Sunday, June 04, 2006

East Timor... Needs some help.

It may not be high on the list of priorities for the US and Europe, but East Timor is having problems. I believe it to be in Australia's best interests to help East Timor. We should help because they are a courageous people who have suffered much (history of ET here), and deserve a better chance than they have gotten so far, but also, if for no other reason, that of making sure we don't have yet another unstable state to our north - the so-called 'arc of instability'.

During WW2, Japan invaded East Timor. Australian independent companies conducted guerilla war on the Japanese, with some success(and with the assistance of Timorese), and tied up Japanese troops that would probably have been used in PNG or other places.

The East Timorese suffered greatly, at the hands of the Japanese in WW2, and at the hands of the Indonesians from 1975 to 1999. They deserve better, they deserve help.
What sort of help? In the short term, they are currently getting help in the form of peacekeeping military forces from Australia, Portugal, Malaysia, NZ. What they need after that is not to be forgotten again. Perhaps we could provide exchange police and military as advisers, government admistrative assistance, loan guarantees, whatever they need. It IS in our interests, and 'the right thing to do' to help a neighbour who needs it.

The attached image is of a pamphlet, dropped to the Timorese during WW2, saying " Your Friends Do Not Forget You". We shouldn't forget them now either.


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