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ETAN's Charles Scheiner receives Timor-Leste's Princess Grace of Monaco award

On May 20, the Parliament of Timor-Leste awarded the “Princess Grace of Monaco” medal to a number of people who had supported Timor-Leste's struggle for independence, including ETAN co-founder Charles Scheiner. The award came with $2,500.  Charles has donated his money to the Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI). He describes his reasons in the open letter below.

Other awardees were Australia's Rob Wesley-Smith and Kevin Sherlock, Kalle Sysikaski of Finland, George Junus Aditjondro of Indonesia, Colin Iles from New Zealand, Luisa Teotonia Pereira (in absentia) from Portugal, and Timorese Alexandrino Xavier Araújo (PNTL), Reverend Padre Adriano Ola Duli and Colonel Cornélio Ximenes Maunana Bobar Mate (FDTL).

video via Tempo Semanal

Charles Scheiner
Beto Tasi, Comoro, Dili
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
27 May 2010
His Excellency Fernando “La Sama” Araújo
President of the RDTL National Parliament
Dili, Timor-Leste

Dear Excellency,

I‘m writing to express my gratitude and appreciation for the “Princess Grace of Monaco” medal that the National Parliament awarded to nine people on the eighth anniversary of Timor-Leste’s Restoration of Independence last Thursday. I was honored to be recognized by your excellencies, and to be included in the company of people like Rob Wesley-Smith, George Junus Aditjondro and others from Australia, Portugal, New Zealand and Finland who participated in Timor-Leste’s struggle to free itself from Indonesian occupation.

Like other activists in the East Timor Action Network/United States (ETAN) and around the world, I received much more from my involvement than I gave. I continue to feel privileged to travel with so many Timorese friends on the journey from occupation to independence, from being ruled by an oppressive foreign regime to having the power to make your own decisions.

That voyage is not yet over. Although Timor-Leste has achieved political independence, we live in a world of globalization, big-power politics, endangered environment, corporate greed, and huge hopes from the Timorese people. In the 21st century, no nation is truly independent. For Timor-Leste, emerging from centuries of foreign rule, decades of war, widespread poverty and very little sustainable economic activity, the challenges ahead are as difficult as the struggle against occupation. Like Parliament, La’o Hamutuk is working to help develop and implement wise and just policies – that, given Timor-Leste’s  limited resources and experience, can meet the needs of its people.

I am grateful for the $2,500 that Parliament gave me and the other award recipients, but I did not expect and do not want financial rewards for my participation in Timor-Leste’s struggle. Therefore, I will give this money to a new generation of activists who are continuing this campaign for human rights and justice – the Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI).

One of the most critical unfinished aspects of the struggle for independence is ongoing impunity. Until the major perpetrators of serious crimes from 1975 to 1999 are held accountable for their actions – which is primarily an international responsibility – the peoples of Timor-Leste and Indonesia will not live in peace. Cycles of impunity, lawlessness and violence will continue, preventing the stability, security and development which Timor-Leste’s people have fought for.

The student generation of the 1970s declared Timor-Leste’s independence and have led this country for the last eight years. Students from the 1980s and 1990s, including yourself, played key roles in restoring that independence and are now the heart of the state. Last week,  Parliament recognized a few international activists who helped make these movements global, but this work is not finished.

Today, a new generation of young activists has joined Timor-Leste’s struggle for justice and human rights, through ANTI and other movements. Once again, I am fortunate to participate in their campaign, and I thank Parliament for enabling me to provide some much-needed financial support for their work.

A luta continua.

Charles Scheiner
cc: Party chiefs, media


Charles Scheiner
Beto Tasi, Comoro, Dili
Republika Demokratiku Timor-Leste
27 Maiu 2010
Exselentisimu Fernando “La Sama” Araújo
Prezidente Parlamentu Nasional
Dili, Timor-Leste

Ba Exselentisimu,

Ha’u hakerek karta ida ne’e atu ekspresa ha’u nia agradesimentu no apresiasaun ba medailha “Princess Grace of Monaco” ne’ebé Parlamentu Nasional entrega mai ema nain sia iha loron aniversariu Restorasaun Independensia Timor-Leste nian ba dala walu iha Kinta Feira liu ba. Ha’u sente honra boot hodi hetan rekonhesimentu husi exselensia sira, no hodi inklui ha’u iha grupu ema sira hanesan Rob Wesley-Smith, George Junus Aditjondro no ema sira seluk husi Australia, Portugal, Nova Zelandia no Finlandia ne’ebé partisipa iha luta Timor-Leste nian hodi liberta Timor-Leste husi okupasaun Indonezia.

