This blue house in Maliana, I found out today, was the headquarters of the FPDK, the political front for the pro-autonomy militias which rampaged the town in 1999, killing nearly 50 people. People were tortured and killed there.
Thinking back, there are other blue, abandoned houses on that road, including the home one of my best friends in East Timor, and an abandonned guesthouse. But these houses did not affect me in the same way.
This friend told me that describing the FPDK house gave her goosebumps. The owner of the house (who rented it to Joao Tavares’ son from FPDK) returned to Maliana last year to look around, and exclaimed ‘What has happened to this house? Where has everything gone?’ A widow from the police station massacre turned to her and said, ‘What has happened to my husband? Where has he gone’?