Subject:  US Embassy action sparks controversy from Manuel Carrascalao

US Embassy action sparks controversy from Manuel Carrascalao

On Saturday evening, July 6, the U.S. Embassy hosted an independence day party in Dili. Across the street, a small, silent candlelight demonstration called attention to United States complicity in Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. The vigilers handed out a statement which was posted to this east-timor list on 8 July, entitled "Statement from Dili re: U.S. Independence Day."

Tuesday's edition of the local daily newspaper Suara Timor Lorosa'e printed a Tetum-language article headlined: Manuel Viegas Carrascalao: Foreigners can not come here to provoke conflict amongst East Timorese. In the article, Carrascalao (an East Timorese leader who had been a member of the Indonesian parliament during the occupation, but became an outspoken pro-independence leader in the late 1990s) voiced strong opposition to the demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy three days earlier. Carrascalao stated that there were close to a thousand demonstrators at the Embassy, that most of them were foreigners, and that the foreigners had organized the demonstration. He stated that the foreigners were stepping into matters which do not concern them, were creating conflicts amongst East Timorese and should go back to their own countries. The article (in Tetum) is at the end of this posting.

In fact, there were less than 20 demonstrators; exactly three were foreigners; and certainly issues relating to the U.S. government's policies are matters that should concern all U.S. citizens. In today's paper, Thomas Freitas of La'o Hamutuk responded to Carrascalao. The following is a translation of the article, the original of which was in Bahasa Indonesia.

see also Statement from Dili on U.S. Independence Day

Suara Timor Lorosa'e, 10 June 2002 
Front page

Thomas Freitas: The peaceful action at the U.S. Embassy was proper Dili, STL

Activists from the NGO La'o Hamutuk and others were disappointed by Manuel Carrascalao's statement in Tuesday's edition of STL (8/7) that "Foreigners can not come here to provoke conflict amongst East Timorese."

This information was given by Thomas Freitas, a coordinator of the peaceful action in front of the United States Embassy last Saturday (6/7).

"We do not agree with what Manuel said," expressed Freitas.

In his opinion, the peaceful action carried out in front of the U.S. Embassy was proper and right, especially the demands that were forwarded in the action which were not in contradiction with any principles of democracy.

"In this peaceful action, we called on the U.S., which was celebrating the 226th anniversary of their independence, to apologize for their involvement in the 24 years of Indonesian military occupation. We also asked the U.S. government not to renew military ties with Indonesia and also not to block the process of an international tribunal for war crimes in East Timor," he said.

He clarified that in this peaceful action, there were not a thousand demonstrators as Manuel Carrascalao stated.

"We were only a few dozen people and it is true that there were some foreigners. There were three foreigners. We did not shout or scream. We only lit candles and held posters and then we left," he clarified.

He explained that the three foreigners at the action were U.S. citizens who were part of the struggle for East Timor's self-determination in other countries throughout the struggle for independence.

In his opinion, their presence in this peaceful action was proper because as U.S. citizens they have a right to protest their government, and they were not trying to provoke conflict amongst East Timorese, as stated by Manuel Carrascalao.

He explained that the foreigners' presence there fit with the U.S. embassy's invitation to celebrate the nation's independence.

"Once more, activists are very disappointed with what was said by Manuel Carrascalao because the involvement of the three Americans there was a demonstration of their solidarity and they also have played an important role in the Maubere people's struggle during 24 years of Indonesian occupation in Timor Leste. Their involvement in this action was not to provoke conflict," he stated firmly.


Suara Timor Lorosa'e, 9 June 2002

Manuel Viegas Carrascalao: Povu estranjeiru la bele mai soran povu Timor

Ho hare ba ema kuaze rihun ida, lansa demonstrasaun hasoru governu America, wainhira hala'o komemorasaun loron independensia Amerika, iha dia 6 de Julho de 2002 iha edifisiu Embaixada America iha Farol foin lalais ne'e, povu rai estranjeiru barak mak hola parte iha laran. Tan ne'e mosu opiniaun oi-oin husi ema barak katak lansamentu demostrasaun ne'e, povu husi rai estranjeiru mak halo hodi konvida mos povu Timor Leste balun.

"Iha momentu festa ne'e, hau mos hola parte iha neba, e kuandu hau sai mai li'ur, hau hare ema barak mak halo demonstrasaun ba guvernu Americano, hodi husu atu governu Americano bele responsabiliza sira nia hahalok kona ba invazaun Indonesia iha Timor Leste, maibe tuir hau nia hare, iha demonstrasaun ne'e, povu sira husi rai estranzeiru mak barak involve an iha laran duke povu Timor rasik," Manuel Viegas Carrascalao, hato'o lia hirak ne'e ba STL iha Segunda feira (8/7) horseik, iha Dili.

Tuir Carrascalao, povu rai estranjeiru la iha poder atu hala'o demonstrasaun hasoru nasaun Americano iha Timor Leste, ba sa problema ne'e Timor oan nian. No Timor oan duni mak iha poder atu husu responsablidades ba estadu Americano, la'os fali ema husi rai liur mak lansa buat oi-oin. "Ho intensaun hanesan ne'e ita mos bele husu, sira (povu rai estranjeiru) ne'e iha kompetensia saida kona ba kestoens ne'e. Tan ne'e hau husu keta halo ba be ema sira ne'e hakarak buka atu soran tan Timor oan," nia hateten tan.

Nia mos hatutan tan katak prejensa povu rai estranjeiru iha Timor la'os atu halo arbiru, maibe buka ajuda ema Timor oan. "Hau fo bemvindu ba sira nebe mai ho intensaun hakarak ajuda rai Timor, maibe sira balun mai para atu soran tan povu Timor, di'ak liu la lika mai ou di'ak liu fila ba sira nia rain. Tamba iha funu naruk ne'e, povu Timor terus barak, mate barak, tanis barak no halerik barak. Tan ne'e la bele haterus tan povu no la bele soran tan povu," nia kolia tenik.

Iha oportunidade ida ne'e, nia mos husu ba povu atu ida-idak buka haka'as an hala'o nia servisu. "Hau husu ba povu Timor tomak, katak ita povu ki'ik nebe tarus barak durante luta hetan independesia, diak liu ita ida-idak hare ba servisu, buka han hemu ba moris e lalika mete ho ema seluk, la lika terpengaruh ho ema estranjeiru nia implikasaun," nia hateten hikas. (Akito)


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