ETLJB 17 August 2013 The independence of the Republic of Indonesia from its Dutch colonial masters who had ruthlessly and brutally occupied and exploited the peoples and resources of the islands of the Indonesian archipelago for three and a half centuries was proclaimed on this date in 1945 by Soekarno.
After the euphoria of independence, Indonesia entered yet another dark period of its history with the ascension of the Orde Baru under the even more brutal leadership of the cleptocratic Soeharto during which half a million Indonesians were murdered by the State, separatist movements crushed violently and East Timor invaded and occupied illegally.
Only recently, in 1998, did Indonesia start on the long journey away from its horrifying past with the toppling of the ferocious Orde Baru and the instigation of the beginnings of the democratic transformation of the country.
This period also marked the beginning of the end of the illegal occupation by Indonesia of East Timor which saw almost a further 200 000 deaths and whose proclamation of independence on 28 September 1975 was, with the complicity of the West, thwarted by Indonesia. It took another 24 and half agonising years of terror and bloodshed before East Timorese independence was restored formally on 20 May 2002.
Recalling the long history of violence and foreign political domination in both nations, ETLJB expresses the hope that democracy will continue to grow in both Indonesia and East Timor including the proviso that the perpetrators of human rights violations and crimes against humanity in East Timor during the Indonesian occupation that were committed by both sides in the armed struggle be prosecuted by the competent international criminal law authorities. Written by Warren L. Wright