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John M. Miller
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

December 2012

John M. Miller and Charles Scheiner with , President Taur Matan Ruak  
ETAN's John M. Miller and Charles Scheiner (right) receive Order of Timor from President Taur Matan Ruak (center).  

Dear Friends,

I had the privilege of attending last May’s official ceremony in Dili on the tenth anniversary of Timor-Leste’s hard won restoration of independence. Timor-Leste inaugurated its newly-elected President as fireworks exploded in celebration.

Two days later, I was honored to accept on ETAN's behalf the Order of Timor-Leste -- the nation's highest honor. Timor-Leste's just-inaugurated President Taur Matan Ruak presented the award to ETAN (and to ETAN co-founder Charles Scheiner for his individual efforts) as the nation's thanks for our work in support of the country's liberation. I am proud of the part we played in the Timorese struggle for independence and since. We could not have done it without your steadfast support.

The medal now has pride of place in ETAN's Brooklyn, NY office, reminding us of all that we have accomplished over the years. The honor also reminds us of how much many East Timorese relied on our support. During my visit, people repeatedly told me of their faith and confidence that ETAN will continue to provide support and solidarity for their fledgling nation.

I am writing to urge you to give generously so that ETAN can continue to support human rights, justice and accountability, democracy, and an equitable and sustainable future for Timor-Leste. Our work is only possible with your support.

ETAN began as the East Timor Action Network soon after the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre when Indonesian troops -- firing their U.S.-supplied weapons -- killed peaceful demonstrators. Hundreds of young Timorese were murdered, and the eyewitness accounts from that day inspired us to action. ETAN's relentless grassroots pressure persuaded the U.S. Congress to end taxpayer-funded training for Indonesian soldiers in the United States and eventually changed U.S. policy from support of Indonesia's illegal occupation to support for Timor's right to self-determination.

 

ETAN is "A voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."

- Noam Chomsky


East Timor is now the independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and we remain committed to supporting its people in pursuing justice not only for the victims of the Santa Cruz massacre, but for all the victims of the U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion and occupation. We continue to highlight the complicity of U.S. government officials in the oppression of the people of Timor-Leste, West Papua, and elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago, including the still-active Henry Kissinger, who gave a green light to the invasion of Timor-Leste.

Just last month, a now-high ranking State Department official recalled her time as a human rights officer in Washington more than a decade ago. She described ETAN as “punching above its weight” in revealing ongoing Pentagon training of Indonesian soldiers, leading Congress and the State Department to cancel the program. She said that she often uses ETAN as an example of effective citizen action, and that our work in the 1990s has had lasting, worldwide impact in curtailing U.S. training for armies which violate human rights.

In 2005, we changed our name to the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network to emphasize our support for human rights and democracy in Indonesia, where U.S. engagement with the military and police has encouraged them to resist accountability. In the past year, the U.S.-created and trained Detachment 88 has been engaged in a number of rights violations in West Papua and elsewhere. ETAN continues to oppose the administration’s efforts to re-engage with the Indonesian military’s notorious Kopassus special forces and plans to sell Indonesia’s deadly Apache attack helicopters.

 
2012 commemoration of Santa Cruz massacre, Dili. Photo by Manuela Leong Pereira via Facebook.  

We continue to work with the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT), helping to produce the respected monthly West Papua Report. We work with WPAT and others in supporting human rights and peaceful solutions in the region.

Noam Chomsky has called us "a voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."

Our information sharing and networking provide vital links among activists and others around the world. Our long-running east-timor@riseup.net email list keeps an expanding list of more than 3000 direct subscribers – including journalists, policy makers, East Timorese officials, activists and students -- informed with news and analysis of events affecting Timor-Leste and on solidarity around the globe.

One list subscriber recently thanked us for "the excellent work you have been doing these last years in keeping all people interested in Timor-Leste's present and future duly informed. Your objectivity and professionalism, providing an essential space for everybody to express itself freely has been a great contribution to consolidate Timor-Leste's emerging democracy. It is an example of how to give voice to the civil society and others at relatively low costs, an example that many other countries should follow."

 

Many in Timor-Leste, West Papua, and Indonesia continue to expect a lot from ETAN. I know, because I receive their requests for information and pleas for action. With your help, we can better respond to their requests and needs.


ETAN works with advocacy and human rights organizations in Timor-Leste, West Papua, Indonesia and elsewhere, because together we are stronger.

This past year, we placed international volunteers with local groups in Dili, to assist their monitoring of national elections in Timor-Leste.  

As we continue our crucial work, we face a number of challenges. ETAN has never been very large or well-funded. We have become skilled at doing a lot with relatively limited human and financial resources. However, we have lost opportunities and with your help we could be doing more.

Many in Timor-Leste and Indonesia continue to expect a lot from ETAN. I know, because I receive their requests for information and pleas for action. With your help, we can better respond to their requests and needs. We have many ideas for possible projects, but we need your help to gather the necessary resources to implement them.

I hope you will support ETAN. Please give generously now to help strengthen ETAN as we meet the challenges of the coming years. Thank you!

A luta continua,

 /s/

John M. Miller
National
Coordinator, ETAN

P.S. Please consider becoming an ETAN sustainer by making a monthly donation by credit card. Help put ETAN on a firmer financial footing: information here
 

Having campaigned for Timor-Leste's independence for many decades, and as President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste for the last five years, I know that ETAN has consistently supported our people during bad and good times."
Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,
Former President, Timor-Leste

How to Donate to ETAN 

To support ETAN’s advocacy work, please make your check out to "East Timor Action Network

Mail to
ETAN, PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873


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Donations of any size for ETAN's political and advocacy work should be made out to ETAN and are not tax-deductible. U.S. tax-deductible checks for more than $50 can also be made out to "AJ Muste Memorial Institute/ETAN" and  will only be used to support our educational work.

Please mail your donation to:
ETAN
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA

Thank you for your support!

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