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Subject: ETISC: Message from Xanana on FALINTIL's anniversary
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 19:50:34 +0000
From: "ETISC" <>

East Timor International Support Center PO Box 651 Nightcliff Darwin NT 0814, Australia
MESSAGE FROM COMMANDER XANANA GUSMAO, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TIMORESE RESISTANCE, C.N.R.T., on the occasion of the 23rd Anniversary of FALINTIL Armed Forces of National Liberation of East Timor

20 August 1975 - 20 August 1998


'Companheiros da Luta' Fellow Countrymen

August 20 is the National Day of our glorious Armed Forces of National Liberation of East Timor, FALINTIL. Today, as in the future, the 20th of August will prevail in our minds as the day to remember all those who fell in defence of the sacred land of East Timor.

FALINTIL owes its guiding moral strength and political capacity to Nicolau Lobato, the insightful FALINTIL Commander-In-Chief whom, during the First three years, led the Armed Resistance against the coward invasion by General Suharto's murderous armed forces.

>From Domingos Ribeiro to Kaliti, from Sebastipo Sarmento to Coru-Ato, from Rama Hana to VenGncio Ferraz we have recall the tens of thousand steadfast FALINTIL soldiers who gave their lives for the Maubere Motherland. Amongst them, Nino Konis Santana and Alex Daitula stand out. They were unbreakable in fulfilling their duty to keeping the National Resistance flame burning and alive.

Nino Konis Santana -- an example of dedication and perseverance, an example of a profound sense of duty and sacrifice clearly demonstrated during the last moments of his life whilst suffering from the bullets he carried in his body and neck.

Alex Daitula - a brave Commander, a fear amidst the enemy ranks. Devoted and totally committed to his duties. A small man with a great soul.

I ask for a minute of silence in a tribute to our heroes. Their souls now live in Matebian with our ancestors, embellished with feathers in their heads, waving the swords of war and demanding that we continue their work.

A minute of silence to share this moment together and to worship them by demonstrating our deep respect and admiration and our total commitment to the ideal of the Liberation of our Motherland and the Maubere People.

I have been meaning to address all the companheiros in the Diaspora since the holding of the East Timorese National Convention. I do so today whilst celebrating the National Day of the glorious FALINTIL.

I wish to greet in general all our fellow countrymen abroad and, in particular, those who, in one way or the other, made it possible for the Convention to be held in Peniche [Portugal].

Ever since the FALINTIL soldiers became aware that they were giving their lives for East Timor, the Motherland of all East Timorese, they ceased their political subordination to a party and turned the struggle into a truly national Resistance.

This feature has guided the fierce resistance of our People and the political result was the setting up of CNRT.

The CNRT is proof of the commitment of all the East Timorese for National Unity as the sine qua non condition for victory -- a victory which is ever closer.

National Unity does not exclusively mean establishing political links between the East Timorese. National Unity demands that we engage into further efforts to reinforce the principles of the organisation, that we engage into further efforts to share common concerns and that we engage into further efforts to create a climate of greater understanding, greater mutual support and greater commitment towards an individual and collective improvement.

We are facing an historic challenge that demands for an in-depth study of problems and seriousness in the analysis. Let us try to avoid underestimating our capability of thinking and deciding, and eradicate excessive euphoria from our minds. Both harm our intent to give our best to serve our People.

The negotiation process will be difficult, given that the colonialist government of Jakarta maintains its stand on the illegal annexation of our Motherland. The negotiation process will also be difficult because, unfortunately, there are still East Timorese who keep their backs turned against the future and look towards autonomy as an important condition to save themselves and to save, as they think, what they now own at the cost of our People's suffering.

Those, in and outside East Timor, who passionately defend the autonomy proposal [recently espoused by the Habibie government], feel certain that the spirit of Orde Baru [New Order] will protect them. Also they feel, that by supporting autonomy, they will be protected by the murderous Indonesian troops currently occupying East Timor.

They also think that autonomy will give them a greater power of ownership in East Timor and enable them to explore it at their own free will, forgetting that Indonesia itself is facing great social problems resulting from its serious economic crisis.

Guided by a profound ego which hinders them from thinking correctly, among these East Timorese there are also those who still demonstrate the intolerable pride of a sore looser thereby proving that they are defending their own interests rather than those of the People. A stupid pride which blinds them and obstructs them from recognising that things have changed; they continue to advocate Indonesian arguments without thinking that within the process of political reforms in Indonesia the arguments used by the Suharto regime are losing consistency and value.

In essence, they argue that a referendum may lead to a new civil war. But when I tell them that the same may occur if autonomy is imposed as a final solution, they do not accept it. I know what they are thinking. They still embrace the idea that ABRI will keep their current military presence and, whenever necessary, will ask for a reinforcement to guarantee what they call peace and tranquillity in the territory. The recent terror and provocative manoeuvres prove that their autonomy theory is a life insurance which protects their property and ensures new and profitable businesses because, as defenders of integration they have had the privilege of resorting to the occupation forces to oppress our People.

