Dili Unrest #9

Yesterday, when I saw Tasi Tolu, I saw destroyed houses but no people. My reaction was a bit of a blank.

This afternoon, we went to the Taibesi market and something went “klunk”. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Taibesi market is an area of about 200 metres by 200 metres – full of small market stalls. The vast majority of stalls are made of galvanised iron sheeting held up by wooden poles. The whole lot was a pile of burnt-out iron sheets.

I was astounded. There were about 5 or so vendors (of 205) selling what was left of their stock. One bottle of drink, 2 packs of cigarettes and 5 packets of 5-minute noodles … 10 sachets of home-made crushed chili (10 cents a bag) … a pile of woven grass baskets (50 cents and $1 depending on size) … and a guy sitting down staring out into space obviously completely shell-shocked.

I was warned prior to arriving in TL that there were still a number of people completely traumatised by events of 5 or so years ago. To have to go through it all again is probably going to push a few people over the edge. I stood at the edge today and it is not good.

I also heard just why Tasi Tolu was so vacant yesterday. Most of the residents had headed for the hills – literally. Purely and simply scared of being wasted. If what I have heard today is true, things may be worse than I imagined.

A phone call tonight re. tonight’s dinner engagement also revealed that more trouble is expected tonight. This follows trouble today at the Comorro market and in the Stadium area. We will just have to wait and see if the promised guerilla action will take place.