Timor Chickens home to roost

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Feb 27 03:03:25 MST 2003


>>Didn't he get a Nobel Peace Prize? (So many so rewarded warriors ...)<<

I'm tempted to say that after Henry Kissinger got one, who would want it?
Donald Rumsfeld will be next... But actually when Ramos Horta got the Nobel
Prize, it was a blow against the Suharto regime by liberal democrats, and
much to be welcomed. Perhaps a word or two on Ramos Horta might be in
order. He belongs to an exile generation which has now returned to East
Timor and imposed itself as the ruling elite. Not exactly "Los Miami" but
there is a whiff of it. But he did devote much of his life to political
campaigning with little personal reward. And while he was and is rather
rightwing politically, he did speak together with (and embrace) leaders of
Indonesia's radical People's Democratic Party (it must have hurt). I'm much
more focused on Indonesia and never got heavily into Timor campaigning, but
I did my bit, and I recall being on a small picket outside a bourgeois
conference of some sort. Ramos Horta spent most of his time inside
networking with the bourgoeoisie, but he came out and said hello to us once
or twice. This is exactly what one expects of a bourgeois nationalist in
the midst of a national liberation struggle. And his article today is just
what one expects of him now. Marxists, however, have greater
responsibilities...

>>Kosovar was a term popularized by the bourgeois press<<
>>Actually, Kosovo is a Serbian word.<<

So what do I call a person from Kosovo/Kosova? Genuine question. I knew
Kosovo/a was problematic but didn't know about "Kosovar". Of course all
national identities are constructs, but some constructs are progressive and
some reactionary. That said, I never worry too much about these things. I
remember learning to avoid the term "Islamic fundamentalist" because in
fact "fundamentalist" is a Protestant Christian term. The correct word is
"Islamist". But then I discovered that when you talk to most people from
Muslim backgrounds, they call it "fundamentalism" too.

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