Ho ho ho

Alkatiri is back, sitting in parliament. His christmas present: the passage of the electoral law which will split the 2007 elections into two doses. First, the Presidential in April, and later, after Fretilin has had more time to circle the wagons, legislative elections in August. (Longer contracts for the UN electoral and civic education staff.)

Ramos-Horta sends Osama Bin Laden his merry christmas greetings over BBC radio, and auctions his Nashville-bought, Simon&Garfunkel signed guitar on Ebay “for the street children.” (No comment necessary. No bids either, at the time of this writing!)

My Christmas present to myself, free, the new Google Earth, which has amazing new hi-res images of the north coast of Timor and Dili. If you don’t want to download, try this site. Soon I will be posting a file of landmarks related to this blog, and possibly an animated “tour” of spots mentioned here.

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Back in the metropole

What I feel more than anything, is I suppose the feeling that I expected. The fragmentation, the feeling of utter disconnect, of two unjoined realities.

I’m back in the Metropole, Lisbon, with its soaking winter rains, white chestnut smoke on the streets, and Christmas lights. Back to sweaters and dry skin.

Timor remains violent, fettered by disinformation. It is a blackhole where everybody is wrong and everybody is right at the same time.

Alkatiri returns from “medical treatment.” Alfredo is photographed with anti-tank bazooka that could have only been bought via dodgy international arms dealers, Australian troops having a chuckle with him. Meanwhile Fiji and Tonga go to shit, and the world has entirely run out of patience.

I am trying to report on my time in Timor to the generous Foundation which funded my travel, making lists of achievements and attempting to unravel or account for the intense ten weeks I spent there. It is not easy.

I suppose I need to make it into a “book report” — lots of photos, cut straight to the chase. Summarize. Gloss. I just don’t want this version to take over in my memory.

But what do I remember from my trip? And how do I tell it to even those who are interested? That it was “useful”? That it was “successful”? That it was hampered by “logistical” limitations and a contaminated political situation?

What will I ever “do” with Timor? Or better yet, what has Timor already “done” to me?