Latest Documentries

Friends of Suai

Suai Youth Media


Art & Culture

Suai Social Network


Step by Step: Women of East Timor, Stories of Resistance & Survival Review

July 28th, 2011 jen Posted in News, Timorese Autobiography Comments Off on Step by Step: Women of East Timor, Stories of Resistance & Survival Review

Review by Jen Hughes
Step by Step: Women of East Timor, Stories of Resistance and Survival edited by Jude Conway and launched in Australia nationally in 2010, presents 13 oral histories from Timorese women, with each story accompanied by several pages of photographic snapshots from their lives.

The collection of stories reveal the role women played in East Timor’s independence struggle on the guerilla front, the diplomatic front and in the student movement inside and outside the country and afterwards.

The opening story told by Ceu Lopes Federer provides a lens through which to read the subsequent twelve stories. The work Ceu and her compatriots did to meet the financial needs of the resistance inside and outside Timor, to keep it alive and strong, and to provide them with accurate information about what was going on outside in relation to East Timor gives the reader an insight into how important women were in the solidarity movement that was the backbone to the diplomatic front. Mica Barreto Soares’ story tells how Timorese studied in Indonesia and the work they did for East Timor inside Indonesia. The two show the importance of the women’s solidarity work to the survival of the guerilla movement inside Timor and segue into the stories about the work Timorese women did all over the world. They also provide background for the sometimes small but extremely risky activities of other storytellers when they speak of secreting letters and notes, medicines or food, inside clothing and bluffing their way through Indonesian positions inside East Timor and Indonesia.

The simple device of providing an introductory paragraph about the circumstances of their family and ethnicity at birth in all the stories yields rich rewards by giving access to the intricate and personal character of conflicts of this kind, making a broader reading of how women and their families experience conflict possible. The stories make it clear, that war was everywhere and everywhere they turned every aspect of personal life was affected by it. Their family histories and the location in time and place of the storytellers dramatically impacts on the destiny of the women and their children.

The most heart wrenching story in the book is of a child who wished her mother, Dulce Vitor, dead because it was her military were chasing, and because of her they were hungry and had to run every day.

This collection of stories tells what the everyday embodiment of a conflict in your own community is like for families. It was in the fertile ground of dire need and ambition, in amongst the secrets, on the boundaries of family relationships, political and institutional alliances, the seeds of fear and distrust could be sewn by enemies, or serendipitously falling there, cause discovery and tempt betrayal. However it was in similar fissures and trusted spaces deeply embedded in the community that the resistant impulses became active too. The stories show, it was from the domestic spaces that courage, adaptability, resistance and resilience grew and spread over generations to the clandestine movement inside the country and the solidarity movement outside the country.

The various reasons for these women getting involved in the struggle for East Timor’s independence gives an insight into why these stories are critically different from oral histories about women’s involvement in war I’ve read before. Most of them became caught up because of their experience of the forced oppression and violence against themselves, their family and their fellow human beings. Carolina Do Rosario “As Timor women we felt worthless, little more than dolls. We felt that slaves had a history we shared, … that’s why…. we never walked away from the struggle, we kept fighting”. And Laura Soares Abrantes: “how can one practice culture without human rights”?

A book of oral histories runs the risk of losing the reader because the writing lacks the page-turning pulse that dramatic tension provides in a woven narrative. However the power of these stories resides in the realistic immediacy and verifiability of their first person narratives, published as they are while the protagonists still live. This personal as political approach to a historical record of an international political conflict, adds weight to the gender struggle that is on-going in East Timor, a deeply conservative male dominated society. The women want us to know the fight for equality was not introduced by foreigners but has grown from the struggle for independence. It is significant the stories have been published for a broader English-speaking readership. If the stories were recorded and used for research before being abstracted into a history authored by Conway rather than edited as they are they wouldn’t serve the same function politically or be as satisfying for the storytellers.

One of the strengths of the book is the history of the editor Jude Conway. Jude worked side by side with Timorese in Darwin and Dili for twenty years and many of the photographs in the book taken by her, amplify the stories, showing somewhat disconcertingly, how social life continued; how love and marriage, birth and friendship, educational achievement and the women themselves were growing older and their lives were changing during the time of the stories. The photograph albums for each storyteller are available on Conway’s FaceBook page here:

Step by Step is a highly readable, timely collection of oral histories that shines a light on the pivotal role women played in East Timor’s struggle for independence and afterwards, inside and outside East Timor. I highly recommend it.

