A Message from Helen M. Hill
|L to R: Shirley Shackleton,
Helen M. Hill, Jose Ramos-Horta, Irena Cristalis at
2019 Solidarity Conf in Dili, Timor-Leste.
Invest in Justice and Human Rights!
SUPPORT ETAN TODAY!
Helen M. Hill
I first visited
Timor-Leste in January 1975, as a master’s student from
Monash University. I spent two months travelling the country
with Jose Ramos-Horta, Nicolau Lobato, and Mari Alkatiri. I
rode Timor ponies with Mau Lear and Vicente “Sahe” dos Reis
to visit the FRETILIN literacy programs.
Indonesia’s illegal and brutal invasion of December 1975, I
was unable to visit the country again for another 24 years.
But my concern for the Timorese people had not waned. In
early 1976, I was in New York, assisting Ramos-Horta set up
his office at the United Nations to advocate internationally
for Timor-Leste’s self-determination. This was long before
computers, emails, and the internet. We had a state of the
art Selectric typewriter and received telex messages from
Australia (including reports from Timor transmitted by radio
to Darwin), and elsewhere.
Little did we know
then that Timor solidarity activists, including the founders
of ETAN, were to become pioneers of using the internet
Before I continue, I want to take a moment to urge you to
donate in appreciation of ETAN’s information services and
its work for justice, human rights, and self-determination. You can contribute here.
In the early 1990s
scattered East Timor supporters around the world began to
make use of electronic communications. Those specifically
interested in Timor-Leste, such as Carmel Budiardjo of TAPOL
in London, Elaine Briere in Canada, the Australia-East Timor
Association in Melbourne (of which I was a founding member),
the Comissão para os
Direitos do Povo Maubere
(CDPM) in Lisbon and others began reg.easttimor on APC,
a progressive computer network.
Thanks to Max
Stahl’s film footage, the November 1991 Santa Cruz massacre
became global news. ETAN, the East Timor Action Network
was founded soon after that terrible event by peace
activists John M. Miller, Charles Scheiner, and
Indonesian-American Rev. Max Surjadinata, among others. ETAN
successfully sought to change U.S. policy to one in support
of Timor’s self-determination by restricting and for a time
ending U.S. security assistance to Indonesia.
|Helen with Max Stahl.
discussion lists like reg.easttimor contributed throughout
the 1990s to building up a sizable body of knowledge and
opinion about the situation in East Timor, even though world
media did not give the country’s politics any detailed
took over the coordinating role in distributing a
comprehensive set of messages, including nearly everything
that was being said in the English-speaking media around the
world about Timor-Leste. As the 1999 independence referendum
approached, many thought that most solidarity groups like
ETAN would close once self-determination was achieved.
reaffirmed its commitment to the rights of the peoples of
Timor-Leste and the wider Indonesian region, renaming itself
the East Timor and Indonesia
Action N Network,
while continuing to press for human rights accountability.
Please support ETAN’s work by donating today.
New people began to
turn to ETAN who had not been in the solidarity movement but
who wished to support development of the newly independent
country. ETAN is now the “go-to” source for access to media
articles and academic research on Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
ETAN’s east-timor listserv (the successor to reg.easttimor)
is used extensively by Timorese, Indonesians, and
(internationals). It has become an indispensable research
tool for journalists, academics, and those in human rights
and development assistance. It is a key site for posting job
advertisements in Timor, helping Timor-Leste’s growing
population find meaningful employment.
The relevance and
usefulness of the list is clear. In the past year, more than
1000 new people have joined.
The relevance and
usefulness of ETAN is also clear, as we prepare to press the
new U.S. president and administration to support human
rights, accountability, and a demilitarized policy toward
Indonesia, West Papua, and Timor-Leste.
Please support ETAN's
fight for justice, accountability, and human rights for West
Papua, Timor-Leste, and Indonesia.
The 21st century has seen
the rise of social media (which in many ways is very
fleeting) and ETAN has a presence on Facebook, Instagram,
and Twitter, yet ETAN’s email listservs remain the
indispensable source to which researchers and others turn
for documents on Timor-Leste, Indonesia; and West Papua.
Much of the list is archived online available to all.
And ETAN’s information services are still maintained
by mainly the same group of enthusiasts who work selflessly.
The Timorese Government has rightly recognized ETAN
for its information and solidarity work with the Medal of
the Order of Timor-Leste in 2012.
ETAN and its incredibly productive output rely on funding from those
who believe in what it is doing. We have all watched with
appreciation as ETAN expanded its efforts to encompass human
rights issues in Indonesia and self-determination for West
Papua, along with its continued support for Timor-Leste.
I urge you to just
consider what would you do without ETAN? Where would you get
your information on Timor-Leste, Indonesia, and West Papua?
Who else is going to press the new Biden administration to
support human rights and justice in the region? Then make a
contribution relating to how valuable you find ETAN.
Remember, ETAN is
not just a useful stream of emails, it is part of
Timor-Leste’s history. It comes out of a pioneering use of
the internet by human rights and solidarity activists. It is
provided by real live human beings who believe in what they
are doing. Your contribution will help ensure ETAN’s
independence too -- and how important is
this era of ‘fake news’?!
thank you for helping to insure ETAN’s continued existence,
independence; and unwavering commitment to human rights and
Helen M. Hill
Member, ETAN Board
Orden Timor-Leste 2014
Minister at Ministério da Educação, Juventude e Desporto
Former Senior lecturer at Victoria University, Melbourne,
by credit card via PayPal
Mail your checks to:
PO Box 1663
New York, NY
- make checks payable to East
Timor Action Network, Inc.
- For U.S.
tax-deductible donations of $75 or more, make your check
payable to AJ Muste Memorial Institute,
put ETAN in memo field
New York residents may obtain a copy of
ETAN's Annual Report by writing to the Department of Law
Charities Bureau Registration Section, 120 Broadway, New
York, NY 10271.