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 peace

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 day.

CCA / VIS 635 N 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123, USA 
Tel: 215 923 7635 Fax: 215 829 8954 
Web Page:

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

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