Subject: Stanford Daily: Nobel laureate assails dictators in speech at Stanford U.
Date: Sat, 08 May 1999 09:23:58 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

The Stanford Daily via U-Wire University Wire

May 3, 1999

Nobel laureate assails dictators in speech at Stanford U.
By Abhishek Bajoria, The Stanford Daily

Stanford, Calif. Jose Ramos-Horta, the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner, appealed to Western countries to stop selling weapons to dictators in a speech at Stanford University's Cubberly Auditorium on Friday.

Ramos-Horta received the prize for his work toward liberating East Timor from Indonesian occupation through non-violent resistance against the government. Because of his actions, he is currently living in exile in Australia.

He urged Western countries to realize the "immorality of their weapons exports" and asked them to make the world a better place in the next century by "fighting against dictatorship everywhere - not only in Kosovo and not only in Iraq."

He said he is "not asking to bomb Indonesia to the Stone Age," but to stop all economic and weapons assistance to Indonesia. He questioned how the World Bank and IMF could continue lending money to Indonesia, when the country is spending $ 1 million a day to fund its actions in East Timor.

East Timor, a small island 400 miles off the coast of Australia, has been under Indonesian control since 1975. According to Ramos-Horta, the "green light was given by [President Ford] to invade East Timor."

That green light, he said, has led to numerous atrocities by the Indonesian army and militia in East Timor, causing the death of more than 200,000 East Timorese during the first three years of Indonesian rule.

The Indonesians are supposedly in East Timor to liberate its people from Portuguese colonial rule, but the Portuguese had left already when the Indonesians arrived, Ramos-Horta said. The violence, which has been going on for 23 years, continues even now "as Indonesia pretends to go on a charade of democratic reform."

Ramos-Horta's non-violent plan is to assemble lawyers from all over the world to "compile evidence to mount a case against Indonesia accusing them of genocide." He said the "arm of justice is long" and that it might take five, 10 or even 20 years but he will obtain justice for the thousands of his countrymen who have been murdered.

He said that "a non-violent approach can be more effective for the long run," and instead of weapons, he is using lawyers to "hit them where it will hurt: economically."

The vitality of East Timorese independence rests on economics, he said. He said that Singapore, a country smaller than East Timor, was not vital 30 years ago, but it is today a mini economic superpower.

He said the "greatest resource of a country is its people" and that "no amount of force or terror will win over the heart and mind of" the East Timorese.

Ramos-Horta blamed the American media, especially the Associated Press, for American misconceptions about the situation in East Timor. He related an incident where innocent civilians were murdered outside a church by the Indonesian army, which the American media labeled as "conflicts between rival factions in East Timor."

He said the Australian and European media get it right, just not the Americans.

Despite this, he said that Western help is inevitable. "It is difficult for them to not begin economic sanctions," he said, because "as they bomb Serbia, East Timor haunts them."

Ramos-Horta was invited to speak at Stanford by the ASSU Speakers Bureau, Amnesty International and Stanford in Government.

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