Vol. 9, No. 1
Accomplishments and Challenges After One Year of Independence
(In)Justice and the Struggle for Accountability
Legislation, Language and Lobbying
The Iraq War as Seen from East Timor
Justice for East Timor: We Can't Stop Now!
We're All Organizers
We’re All Organizers!
by Diane Farsetta
At the end of May, I will be leaving my position as ETAN’s field organizer, although I will continue to do East Timor and Indonesia solidarity work.
In some ways the transition feels cyclical, since I started volunteering with ETAN in the mid 1990s. Over the past two and a half years, I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with many of you who squeeze ETAN activism into schedules already loaded with school, work and other activist commitments.
We all know that calling attention to issues relating to East Timor has become more difficult post-independence. We’ve struggled to articulate the importance of continued solidarity with a tiny, far-away country for justice for crimes against humanity, for accountability for U.S. complicity with the illegal and genocidal occupation, for restrictions on U.S.-Indonesia military ties, for a humane end to the refugee crisis, and for economic justice and genuine self-determination for the world’s newest country. But we agree with East Timor’s civil society groups (and many of its government officials!) that U.S.-based solidarity is still needed.
Due to our limited resources, ETAN is not hiring a replacement field organizer. This decrease in staffing means two things: ETAN will have to be more selective when choosing its campaign priorities, and ETAN’s grassroots have a greater opportunity (and obligation!) to participate in and shape our work at the national level. This does not mean that we are asking or expecting you to take on big, demanding responsibilities; a small, sustained effort goes a long way. There are many successful local and other national volunteer-based organizations. ETAN itself did not have any paid staff during its first six years. This shows that, together, we can continue to make a difference!
Over the next month, I will be speaking with grassroots members, trying to help you build local organizing strategies for the future. Here are some suggestions:
I would like to end by acknowledging your contributions and our
accomplishments. It’s rare for people in the U.S. to support
international solidarity and even more rare for that work to continue
after times of crisis pass. But solidarity requires a joint commitment to
build relationships and challenge injustices—just what we are doing.
A luta continua! The struggle continues!