FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Shooting of Jose Ramos Horta

Some news reports are now claiming that Jose Ramos Horta, Timor-Leste’s president, is or was in a coma. If he goes, his soul will get a good laugh from the fact that he outlasted Suharto — who killed a third of his people –, and an ironic laugh from the fact that the first bullets to ever hit him were fired by an East Timorese.

The man behind those bullets, the rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado, is reportedly dead, and if that’s true the ridiculous crisis that has gripped East Timor may actually slowly dissipate.

In some counties, a two-year upheaval that kills several dozen and features a double-assassination try (Xanana Gusmao, the prime minister, was also attacked, but not hit) might rank as the biggest thing in recent memory, but in Timor it’s not even close.

The Indonesian military occupiers — armed and green-lighted by the United States government — killed that many on many hundreds of mornings. Their winnowing of the population was so vast that it put them in Nazi-land (see posting of December 3, 2007, ” Knowing Where the Bodies Are Buried. The Indonesian Generals — and Putin — Laugh,” and also those of August 16 ’05, November 13 ’07, December 5 and 7 ’07, and January 13 and 27 ’08).

Occupied Timor was the most terrifying place I’ve ever seen. There was perpetual threat of execution.

But, as sometimes happens, the oppressed people actually won.

And with gradual independence, starting in 1999, the Timorese won the right to behave as pettily as everyone else, and their leaders have been exercising it.

The rebel Reinado stood for nothing that anyone could discern and the older generation of leaders has been bickering even as there is still hunger in the countryside, side-by-side with newly-won oil money.

Compared to the Indonesian Occupation holocaust, all of this is — amazingly enough — small for Timor, but that proportional comparison is, in many senses, beside the point: Just one death ends the world for someone, and when it’s preventable, it’s inexcusable.

Poor people are now hungering unnecessarily in Timor-Leste, under a regime that is not bad or oppressive.

The country can do much better. It can be an example for the world, as its’ political victory over terror was.

When Ramos Horta, hopefully, comes back, the independence leaders should sit down and reflect. Then bury their rivalries and feed the hungry, or step aside, and let younger survivors take over.

Allan Nairn can be reached through his blog.

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

ALLAN NAIRN writes the blog News and Comment at www.newsc.blogspot.com.

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail