Casus Belo

Odd times. The past is ever present in Timor.

Abílio Araújo suggests the Petroleum Fund is no more than a neocolonial imposition on Timor, based on the assumption that the Timorese are corruptable children who do not know how to take care of themselves. He writes, “the current justification for the creation of the Fund is based on the genetic-cultural propension of oil-producing peoples and countries to generate corrupt leaders that delapitdate the riches of their peoples.” A (dated) colonial critique which is applied with no subtly. His idea: spend Timor out of oil dependency, and fast.

José Belo is on the dock with criminal charges for what must be said is bizarre reportage on corruption by the Minister of Justice herself. The real story is that the project Timorese criminal legal code, where Article 175 will determine defamation, has conveniently not been passed in Parliament. So Belo can be tried with the outdated, repressive Indonesian version. Another relic from past vested with a great deal of power.

And Agiu Pereira published an opinion piece called “The Dreams of Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão“, quoting Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa in the second paragraph. I can’t help but quote this extensively

Two contradictions are hovering in the conscience of Xanana Gusmão. One of them relates to the fact that he breached the promise made to his guerrillas that, after the liberation, he would not hold any position; the other is the conscience of the duty, the duty to serve, the duty not to let go what his guerrilla men achieved, for he saw many of them being killed and giving their lives so as to make their dream come true, a dream that is the dream of an entire people.

His desire to be a mere spectator of a new stage in the struggle for the sovereignty of his people, a stage of building a democratic State based on the rule of law, has not materialised because the national political reality dictates that Xanana must continue to row in this cyclopean boat that carries the hopes of the Timorese children so that they may one day be able to have more adequate living conditions, a happier life than that of their ancestors, a life proper of a modern people and country, in a globalised world.

His promise not to hold a political position was transformed by contemporary reality and converted into “Having Freed the Motherland, Let Us Free the People”.

Xanana continues to be a prisoner, but today he is a prisoner of freedom. The new prison cells are not made of walls and metal, but of his own conscience. The dream is, after all, a train that travels in a political process of the national liberation itself!

This train has neither stations nor does it stop to enable Xanana to step down.

How relevant are trains in Timor? (Maybe Timor Cartoon could do something with this image!)

I’m going to hop on my trusty kuda to take me to Central London.


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