STATEMENT: APSOC on the recent events in Timor Leste

We once again reiterate our unflinching solidarity with the Timorese people in the face of this renewed crisis in the hope that our puny support may help accompany them through this hopefully momentary gloom.

A nation is not built overnight, and there are necessary and inevitable humps along the way. It is however sad, nay, tragic that some of these bumps are replete with violence and are sometimes created by the very persons who want or claim to lead the country.

Timor-Leste has always been in our hearts. We have virtually adopted Timor as our second home as we have likewise been humbled and honored being invited to be "honorary citizens" by its leaders and our Timorese civil society partners. East Timor will always remain a beacon of inspiration of how a motley, humble people defeated the giants who conspired to invade, occupy, oppress and exploit them for more than two decades. The brave yet gentle Timorese were united in a vision for their sovereignty even if the international community virtually abandoned them in their lonely, but eventually victorious struggle.

Achieving independence however does not totally a nation make if injustices perpetrated in the dark era of the occupation – including those committed in the throes of the dying regime — were not tackled head-on. Not addressing these injustices have allowed the ghosts of impunity to dwell and nibble on the fragile soul and fabric of this nation. Tragically, comrades and friends and fellow Timorese righteously joined before in the sacred pursuit of their freedom have now turned against each other. Tolerance for each other's beliefs has been thin and the quest and thirst for power seems to have distracted, if not consumed some of them. But we believe – as we continue to fervently believe in them —that the ugly and selfish tide of mistrust, vengeance and power play can be turned around and the glorious task of nation-building amidst an era of justice, healing and reconciliation is not impossible. We believe that most of the leaders and partisans from all parties are genuine patriots, are unselfish individuals. We pray that they prevail.

We call on the political leaders to revisit their then lofty passion to liberate their people and lift them from the morass of poverty and destitution. A national consensus is imperative. Violence must be condemned and the leaders must show and lead by example. They can start by lowering the decibel of hurling accusations against each other and by allowing an independent fact-finding team to investigate the events of 11 February and bring the perpetrators of this treacherous deed to justice. The international community can be involved and we offer ourselves in solidarity to be part of any effort to bridge the gaps within the long-battered Timorese society.

We wish for the speedy recovery of His Excellency President Jose Ramos Horta and the others who have been injured in the attacks.

We wish too for the speedier recovery of this gentle nation who have long deserved to live in an era of peace, justice, prosperity and harmony.

Gus Miclat
Coordinator
Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition
13 February 2008

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