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Dili

Not even Pol Pot succeded in killing proportionately as many Cambodians as the Indonesian dictator Suharto and his fellow generals killed in East Timor. Its 1975 population of 688,000 should have been expected to rise to around a Million by 1993 but it was actually counted to be less at around 650,000. Worse than Ethiopia after the famine of 1984. 200,000 people, a third of the population had died since the Indonesian invasion upon the materialisation of a power vacuum. It all started with the April 1974 "Carnation Revolution" which deposed the Portugese dictator Salazar and promptly left her colonies in a state of flux. Suharto had already killed between 300,000 to a 1 Million of Indonesia's own people in seizing power, all with the backing and assistance of the US. Australian insecurity conspired for them to condone it, declaring ET to be an unviable state, and nobody stopped to ask the local populace their wishes. In an attempt to escape from her racist, isolationist past and fearful of a renewed threat from the "Yellow Peril", East Timor was an inconvenience to be denied by Australia, perhaps even an opportunity to be exploited. Indonesia infiltrated and destabilised ET's burgeoning independence movement, with a coup pushing the Portugese on their way and creating a month long civil war. Despite unprecedented support from the local populace, Fretelin the now de facto government was similarly ignored by the UK and absorption into Indonesia was mooted. With the "Big Wink" from the US coming, a clandestine invasion ensued with a view to provoking incidents which would justify overt Indonesian intervention. Fretelin declared independence on the 28th November 1975 and Indonesia invaded, President Ford having just left Jakarta within hours.

Though the heat of my Indonesian visa pressure was now off, I still unfortunately couldnt adopt the requisite mode of relaxation. With the non-availability of reasonably priced flights and still the awareness of much to fit into my remaining months left, I had had to settle for only a week in East Timor although 3 would have been preferable. After availing myself of a superb and enormous Martabak brekkie at the adjacent "Sun" Indian Restaurant, sat with a trio of armed Australian soldiers and a lone UN policeman from Malaysia, I stumbled out onto Dili's streets thoroughly stuffed.

Posted by andyhay2 03.12.2007 17:02 Archived in East Timor

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