East Timor ACTION Network
Dear friends of East Timor,
When ETAN met with a wide variety of East Timorese grassroots
organizations this summer, our Timorese friends identified a number of new
projects they felt were important for a U.S.-based organization to take
on. Some of these projects can easily be done by a small group of
volunteers, with support and coordination from ETAN staff. That means you
-- yes, YOU -- can work with friendly fellow ETANers, support great groups
in East Timor, and have fun subverting the dominant paradigm!
Read over the following list of projects. If you/ your chapter is
interested in taking one on, please let me know, at
1. PHILLIPS PETROLEUM TASK FORCE -- East Timorese groups are concerned
that U.S. oil company Phillips is exerting pressure on ongoing
negotiations between East Timor and Australia, pressing for speed over
fairness (under international law, East Timor has claim to significantly
more oil/gas than the interim treaty with Australia recognizes). East
Timorese are also concerned that ConocoPhillips, as the major oil company active
in the Timor Gap, be monitored and pressured to act in a socially,
environmentally, and economically fair and responsible way in the future.
** We need people to gather information on Phillips and its activities
in the Timor Gap, and to consider when/ whether a grassroots campaign
focused on Phillips would be helpful.
2. PROGRESSIVE ANALYSES OF DEVELOPMENT ISSUES -- East Timorese
activists want more access to "progressive/ left" analyses of
the economic/ development issues East Timor faces, including books,
magazines, pamphlets and videos. This would assist them greatly in their
advocacy and public education work. The Timorese activist community
realizes that now, as their country develops its first economic policies,
is a vital time to learn from the experiences of other countries and to
work to avoid potential pitfalls.
** We need people to identify and collect useful books, magazines,
pamphlets and videos, and people traveling to East Timor to help deliver
3. INDEPENDENT MEDIA -- Access to information in East Timor is limited,
and oftentimes media accept sometimes compromising funding (from places
like USAID, the governmental U.S. Agency for International Development) to
keep running. East Timorese activists feel it's important to help
independent, community media develop in East Timor, and Indymedia has
obtained grants to help media projects in areas like Chiapas, Mexico.
** We need people to find out more about Indymedia and similar
independent media projects, and ask if they would be interested in an East
4. SISTER RELATIONSHIPS/ LINKS WITH U.S. ORGANIZATIONS -- East Timorese
felt that people-to-people and organizational links are important in this
new phase of their struggle. Sister relationships can be between cities,
schools, places of worship, or other supportive community structures.
These relationships can facilitate exchange of information, people and
assistance, and can help put a human face on political work. East Timorese
labor groups were also very interested in developing links with U.S. labor
** We need people to make contact with community groups, including
labor groups, to educate them on East Timor, and to ask whether they're
interested in developing partnerships with communities or organizations in
5. U.S. UNIVERSITY PROJECTS IN EAST TIMOR -- East Timorese friends felt
both they and U.S. universities with active projects in East Timor would
benefit if they knew more about what projects there are, what their aim
is, and where they are. Plus this information would help ETAN be more
aware of potential new academic allies and people traveling to East Timor
from the U.S.!
** We need people to find out what universities have projects in East
Timor, what their focus is, who's involved, and how often they travel to
6. FUNDING FOR EAST TIMORESE ORGANIZATIONS -- A number of East Timorese
organizations doing important work have seen their funding decrease as
foundations turn to other countries more in the news. It's difficult for
East Timorese organization to access information to research new potential
funders, given communication, electricity and other problems.
** We need people to research potential sources of funding for East
Timorese organizations (and ETAN!). This work can be done using the
internet and resources such as local Foundation Center collections,
located across the country.
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