SYDNEY -- Visiting East Timor activist and writer Naldo Rai and Sister Kath O'Connor from Christians in Solidarity with East Timor addressed a meeting of Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor here on May 7.
Rai, only two months old when Indonesia invaded East Timor, described what it was like to grow up in occupied Timor. Imprisoned from 1983 to 1986, he witnessed the beatings, torture and humiliation imposed by his Indonesian jailers.
While it is estimated that some 300,000 Timorese have been killed or "disappeared" by the Indonesian military, Rai emphasised that the spirit of the Timorese is still strong, and Falintil is still tying up tens of thousands of Indonesian troops.
Rai, who is now based in Java, also spoke of the changing political climate in Indonesia, the strong support for Megawati Sukarnoputri and for a boycott of the rigged election on May 29. There is also growing support within Indonesia for an independent East Timor.
Sister Kath O'Connor addressed the current situation of the 1358 East Timorese refugees in Australia [see page 28].
The meeting also heard about plans for the East Timor/Indonesia national week of action from May 17-24 and concluded with the launch of a new book, East Timor for Beginners, published by the Asia-Pacific Coalition for East Timor.