Social and Pastoral BulletinNo. 91Aug. 15, 1999

Realities in East Timor
(17 June ~ 24 June)

An anonymous person

s I went from Dili to the east of the island, I had a feeling of quietness and tranquility more than I had ever experienced during previous work visits.

eople feel more secure where the UN is already present. After darkness, traffic is moving again on the road that runs along the coast from Dili to Baucau in the East. People are even walking along this road to their fishing places. But elsewhere this quietness exists only on the surface. In the villages inland, away from this road, nobody leaves the house after dark. Young men and senior high students do not sleep at home, afraid of being murdered by the militia. They are being murdered for the sole reason of being young!!

here is wide spread intimidation all over East Timor, not to vote for independence. Although canvassing for votes is not allowed before the 20th of July, the pro integration people are already busy instigating and intimidating people to vote for integration. Pro- independence leaders are being sought everywhere to be eliminated. They cannot come out in the open because they do not get any protection from the police.
his intimidation and murder perpetrated by the militia is possible only because the military are on their side. It is widely known that these militia men are being trained and, in cases, armed by the military. They are not only East Timorese, but also thugs recruited in West Timor and other islands.

hy should the military be against a referendum that has been proposed by president Habibie himself.? The true force governing Indonesia is still the army, especially on far- away islands, as Timor, Anbon, Aceh, Iran Jaya etc.

he military do not want to leave East Timor for several reasons, the foremost being the shame of having lost to a mere 500 guerrillas holed up in the mountains with only antiquated arms or arms stolen from the military themselves. This seems to be too much for the pride of the army and for the sense of superiority Javanese people have towards other peoples. (The military do not understand that they are not up against a mere 500 men, but against almost all of the people of East Timor). Another reason seems to be the sense of futility of the death of so many Indonesian soldiers who came to conquer and hold onto this half island.


f the referendum is held in a fair way, integration will be refused by at least 90% of the population, if only to get rid of this military. That is clear even to the military. Because it is impossible to simply stop the referendum, they are preparing themselves in different ways to have their way:

1. Through intimidation and murder in order to create a climate that makes it impossible to hold the referendum.

But with the UN present, and the eyes of the whole world turned to East Timor, they can act no more as freely as before. That is why they use the militia to do their dirty work. What the militia is allowed to do, can not be done without the condoning of the military. The army must be replaced by police officers.

But this is done in the following way: soldiers are leaving Dili harbor by ship, a little later the same men, in the uniform of police officers, return with the same weapons to Dili on another ship! (The UN knows already about this).

2. If nevertheless the referendum should be held:
A. Keep as many people as possible away from the voting places, through intimidation, murder or kidnapping. Buy as many votes as possible.
Millions of Rupias are being distributed to buy people's votes. This money however has been examined in Australia and found to be at least partly counterfeit money.

B. Bring in people from West Timor to participate in the referendum.
The UN has devised the means to counteract this with the help of the church, as 95% of the population is catholic. But militia guided by the military counteracted this by "cleansing" the mountain area in the central West of ethnic East Timorese, to eliminate possible witnesses to their fraud. Two weeks ago there were already 52.000 refugees from West Timor, while other people are being kept as hostages in "refugee" camps near the village. Nobody can enter this camp and people are afraid to go to this central mountain area, where the coffee plantations are. Young boys and girls must report to be integrated into the militia. (This is also known already by the UN.)
The district head of the north-western district of Liquica is an Indonesian, a former army colonel. He is the one training the militia in chasing people, murdering and burning houses. He has vowed to murder as many East Timorese as Indonesian soldiers have lost their lives in East Timor.

C. Annex the west part of East Timor to West Timor, if East Timor should become independent.
In this way the lucrative coffee exploitation would return to the hands of the military, as it was up till 5 years ago when they had to give up the monopoly they have held since the occupation of East Timor.