Job creation

Yesterday afternoon, I was visiting a colleague at his residence which is a 1 bedroom unit in a bit of a mish-mash of buildings all contained within a walled compound.

There are quite a few walled compounds in Dili but most are just a fence with a gate and one or two guards. Some may have razor wire or equivalent but this one is just normal fences. (Like septic tank cleaning services, razor wire supplies are a booming industry here.) The compound has guards, gardeners and room cleaning staff like a serviced apartment and rents to foreigners.

Anyway, apart from the consequences of the recent UN report, we were actually discussing job creation and how this was perhaps the biggest reason for much of the recent trouble. As we spoke, there was a commotion outside over the fence. The guards and other staff in the compound were running about the place. It was clear there was a rock fight or similar going on – lots of yelling. One of the guards appeared with blood streaming from his head. He had been walking back to work after collecting his pay and was attacked just outside. He was an easterner (lorosae).

Within minutes, the police (ie UN police) arrived and broke it up. I could see the tops of police vehicles passing by over the easily scalable fence. It was all over in 10 minutes.  When I left, I found myself between 2 police road blocks. As I was on the inside, I was asked if I was OK. They told me that they had used tear gas and rubber bullets. There were rocks all over the road and broken glass from the car or cars that unfortunately were passing at the wrong time.

I pondered just what might have happened if I had decided to leave 30 minutes earlier. However, I still remain confident that a non uniform-wearing white face is not a rock target – as long as they can see your face !