I encourage anyone who encounters anything of note today to post a comment here.
Last Friday’s shooting at the airport carpark by the airport IDP camp seems to have sparked up the anti-foreigner feeling amongst some of the locals. The incidence of stoning of vehicles driven by foreigners seems to have increased. Although first assumed to be anti-UN, it seems to have morphed into anti-OZ and even anti-anyone foreign.
I know people who drive around everywhere (or so they say) who have never seen an incident but others who confront this stuff every day. There seems to be more of it west of the heliport which is an area I try to avoid. The OZ embassy has been a particularly bad spot for some time, so diversion around the alternative beach road has been my preference for a while. However, last week even that route was a bit dodgy given that one of the rice warehouses is on that road. As per last year, the closer you are to the seashore, the safer it seems.
The traffic lights have created problems by stopping vehicles which are subsequently stoned. I think the general rule is to ignore the traffic lights now. They should be turned off.
There is a funeral today for one (or both ?) of those who died last Friday. The word is to practice extreme caution today as anti-OZ sentiment is expected to be high. I have no plans to get amongst it today and I know several government ministries have pretty much closed down due to repeated rock throwing incidents aimed at their offices. Some have moved out computer equipment to play it safe.
Lets see how the day pans out.
PS – Teresa – keep reading.
Re the traffic lights. After some lobbying they have now been turned off.
Re: Being Ozzie. I’ve got got two Union flags (minus the Southern Cross) coming in from Darwin today. Big one for the house and little one for the car.
This is a great blog, I have read it thoroughly top to bottom. Thankyou for writing it. I have never been to East Timor but the place does fascinate me as a microcosm of large county small country relations. My understanding of this country runs along these lines.
1) Indonesia invaded the place, killed about 200,000 people and sucked oil and resources out of it while the west stood by and did nothing, In fact, aided and abetted the carnage with weapons and oil deals. The sucking out of oil continues to this day.
2)Some of the Timorese may have by now figured this out.
3)Could this in any way be related to the stoning?
The last comment indicates that Wayne will now put up a big Ozzie flag on his house and car, kind of like a bullseye. Perhaps he might consider a Timorese flag to accompany it as a show of solidarity. Please correct me if I have misunderstood something.
You have seriously misunderstood something.
Union flags are the flag of the United Kingdom. Not Australia. I am British.
I have had a Timorese flag flying at my house for 3 years now.
Squatter: re the traffic lights. They are back on. Bugger.
Thankyou for straightening me out on that. I better understand the dynamic of this now. Your explanation reduces about half of my argument to rubble. However the other half still remains it seems to me, standing. The British did in fact sell hawks to the Indonesians which were used to great effect against the resistance. My original query was as to whether these facts are well known among Timorese and do you think that they influence the violence in any way? You are obviously working in Timor to improve the country in some capacity but when you fly a flag you now carry all of the baggage good or bad of your country of origin. Australians, Americans, Canadians, British, are all complicit to some extent. As an American I am keenly aware of this. I am wary of flags.
Too bad about the stoplight, old chap.
Just read Indonesia has closed its border with Timor-Leste based on some rebels raiding a police post. Stay safe.
I could be wrong but Major Alfredo seems to get some pretty high profile press and I am not sure he deserves it. It seems like a lot of the other “rebel” groups have evaporated and he now carries the can for the lot of them. Maybe he now deserves it.
Flags … interesting subject. Military forces are compelled to fly them as that is what unifies them. However, UN Police are quite the reverse. Fly a national flag or display a national logo and the police boys are in trouble.
I am sure if Britain were the major part of the military force, they would cop it too. I am aware of Australians quite happy to give the impression that they are from somewhere else – purely pragmatic. But the other flags that are flown are the NGO flags. Just about every NGO vehicle in town flies a flag (not just a logo on a car door but a huge flag) displaying the fact that “I am an aid worker helping you guys so don’t throw stones at me”.
Flags are interesting things. We fly them to associate ourselves with whatever we deem appropriate at the time.
I happened to be at the Leader lights (heading West to drop someone home in the Delta area) at 12:10 yesterday (Monday 26th) and just got there as the GNR closed the intersection off. Very heavy presence of police and vehicles. As the funeral procession came down Comorro road from the airport, headed by another 3-4 police vehicles (one with two machine guns) they turned down the Dleta road. It all became clear. There would be no traffic past the Australian embassy, so no chance for stoning or trouble to occur. About 4-5 mini vans and 10 motorbikes followed by about 6-7 fully loaded trucks (I am refering to people) then quietly turned off down Delta raod and eventually went past the Cathedral. The traffic was held up for about 10 minutes. 2-3 photographers ran around the front of the procession as it reached the diversion. Sometimes I really wonder how much influence the media have on creating/inciting the news by simply being there and in everyone’s face. Nothing happened, all peaceful! Well handled police!
