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Dear Friends of East Timor,
I write to you today to ask that you generously support the important work of the East Timor Action Network.
On November 12, 1991, news of the Santa Cruz massacre broke through the hypocrisy and cynicism of the Western press, bringing the brutal Indonesian occupation of East Timor before the eyes of many for the first time. Since that fateful day, the East Timor Action Network has worked tirelessly to support East Timorís right to self-determination. By breaking the crucial line of support between the U.S. government and the Indonesian military regime, ETAN helped make East Timorís independence possible. With independence, the nature of ETANís work has changed, but it remains absolutely crucial.
Whether the people of East Timor ever see true justice and accountability for the many crimes committed against them since Indonesia first invaded in 1975 is up to us. Last monthís acquittal by an Indonesian court of former East Timor governor Abilio Soares is just the latest chapter in Jakartaís whitewashing of its role in the campaign of destruction and murder during 1999, the fateful year when East Timor voted for independence. And while recently elected Indonesian president and retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ran for office on a platform of cleaning up political and judicial corruption, there is little evidence of real change in Jakarta.
Working through groups like ETAN, we can push for an independent international tribunal to try those responsible. The new and vulnerable nation of East Timor is not in a position to move a tribunal forward on its own, but East Timorís people continue to call for justice. As citizens of a country that gave critical military and diplomatic support to the invasion and occupation of East Timor, seeing that justice is done is our responsibility. Washington clearly aided and abetted Indonesiaís crimes; we can help to prevent similar crimes be insuring that the U.S. role in East Timorís suffering is fully revealed. Your support for ETAN will help to end impunity for the horrendous crimes committed in East Timor under the Indonesian occupation.
ETAN led the way in the struggle to end U.S. assistance to the brutal Indonesian military (TNI). Thanks to your hard work and support, a complete cut-off of aid was achieved in 1999 and despite strenuous efforts of the Bush administration to overturn it, most significant assistance to the TNI remained restricted through the last four years. With your continuing support we will outlast George W. Bush, maintaining the ban until the Indonesian military is truly held accountable for their many crimes against the people of East Timor and Indonesia.
These campaigns for justice and accountability are only a part of ETANís work. ETAN is continuing to pressure the government of Australia to agree to a permanent maritime boundary which fully respects East Timorís sovereignty and international law. Without international pressure, Australia profits by waiting out the exhaustion of petroleum resources, taking billions of dollars in revenue that belongs to East Timor and would otherwise help East Timor become independent of foreign donors and escape from dire poverty
ETAN is here for the long-term as a vital source of information and advocacy. ETAN activists regularly bring grassroots East Timorese perspectives in addition to their own to policymakers, the media and many others. ETANís website is a first stop for anyone wishing to learn about and support the new nation.
I have long supported East Timorís self-determination. Since before Indonesiaís 1975 invasion, I called for the right of the East Timorese to control their own destiny. Without ETANís efforts, East Timor might not yet be free. But the new nation and its people still need strong independent advocates. Without your generous support ETANís ability to work at the level needed is in jeopardy due to a shortage of funds. By giving generously, you can help strengthen ETAN financially for the coming year, so that together we can meet the difficult challenges ahead.
Please join me and hundreds of others who care about East Timorís future by making a contribution to ETAN. You can make a secure tax-deductible contribution through ETANís website: http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm.
You can also write a check to ďETAN/U.S.Ē in support of its political advocacy work, or make a tax-deductible donation of over $50 to ďA.J. Muste Memorial Institute/ETAN,Ē which supports ETANís educational efforts.
Thank you for your support.
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