on East Timor was Re: Tibet

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Mon Jul 6 20:02:21 PDT 1998

At 03:19 PM 7/6/98 -0500, you wrote:
> Getting in on this thread rather late, but:
>1) A point that I have not seen mentioned (or maybe I just
>overlooked it) is that the Chinese are carrying out a
>cultural, if not demographic (massive immigration by Han
>Chinese and forced intermarriages), genocide of Tibetan
>culture. This attracts sympathy, lots of it. Although the
>Indonesians are clearly oppressing the East Timorese, I
>have heard of no claims of genocide there of any sort.

It is estimated that some 200,000 East Timorese have been slaughtered by the Indonesians. John Pilger has an excellent documentary on the atrocities. Chomsky too has written extensively on this matter. He has compared in _Manufacturing Consent_ the coverage of the massacres in Cambodia with those in East Timor. It is part of his thesis that we have worthy and unworthy victims. If the victims are pro-American then they are worthy. If they happen to be crushed by one of America's pet dictators then they are unworthy. In the case of Cambodia and East Timor there is no prize for guessing which bloodbaths get covered and which do not.

Actually the invasion of East Timor in 1975 was one of the great crimes of the 20th century. It is right up there with the Shanghai massacre of 1927 and the slaughter in Indonesia in 1966. Suharto presided over both the 1966 killings and the East Timorese genocide. No wonder the media here used to call him a "force for stability" and Australia's very own Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, visited him often and always called him "uncle".

Australia's role in Indonesia has been particularly shameful. The Labor govt of Gough Whitlam was in on the invasion of East Timor. Apparently because it did not want a Cuba off shore. There was of course also the question of oil.

One should also mention the continuing oppression of the people of West Papua. The recent crisis in Jakarta and the departure of Suharto do seem to have given the East Timorese more space to protest but the crack down in West Papua still continues.



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