It appears it was a quiet day after all. But what was up this morning ?
A lot of heavy chopper work pre-dawn around the heliport.
Squatter. I agree with you on the Alfredo media thing. I think a part of the reason he is so (in)famous is that in May/June last year he was an easy interviewee for the Australian media. He speaks English, is a rather handsome chap and got some of his training from the ADF. He was also easy to meet. We just ‘phoned his mobile, went up to Maubisse and got in the queue.
Don. Re the British and Hawks and flags etc. No, I dont think the history is influencing the Timorese in any way. The only baggage I carry here as a ‘pom’ is David bloody Beckham.
Chris. Re the media. 2 or 3 photographers is nothing. I think the worst culprits in the media at the moment are the Timor Post. Publishing rumour and heresay as fact, lionising Alfredo and denigrating the Australian presence here. After all, the Aussies were asked to come here by the then Prime Minister. And I agree with you, well done cozzers.
My comments above are of course, only opinions.
Have just seen 7 truckloads of heavily armed (M16’s etc) f-FDTL heading west very fast on the beach road.
Ay oop, could be a busy day.
I think it would be a very bad thing for all involved if sentiment should turn generally against foreigners. One does get the feeling that things are going from bad to worse. Certainly no simple answers. Wayne, thankyou for your response.
Restricted travel for UN staff to Ainaro, Bobonaro, Covalima and Manuhafi districts. UN staff in Same leaving today. Source: UNDSS
I wonder what could be going on?
Restricted travel for UN staff to Ainaro, Bobonaro, Ermera, Aileu, Covalima and Manuhafi districts. UN staff in Same leaving today. Source: UNDSS
I wonder what could be going on?
Things are ugly now. I stated before and see it now confirmed that near the elections things are more complicated. Together with the lack of rice so are some people helping to increase disturbances in general and if the UN is limiting travel it is not a good sign. Reinado is certainly contributing for instability. Maybe the restriction at the districts level is related to the closing of the border with Indonesia and with the fact that some groups may be located there preparing “events” / plans to help the disturbance (process) at the capital. Moreover, at least 1 UN staff has been attacked – robbed – in the working place in 1 of the districts. Its wait and see if another evacuation will take place like last year. Hope not. There’s a lot of people arriving in TL in the next couple of weeks to work with the UN, namely the UNVs for election monitoring and others who will join UNMIT.
This blog has certainly become a very good debate forum and news service website. Well done 🙂
Just read that expatriates left Same bcs Reinado is there and to be captured by police / Aussie military forces.
9.15 PM – The local scrotes have just been drinking outside the house. Once they were slightly over-refreshed they decided to rock some cars. The 1st three cars they hit OK. The forth came as a surprise to them. An off duty UNPol was driving the forth, got rocked, stopped the car and fired off 4 shots from his Glock. The scrotes disappeared into thin air. Lovely jubbly.
We need more affirmative action like this.
ps – sorry squatter about promoting by blog as above, but I’m not getting enough comments.
Sometimes I wish I got a few more. I leave subtle teasers hoping that someone will fill in the gaps for me … but no.
But lets face it, when I started this in 2005, I thought my readership was going to be a couple of friends, some relatives, two dogs and a budgie. And that the content would be more like the Monty Python canals of Venice travel piece.
I don’t have any scoops here. It’s all public information that is gleaned from being a nosy bastard and wanting facts and explanations on why my movements and actions may have to be modified to suit the situation.
I struggle to write what I do. I don’t spend much time looking at other blogs and the links section in Dili-gence is woeful. Give me 2 Mbit/sec broadband any day.
Squatter, I think you do a great job, considering the limitations. I really like your easy, but insightful style. Keep it up!!
I spent 3 weeks in ET in January – I think one of only a handful of “tourists” in the country (friends in Oz thought I was mad…where’s your next holiday, they asked…Iraq???) – but I loved it and still have friends working there as volunteers, and appreciate finding out what is happening “on the ground” so to speak.
I just write and keep all manner of vegetables out of arm’s reach, in so doing eliminating excessive retentiveness. Are you with me ?
If you read international news reports, they are written by cruise-through reporters. I had my brother phone me last year after headline news suggested civil war. I was cycling down the main drag in Audian and looked around a la John Cleese – “nope, I’m still here”. And at other times, when there are no reports, people think everything must be alright again. Just stonings all over town – nothing important.
This isn’t Darfur or Afghanistan, but what expat has never been asked “why do you stay?”. When I arrived, this place was “sleepy hollow”. It may be another generation before it earns that title again.