Sorting Out the Enemy

David Welch welch at
Thu Sep 16 03:48:37 MDT 1999

I'd be interested to know exactly how East Timor is destabilizing the
Australian government, have there been mass demonstrations,
anti-government violence, large numbers of recruits to the DSP, ...?
At least in Britain, it has proved possible for many of the crimes of
British imperialism to be exposed without the latest effect on
stability. Tony Blair has apologized for the Irish potato famine, the
current government has set up a new inquiry into Bloody Sunday (the
shooting by the British army of Irish civil rights marchers) which will
probably end by condemning the soldiers involved, there have been recent
television documentaries on the suppression of national liberation
struggles in Kenya and Malaysia, in short it is completely acceptable
among the ruling elite to attack Britain's colonial record and much of its
actions in Ireland. But at the same time there was near consensus over the
war against Yugoslavia.
    It seems a degree of imperial self-criticism as well as the
generational shift from Reagan/Thatcher to Clinton/Blair has proved
remarkably successful in forming a new ideology around imperial
domination, differentiating the new, humanitarian intervention from the
bad, old, anti-communist kind.
    I'm also unconvinced that Australia (or imperialism in general) didn't
want to intervene. After all if Australia wanted Indonesia to hold on to
East Timor why did they allow the referendum to be organized, why did they
allow Suharto to fall? It would seem that imperialism has been closely
involved at every point from the beginning of the Indonesian crisis. I
would agree with the original comment, the intervention in East Timor
should be opposed.

On Thu, Sep 16, 1999 at 11:38:48PM +1000, Warwick Kenneth Fry wrote:
>               That is the most sensible thing I have heard you say - why
> then can't you see that East Timore *is* destabilising that government,
> and it *is* challenging the illusions about our ruling classes. I don't
> know about overseas, but certainly the independent press in Australia is
> making the point very heavily, that the situation in East Timor is a
> result of the collusion of the Australian and Indonesian elites.
>       I mean let's get something straight. I genuinely believe that
> sending Australian troops to East Timor *WAS THE LAST THING* the
> Australian government wanted to do! And the US and other colonial powers,
> for that matter. They were forced to do it because of the situation
> highlighted the moral, intellectuall, political and ideological bankruptcy
> of Australian foreign policy (particarly where East Timor was concerned
> over the last 25 years!)  and they were finally exposed -tragically at the
> expense of the East Timorese battlers.
>       I maintain that the East Timor tragedy has made the Australian
> people look at their government  - their whole administration with fresh
> eyes. We who have been involved with the East Timor issue have known that
> the corrupt, elitist foreign affairs and intelligence departments have
> sacrificed the 1/2 to 1 million East Timorese to their egos, and careers,
> and inabilities to admit they were wrong (not to mention, greed, and
> ideological and political blindness), but now the Australian public are
> seeing it too!
>       Ideally, the Australian government should be arming the FALINTIL -
> now if you want to get up and scream that in your Prime Minister's face, I
> won't stop you, but I don't think that would achieve much, and it might
> even do some damage.
>       The East Timorese have shown the Australian people that their
> Emperor has no clothes. And the Australian left has always supported them
> in their struggle. Surely we can wear that little shred of solidarity?
> >
> > Our task is most immediately to oppose the intervention of Australian and
> > NZ troops in East Timor.  The fact that the most important left-wing
> > organisation in Australasia/South Pacific area actually demanded Australian
> > troops go in makes this task a great deal harder.
>       And do what we can to help the few survivors survive a few years
> more?

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