Subject: AAP: Dili photo exhibit of atrocities

Exhibition of Timor's savage past opens in Dili

By John Martinkus

DILI, East Timor, Dec 4 AAP - At one of the few public buildings still intact in Dili, hundreds of East Timorese gathered today to view a series of disturbing photographs of the territory's immediate past.

The exhibition, put together by the Jakarta-based student human rights group Solidamor, included graphic pictures of East Timorese women after being raped and tortured; the mutilated bodies of victims of Indonesian military torture; and the trophy pictures of Indonesian soldiers holding up the severed heads of their pro-independence guerrilla victims.

East Timorese crowded around the boards that displayed the blown up pictures, seeing for the first time some of the images that finally convinced the United Nations to act last year to bring about an end to the conflict here.

One of the organisers for the event, Adilson Ribeiro, a 23-year-old East Timorese student from Jakarta where he fled after security forces came looking for him here in 1995, said "we have to remember this suffering."

"Even though now we have victory in this new millenium we have to show our people the suffering to make us live in peace now," he said.

The exhibition included images from the 24-year guerrilla war waged by the Falintil pro-independence fighters, as well as photos of the emaciated East Timorese in Indonesian-run camps in the late 1970s when Indonesian bombing of the island's interior forced thousands to the coast where starvation was rampant.

"This war has been part of our culture," Ribeiro said.

"We're talking about this violence that you see here but then you also have these pictures from our independence in 1975 and our Falintil fighters - we have to show them."


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