Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Merdeka Day is just around the corner. Here is food for thought from Xanana Gusmao, fighter for independence and the first president of East Timor:

“Independence for East Timor has never been an end in itself but rather is a means. True independence is the recognition of the freedom of others, is the respect for the supreme interests of populations, is the respect for the most basic human rights, is the fundamental right of peoples to determine their own destiny.

When independence is only a trampoline for rulers to enrich the families of a parasitical elite, with the confiscation of peasant lands, and with total disregard and indifference for the miserable living conditions of workers, when independence blinds rulers, greedy for their own well-being and the profits of their grandchildren’s grandchildren and who set the country’s doors wide open for the invasion of international monopolies that ruthlessly destroy the environment, when independence denies the citizens the freedoms to express, to assemble, to organize and to question; when all this happens in a country with its own flag and president, the independence is but a luxurious reality for only a few, and a nightmare for millions of others ….”

Letter from the Commandant, an excerpt of a speech written by Xanana Gusmao while imprisoned in Cipinang, July 1995.

The above is taken from “The Truth and What to Do With It”, Off the Edge, Apr 09.

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