Subject: Timor Post Editorial: No Violence During Lent

March 2, 2001

No Violence During Lent (Timor Post Editorial/2/3/01)

This week is the beginning of Lent where Christians all over the world and in East Timor carry out their traditional activities. Mgr. Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, the Bishop of Dili Diocese, in his homily asked Christians not to commit violence during Lent. The Bishop's message is a reminder to all Christians to conduct their daily activities - such as responsibilities to their families, organization, people and nation - during Lent in a Christian manner.

Often, the Bishop addresses us with similar messages. Every year, we commemorate Lent with the same message even though the history of East Timor and the Catholic Church in the struggle for the liberty of the people and country, is filled with bad deeds. Nevertheless, in many aspects, the history of East Timor is written in gold, with Christian and Catholic spirit and confidence that the people's right to independence is sacred. Lastly, one must also write of the big traumas, sufferings and difficulties in the history of the people and nation of East Timor. Often, when there are difficulties or political ambitions or interest, some people use the church to "save" themselves and consolidate their ambition. In such cases, this type of people forgot that they are on the wrong path, not only for conducting direct violence but also as provocateurs and inspiring violence toward the people.

At this moment, there are things that are not correct, even though carried out by foreigners, such as, why is justice for the violence of 1999 only meted out to militia members? What about the provocateurs and those who inspired violence and strategized while sitting on a pile of rupiahs? We know that they are strolling about freely ¡K because there is still no law that can reach them. Often these people become or change to become people who speak of political morality, the culture of the nation and national identity. In other aspects, the message of Lent can be applied to work - no corruption, collusion and nepotism, as these are contrary to the spirit of Lent.

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