The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales on August 25, 2001 · Page 369
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales · Page 369

Sydney, New South Wales
Issue Date:
Saturday, August 25, 2001
Page 369
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World 17 Weekend Edition, August 25-26, 2001 ocus anios Horta lashes UN in language row stop the killing EAST TIMOR THE FIRST ELECTION AST TIMOR Tongues are wagging . . .the influence of English in East Timor is reflected in this graffiti in Dili. Photo: Jason South national staff members have completely ignored the majority of East Timorese political leaders who have stated that Portuguese will be the official language of this country. "In this context and in my capacity as Cabinet member, I have forbidden my staff to co-operate with any branch of UNTAET that insist in ignoring Portuguese language initiatives they organise." Mr Ramos Horta's angry stance raises again the controversial subject of East Timor's official language, which the older generation of independence leaders - including Mr Xanana Gusmao - say should be Portuguese, the language of their former coloniser. Mr Gusmao, an early pro ponent of Portuguese as the official language, said the choice was important in defining the new nation's culture. His call for the adoption of Portuguese sparked a heated debate last year during the national congress of the pro-independence umbrella group, the National Council of Timorese Resistance. Many East Timorese prefer English or Indonesian in addition to Tetum, their indigenous language. Many university students fluent in Indonesian resent having to learn another language that they consider irrelevant to the region. English classes are fast becoming as popular as Portuguese for many East Timorese students Mark Dodd Herald Correspondent in Dili East Timor's Cabinet member for foreign affairs, Mr Jose Ramos Horta, has blasted the United Nations mission in Dili for obstructing the implementation of Portuguese as the country's official language. In a confidential memo sent to Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello, the head of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), Mr Ramos Horta accused UN staff of wanting to impose the English and Indonesian languages on East Timorese. In uncharacteristically blunt language, he said he had banned his staff from co-operating with programs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were potentially at risk over the insistence that they be taught in Portuguese. With a hefty budget allocated to judicial training, the United States mission has recently expressed private concern over the insistence by the Cabinet member for judicial affairs, Ms Gita Welch, that the language of the courts be Portuguese. Courts now use a mixture of languages including English, Indonesian, Portuguese and East Timorese dialects, rendering the proceedings cumbersome. Last month the Department of Social Affairs announced plans to recruit 723 Portuguese language teachers for primary, junior and secondary schools nationwide. any UNTAET training program that did not use Portuguese as the language of instruction. "I would like to inform that no staff from this department will attend this Secretariat training workshop, as once again, some of the UN international staff seem to wish to impose Bahasa Indonesia or English," he wrote in the letter dated August 20, a copy of which has been obtained by the Herald. "Time and again, these inter who see fluency in the language as essential to getting a well-paid job with a foreign company or working for the local UN mission. "If you are going to teach one language then teach a language that is going to open up the world and the region for East Timorese, and that language is not Portuguese but English," one East Timorese official said. Mr Vieira de Mello said UNTAET would not get involved in the language debate, which was a matter for the new East Timorese government to decide. However, senior UN officials said vital UN-sponsored training Fretilin confident that voters will remember who led the struggle Conflict for Rumsfeld Washington: The US Secretary of Defence, Mr Donald Rumsfeld, says he has avoided making decisions involving weapons programs, AIDS policy and defence mergers because of potential conflicts caused by his once-vast share portfolio. Although he had sold most of his shares -valued at between $US50 million ($94 million) and $US210 million - he was still struggling to find buyers for his stakes in two investment funds, he said on Thursday. - New York Times Candidate murdered Phnom Penh: A Cambodian opposition candidate has been shot dead by an unidentified gunman in the run-up to the country's first local polls next year, Sam Rainsy Party officials said. Toch Veun, 54, was shot twice in the chest while in bed and later died in hospital. Another party activist is missing. - Reuters Foot-and-mouth flares London: Britain had uncovered a fresh outbreak of foot-and-mouth at a farm in a region of northern England which had been free of the highly infectious livestock disease for about three months, farm officials said yesterday. - Reuters Deadly quake looms Washington: India, Pakistan and other nations in the Himalayan region are overdue for one or more tremendous earthguakes that could imperil 50 million people and cause unprecedented loss of life, scientists write in the journal Science. - Reuters Now it's Di, the musical Berlin: The first musical based on the life of Princess Diana will have its premiere in Germany in the south-western city of Saarbruecken in November. Lady Di - Diana: A Smile That Enchants The World portrays Diana as a lovestruck outsider manipulated by the English establishment. On lawyers' advice, Prince Charles features only as a voice. - Reuters Court blames Japan Tokyo: A Japanese court has ruled that the Government is responsible for the deaths of least 524 Korean slave labourers on board a navy ship that hit a mine and exploded after the end of the war in 1945. About 80 Koreans, including survivors or relatives of those on board the Ukishima Maru, were seeking $A47 million in compensation and an official apology. Instead, 15 plaintiffs received a total of $700,0000. -Los Angeles Times Executives still white Johannesburg: Top-level management in corporate South Africa remains overwhelmingly white seven years after the end of apartheid, a report on employment eguity says. The report, based on data supplied by 8,000 employers, -showed that whites hold 87 per cent of top management positions, compared with 6 per cent for blacks. - Reuters Bond switches seats Los Angeles: James Bond's brief relationship with German cars is over and Agent 007 is again embracing British engineering in his next movie, due out next year. The three-year BMW reign is over and Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, will drive an Aston Martin.