|Vivek Ananthan Volunteers in International Solidarity
" Get involved, create a better future peacefully worldwide "
Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation before the
United Nations, a meaningful organization of the people of the world. I
speak now for the country of East Timor.
As a representative of Volunteers for International Solidarity, I
present some facts about the history of the country: the invasions,
foreign governments, subordination, massacres, brutality, the referendum,
and the liberation.
East Timor was recently liberated from the brutal regime under
Indonesian President Sukarto, where the world witnessed more than two
decades of the worst atrocities ever committed against mankind. History
reveals that the government of the United States was the root cause of the
brutality against the East Timorese people. Even though the Indonesia
ruler was the main character in this play of atrocities, it was also the
work of the Playwright Henry Kissinger, a Nobel Prize winner and the
Secretary of State under President Gerald Ford.
In 1975 Henry Kissinger, who stood beside then President Gerald Ford in
Jakarta and initiated the sale of killing weapons, which tortured, maimed,
and destroyed more than 200,000 people during those twenty-four years.
This is a disturbing historical fact. The atrocities continued under
President Ronald Reagan and under President Bill Clinton until 1999. The
United States provided the Indonesian government with heavy arms, military
training and continued monetary support to augment the coffers of the
global manufacturers of weapons. The Indonesian dictator Suharto then used
the weapons to invade the country, which resulted in the annihilation of
one third of the people of East Timor.
History shows that the East Timorese maintained their culture under the
domination of foreign invasions throughout the centuries: · East Timor
has its own culture and identity just as every other nation. · A stable
social order based on local communities. · Had monarchy and feudalistic
structure. · Although the rulers were authoritarian, the people were able
to maintain their social and cultural indigenous practices. They aspired
to live together peacefully with a positive hope for the future.
· The cohesive tradition that prevailed helped the people to overcome
the divisions that plague the country today. In 1500 the Portuguese
invaded East Timor and ruled there for 450 years. The culture survived
without interruption because the Portuguese did not interfere with the
culture of the people.
The Indonesian occupation was another scenario, because Indonesian
rulers exploited the country for cheap resources and began an atrocious
regime. The Liberation War of the East Timorese was abandoned because of
the fear of genocide of the entire population. The Freedom Fighters under
the leadership of guerrilla commander Xanana Gusmao went underground and
the members lobbied abroad for the liberation of the country.
During August 1999, I had the privilege to visit east Timor under the
auspices of the East Timor Action Network to observe the referendum as an
impartial observer, and the United Nations accredited the trip. I
witnessed an orderly referendum, where 98% of the people came to the polls
to cast votes. The result was tremendous. Congratulations are due to
credit the people of East Timor, because they truly are a great culture
that cannot be ignored.
The Gross National Product is now about 550. After 450 years of the
oppressive Portuguese regime, the literacy rate is 10%. No country can
survive with a 90% of the population illiterate. The East Timorese often
revolted against outside rulers for centuries, but they could not defeat
the brutality of the Europeans.
East Timor is free now, but many social and economic problems and
injustices persist. More than 100,000 refugees escaped to West Timor in
1999 and are still waiting to return to their homeland.
The United Nations currently assists East Timor with financial
donations from many countries, but illiteracy, extensive unemployment, and
widespread health problems continue. The local people must be fully
included in the planning and implementing programs. They need more
financial assistance and more materials to rebuild the society. By
understanding the history of the colonialists and the dictators who
destroyed East Timor, we must rectify the indignities perpetrated upon the
citizens by the multi-national corporations
I appeal to the United Nations to garner additional support for an
expedient and concentrated effort for: · social and economic growth and
development in East Timor · security against invasions/attacks from
neighboring countries · a guarantee of safety for the people to live in
The United Nations assistance is needed for the redevelopment of the
country and to help citizens achieve: · Recognition of workers rights ·
Restoration of citizens dignity · Minimum wage for an upgraded standard
of living · Maximum wage system as a preventative method to control the
greediness of some businessmen, who in the past became a destructive
element as they did in 1975.
· Free education and free health care for every citizen
As the highest international organization of the world, the United
Nations has the power and resources to assist the citizens of East Timor.
We ask that you base your decision on humanitarian goals and not on the
influences of the Superpowers of the world who manipulate and exploit the
weaker countries for their financial gain. Colonialism must end
immediately and peacefully - today - for there can be no more bloodshed or
brutality in any country. The people of East Timor are governed under
democratic rule and now join the ranks of democratic countries throughout
the world. The American economic culture of the rich getting richer and
the poor getting poorer should not influence your decision.
The rebuilding and redevelopment of East Timor must be implemented
according to the need of the people and not according to the greed of the
global investors. The lessons learned by the atrocities in East Timor are
the lessons to be learned by every country on this planet. Punishment is
due to those who inflicted the atrocities upon the people of East Timor.
In conclusion, the Volunteers for International Solidarity request
United Nations more assistance for the social and economic redevelopment
of East Timor and to transfer civil and political administration to the
people of East Timor at the earliest date possible. Thank you and good
CCA / VIS 635 N 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123, USA
Tel: 215 923 7635 Fax: 215 829 8954
Web Page: http://www.libertynet.org/~cca
|Charles Scheiner National Coordinator
East Timor Action Network/US
P.O. Box 1182
White Plains, New York 10602 USA
For information on East Timor write firstname.lastname@example.org
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