[Marxism] East Timor: the story we weren't told
suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Jul 9 17:14:41 MDT 2006
East Timor: the story we weren't told
Melbourne Age, July 10, 2006
Former prime minister Alkatiri has been blamed for the chaos in his country.
But John Martinkus writes that Alkatiri's accusers haven't explained who
started the violence.
THREE weeks ago I was in East Timor, where senior members of the East
Timorese military confirmed what the now deposed prime minister, Mari
Alkatiri, has been saying all along: that there had been three attempts
since April last year to get senior army commanders to carry out a coup
against his government.
In light of what has happened since, it seems obvious. An orchestrated
campaign has brought down the government.
For reasons best known to themselves, the opposition to Alkatiri enlisted
the support of a group of junior officers in the F-FDTL (the East Timorese
defence forces), who broke with the army command and took their weapons with
They attacked the F-FDTL on May 23-24, precipitating the widespread unrest
in Dili that led to the international forces being called in. Then came the
destruction of property by the gangs from the west, mainly aimed at those
from the east who are perceived as supporting the Fretilin government. Then
a string of allegations was presented to the foreign (mainly Australian)
media, which finally led to the prime minister's resignation.
Whoever has been behind this campaign has covered their tracks, and it will
be difficult to link the interests involved to the destruction that has
resulted in 150,000 East Timorese living in refugee camps, too afraid to go
home. The plight of these people was used by opposition groups to call for
Alkatiri's removal, even though the same groups had initiated the violence
in the first place. It was a callous and cynical political manoeuvre, to say
But some obvious questions have not been answered by the Australian media,
who have been almost unanimous in their condemnation of Fretilin, a party
that, like it or not, had an overwhelming mandate to govern until mid next
year. It won that mandate in elections the UN declared to have been free and
If that link doesn't work, go to www.theage.com.au and you'll find the
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