Wednesday, May 25, 2011

East Timor Update #48-51, 1997

This is final year of East Timor Update, which was replaced in subsequent years by e-mail only notices and newsletters from two successor groups to the East Timor Alert Network. Coverage includes the December 1996 Nobel award to Bishop Belo; mining in Indonesia; a Canadian parliamentary delegation; and abortive Canadian government consideration of military ties with Indonesia.

East Timor Update #44-47, 1996

As the amount of news to report in Canada grew and the frequency of The ACTivist (in which East Timor Update was published) fell, news focussed more on Canada than in previous years. In 1996, coverage included Canadian government trade missions to Indonesia; calls for an arms embargo backed by trade union, women's and student groups; and alleged threats by Indonesian Ambassador Benjamin Parwoto against the family of Bella Galhos, a Timorese refugee and activist in Ottawa.

East Timor Update #38-43, 1995

In 1995, reports feature growing solidarity around the world but also setbacks: intransigence from the Indonesian government and a Liberal government decision to resume weapons sales to Indonesia as part of a major Pacific trade offensive, and to abandon human rights advocacy towards ASEAN. Growing support in Canada featured the formation of an East Timor Hope Foundation in Windsor, Ont., including parish-twinning with Suai. ETAN campaigned to have the John Humphrey Freedom award go to TAPOL co-founder Carmel Budiardjo without success, but the award went instead to Bishop Carlos Belo, adding to momentum for the global campaign to have the Nobel peae Prize go to Belo (successful in 1996).

East Timor Update #29-37, 1994

Coverage in 1994 notes incremental progress in several areas: a new Canadian aid policy for East Timor, promising moves at the UN, and increasing awareness in Indonesia and in the region (through the Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor). At the same time, the Update devoted more attention to Indonesia, noting its increasing importance to Canadian business, bans on free trade unions. A report of a UN birth control award going to Indonesian President Suharto was incorrect.

Guelph University's Sulawesi Regional Development Project was reviewed by an independent committee that found human rights issues, followed by Indonesia's government killing the project.

Reports of a UN population control award to Suharto were incorrect (correction next issue). Due to a numbering error, there are two issues both dated #37.

East Timor Update #18-28, 1993

Trials and arrests of Timorese activists - especially the prison term handed down to Xanana Gumão - lobbying at the UN, and a campaign to boycott Bata Shoes over its Indonesia operations were featured in 1993.

Includes coverage of José Ramos Horta's talk to over 1,000 people at a benefit in Ottawa. Ramos Horta is quoted saying: "Canada is one of the most hypocritical countries in the world."

After the 1993 election of a Liberal government led by Jean Chrétien to replace Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives, ETAN launched a campaign for an arms embargo that continued until 1999.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Portuguese Canadian National Congress brief on East Timor, 1994

Extensive support for East Timor came from the Portuguese-Canadian community. The link below gives one example of support from the Portuguese Canadian National Congress. (Document courtesy Fernando Nunes.)

PCNC brief to Foreign Policy Review, 1994

Tracking East Timor and Cambodia coverage in google books

It's been pointed out that two genocides, in East Timor and Cambodia, received quite different levels of attention in the Western media. The new google ngram tool allows that to be checked against coverage in the many English-language books scanned by google. The result? Much more coverage of the genocide in Cambodia; a little notice for East Timor after the invasion in 1975; climbing coverage in the 1990s from the Santa Cruz massacre (November 1991) to the independence referendum (August 1999); and a spike in interest early this decade, with interest falling off since the restoration of independence (May 2002).

Results in the smaller French-language search (no options yet for Indonesian, Portuguese or Tetun) are similar:

Monday, May 23, 2011

East Timor Update #7-17, 1992

East Timor Update produced 12 issues in 1992, initially dated by month and then by date of writing.

The year featured coverage of the Canadian debate on aid to Indonesia: the Mulroney Conservative government opted to suspend three planned aid projects to Indonesia, worth a total of C$30-million, while leaving existing aid untouched.

