Isal Mawardi, Jakarta – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto invited veterans of the Seroja Operation in East Timor to his private residence in Hambalang on Wednesday. The invitation was to show his respect to the former fighters.
The event was held at Padepokan Garuda Yaksa in Hambalang, Bogor, on the afternoon of Wednesday January 1. The meeting was uploaded by Prabowo's spokesperson Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak on his Instagram account.
Simanjuntak also included several photos. Seen attending the meeting was former Lieutenant General Johannes Suryo Prabowo, who was recently appointed as a member of the Defense Industries Committee, and Maritime and Fishing Affairs Minister Edhy Prabowo (neither of whom are related to Prabowo).
"Pak [Mr] Prabowo invited the veterans of the Seroja Operation in Tim Tim (East Timor) and presented his respects to them all as an expression of thanks and respect for these fighters", Simanjuntak told journalists on Friday January 3.
The moment, said Simanjuntak, was a reminder to society to always respect the services of heroes, adding that remembering the country's heroes does not just have to happen on National Heroes Day.
"To again remind all elements [of society] to respect [Indonesia's] fighters not just on National Heroes Day or on August 17 [Independence Day] but every day", said Simanjuntak. (isa/mae)
Earlier in the day Prabowo was honored by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo as his first guest for the New Year at the Gedung Agung state palace in Yogyakarta where they exchanged jokes and complemented each other in front of the national media.
Operasi Seroja (Operation Lotus) – which marked the start of Indonesian's invasion of East Timor on December 7, 1975 – was the largest military operation ever undertaken by Indonesia. Following a naval bombardment of the capital Dili, Indonesian seaborne troops landed in the city while 641 paratroopers arrived by air. After six six-hours of intense fighting against FALINTIL forces, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides, by midday Indonesian forces succeeded in taking the city. Although there are definitive records on the number of victims as a result of the Seroja Operation, the United Nation's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CVAR) in East Timor estimated that some 102,800 people died, including civilians and Indonesian military personnel.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hargai Perjuangan, Prabowo Undang Veteran Operasi Seroja ke Hambalang".]