Aniversario ba dala sanuluh(10) Septembro Negro Iha Suai.

November 10th, 2009 jen Posted in 2009, 2009 In Suai, Aniversario Massacre Suai 2010, Friends of Suai News Comments Off on Aniversario ba dala sanuluh(10) Septembro Negro Iha Suai.

Chamot – co-ordinator of the Uma Media and YoMaTre has just uploaded this video from Suai. This is a historic moment in the history of the friendship that comes just one month after the 10th Anniversary of the massacre and the surround events that led to the formation of the friendship ten years ago.
Notisias Dokumentario Yo-Ma-Tre.
Nebe Kobertura iha fulan setembru 2009.

Find more videos like this on friends of suaimediaspace

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Photos 10th Anniversary Suai

October 27th, 2009 jen Posted in 2009, 2009 In Suai, Friends of Suai News Comments Off on Photos 10th Anniversary Suai

Desleigh Kent a member of the Friends of Suai Committee has returned to Port Phillip after a trip to Suai with the English teachers with photographs of the Anniversary. The photographs show that as on the First Anniversary,  the remembrance ceremonies and prayers took place in the place where the massacre took place in Our Lady of Fatima Church, in front of that Church and under shade on the large grassy area in front of the unfinished cathedral.

The character and form of the remembrance symbols has changed over the years and the original circle of stones has been moved from the driveway in front of the Church to the side. The original Church that was rehabilitated after the massacre and the accompanying fire has been demolished and replaced with a new one.  Ergilio reported in a conversation on Skype that the people have stopped crying, and he is afraid that the story will be forgotten and justice is out of their reach. According to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald article on the 7th September, The United Nation’s top human rights official Navanethem Pillay, says East Timor’s release of the Indonesian accused of crimes against humanity violates the country’s own constitution as well as UN Security Council resolutions rejecting impunity for genocide. Bere came across the border on a Visa issued by East Timor’s government, for his father’s funeral in August, in Cova Lima. When locals recognised him as one of the perpertrators of the atrocities in 1999 he was captured and handed over to the police, only to be released again on the orders of President Jose Ramos-Horta.

When approached by the local journalists in Suai for answers to why Martenus Bere was released Gusmao refused to answer them; a move that was very disappointing for the people who supported him and gave up their lives for Independence and democracy under his leadership.

According to the SMH Ms Pillay has asked the East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta for more information on the release of Bere. More –

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Ten years on no justice for Suai massacre victims

September 8th, 2009 jen Posted in 1999, Acts of Remembrance, Friends of Suai News Comments Off on Ten years on no justice for Suai massacre victims

10th-A-candles_1Ten years after the Suai Church Massacre and nine since I was in Suai for the first Anniversary a lot has changed but the most important thing for the victims of the Suai Church massacre, which is justice, is still elusive.

Flag-Half-mastAt the Port Phillip St Kilda Town Hall yesterday the Timorese flag ran at half mast while the Friends of Suai, with visitor Alberto Barros from Suai, and Balthasar Kehi from Fatumea, both of Cova Lima, placed rocks on the pristine parquetry floor in the foyer of this  huge monument to Roman Greek architecture, presumably designed to remind the residents of Port Phillip of the history of democracy with which we nostagically associate justice.  The Friends of Suai were commemorating  this important date in the history of the Friendship with Suai.   The Suai Church Massacre was the devastating event that, along with widespread destruction to infrastructure and homes,  that led to the formation of the friendship to assist in the recovery of Suai following the ballot for independence on August, 30th, 1999.

What values we all wonder, are being communicated to Australians, the Timorese people and the rest of the world, when justice is not pursued, what ever the cost. Why do the Timorese people have to be the ones to live without justice? Forgiveness and its possibility may lie in our hearts, but without justice it becomes impossible for all but the most pious. It is my personal view that it is a basic human need to find justice, to be able move forward to peace of mind. Australia’s indigenous people have made this clear to us as have the millions of others who have suffered injustice. Anyone who has suffered from injustice knows the strong feelings of indignation and overwhelming sadness when one’s suffering and human dignity is not recognised by a judicial process. The existential anxiety that accompanies injustice and loss of human dignity is well documented in the songs and stories written and performed by the people of Suai on suai media space.

