A MUST READ.
Pasted as Copied. Written by Dr Rex Tayong. A great piece
Remembering East Timor, their war of independence and the role played by the Elites.
When Indonesia proclaimed its independence on 17 August 1945 from the Netherlands, it didnt include East Timor as its territory and rejected any claim to it. The people of East Timor had been from the 17th century a colony of first the Portuguese before the territory was further split between the Portuguese and the Dutch. The people of East Timor kept fighting for their independence and this fight became very serious in the 1960’s and early 70’s.
All throughout this period, Indonesia was developing friendly relationship with the colonial masters and nations with political interest in East Timor notably Portugal and the Netherlands and reassuring them that they have no interest in the territory since it was a de facto seperate colony and are not supporting the independence movements in East Timor.
The dramatic twist in events came in 1974 when there was a coup in Portugal leading to a change in leadership. Pro independence groups in East Timor (like those in Mozambique and Angola) took advantage of that and declared their independence. On 7 December 1975, the Indonesian military invaded the territory through claims that some East Timorese leaders have requested its assistance to restore peace and stability. They quickly declared the territory as a province of East Timor and appointed administrators to govern the area for them. They claimed they were one people culturally and had the support of a vast majority of the population and the international community.
As a response, pro independence movements supporters which were quickly banned by the Indonesian government took to the streets to protests. They were quickly crushed through different massacres. By 1979, the pro independence movements and their supporters have effectively been completely wiped out through massacre and a fake assembly was created with claims that the people of East Timor were in support of full integration with Indonesia with supportive elites appointed to head it. The few remaining restoration forces who survived the early massacre took to the bushes and engaged in a guerilla war against the elites who were in support of the Indonesian government and the occupying Indonesian military and political administrators.
For 24 years, the Indonesian government subjected the people of East Timor to routine and systematic torture, sexual slavery, extrajudicial executions, massacres, and deliberate starvation.The apex of this was the 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre which caused outrage around the world. In October 1999, East Timor finally got its Independence. More than an estimated 202,600 out of a population of 900,000 people had lost their lives violently as a result.
After this victory, the Indonesian government refused to grant protection to East Timorian elites who were based in Jakarta and other parts of mainland Indonesia. The military asked them to return to East Timor by force. These elites were mainly people who had relocated to mainland Indonesia with their children and were parroting a “ONE AND INDIVISIBLE” Indonesia to the global community in return for favours by Indonesian government. Once they returned to East Timor, they were rounded up by the restoration forces that fought for the indepencenece of East Timor and executed.