The war machine revisited

I wrote during the last presidential campaign about the images of military used by then candidate Lu Olo, and Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the war machine – noting at the time the “persistent equivalence between the ruling party and the war machine and the state”.

In this year’s election, this has taken an interesting twist, as the former commander of guerrilla forces and then Timor’s military Taur Matan Ruak (TMR) is one of the most popular candidates for president. And he has been endorsed by the strongest party in the ruling coalition, which came to power after the crisis of 2006, in which TMR was an important figure, presiding over the military that clashed with rebels and police.

But TMR will have stiff competition from Lu Olo (Fretilin) among over a dozen others. The question on my mind is: will an eventual run-off be a contest between two figures from Timor’s guerrilla forces? Or an ex-military and a civilian?

Meanwhile, founder father and declarer of independence Xavier do Amaral managed to get on the ballot again even while reportedly deathly ill. It is a terrible question, but on people’s minds: will he make it until election day on March 17?


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