It is not my place to call for justice for the Timorese, unless they call for me to stand beside them. In the past week the rumblings of discontent and calls for the need for justice, that began several years ago are building up.  In Suai, some friends  have prepared questions for their leaders, and they are planning to stage a protest today, for the leaders of East Timor who will be in Suai for the remembrance ceremonies.  Knowing that several protestors in Dili were arrested last week, means that once again the youth of East Timor are putting their own futures at risk to test their new democracy, as they did in 1991, and throughout the student movement of the nineties, to show the way to a  just future for their country.

Armindo: Come Back To Your Country

The Innocent Ones

Further links to stories.

For the best coverage following the story of the release of Maternus Bere who was indicted for Cimes Against Himanity in the Suai Church Massacre and other Laksaur militia activities: Laohamutuk

AFP : Headline: Ten years on, no justice for ETimor’s Suai massacre victims

Brisbane Times: Headline: Massacre suspect’s release draws warning from UN

The Jakarta Post:  Headline: Ramos-Horta’s refusal of court prolongs painful way to justice

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Rock Messages to Suai 2009

September 3rd, 2009 jen Posted in 2009, Acts of Remembrance, Friends of Suai News, News from Port Phillip, Rock Messages to Suai 2009 Comments Off on Rock Messages to Suai 2009

Click on the image to read by enlargement of rock messages painted  by Port Phillip residents to the people of Suai in 2001 & 2003. Posted on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Suai Church Massacre

Rocks written painted and drawn on in 2001 by members of the Port Phillip community, at the Second Anniversary of the Suai Church Massacre are still  relevant.

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The Balibo story – an aspect of Australian identity

June 3rd, 2009 jen Posted in 1975, Friends of Suai News Comments Off on The Balibo story – an aspect of Australian identity

The Balibo story soon to be released as a dramatic feature film, delineates an aspect of Australian identity in our regional neighbourhood that most Australians have suppressed or would prefer to forget. If anyone is in any doubt about the lack of morality of successive Australian Governments and their double standards in contributing to East Timor’s devastation and material poverty, the short video Black Bullion just uploaded on Suai Media Space should dispel them. Made in 2003 the film shows Australia’s leaders were still deceiving the Australian public after sending in our soldiers to help stop the killing in 1999.

Black Bullion explains in simple terms with some dark humour, Australia’s role in stealing wealth from it’s nearest and poorest neighbour, while thousands of grassroots Australians and others were working hard to rebuild friendship and trust with East Timorese people after the devastating events of 1999 following the referendum.

Balibo forever linked the community of Port Phillip to the people of East Timor because it is the home to relatives of the two journalists:  Shirley Shackleton, Paul Stewart. Shirley’s husband Greg Shackleton and Paul’s brother Tony were two of the journalists killed at Balibo. Shirley became the face of East Timor in some ways in the Australian press as she never allowed her voice to be silenced. Paul made a huge contribution to raising awareness of the young through his involvement in the Dili Allstars whose song Liberdade is known word by word through out Timor.

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Liquica Massacre – 10th Anniversary

April 6th, 2009 jen Posted in 1999, Friends of Suai News, Liquica Massacre Anniversary Comments Off on Liquica Massacre – 10th Anniversary

Clinton Fernandes posted an Australian Coalition for Justice for East Timor.

No peace without justice in East Timor
Lindsay Murdoch
April 4, 2009
WE CONFRONTED the alleged mass killer as his men were hosing blood off his balcony. Leoneto Martins angrily denied that any massacre had taken place in the East Timorese town where he was the Indonesian-appointed mayor.
No Peace Without Justice in East Timor
Five people had died in clashes between rival groups, he said, before suggesting it might not be safe for myself and three other journalists to remain any longer in Liquica, a seaside town of 55,000 people 30 kilometres west of the capital, Dili.

We suspected Martins was lying.

Shops and markets were closed and the usually busy streets were largely deserted, except for groups of menacing-looking men wearing bandannas and ribbons in the red and white of the Indonesian flag.

Wide-eyed, trembling terror showing in the faces of women searching for family members confirmed something terrible had happened here.

But we didn’t know on that stifling hot April morning the extent and brutality of the violence at the town’s quaint Sao Joao Brito Church, the first of a series of massacres and attacks across East Timor that left about 1500 people dead and thousands more raped, maimed and wounded.