The defence of the so-called autonomy is in the hands of Jakarta and, to save the persatuan dan kesatuan (national unity), ABRI will be mobilised to subdue the insurgents. Some East Timorese refuse to allocate some of their time to reflect upon the economic crisis in Indonesia and are unable to understand the complex process of reforms and the yearnings of Indonesian society.

They are the poor tools of colonialism with no character and even poorer are those who encapsulate in their individual pride and refuse to accept that they were wrong and defended that which is false and unfair.

Fellow Countrymen,

We have a lot of work ahead of us. I ask all of you to reinforce National Unity by establishing contact with all our mislead brothers, clarifying to them the importance of East Timorese unity and looking towards the future of freedom which awaits us.

Their political recovery depends on us, on those who often have too much pride and feel as the guardians of truth because we have defended the People's right to self-determination and national independence. I reaffirm that it depends on us -- on all of us.

It depends on us because our political attitudes will influence a gradual perception that we are prepared to create a spirit of genuine national reconciliation. It depends on us because only an intensification of efforts to establish contacts and exchange opinions with our failed brothers can enlighten them and guarantee that the referendum will not be a threat to anyone; that we are all committed to save East Timor from further disagreement because we are determined to ensure a true longlasting peace for our People. We are committed to develop East Timor and to ensure the building of the democratic foundations in our Motherland for a brighter future for the coming generations.

Fellow Countrymen,

We face an historic challenge. A challenge within each one of us.

The present political context demands for a greater availability from within our hearts. Whenever I have to speak about this I feel belittled and embarrassed with myself. Firstly, because I anticipate reactions, as a result of the squealing that has reached me. Secondly, because it may seem pretentious of me to show up as a judge of my brothers' behaviour. And thirdly, given the coincidence that I am no sea of virtues.

Both in East Timor and within the Diaspora, certain work methods are leading to the self-isolation of organizations and groups. This has led to groups working competitively against one another rather than realising the common goal of independence.

This competitive spirit brings about problems between groups which withhold information from each other on their activities and allow the settling in of mistrust and rumours that disseminate and inflate in an uncontrolled way.

I must acknowledge that the Resistance has accommodated many forms of participation according to the different political conditions we lived throughout all these years, which have, in one way or the other, enabled such behaviour.

This spirit of independence of small groups had its advantages but also carried disadvantages given the lack of capability from inside our Motherland to control them and bring them under one umbrella. Requests made to those abroad were always uncontrollable.

The formation of CNRT [National Council of Timorese Resistance], this year, did not end in Peniche (Portugal). The CNRT must be activated and given new organizational features and a new political attitude to enable a more productive, rational and proficient outcome. Thus we can avoid wasting energy and prevent competition between groups.

And us, those who are inside, could have avoided colliding with each other, in FALINTIL and in the clandestine organization, if during our own contacts with the groups abroad we had not been led by the spirit of proving who managed to get the most or who helped the most.

This method enabled the setting up of small groups within the clandestine organization, sometimes beyond the control of those in charge, because people wanted to prove they had their own contacts with those abroad or they were more capable.

We are trying to re-organize the internal structure of the Resistance and I urge the East Timorese communities abroad to change their work methods, to set up units abroad that may keep direct contact with those in charge inside the territory. Thus we can foster a spirit of cooperation between those inside East Timor and those groups abroad.

I urge all to be aware of the present moment and to correct that which was allowed by conditions in the past. To all I urge to develop a climate of trust, of greater support and understanding.

Inside our Motherland we are initiating political education on the referendum and all its political implications, both past and to come. Inside our Motherland we are to initiate political education for a better understanding and comprehension of what a period of transition means as well as its political implications so that our People can understand and get prepared for every step of the process and be the agent, rather than the object, which determines such a process. To the companheiros abroad we ask you to think about the mistakes which have led to misunderstanding between individuals and groups. We need to make greater political compromises which will make us strong and invincible because, the struggle continues on all fronts.

We got used to thinking that the fronts of the struggle were the political and diplomatic fields and that of the Armed and Clandestine Resistance. With the progress made in the process of our struggle we have to be aware that broader fronts have been opened up: those which deal with our own behaviour and the relationship between us, between all of us. We must start to think that independence does not merely mean the possibility to return to the Motherland. We must start to assess the enormous difficulties ahead of us, from the transitional period to the referendum and the initial years of independence.

I am not stirring up an exaggerated optimism. I am requesting that we meditate in-depth on the future. Maybe there are some who are thinking on what they might become, on what they will demand for him/herself as compensation to participate in the government [when East Timor is independent]. We should rather be thinking on the complexity of the situation which awaits us. From now on, we should rather be thinking on the real contribution to avoid worsening the situation with irrelevant problems.

These irrelevant problems will only destroy the common effort to create an atmosphere of harmony and a will to reconstruct the Motherland and the Nation. From now on the common goal can only be achieved if we educate ourselves politically.

Lastly, I urge all of you to reinforce your trust in the Leadership of the Struggle and support the members of the National Political Commission in the implementation of their tasks so that we can quickly end all the suffering of our People.


In Prison, 12 August 1998
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmpo
Commander-in-Chief of FALINTIL

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