-AP r--i?ii- ' mS fe r-3- ni 'Ijr --.vC , TJie left-wing party says others will not be excluded from government, reports Lindsay Murdoch from Dare Mulo. Some people wept. Others sang national songs they had rehearsed for days and stamped their bare feet in the dust. Rogerio Lobato this week brought the revolution to Dare Mulo, a village high in East Timor's mountains, 100 kilometres south of Dili. "The vote will be a landslide," said Mr Lobato, sipping thick black coffee made from beans growing wild in the mountains where 14 of his brothers and sisters were killed in the 24-year guerilla war with Indonesia. "The war has left a deep emotional connection with Fretilin," he said. "The villagers may not be able to write their own name, but they are not stupid. They know who collaborated with the Indonesians. They know who led the resistance struggle." For weeks the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor, or Fretilin, has dominated campaigning throughout the villages for the election of the half-island territory's first independent parliament ahead of full statehood next year. United Nations officials, diplomats and other observers predict that the left-wing party founded in 1974 will win 60 to 90 per cent : .v f-r rr J'i t ..r y , ;--r s-A-fm trl.I,' u,.aL a l . 1 On the campaign trail . . . villagers greet Fretilin officials on their arrival at Dare Mulo in the central highlands. Below left: Rogerio Lobato, whose family has a reputation for resistance to Indonesian occupation. Below right: a crowd listens to election speeches at a Democratic Party rally. Photos: Andrew Meares Fretilin favours a system of government based on the French model, where a president elected directly by the people every five years would have the authority to call and chair parliament and make important decisions. Its leaders deny claims by rival parties that their supporters have been intimidating voters during the campaign, which has so far been peaceful. They also deny they want a communist state. "We will form a government of national inclusion," said Mr Lobato, 52, a member of Fretilin's central committee. "If someone from the other parties is competent and honest and will do a good job we will bring him or her into government. But they must not develop the policies of their own party. They must agree to pursue the programs of the party that won . . . our government will be based on pragmatism and realism." He added: "It's nonsense to say we are a communist party. Almost all of us are practising Catholics and have strong links to the church. So how can we be communists? ' Two years ago, dozens of pro-Jakarta militia surrounded Dare Mulo and pointed their homemade guns at villagers as they lined up to vote in the UN plebiscite. But the villagers bravely ignored the intimidation because Fretilin, which operated underground during Indonesia's occupation, told them to. The militia responded by destroying 90 per cent of the village and killing an unknown number of people in an orgy of violence and destruction which was repeated across East Timor. But Mr Lobato said Fretilin believed strongly in peacefully bringing back into the villages and towns people who supported Indonesian rule, including an estimated 80,000 still living in squalid camps in West Timor. "There still should be justice for the victims," he said. "We will ensure that those who are guilty will be brought before the courts and given the chance to defend themselves." To the people of Dare Mulo the Lobato family are heroes. Rogerio's brother Nicolau was the commander of anti-Indonesian guerillas in 1978 when he was shot in the leg not far from the r village during an attack by soldiers led by Prabowo Subianto, the son-in-law of the then Indonesian dictator Soeharto. Rather than be taken prisoner, Nicolau declared, "My last bullet is my victory", before shooting himself dead. His wife was eight months pregnant when she was captured. Rather than be taken for interrogation she pleaded to be shot dead. A soldier obliged. The Fretilin rallies held in all East Timor districts in recent weeks had been highly emotional, Mr Lobato said. He was greeted in Dare Mulo, for example, by three teenage girls whose parents were killed in 1999. They wept as they recited poems of welcome. "The memories are still fresh in the people's minds," he said. Mr Mari Alkatiri, another Fretilin leader, said his party was confident of receiving 80 to 85 per cent of the vote. He noted Fretilin was rural-based and more than 90 per cent of the population lived outside the cities and towns. Mr Alkatiri said Fretilin's policy was to ignore claims its members were intimidating voters; UN police arrested two men in the f4.. 4 I U I ' tnmmntmtmtx until r itT iff f mirmHilU'ii 'm- . . m--;. I SA'M -AHLi'-J-."- V 'The villagers may not be able to write their own name, but they are not stupid. They know who collaborated with the Indonesians. ' ROGERIO LOBATO Fretilin Committee Member of the vote, raising concern over the creation of a one-party state. Fretilin will almost certainly dominate the 88-member parliament after voters go to the polls next Thursday, exactly two years after a majority of East Timorese voted to reject Indonesian rule. The parliament's first job will be to draft a Constitution establishing how to rule the 812,000 people. If Fretilin wins more than 85 per cent of seats it will be able to write the Constitution without input from any other party. southern border town of Suai this week. They are being held in jail pending further investigations. "Some of the other parties are taunting us," Mr Alkatiri said. "But we will not respond. Few other countries have had such a violence-free election campaign." He claimed that interests in Indonesia - not the Government in Jakarta - had tried to send 1 billion rupiah (about $215,000) to one of the other political parties to be used to try to thwart Fretilin. But the money was seized by border officials. "I know the party, but won't say which one in the interests of keeping things peaceful," Mr Alkatiri said. "There are certain individuals in Indonesia, even generals, who don't want Fretilin to win this election ... it will be another humiliation for them because they could not crush us during 24 years of occupation." FFY BUR m") y? LOAN HOME liii iWfe jiiiiJ i0 tit W"- -'' SWIVMiimWiwff-nBifii PUBLICAUCTIONNOnCE With deals like these, you've just Gotta Go. Valuable cargo, now in possession of bailee for disposal without recourse. 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