Worshippers in many Catholic churches across Australia were asked to observe a minute’s silence last weekend to mark the 10th anniversary on Monday of what the world came to know as the Liquica massacre.

Eurico Guterres, one of its alleged organisers, will spend the anniversary campaigning across the border in Indonesian West Timor to be elected a member of Indonesia’s national parliament.

Former general Wiranto, the man who was in charge of the military that inflicted terror across East Timor that year, will be campaigning to be elected Indonesia’s next president.

But in East Timor, 10 years has not dimmed the memories or fervour.

“When I speak with the victims, the one thing they ask me is, ‘When will there be justice?”‘ says Christina Carrascalao, who works to help improve the lives of the survivors, many of them poor, illiterate farmers. “I tell them I can’t answer that.”

The then church priest in Liquica, Rafael dos Santos, has retold the story of the massacre many times, the horror of it etched in his memory.

“At first the police shot tear gas into the church. Then they fired periodically into the air. Brimob members (riot police) fired shots in the air. Brimob members shot at people in the church. The Brimob shooting into the air gave a chance for the Besi Merah Puti (pro-Indonesian militia) to enter the church grounds, then the BMP began to massacre the people with arrows and spears. The people hit by the tear gas ran outside with their eyes closed, then the BMP hacked them. The name of this is murder.”

Father Rafael was bustled away at gunpoint by an Indonesian soldier as people inside his house tried to grab his robes, touching them and shouting, “We are dying. We are dying.”

Attackers shot dead people cowering in the priest’s bedroom. When several teenagers hid in the crawl space between the ceiling and the zinc roof, troops climbed on the roof and shot downwards.

Witnesses said the killing continued as machete-swinging militiamen chased people running from the church to Martins’ house, 100 metres away. But there was no sanctuary there.

Numerous inquiries and investigations have put the Liquica death toll at between 30 and 100.

The most commonly accepted figure is 86, the worst massacre in East Timor since the indiscriminate killing at Dili’s Santa Cruz cemetery in 1991.

But only low to mid-level militiamen have been convicted over the massacre or any of the other atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999, with higher ranking personnel, including Indonesian military and police officers, beyond reach in Indonesia.

Martins was among 19 accused who stood trial for crimes against humanity at a tribunal in Jakarta that human rights groups described as a sham. All were eventually acquitted.

Guterres served two years of a 10-year sentence for crimes against humanity before being acquitted on appeal in 2008.

East Timor’s leaders Jose Ramos Horta, a 1996 Nobel laureate, and Xanana Gusmao, a former freedom fighter, oppose calls for an international war crimes tribunal, saying reconciliation is more important than new trials and warning of a possible backlash within elements of the Indonesian military and destabilisation of their country’s fledgling democracy.

Gusmao is scheduled to go to the church this weekend to mark the anniversary. He will not receive the hero’s welcome he did in 1999 when he returned to East Timor after spending six years in a Jakarta jail.

Clinton Fernandes, a former Australian intelligence officer who was reporting on East Timor in 1999, says most…

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Remembering the Santa Cruz Massacre in Suai 2008

November 12th, 2008 jen Posted in 1991, Friends of Suai News, Santa Cruz Massacre Comments Off on Remembering the Santa Cruz Massacre in Suai 2008

I received an email from Ergilio (Director of the Suai Youth Centre) yesterday while I was working on the first of a series of video letters to Suai …I have to ask him for permission to publish his letter in full .. at the moment he is sharing the news only with me and we want him to share it with you, the readers of our website. but I’m sure he will not mind this quote …
“Mana Jen Diak ka lae……..
We are busy with 12 Nov Massacre and AIDS day on 1st December …. we are organising a photography competition in the schools …. Rgds Egy”

I was in Dili for the Ninth Anniversary of the Santa Cruz Massacre with Veronica Pereira and over the next few days I will be posting video stories. The documentary stories begin with the first ‘Letter to Suai’ ‘Seeking the Light’ The Timorese have a very poetic language and it is often my desire to facilitate as simply as possible, their stories or songs.  Many times I simply take the titles of my films and video letters from their words. This is the case for the first video letter which documents Timorese youth from the Taibisse’s ‘Quiet Moment’ Theatre Group and the ‘Rai Timor’ Theatre Group as they spoke from their hearts from high on the walls of the Santa Cruz Cemetry on November 12, 2000 before leaping to the ground to the sound of a wall of gunfire.

