Friday, March 24, 2006

Xanana’s speech

Last night on RTTL, the President of Timor Xanana Gusmão gave a speech about the situation of the F-FDTL (Fretilin-Defence Force of Timor-Leste) soldiers who had been stood down from the nation’s nascent army. Daniel translated bits he could understand but by the end, we were just a little confused. Had Gusmão said he supported the head of the army’s decision or not?

Today Daniel talked to a colleague who was very upset about Xanana’s speech. Xanana said that he did not agree with F-FDTL Commander Taur Matan Ruak’s decision but he respected it. He then thanked those soldiers who were stood down for their service to the country and asked them to quietly get on with their lives. Far from being a unifying speech, it was divisive. How can the supreme commander of the military and President of the country say he disagrees with the decision but respects it? Moreover, that he will not pursue an acceptable resolution to the claims by the soldiers that there is systematic discrimination in the army?

Unfortunately for Xanana and the rest of Timor, his speech has ignited the long standing simmering tensions between those from the east and west of the country with threats of violence over the weekend. AVI sent us an email advising to stay away from trouble areas and to keep a low profile; not to mention that it would be advisable to stock up on essential items such as water, candles, tinned food etc.

I don’t like the sound of this.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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