East Timor Independence

Страница: 6/16

The plans were known to western intelligence. The army recruited thousands of West Timorese and brought in forces from Java. More ominously, the military command sent units of its dreaded US-trained Kopassus special forces and, as senior military adviser, General Makarim, a US-trained intelligence specialist with "a reputation for callous violence".

Terror and destruction began early in the year. The army forces responsible have been described as "rogue elements" in the west. There is good reason, however, to accept Bishop Belo's assignment of direct responsibility to General Wiranto. It appears that the militias have been managed by elite units of Kopassus, the "crack special forces unit" that had "been training regularly with US and Australian forces until their behaviour became too much of an embarrassment for their foreign friends".

These forces adopted the tactics of the US Phoenix programme in the Vietnam war, which killed tens of thousands of peasants and much of the indigenous South Vietnamese leadership, as well as "the tactics employed by the Contras" in Nicaragua. The state terrorists were "not simply going after the most radical pro-independence people, but . the moderates, the people who have influence in their community."

Well before the referendum, the commander of the Indonesian military in Dili, Colonel Tono Suratman, warned of what was to come: "If the pro-independents do win . all will be destroyed. It will be worse than 23 years ago". An army document of early May, when international agreement on the referendum was reached, ordered "massacres should be carried out from village to village after the announcement of the ballot if the pro-independence supporters win". The independence movement "should be eliminated from its leadership down to its roots".

Citing diplomatic, church and militia sources, the Australian press reported that "hundreds of modern assault rifles, grenades and mortars are being stockpiled, ready for use if the autonomy option is rejected at the ballot box".

All of this was understood by Indonesia's "foreign friends", who also knew how to bring the terror to an end, but preferred evasive and ambiguous reactions that the Indonesian generals could easily interpret as a "green light" to carry out their work.

The sordid history must be viewed against the background of US-Indonesia relations in the postwar era. The rich resources of the archipelago, and its critical strategic location, guaranteed it a central role in US global planning. These factors lie behind US efforts 40 years ago to dismantle Indonesia, perceived as too independent and too democratic - even permitting participation of the poor peasants. These factors account for western support for the regime of killers and torturers who emerged from the 1965 coup.

Their achievements were seen as a vindication of Washington's wars in Indochina, motivated in large part by concerns that the "virus" of independent nationalism might "infect" Indonesia, to use Kissinger-like rhetoric.

The recent convulsions inside Indonesia - with its people finally crying for freedom and democracy - and the Nobel Peace Prize of 1996 - shared between Bishop Belo, a dominican supporting the Maubere people in Dili, and Jose Ramos Horta, a politician and activist who represents the Resistance historic leader, Xanana Gusmao, imprisioned in Indonesia for a 20-year sentence - have brought a new hope to the fight of this martyr people. Also, economic crisis hitting south-east Asia has shaken the dictatorship in Jakarta more than ever. The winds of change blowing throughout Indonesia started to hit East Timor .

Introduction to Indonesia

Indonesia is the country with the more of Muslims in the world which means 87 per cent of 180 million habitants. Nevertheless, the major part of the declared Muslims mix their faith in Allah with animistic or Hindu-Buddhist beliefs. These are reminiscences of the Indian colonization that would be interrupted with the penetration of Islam in the 16th century, generally superficial and incomplete.

Реферат опубликован: 4/09/2009