25 May 2012

Victims of Independence

May 25, 2012 - The 25th of May 2012 marks the 6th Anniversary of the conflict between the F-FDTL & PNTL at their HQ in which many people on both sides were killed. Those killed on that tragic day as well as all the men and women that have lost their lives in violent circumstances should be remembered and honoured. Like the veterans, Fundasaun Mahein (FM) hopes that the families of those deceased that day have also been receiving state pensions for their tragic loss.

Last week, FM released a short article that reflected on the 10 years of independence. Timorese should rightly be proud of their accomplishments since 1999. Timorese should also correctly remember the sacrifices made by the victims and their families during the civil war that we fought against each other in 1975. Timorese should equally remember the sacrifices made by the victims and their families during the conflict we had with our neighbour Indonesia.

We have now celebrated the 10th anniversary of our restoration of independence and have been able to think about how far we have come. However are we not forgetting something? We speak of the victims of the conflicts between 1975 and 1999 but are we not forgetting the victims of Independence? Those victims of violence since independence are often overlooked.

Victims of violence since independence include the following:

• The martial arts fighting in Maliana Market in 2001
• Community violence in Quilecai in 2001
• The Baucau protest of November 2002
• The Dili riot of December 2002
• The militia attacks in Atsabe and Atabae in 2003
• Community violence in Uatulari in 2007
• 2006-2008 crisis
• Individuals killed by rogue police officers and soldiers in various places (ie Kuka, Laivai)
• Various martial arts clashes in Dili and the districts
• 2012 presidential election violence
• More community violence in Uatulari during the country’s commemoration of restoration of Independence Day on May 20th resulting in one death and 5 houses burnt. On this latest tragedy,
FM asks what strategies does the F-FDTL & PNTL, permanently stationed in the area, as well our leaders in Dili have to break the cycle of violence that has plagued the community of Uatulari?

Let us not forget the victims of our independence, who gave their lives during the growing pains that marked the early days of our struggle to build the nation that our friends and family died for during the occupation.


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