ETAN on the
Life of Dr. Dan Murphy
Contact: John M. Miller, Coordinator, ETAN; +1-917-690-4391,
April 16, 2020
- The East Timor and Indonesia
Network (ETAN) joins the people of Timor-Leste in mourning
the loss of Dr. Dan Murphy. For more than two decades,
he dedicated his life and skills to protecting the health
and well-being of the Timorese people, often operating
without government support. Dr. Dan died of a heart
attack in Dili on April 14. He was still treating patients
the morning before died.
His courage, commitment and outspokenness will long remain an inspiration to all who knew and worked with him.
Dr. Dan rose to
prominence in 1999 after Indonesia
to renew his visa to continue his work at the Motael
Clinic in Dili, where he treated victims of Indonesian
military and militia assaults during the lead up to
Timor’s vote on independence. He had been featured prominently
in international media in April after the Liquica massacre.
On July 4,
he participated in a relief convoy for Timorese
taking shelter in Sare, southwest of Dili.
Back in the U.S., ETAN helped him raise the alarm about
Indonesia’s assaults on the Timorese people. When he returned
in late September of 1999, he began collecting medicines
and seeing patients at an abandoned building in Dili.
With support of Timorese and international volunteers,
this became Bairo Pite Clinic.
Dr. Dan Murphy will be missed, but his
legacy will remain as many Timorese
medical personnel who trained with him
have stepped up to continue the critical
work of the BPCL [Bairo Pite Clinic
Aid to East Timor
Dan was born on September 23, 1944, in Alton, Iowa.
He received his medical degree from the University of
Iowa in 1971. He was a conscientious objector
during the Vietnam War. Carrying out his belief in justice,
Dr. Dan ran health clinics for farmworkers in California and in rural Mozambique.
In 1998, he left the family practice he co-founded in
Iowa to move to Indonesian-occupied Timor-Leste, bringing
with him his passion to help the poor and a love of
basketball. In 2015, Dr. Dan published
Breakaway, an autobiography
of his love of hoops and his life before arriving in
He often returned to the U.S. for
fundraising, to visit family, and to encourage Timorese
studying at U.S. schools, equally concerned about those
studying medicine and those studying other subjects.
He also helped to build solidarity between Timor-Leste
and the U.S. (as well as many other countries) by
providing internships and volunteer placements for
people from the U.S and elsewhere.
Our condolences to Dr. Dan's family, friends
East Timor and Indonesia
Network (ETAN) is
a U.S.-based grassroots organization working in solidarity
with the peoples of Timor-Leste (East Timor), West Papua
and Indonesia. ETAN provides information about, and ways
to help, Timor-Leste, which was invaded and subjugated by
U.S. ally Indonesia in 1975, and which finally attained
independence on May 20, 2002. ETAN educates, organizes and
advocates for justice for historic and ongoing crimes against
humanity; for human rights and democratic development.
Aid to East Timor