East Timor Update #1-6, 1991

East Timor Update was the main East Timor Alert Network publication. ETAN published 50 issues of this brief from 1991 to 1997. Each issue ran as the inside back page of The ACTivist, newspaper of the ACT for Disarmament coalition in Toronto.

Numbering was irregular at first. The first three Updates were un-numbered; after #4 a three-page supplement ran in The ACTivist re-using material from A Call for Justice (1985); #6 was a front-page special in The ACTivist covering events in November 1991 before and after the Santa Cruz massacre.

Update #1 is to the right; #2-6 after the jump.

East Timor: A Call for Justice, 1985

This tabloid was published as an insert to the Nuclear Free Press in 1985 by the Indonesia East Timor Programme, based in Peterborough, Ontario.

Along with materials published that year by Amnesty International Canada and the Nova Scotia East Timor Group, it is the first East Timor support material published in Canada. In both cases, materials were linked to the tenth anniversary of the invasion of East Timor.

(The rest of the tabloid is after the jump.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Whittleton visit, 1987

Referenced in the previous post, Canadian Ambassador Jack Whittleton's 1987 visit to East Timor was not taken on a whim. The Indonesian government invitation was turned down by most governments (only East Germany and Nigeria joined Canada in accepting). It was the subject of debate at the Department of External Affairs, and Indonesian Foreign Minister Mochtar Kusumaatmadjaja lobbied hard for Canadian participation. External saw clearly that the invitation to visit was aimed at countries with domestic critics of human rights violations in East Timor. It made a deliberate decision to attend, and felt "any criticism [in Canada] can be managed." The visit itself, Whittleton reported, "achieved objective" of pleasing Mochtar, but he admitted it had given no real opportunity to learn about the situation in East Timor.

These documents were obtained under Access to Information legislation by researcher Sharon Scharfe. They are discussed in her book Complicity: Human Rights and Canadian Foreign Policy, the Case of East Timor.

The first ETAN newsletter, 1988

The East Timor Alert Network was not the first solidarity group in Canada. With the encouragement of the Canada Asia Working Group of the Canadian churches (now part of KAIROS Canada) it formed in 1987 alongside the existing Indonesia East Timor Programme.

ETAN's first newsletter was a cover sheet with enclosed pamphlet and clippings from This Magazine and the TAPOL Bulletin. As the materials indicate, the first issue tackled by the Network was Canadian Ambassador Jack Whittleton's decision to visit East Timor along with then-Indonesian Foreign Minister Mochtar Kusumaatmadja..

Images: the photos of Elaine Briere

Until the end of the 1980s, East Timor was a closed "daerah operasi militer" (military operations zone) and access was heavily restricted. Little information and less even fewer images reached the outside world. The role of photographs of pre-invasion East Timor taken in 1974 by British Columbia resident Elaine Briere therefore became important.

In 2000, Elaine Briere returned to an independent East Timor and added an epilogue to her 1974 photos. Selections from both trips are reproduced in "East Timor Testimony."

Click here to visit Elaine Briere's photography home page

Click here to buy the book from publisher Between the Lines or read more

"Betrayed But Not Beaten," 1988

The first film on East Timor in Canada was "Betrayed But Not Beaten." Peter Monet's 1988 film was recently uploaded to youtube. Here's part one; you can click through to part two at the end. 

Interviews feature Professor Noam Chomsky and a young Jose Ramos Horta - then the East Timorese "foreign minister" in exile, and now President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

ETAN fact sheets 1996

Starting with this post, materials produced by the East Timor ALert Network from its founding in the mid-1980s up to 2000 will be published here. 

The East Timor Alert Network/Canada produced a series of fact sheets in 1995, updated in 1996 and circualted through ETAN chapters. The scans posted below and after the jump are the second versions in most cases, written in ETAN's Toronto office and updated and re laid out at ETAN/Ottawa. These versions are from the ETAN/Vancouver office.