At the time and afterwards I was struck by the insensitivity of the seated guests who, unable to understand their words chattered and whispered throughout the performance despite the shshhh of others who did understand. My Tetun was very limited, and so the performance took me by surprise. I was having difficulties with positioning myself and my audio lead was faulty, creating intermittent crackling sounds. In documentary editing this rough footage would normally be cut out and inclusion of the whole performance would be limited by narrative and time constraints. The raw footage however gives everyone the opportunity to hear directly from these young people, about how they were feeling at that time. This was the first year after the ballot for Independence when Dili and the rest of the country was still devastated by the scorched earth campaign waged by the Indonesian backed militia before they departed. It was a time of mixed grief and trauma, happiness and high hopes for the future. The young men who organised the Remembrance that day,in their introduction, invite their leaders to remember the sacrifice of the people as the lead them out of the valley of tears into the future. In hindsight these words have added poignancy.

Episode two of ‘Seeking the Light’ shows a woman bursting from the crowd crying out an unscripted devastating lament in her native langauge Tetun, calling for recognition that the leadership’s decisions are causing the ordinary people unbearable suffering. Filomena dos Reis who counsels this woman, told me she lost three sons at the Santa Cruz Massacre. As she called for recognition of the pain of ordinary people, her vocal grief was hurriedly muffled by loud strains of music turned on by the organisers. Following this her sincere and powerful lament was replaced by a young girl reciting a rehearsed short history of East Timor in Portuguese, for the benefit of assembled international guests. ‘Seeking the Light’

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Apology for Delay in Uploading the Circle of Stones

September 19th, 2008 jen Posted in 1999, Acts of Remembrance, Friends of Suai News Comments Off on Apology for Delay in Uploading the Circle of Stones

To everybody who came to Suai Media Space on the 9th Anniversary of the Suai Church Massacre – my deepest apologies. I have had difficulties with uploading this video. I will post a news item immediately the video is uploaded.

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9th Anniversary Suai Church Massacre – The Circle of Stones video

September 5th, 2008 jen Posted in 1999, Acts of Remembrance, Friends of Suai News Comments Off on 9th Anniversary Suai Church Massacre – The Circle of Stones video

Today and tomorrow mark the Ninth Anniversary of the Suai Church Massacre in which over 50 people were killed in Our Lady of Fatima Church in Suai, while up to 200 are said to have died in the Church grounds and the Unfinished Cathedral.

A call for justice the film intercuts the re-enactment of the massacre with the ceremony around the Circle of Stones that grew outside the Church, that marks the place where the bodies of those killed were burned by the militia afterwards.

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Flawed Truth and Fatal Consequences

July 21st, 2008 jen Posted in 1999, Friends of Suai News, News from Port Phillip, Truth & Justice Commission 2 Comments »

A response by journalist Hamish Mcdonald in the Sydney Morning Herald to the news this week’s report of a joint Indonesia-East  Timor “Truth and Justice Commission” that has blurred the blame for
the horrors of 1999, in which some 1500 people died and the scorched earth campaign that followed.

This story contributes to the knowledge on this website about the murderers of Hilario Madeira and the others in Suai.

Father Hilario is always spoken of so well by everybody I meet. That was an outstanding man and an exemplary priest is testified to by his stand in Suai on the 5th of September, 1999. Father Hilario and the other priests knew they were to be attacked before it took place. Father Hilario kept people informed of what was happening on the ground as it happened and he and the other priests had sufficient time to leave Our Lady of Fatima Church and save their own lives, but they chose to stay and die with their congregation. By reputation he was also the kind of priest that did not see that it was necessary to destroy a culture in order to take up the beliefs of christianity. To the contrary the people of Suai were encouraged to maintain their culture and their language. This philosophy appeared to be  carried on by Father Rene Manubag when I was there in 2000. When there was important rituals and ceremonies taking place the women wore the tais and danced. When I saw a similar ceremonies in Dili and elsewhere the Timorese involved in the ceremony all wore  white gowns familiar to us in European Christian settings, and there certainly wasn’t any traditional dance. Where else cin East Timor could we have imagined that the ritual around the circle of stones on the 6th of September, 2000 on the First Anniversary of the Massacre could have taken place alongside the Catholic Mass? Anybody reading this who can tell us more about  Father Hilario, please, write to us.

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