The victims of Tim Alfa did not know that the four remaining militia members would be released. We found only one person, a well-connected politician and veteran, who knew of their release. (And that was a story in and of itself.)
I felt that every time we spoke to families of victims, we were opening a throbbing wound, peeling back a flimsy bandage. They told us that they had gone through so many interviews by investigators. I could see in the tears, the sunken eyes, the shrunken postures that EVERY time that violent deaths are remembered, they hurt. They hurt in a way that is inexpressible.
I felt an intruder, a trespasser. And one that brought the worst kind of news.
On our way out of Lospalos, we went up to what we were told was Tim Alfa’s former headquarters, a failed Indonesian sugar enterprise known as Mesgula. Gula in Portuguese is one of the seven deadly sins: gluttony. This was the place that Tim Alfa gorged itself with death and destruction.
It immediately reminded me of an abandonned building in Maliana which was used for the same purpose.
The place was surprisingly free of graffiti.
There was a paltry ai-manas plant growing inside.
The mandi, where Tim Alfa members had washed, was now full of creeping vines.
Somebody had planted maize in one room, which sprouted up from the floor rather expectedly.
When will this place stop being “Mesgula”? When it crumbles away? When the generation of Tim Alfa dies out?