From Shirley Shackleton 5 April 2009 - I would like to express my thanks to everyone who contacted me as a result of the short piece that the ETAN network published for me, ‘UN-trained police.’
I have deliberately refrained from commenting upon Timor Leste’s problems since their liberation for several reasons. My intention was to pay full respect to the Timorese because they know exactly what should done in their own country and I did not want to become a sort of nanny, always telling them what would be obvious to a blind man, or should that be a sight-challenged citizen in the politically-correct parlance of our times?
If my own government (and successive Australian governments since 1975) had achieved a perfect democracy I might feel I have to right to criticise what is clearly not working in Timor-Leste.
But when historical inaccuracies occur, though I am fully sympathetic as I will clearly state, I will no longer let it pass unchallenged.
Anyone trying to report on any aspect of the undeclared Indonesian war against East Timor is almost doomed to make mistakes, because:
1. Millions of rupiah was spent with Western public relations outfits (and one in particular) to misrepresent vital facts about Indonesia’s pre-invasion strategies, the invasion and the occupation. These ‘facts’ were and are published by respected journalists and writers unwittingly.
2. Once the myths gained circulation in the West they became fact.
So I will start by thanking Mark Vaughan for giving me the opportunity to comment on the situation re the Timorese police and I make a sincere promise to pull up my socks in future.
Thanks must also go to Clinton Fernandes for his timely reminder ‘ANZAC Day 25 April 2009 published by the redoubtable ETAN network.
Australians in East Timor -- INTERFET
In August 1999, the people of East Timor voted for their independence and freedom from Indonesia. In the wake of the vote, violence broke out across the territory leaving many dead and around 500,000 people displaced from their homes.
CF: Note the use of the passive voice. And the absence of actors. One minute these people were voting, and the next minute violence just broke out, you know. I wonder if the Department of Veterans' Affairs would have written that "violence broke out across Europe" in the 1940s.
This was an act of Indonesian state-sponsored terrorism involving war crimes and crimes against humanity.
You can no longer read the full report because department of Veteran’s Affairs have pulled it.