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Jakarta Post

That big door toward freedom for East Timor

Jakarta   /   Wed, August 28, 2019   /  04:49 pm
That big door toward freedom for East Timor Former president of Timor Leste Jose Ramos-Horta (center) gives public lecture in the 3rd ASEAN Literary Festival 2016 in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

Many nations engaged in a bloody war before they achieved freedom. Few, however, went through it only to be suppressed days later and arise with great determination to fight and achieve it again. East Timor, now Timor Leste, did it. And it did it almost twice.  The former Portuguese colony proclaimed its independence on Nov. 30, 1975, at 10 p.m., only to be invaded 144 hours later, yet restored it after 24 years of war, occupation and struggle.  On that very day when independence was declared, “I kept my eyes looking toward the sea and my ears toward the air [because] who knows, the Indonesian army might come and attack us,” then-president Francisco Xavier do Amaral told me in 1995. Indonesia, too, has gone through a similar course of events. It took momentous decades and struggle to achieve independence, and declared it in 1945 only to face a Dutch...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.