! I can) audiovisual teaching method, opened its first classes in the capital Dili in June 2007.

Eighteen months later, by December 2008, nearly 18,000 adults had completed a course of 65 lessons, led by local village monitors who work under the close supervision of 36 Cuban education advisers deployed throughout the country. If it continues at this rate, the literacy campaign can be expected to have a major impact on the stabilisation and development of Timor Leste, providing a model for other Pacific countries struggling to overcome their educational disadvantage.

Cuba's solidarity with Timor Leste and the Pacific -- the Pacific School of Medicine


Part 1 (Part 2 follows text)

By Tim Anderson

July 14, 2009 -- In 2008, the 700 Timor Leste and Kiribati students studying medicine in Cuba were joined by students from all over the South West Pacific -- Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu. Their college in western Cuba has been called The Pacific School of Medicine. For more information see ``Solidarity aid: the Cuba-Timor Leste health programme'', visit the ``Timorese students in Cuba'' Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#/group.php?gid=84093583428 or see the leaflet below.

East Timor: Putting self-determination into practice

Mericio Juvinal dos Reis at the World at a Crossroads conference. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

June 19, 2009 -- Mericio Juvinal dos Reis, or Akara as he is commonly known, is the executive director of Luta Hamutuk, a non-government organisation based in Dili, East Timor. Akara was a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, hosted by Green Left Weekly, held in Sydney in April 2009. Vannessa Hearman spoke with Akara about East TImor’s ongoing struggle for genuine self-determination and development.

* * *

East Timor won its independence formally in 2002, after a long and bloody struggle against Indonesian occupation from 1975 to 1999. In 1999, a United Nations-sponsored referendum was held, in which the Timorese people voted to be independent from Indonesia.

Luta Hamutuk was set up in 2005 by a group of young activists, including Akara. Akara had been involved in pro-independence activities as a student in Indonesia. He was a member of the Timorese Socialist Party but left in 2003.

Timor Leste: Xanana Gusmao govt depletes Petroleum Fund, arrests protesting students (+ video)

By Tomas Freitas

Dili, July 8, 2008 -- On Monday July 7 at 9am, approximately 100 students held a protest on their campus, the East Timor National University, against the members of the national parliament. The students are not happy about the MPs who are about to buy a imported luxury car each for themselves. The students protested peacefully by holding banners, yet 21 students were detained by the Timorese National Police.

Timorese law states that there may be no demonstrations within 100 metres of government buildings. However the students were protesting on their own campus. The location of the campus is indeed less than 100 metres from the National Parliament; however this is the students' campus, an important place for expression of free speech and demonstrations.

It is not clear who issued the order to arrest the students but it is widely believed that the order came from Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao himself.

Timor Leste - Fretilin's comeback; literacy and governance

May 13, 2008 (Latin Radical) -- Estanislau Da Silva was a prime minister of Timor Leste (East Timor) when Fretilin was the party in government. Before that, he was the minister for agriculture. He was in Australia this week to attend the launching of a book by a Timorese man, Naldo Rei, who grew up in Indonesian-occupied Timor Leste, as a committed supporter of the Fretilin-led resistance movement.

Militants mark May Day in Timor Leste, Pakistan and Malaysia (video)

Timor Leste: Workers and students rally for May Day in Dili

By Mericio Akara

DILI, May 1, 2008 -- A May Day rally attended by some 700 workers organised by the Trade Union Confederation of Timor Leste demanded the implementation of labour laws, just wages that comply with the minimum wage regulations and lowering of prices. Demonstrators consisted of workers from several companies in Dili, students and civil society activists. The Luta Hamutuk Institute sent along its members to participate also.

Continued below pictures, click here to read more ...

 


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

 

A brief introduction to the Socialist Party of Timor

By Max Lane

The Socialist Party of Timor (PST) is still a small party, with around 500-600 committed activists, now mostly based in branches in several East Timorese towns. It has received another 2000-2500 applications for membership in recent months. Its leaders acknowledge that the organisation is still in a very early stage of development and is not yet consolidated.

The left and UN military intervention in East Timor

By Terry Townsend

January-April 2000 -- The streets of what is left of Dili, the capital of East Timor, were packed on October 31, 1999, as tens of thousands of people joined a procession led by Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo. Ostensibly to mark the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the procession was the culmination of two tumultuous months that brought the brutal 24-year-long Indonesian occupation and annexation of East Timor to an end.

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