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December 7, 2000
friend of East Timor,
Today marks a quarter-century since Indonesia invaded East
Timor with U.S. political and military support. The subsequent occupation
was one of the most brutal in world history, taking the lives of
one-third of the East Timorese people.
Last year the occupation ended, thanks to East Timorese
resistance and the efforts of people like you. On August 30, 1999, East
Timor voted overwhelmingly to oust the Indonesian military. Today they are
under a United Nations administration, and by the end of next year East
Timor will become the first new nation of this millennium.
Your financial support is essential for the East Timor Action
Network (ETAN) to continue the vital work that persuaded the U.S.
government to support East Timorese self-determination. Please be generous
now, when East Timor is on the verge of long-denied nationhood.
The Indonesian military and its militias engaged in
widespread terror to prevent the UN from holding the August 30
ballot and to intimidate the East Timorese from voting. In the two weeks
following the referendum, they laid siege to the country, destroying more
than 75% of East Timor's infrastructure and forcing hundreds of
thousands into exile.
Reconstruction in East Timor is slow but progressing, and
militia attacks across the border in West Timor have greatly
declined. But the UN administration brings its own problems —
insensitivity, bureaucratic infighting, poor communication with the local
population and ill-conceived funding priorities. Although what many
Timorese deem as the “new occupation” is temporary and relatively
benevolent, East Timorese people are increasingly seeing it as a final
roadblock on the way to independence.
ETAN wants to convert that roadblock into an escort that
provides needed assistance — but not decision-making — as East Timor
emerges into independence.
The enclosed annual report
describes our activities during 2000 — the decisive first year after
ETAN has been an effective force in changing U.S.
government policy toward East Timor. Thanks in large part to ETAN’s work
since 1991, current Washington policy is now generally supportive. We must
work to keep it that way, whatever the election outcome.
Recently, U.S. Ambassador Nancy Soderberg visited East Timor. Addressing the UN Security Council, she stressed issues
ETAN also feels are critical:
Although we agree with these goals, ETAN goes further. We
urge our own government and the international community:
Much remains to be done. During 2001, ETAN will continue
to educate, agitate and advocate on these issues and others. Among the
projects we will be involved in:
Your activism and financial assistance helped us change
U.S. government policies and end Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor.
Although East Timor has faded from U.S. headlines, money and attention are
needed now as much as ever.
Please continue to support ETAN as we travel with the East
Timorese people along the perilous path to self-government. Your
contribution can help empower East Timor not only to achieve genuine
independence, but also to develop a just and peaceful society.
Over the last month, we’ve seen the hollowness of the
U.S. self-image as an exemplar of democracy. But the East Timorese people
know what democracy really looks like:
98.6% of their electorate bravely voted last year, 78.5% for
independence. They have much to teach us, and we can help them transcend
barriers imposed by foreign governments, corporations and outside
In the local Tetun language, Timor Loro Sa’e is the land
of the rising sun. Please join us in ushering in this new day. Thank you.
For justice, peace, and a new day for Timor Loro Sa’e,
|Your help is urgently needed to help the East Timor
Action Network meet this challenge. If we do our job right over the next six months, the
East Timorese people will be able to steer their country on an irreversible path toward
freedom. But if we do not seize this time, we will miss an opportunity that will never
Your financial support will make this possible. Just use the ETAN/US donation coupon,
or to make a tax-deductible (over $50) credit card donation via the internet,