Mas os meus passos soam e não param,
Mesmo parados pelo pensamento,
Pelo terror que não acaba e perverte os sentido
A esquina do acaso
— Ruy Cinatti, “Regresso Eterno

Dili. I expected to feel more, to notice more.

All I could seem to fixate on from Bali was the conversation of the Portuguese VIPs in front of me.

The morning’s rain on the tarmac. The airport was well kept, green and pleasant. Military helicopters right next to the terminal.

I noticed the Fretilin flags flying high around the airport, on every lamp post, even on the center of that tacky fountain in the Comoro roundabout.

The helicopters were no longer at the Helipad which is now a gigantic construction site SPONSORED BY THE P R OF CHINA. The future Presidential Palace will be one of the more imposing buildings in Dili.

Passing through stop lights was a novelty for me, as they were installed a month after I left last time.

Seeing Jardim empty was surreal. Apparently on May 21, the camp was still full.

The bright playground – being used by kids – was just about the only thing there to remind it was ever a park. Heaps of cement blocks and torn up cement across the whole park. The tents apparently had foundations, people were given cement to elevate them above the mud and rain. The scene was gray and desolate, a bit like scorched earth.

And above it all, the statue of Dom Boaventura with a Fretilin flag on top. A Fretilin flag red like a cherry on top.


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