Well, I thought of cutting this down and quoting a part, but well, a rant is a rant. And because some malai newspaper publishers cannot seem to work out how to publish on the internet, I will selflessly sacrifice space for this, Dili Weekly’s August 7 editorial:
It’s been a year since the AMP government stepped into power and what’s new?
Well, El Presidente has done his best to empty the prisons and pardon all and sundry of their sins meanwhile Fearless Leader declared 2008 the year of good governance while giving away lucrative rice contracts, threatening to arrest media and pushing for private gun ownership. All the meanwhile our Chinese neighbors, so much more negative than some here, dubbed 2008 the Year of the Rat.
AMP stands of course for the Majority Party Alliance though some, in a fit childish pique, have taken to maligning our government. AMP is called the “de facto” government by Fretilin, the “de facto” opposition. Spray paint wags have also labeled AMP as “Ahi Mate Permanente (Power’s Always Off) and, Ami Maoria Panleiru (We’re Mostly Fags). They just don’t get it.
This past year has been wackier than most years in recent memory, but I maintain the criticism is unfounded and AMP, El Presidente and Fearless Leader and all horribly misunderstood and maligned by cruel, foreign media who are led by Angie Pires.
Our annual rice crisis, for instance, was not AMP’s fault nor was it even a crisis per se. I grant you, their decision to pay a ton of money to foreign countries to subsidize rice for a few hundred families in the “metropolitan” areas rather than subsidize local rice or corn or cassava or any other of the dozens of starchy staples grown in abundance in Timor might seem bizarre. But when you realize that other countries in the region don’t have a seabed of money right outside their back door and actually depend on the production of goods, then you begin to appreciate Fearless Leader’s push to spread Timor’s wealth around to our less fortunate neighbors is nothing short of saintly.
I think few could argue that security has improved under this government. The 11 Feb. attacks on El Presidente and Fearless Leader was no one’s fault. The decision to let El Presidente wander, unarmed, up from the beach and into a live firefight might seem questionable. But actually the attack gave god the opportunity to consult with El Presidente who is usually a very busy man. According to my sources god was impressed with El Presidente’s humility and concern for humanity and came from the meeting with valuable counsel.
What’s AMP done that’s so wrong? They raised the ire of Fretilin and local students when they pushed for cars for parliamentarians. Fretilin and the students don’t mind that everyone’s favorite former PM, Mari Alkatiri, gets to drive around in his government car, but god forbid anyone actually in government get a car that works.
But Fretilin, the de-facto opposition and the university students, the de-facto leaders of tomorrow, don’t understand the master plan. Lucky for them, I do.
See, in 2006 the police fell apart and that was bad. So, of course, what’s there to do except replace the police altogether. Think about it: UNPol can’t seem to train them (at least, not according UN reports). Now it appears AMP is in favor of public guns and cars for all parliamentarians. Add that up and what do you get? Armed parliamentarians. I feel safer already.
Meanwhile in the same budget the police got nothing: No guns, no cars, nothing. Now, some might argue the police could use cars (in some subdistricts the police haven’t had even a single car in years. In Oecusse the entire district is patrolled by one lousy car), but why waste money on a police force which can’t be trusted?
Well, screw the police—they don’t need cars or guns. Once Lasama has his car and gun, well, I think we’ll all sleep a little more soundly.
And we won’t need jails, either. Say what now, El Presidente?
“Should I continue to … keep in jail an individual Timorese who was working under direction from someone else who is not going to jail?” Ramos-Horta told the Australian Broadcast Corporation.
This was in reference to his decision to pardon Joni Marques, the poor soul who had his mind addled by Indonesian drugs and killed and raped people while under the influence of said drugs. Local legal watchdogs might be alarmed at El Presidente’s logic as presumably this rationale could be applied to 2006, too. Why should anyone be in jail so long as Rogerio Lobato, et al are out of jail? As long as the masterminds are free, everyone else should be too, right?
But really. This is the year of the Rat—er, Reform. Do you really expect El Presidente to simply let the guilty walk free? C’mon, this is the man who advises god.
Yet again I fear very few people can actually see the quiet nuance in El Presidente’s cunning plan. In reality Lobato isn’t free. Rai Los isn’t free either. And anyone else who goes to trial won’t go free either. They’ll go to Indonesia.
El Presidente, still shaken by Alfredo Reinado’s daring daylight saunter out of Becora Prison in 2006 which ultimately led to a confusing attempt to pin the bullet on the president, understands that Timorese prisons aren’t the most secure places on earth.
That’s when El Presidente looked at a map and discovered a whole bunch of penal colonies just west of Timor.
Let’s put things in perspective. Timor is not only on track, but we are speeding headlong into a brick wall future of peace and prosperity. So just relax, kick back and let’s enjoy the ride. Something tells me it’s going to get a lot wilder.