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An East Timorese responds to the Java Pos report

Tapol - December 9, 1997

An Indonesian journalist named Joko Susilo from Jawa Pos has made a report from Oxford about people who were alleged to be the bodyguards of Jose Ramos-Horta in Oxford on 3 December. This is a complete distortion of what happened when Mr. Jose Ramos Horta gave his talk about East Timor in Oxford on 2 of December.

I am concern that Joko Susilo is not just a journalist for Jawa Pos but a supporter of the Indonesian embassy in their efforts to counter accurate information about East Timor particularly when Mr. Ramos Horta gave a number of talks on East Timor during his visit to the U.K .

A few months ago some of my friends were targeted by the same group who this month followed Mr. Ramos Horta during his visit to Cardiff and Oxford. Last week, Tapol. the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, received a letter from two students at the University of Wales who wrote that they had felt intimidated by Indonesians who came to Cardiff to speak against Ramos Horta during his visit and they recognized some of them as the same Indonesians who were in Swansea a few months ago to speak out against one of my friends when he went there to talk about East Timor.

The report by Joko Susilo is just a part of Indonesia's strategy in its war against the East Timorese struggle for peace and freedom for their country. In the U.K, there are plenty of Indonesian students who have been assigned by the embassy to speak against East Timorese when they give talks about East Timor. They are here as students and of course they are closely monitored by the Indonesian embassy in London. They are quite different from great Indonesians like Muchtar Pakpahan , Budiman Sudjatmiko, and Dita Sari who have made great sacrifices to fight for social justice and democracy in Indonesia. These people also have taken a strong position on East Timor and believe that the East Timorese people should be given the opportunity to choose what they wanted to do with their own country.

You may notice that after one of the Indonesians was beaten by the Timorese on 2 December, an Indonesian named Odo Manuhutu who was busy speaking out against Ramos Horta speech during his visits to Cardiff and Oxford called the embassy in London, and did not report to the police in the area to inform them about what had happened to his friend. This means that they were working for the embassy and that everything that happened during the meetings where Ramos Horta spoke had to be reported back the embassy in London.

All the Timorese who beat the Indonesian in Oxford have lost members of their families in East Timor, who were killed by the Indonesian army. Quite understandably, it is difficult for them to control their emotions after having lost relatives who were killed by the Indonesian army and after they had been forced to leave their own country. Yet even so, when some of us Timorese talk about what happen in East Timor these Indonesians stand up and claim that what we say is not true. So that was how my East Timorese friends expressed their anger.

All of us Timorese know what the Indonesians are trying to do. In 1975 the Indonesians used communism propaganda to invade East Timor and occupy it . Now that the cold war is over, we Timorese people are no longer called communists; instead we are people who disrupt security (GPK). In the past few months, the Indonesian have started with a new strategy of calling our resistance 'terrorist'. Not only that. They seem to think that we are eye witnesses without eyes . That is why they keep on following us to contradict our information about East Timor. They ignore the fact that thousands of Timorese have been murdered secretly, in the way that terrorists kill, during the war against the East Timorese people and it is still happening up to the present time.

The Indonesians ignore the right of the people of East Timor to self-determination which has been affirmed by the United Nations through a number of resolutions adopted since 1975. The occupation of East Timor by the Indonesian armed forces has been condemned internationally as illegal.

The interesting thing is that Jose Ramos Horta did not talk only about East Timor but he also criticized social injustice and human right violations in Indonesia that have been suffered by Muchtar Pakpahan, Budiaman Sudjatmiko, Dita Sari and others who are fighting for the Indonesian people and who are yearning for justice and peace.

I am really concerned that those who support the Suharto regime, like the group who went to disrupt the meetings addressed by Ramos Horta in Oxford, Cardiff and elsewhere would behave in the same way towards people who want peace and justice in East Timor or Indonesia. These are dangerous elements for the pro -democracy movement and are standing in the way of change in Indonesia in favour of democracy.

Arsenio Bano - 9 December 1997