|Congress Bars Use of U.S. Weapons in East Timor
Indonesian Military Training Continues Despite Ban
Constâncio Pinto Joins ETAN Staff
APECT III Meets in Bangkok
ETAN Hosts Activist Training Conferences
|José Ramos-Horta Inspires St. Louis Activists
by Tim Rakel, ETAN/St. Louis
A visit by Nobel laureate José Ramos-Horta was an unassailable reason to skip my American Foreign Policy class.
Dr. Ramos-Hortas spoke at Washington University in Saint Louis on Wednesday, February 11, and provided a hard-learned perspective which ought to be incorporated into the curriculum of the class I missed. His lecture was titled "Human Rights: Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Asia Pacific Region." An informal discussion with the 1996 Nobel peace prize winner followed the talk.
Ramos-Horta spoke about Indonesia and East Timor, obviously, giving the audience some historical background and personal reflections. During both appearances, he lavished much praise on Xanana Gusmão. Ramos-Horta focused part of his talk on other human rights hot-spots in the Asia Pacific Region and elsewhere. He also used his platform to comment on the current situation in Iraq, delivering a much-needed reminder that the US supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran.
The event drew a decent sized crowd of some variety, ranging from local human rights activists to a man wondering where East Timor was located. The informal discussion was small, providing a great opportunity for two local ETAN activists to speak with the veteran East Timorese resistance leader.
Ramos-Hortas talk was an inspiration for Saint Louis-based East Timor activists that have recently joined forces to launch an official ETAN chapter. Members of this group include Mira Tanna of the American Friends Service Committee, Bill Ramsey of the Human Rights Action Service, and Mark Chmiel, who has been active in East Timor education. Many other community members are interested in working with us, including a number of high school and college students.