Hanesan ho aktivista sira seluk iha Rede Asaun Timor-Leste (East Timor Action Network)/Estadus Unidus (ETAN) no ativista iha mundu tomak, ha’u hetan buat ne’ebé barak liu fali duke buat ne’ebé ha’u fo durante iha ha’u nia involvimentu.  Ha’u kontinua atu sente privilejiu hodi la’o ho maluk Timor-oan barak tebes iha dalan husi okupasaun ba iha independensia, husi ukun rejime opresivu rai liur nian ida to’o hetan poder hodi halo ita boot sira nia desizaun rasik.

Dalan naruk ne’e seidauk too nia rohan. Maske Timor-Leste hetan tiha ona nia independensia politika nian, ita moris hela iha mundu globalizasaun ida, poder nasaun ne’ebé boot, ambiente ida be ameasadu, korporasaun ida be’e kanteen, no esperansa boot husi povo Timor-Leste nian. Iha sekulu 21, laiha nasaun ida ne’ebé independente dunik. Ba Timor-Leste, mosu husi ukun ema liur nian durante sekulu barak nia laran, funu iha dekadu barak nia laran, pobreza boot iha rai laran tomak, atividade ekonomia sustentavel ida be ki’ik liu, dezafiu tuir mai ne’ebé sei difisil liu tan hanesan luta kontra okupasaun. Hanesan Parlamentu, La’o Hamutuk servisu hodi ajuda dezenvolve no implementa politika ida ne’ebé matenek no justu – katak, ho Timor-Leste nia rekursu ne’ebé limitadu no esperiensia ne’ebé iha, bele atende nesesidade povo rai ida ne’e nian.

Ha’u agradese ba osan $2,500 ne’ebé Parlamentu fo mai ha’u no resipiente medailha sira seluk, maibe ha’u nunka iha hanoin ka hakarak atu hetan osan ba ha’u nia partisipasaun iha luta Timor-Leste nian. Tamba ho hanoin ida ne’e, osan ida ne’e ha’u sei fo ba aktivista sira jerasaun foun nian – Aliansa Nasional ba Tribunal Internasional (ANTI) ne’ebé kontinua kampanha ba direitus umanus no justisa.

Aspeitu kritikal boot ida ne’ebé seidauk hotu husi luta ba independensia nian maka impunidade ne’ebé la hotu. To’o kriminozu sira hotu ne’ebé involve iha krime graves nian husi 1975-1999 hetan akuntabilidade ba sira nia asaun – ne’ebé ba dala uluk nian nudar responsabilidade internasional nian – povo Indonesia no Timor-Leste sei labele moris iha dame nia laran. Siklu impunidade, violasaun lei, no violensia ne’ebé sei kontinua, hakotu stabilidade, seguransa no dezenvolvimentu ne’ebé povo Timor-Leste luta ba.

Jerasaun estudante iha tinan 1970 nia laran deklara independensia ba Timor-Leste no lori nasaun ida ne’e ba iha tinan walu ikus ne’e. Estudante sira husi tinan 1980 no 1990 nia laran, inklui ita boot rasik, involve iha knar importante nian iha restorasaun independensia nian no ohin loron sai nudar orgaun estadu nian. Semana kotuk, Parlamentu rekonhese aktivista internasional balun ne’ebé ajuda halo movimentu global hirak ne’e, maibe servisu ida ne’e seidauk too rohan.

Ohin loron, aktivista juventude jerasaun foun sira hamutuk iha luta Timor-Leste nian ba justisa no direitus umanus, liu husi ANTI no movementu sira seluk. Ba dala ida tan, ha’u hetan sorte boot hodi partisipa iha sira nia kampanha, no ha’u agradese ba Parlamentu ne’ebé fo posibilidade mai ha’u hodi fo suporta ajudu finansial balu ba sira nia servisu.

A luta kontinua.

Ha’u be saran lia,
Charles Scheiner

cc: Chefe Bankada hotu, media

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