Jen Hughes is a writer and filmmaker. Producer/Director of The Circle of Stones (2001), Time to go John and Black Bullion (2003) as well as producer and co–author of She has had eleven years involvement with East Timor, assisting the youth of Suai and the Friends of Suai: set up a media training group YoMaTre:.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Ai-Tarak Domin

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Ai-Tarak Domin, Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Poetry, Timorese Poems, Writing 1 Comment »

Husi liman nia hakohak,senti domin husi fuan.
Lun fase matan husi o nia hahalok aat nebe o hatudu.
Kalohan falun rai, nakukun hein naroman atu mai.
Manu aman kokorek, hader mai, hasoru domin nebe o fo

Uluk dehan hadomi sei lafahe, furak nakonu ho o
Anin kalan falun ha’u oin, nakukun anin malirin huu ha’u nia fuk
Lalehan rai klran nakonu ho aitarak domin nian.
Loro matan leno rai, fo naroman hafurak rai ne’e

Ha’u hakarak fila iha oras nebe ita promete
Hein kalan atu mosu, fitun lakan simu loro matan
Telephone (nokia) iha liman los hakarek mensazen lian murak.
Temi-temi o naran, doben, mais liman lato’o atu kaer o fuk.

Hakne’ak husu tulun, atu fila iha loron ne’e
Lia, anin lori mai, tilun simu, tanis no hamnasa
Kokur tarutu rai nakukun tu’an mameran saki rai
Manas halo ha’u kosar, hein tempo atu ita hasoru fali malu.

Liman rasan: Grace JC Da Costa Nahac (Chamot)
Dili 24-07-08

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Boa noite mundu

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Boa noite mundu, Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Poetry, Timorese Poems 1 Comment »

Abu-abu taka metin kalohan
Rai nakaras simu nanoraman
Matan maluhak susar atu imagina o nia oin
Domin sobu nakukun husi abu-abu nia let

Lakon o nia lalatak tan ohin o dok
Liu husi kintu-kantu
Pinta bo’ot naran Jeny ha’u nia doben
Musika halo hau tilun diuk

Palku leten ha’u nia mundu.
Fo ksolok ba moris
Triste halokon hamnasa
Ispiritu teatru hamosu hasai nehan

Anin meudia sempre halo dukur
Mehi ne’e atu sai realidade
Rona lia dadolin no ema tanis
Domin mak halo ita sei hamotuk fail

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saseni wa’in (banyak penghalang)

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Poetry, Saseni wa'in (banyak penghalang), Timorese Poems Comments Off on Saseni wa’in (banyak penghalang)

Naroman mosu husi tasi Fesawa duni nakukun iha o nia moris.
Dalan bo’ot Ai-lo’ok laran sai tasan ho ha’u nia ain fatin.
Tuda o ho domin tan laran funan buras atu hadomi.
Ibun midar ba atu ko’alia mais ta’uk saseni mai satan.

Loro matan atu monu nakukun atu mai.
Liman rasan ida ne’e, fuan domin ba o.
Hafoer surat tahan tan laran latahan atu hasoru o.
Foin hakat dala ida wee matan kota satan netik ha’u.

Furak lia hotu dehan ona.
Saseni wa’in iha ita rua nia klaran.
Laran metan nebe iha atu pinta ho ahu.
Tan hadomi, ha’u bele lakon vida ne’e.

Dalan bo’ot la’o fatin atu tuan mai ha’u.
Ai-mahon nebe iha atu tesi tanba hirus.
Uma oan mina fatin sai sasin ba itrua.
Keta dehan ha’u haluha o nia domin, tan furak nunka lakon iha ha’nia fuan.

Ne’e special ba o Mira>>>>
Liman Rasan: Sancho Alves Nahac (Chamot)
Bb 13-10-07

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Isin di’ak Hakmatek

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Isin di'ak Hakmatek, Poetry, Timorese Poems Comments Off on Isin di’ak Hakmatek

Hanoin to’ok ema toba
Lilin lakan iha santa cruz
Roo metan mai saka
Mata wen nunka maran

Karii to’ok ai-funan
Bolu fali nia klamar
Manu metan mai kanta
Hein malu rai seluk

Latan aan ba rai bolu lafila
La katak lia menon ba los deit
Tidin tun ai kruz,atu fila la fila
Ema barak asisti loron ikus moris nian

Isin ha’u iha ia han rai nian
Uma foun ha’u hela mak fatin sunu no karii
Husi dook ha’u rona ema kanta bolu ha’u
Isin di’ak ba sira hakmatek mai ha’u.

Liman Rasan: Sancho Chamot Alves Nahac
Dili 02-10-07

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Falun Ha’u Ho O Nia Hadomi.

