Not again

The events of the last couple of days have culminated in the scheduled departure of a significant segment of the expat community.  It is not only non-essential OZ embassy staff and families of staff members, but all OZ volunteers (AVI) and large groups working on AusAid projects.  Most departures are elective with only some of them compulsory.  UK and NZ have followed suit.  The UN and UN volunteers have made no move as yet.

Many government departments are not really operating well as local staff are not showing up for work and a number of expats are choosing to leave.  The Ministry of Education is a bit of a mess and suffering from looting, trashing and a bit of burning.  An education ministry warehouse next to the main offices is a smouldering wreck with all contents burnt and the roof caved in.  The F-FDTL are now guarding what remains of that warehouse and hopefully preventing further damage, which seems to have been limited to the bottom floor of the office complex.

I believe the Ministry of Agriculture has been disfunctional for some time (due to regular stoning of the building) and with the departure of many other expat capacity building staff, an awful lot of things may well go on hold for some time.

I think the last 2 nights were actually pretty quiet but car tyre burning and road barricading is still a feature and clearly evident in the morning.  Of course, residents of Bairo Pite and Delta may disagree – I don’t know.

Movement seems fine during the morning period, but the expectation of trouble after dark seems to be visible from lunchtime on.  Thats the feel anyway.

By next week, the expat scene may well be a shadow of its former self, although I admit I know nothing about what the Portuguese community is doing regarding leaving.  It all really depends on whether the threats of violence actually take the next step.  And it is the threats that are driving a lot of this situation.

I do feel sorry for some of those compelled to leave as it involves packing a bag of no more than 10kgs.  Just think – laptop, backup drive, music player, personal papers, 2 pairs of underwear and only one sock.  So you leave all of your other stuff and wonder just how long before you get back.

Note : I had trouble posting this yesterday when I fisrt wrote it.

6 thoughts on “Not again

  1. La O.N.U. no hace nada? por qué? no lo entiendo!!!

    En que le afecta al ejercito portugues todo esto? ellos pueden hacer algo por la calma del país?

    Un abrazo

  2. Do you know if the US Embassy is on departure orders, as well?

    I left TL the end of 2003 and since last year have been following events through this blog. Thanks for taking this on. It is very interesting and probably the closest to East Timor reality one can find on the internet.

  3. Thanks for another detailed assessment. Bravo! You and FOS are the best news sources from TL. I guess UNPOL is too busy out on the streets to write a security update on their website.
    Expats may be leaving in droves, but not all are heading south. SOL, which is located in the Fomento Bldg, will stay until there is mandatory evacuation. Their faithful Timorese staff continues to go to work everyday albeit only to 1pm when things start to rev up on the streets. There are several FDTL police in their office to help keep the peace, protecting those who are working for a better Timor. Who knows for how long? Let’s see what happens with the Lobato trial – guaranteed the rabble won’t like the outcome! Keep us informed. Worried SOL Mama

  4. (1) Carolina, the UN are trying. That says it all really. But to be successful, the Timorese as a whole need to want stability as well, but far too many do not.

    (2) Dave, if you have broadband internet, you should have been able to find the following site a hell of a lot quicker than me :

    (3) Yes, UNPol have been buzy but they are doing civilians no favours by being absolutely pathetic with their public information. Give me 5 minutes with their duty officer who must be recording events as they happen and I could do the job 1,000 times better than they currently do it. I would go as far as to elevate pathetic to disgrace. Of course, limiting the information flow may be policy and not simply a lack of resources.

  5. Hear hear Squatter on no.3 above. Go to it mate. Funny how its been hard to get an internet connection the past couple of days too. Normal Timor Telecom standards of practice or is my paranoid and diseased mind working overtime?

  6. Re OSAC: I find Dili gence a more interesting read.

    I sure am sorry to hear that the situation in TL is going from bad to worse. It really makes me wonder what kind of future there can be for this country. There is a long ways to go, yet. I remember one of the first times I met Xanana at an official function and he told me that had he known how difficult it would be to be president, he might have decided otherwise. Surely, now that he knows, this is why he has decided that enough is enough and he doesn’t want to do it again. I am glad he stuck it out, though.

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