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?

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One thought on “Back in the metropole

  1. Hey don’t fret giantpanda Timor scrambles us all. It shatters our preconceptions, destroys timetables, erodes idealologies, tires and tantilizes. You’ll settle down if you let go of that feeling of needing to achieve stuff there. Just being there and soaking it all up is enough, Tim. (ahi1)

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