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Falun Ha'u O Nia Hadomi, Timorese Poems 1 Comment »

Toba la dukur, matan laran hare o nia oin.
Letratu mak o fo mai ha’u, troka o nia aan iha kalan ne’e.
Fuan nakdedar tan ta’uk lakon o.
Nakukun halo ha’u la hare buat ida.

Atu haluha o tan o dook.
Ibun nunka para temi o nia naran.
Lalatak moris iha mehi.
Mai fo ksolok ba fuan nebe tristi.

O sei la hatene ha’u nia laran ba o.
Tan o nia fuan fahe ona ba ema seluk.
Nia mai atu haketak o no ha’u.
Mais hadomi ne’e sei nafatin ba o.

Amor fahe fuan fahe mos laran.
Domin nebe iha atu la mohu tanba o.
Anin malirin halo ha’u nakdedar.
O falun ha’u ho o nia hadomi.

Didika ba ha’u nia Amor Mira iha SMA N 1 Suai
Liman Rasan: Sancho Alves Nahac (Chamot)
Bb 15-10-07

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Ulun ketak-ketak

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Poetry, Timorese Poems, Ulun Ketak-ketak 1 Comment »

Ha’u nia ulun hitu.
Ran lahatene.
Kaer iskeru .
Sunu tun sunu sa’e.

Ema Timor .
Inan ida.
Avo ida.
Ulun ketak-ketak.

Rai ki’ik .
Nakonu ho riku soin.
Povo la barak.
Bangkada barak.

Han ai abut .
Hemu maho wen.
Monu husi kadeira.
Sai atan ba povo.

Liman rasan: Sancho Alves Nahac (Chamot)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Hatene aan

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Hatene aan, Poetry, Timorese Poems 1 Comment »

Hanesan lalenok hatudu lalatak
Botir rahun halo kanek
Tua sabu fo lanu
Isin ne’e nunka mohu

Anin bo’ot kasu uma kakuluk
Laloran tasi baku ha’u nia bero
Tanba moderno kamera hasai ha’u nia oin
Kruz ida ha’u iha atu salva o nia vida

Kultura naklekar modernu mai sobu
Uma du’ut ita nian isin klamar rai lulik
Hodi walan hahoris lalatak mundu ne’e
Manu aman kokorek naraman foun foin mosu

Tudik tesi du’ut
Ibun derok ko’a o nia isin
Foin senti moris furak
Hanoin aat mai sobu

Liman rasan: Sancho chamot Alves Nahac
Bibi Bulak 06-10-07

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Lisan mak nebe

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Chamot's Little Book of Poetry, Lisan mak nebe, Poetry, Timorese Poems 1 Comment »

Tur hein tempo atu mai
Hare ba oin iha hetan fatin atu reza
Tur fatin ha’u iha nakonu ho rozas
Lakan nebe leno futar fuan domin nian

Lian ida mai husu iha nebe o nia lisan
Laran manas no odio atu funu ho se
Namalaik mosu mai atu lahuk no dodok
Lilin mutin no mean saseluk bua malus

Kuda aman kalerak foti aan k’man basuk
Manu ran hodi hisik buka bee atu bensa
Ramelau matebian baku malu iha fatin
Fahi fuik manu fuik tanis husu ai han

Nakali mosu mai rai lulik sai santa
Tula dikur ba malu hamutuk hili dame
Anju oan mai tanis tan buka alleluia
Glogria ba aman,oan no ispiritu santo amen.

Liman Rasan: Sancho Chamot Alves Nahac
Bibi Bulak04– 10-07

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Dadolin Metisere

October 27th, 2008 jen Posted in Dadolin Metisere, News, Poetry, Timorese Poems Comments Off on Dadolin Metisere

Hamnasa tan hetan ksolok
Tanis tan susar falun moris
Ahi suar loro kraik fo hanoin loron aban
Koko hirus temi inan nia hela rai dook

Maun bo’ot sai sedu ba to’os
Apa rasik lahatene atu halo saida iha ohin
Alin ki’ik tanis tan inan susun wen maran
Ha’u rasik lahatene tansa buat hotu mosu

Apa bilan tan husu ba nia
Vizinu laran moras tan husu la foo
Hakarak buka rasik maibe seidauk iha ain
Apa, Ama iha nebe imi nia domin

Kasu lia reikadu isin k’man iha moris
Dadolin metisere loron ohin hotu ona
Ai tahan namtate moris foun atu mosu
Udan tun monu rai fini tubu to’os laran

Liman rasan Sancho Chamot Alves Nahac
Bibi bulak.27-09-07

AddThis Social Bookmark Button