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East Timor ACTION Network 

November 2002

Dear friends of East Timor,

When ETAN met with a wide variety of East Timorese grassroots organizations this summer, our Timorese friends identified a number of new projects they felt were important for a U.S.-based organization to take on. Some of these projects can easily be done by a small group of volunteers, with support and coordination from ETAN staff. That means you -- yes, YOU -- can work with friendly fellow ETANers, support great groups in East Timor, and have fun subverting the dominant paradigm!

Read over the following list of projects. If you/ your chapter is interested in taking one on, please let me know, at john@etan.org or 718-596-7668.

Ate amanha, 
Diane

1. PHILLIPS PETROLEUM TASK FORCE -- East Timorese groups are concerned that U.S. oil company Phillips is exerting pressure on ongoing negotiations between East Timor and Australia, pressing for speed over fairness (under international law, East Timor has claim to significantly more oil/gas than the interim treaty with Australia recognizes). East Timorese are also concerned that ConocoPhillips, as the major oil company active in the Timor Gap, be monitored and pressured to act in a socially, environmentally, and economically fair and responsible way in the future.

** We need people to gather information on Phillips and its activities in the Timor Gap, and to consider when/ whether a grassroots campaign focused on Phillips would be helpful.

2. PROGRESSIVE ANALYSES OF DEVELOPMENT ISSUES -- East Timorese activists want more access to "progressive/ left" analyses of the economic/ development issues East Timor faces, including books, magazines, pamphlets and videos. This would assist them greatly in their advocacy and public education work. The Timorese activist community realizes that now, as their country develops its first economic policies, is a vital time to learn from the experiences of other countries and to work to avoid potential pitfalls.

** We need people to identify and collect useful books, magazines, pamphlets and videos, and people traveling to East Timor to help deliver them.

3. INDEPENDENT MEDIA -- Access to information in East Timor is limited, and oftentimes media accept sometimes compromising funding (from places like USAID, the governmental U.S. Agency for International Development) to keep running. East Timorese activists feel it's important to help independent, community media develop in East Timor, and Indymedia has obtained grants to help media projects in areas like Chiapas, Mexico.

** We need people to find out more about Indymedia and similar independent media projects, and ask if they would be interested in an East Timor project.

4. SISTER RELATIONSHIPS/ LINKS WITH U.S. ORGANIZATIONS -- East Timorese felt that people-to-people and organizational links are important in this new phase of their struggle. Sister relationships can be between cities, schools, places of worship, or other supportive community structures. These relationships can facilitate exchange of information, people and assistance, and can help put a human face on political work. East Timorese labor groups were also very interested in developing links with U.S. labor organizations.

** We need people to make contact with community groups, including labor groups, to educate them on East Timor, and to ask whether they're interested in developing partnerships with communities or organizations in East Timor.

5. U.S. UNIVERSITY PROJECTS IN EAST TIMOR -- East Timorese friends felt both they and U.S. universities with active projects in East Timor would benefit if they knew more about what projects there are, what their aim is, and where they are. Plus this information would help ETAN be more aware of potential new academic allies and people traveling to East Timor from the U.S.!

** We need people to find out what universities have projects in East Timor, what their focus is, who's involved, and how often they travel to East Timor.

6. FUNDING FOR EAST TIMORESE ORGANIZATIONS -- A number of East Timorese organizations doing important work have seen their funding decrease as foundations turn to other countries more in the news. It's difficult for East Timorese organization to access information to research new potential funders, given communication, electricity and other problems.

** We need people to research potential sources of funding for East Timorese organizations (and ETAN!). This work can be done using the internet and resources such as local Foundation Center collections, located across the country.


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