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Jakarta Post

Lessons from Timor Leste

  • The Jakarta Post

  /   Tue, September 1 2009   /  09:29 am

Indonesia would have learned a great deal from the fatal mistakes of its 24-year occupation of the then East Timor, now Timor Leste, so it hardly needs more lessons. Well perhaps one more: a lesson on statesmanship from President José Ramos-Horta.On the 10th anniversary of the UN-sponsored independence referendum that ended Indonesian rule, Ramos-Horta’s speech Saturday was worthy of his standing as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, part of which read “My stated preference, as a human being, victim and head of state, is that we once and for all close the 1975-1999 chapters of our tragic experience [and] forgive those who did us harm.”He called on Timorese to put the past behind and criticized those who continued to call for an international tribunal for Indonesians who had perpetrated the ugly violence in the wake of the Aug. 31, 1999, referendum. Mindful that the demands came mostly ...