30 Jun 2007, Comments Off on Timor election: Sending safety thoughts

Timor election: Sending safety thoughts

Author: Helen

You wouldn’t know about it by reading, looking at or listening to the MSM at the moment, but there’s an election on in East Timor. While here in Victoria we have gale force winds and floods, the weather in Timor is pretty dramatic as well. And it’s not just the weather.

However, heavily armed soldiers were a visible presence on the streets of the capital Dili late today, in a reminder of the potential for election-related violence which caused two shooting deaths early in the campaign.

I’m wishing for a peaceful outcome to the election, but there is a selfish reason this time.

My beautiful nephew is over there volunteering at a polling centre. Just wanted to say I’m so proud of him.

Comments (0)

  • The Beautiful Nephew says:

    Hello aunty, mum told me that you mentioned me on your blog so i just thought I’d leave a message that everything went down fine, very few reports of irregularities and no viloence that I’ve heard of… I’ve been speaking to some people about the shootings that happened early and from what i’ve heard it stemmed from heavily armed Australian soldiers going into one of the refugee camps and being stoned by the timorese who, understandably due to their history, don’t usually react well to men in uniforms with guns. The troops apparently opened fire and killed two timorese. Also, judging from the soldiers I’ve met in Timor, they probably weren’t too sensitive with their behaviour while they were in the camp… This is all hearsay as i wasn’t in Timor when it happened but i tend to trust the people I’ve heard it from more than i trust press releases from the ADF. Anyway, hope all is well in Aus and I’ll see you all when i get back at the end of the month, I’m spending a few weeks travelling round Tmor on my own and with a group of other people from Melbourne that i met the other night in Dili

    Cheers, Tom

  • Helen says:

    Hi, glad to see you’re safe!

    Still thinking of you. I’m sure there are quite a few people who aren’t too keen on Australians, period, since our charming foreign minister tried to bully the ET’s out of most of their oil and gas reserves.

  • Kim Straker says:

    I’m sure that you’re proud of your nephew and the work he’s been doing in East Timor. I’m only sorry to read the negative comments. Clearly not everyone behaves as we would like them to, but I believe that they are in the minority. Our daughter, who is a police officer, spent 8 months in E/T (and a similar amount of time in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands) and was made to feel welcome wherever she went. Sure things didn’t always go as planned, and there were many anxious moments, but overall she met only kindness and was overwhelmed by the generosity shown by the locals. When she left Timor she was given many parting gifts (from people who had very little) including letters thanking her for coming to help them, shell baskets, and a woven bag “for your Mummy for letting you come over here”. Our daughter is currently deployed to Sudan with a UN Peace Keeping contingent and it sounds as if she’s establishing a good relationship with the Sudanese she’s there to help. She’s only one of hundreds of decent, caring and committed young people who are way out of their comfort zone, living in extremely uncomfortable and dangerous conditions, just trying to do their part in helping those less fortunate. Please keep these thoughts in mind when you hear the bad press, which is what usually makes the headlines, while the stories of the quiet achievers tend to get less air time.
    kind regards from Kim

  • Helen says:

    …Que…?
    Are you commenting on the wrong blog by mistake or something?

    Whatever!?

  • Tom says:

    Just thought I’d leave a brief post to say that while the Australian government is far from popular over here (as at home) at the moment, the Timorese have an enviable ability to separate the behaviour of a nations government from the perception they have of its people. I have never been met with anything but warmth and friendliness by everyone i have met on any of my trips over here and i think the stories of violence have been really been blown out of all proportion by media looking to make a story. The streets of Dili are meant to be unsafe after dark and, yes, there may be some truth to this. It is impossible to get a cab after about 8:30 – 9:00 but i have been driving round with friends late at night and it seems to me that the perception of the problem is far greater than the problem itself. The rumours of violence have everyone jumpy. For example, I was driving home from dinner with some friends on tuesday night and suddenly the woman who was drivig stopped suddenly because she thought she saw some youths fighting on the road ahead of us. Eventually we cautiosly drove past and it turned out they were just playing badminton. I wonder how many people have come across a similar scene, turned their car around and then told people that they saw a group of youths fighting on the street?

  • Helen says:

    Tom, sorry you got held up in moderation twice.

    while the Australian government is far from popular over here (as at home) at the moment,

    heh – yes that I can imagine
    I can imagine sitting talking with a Timorese person having a good vent about Dolly.

    “You can have him”
    “No you can keep him!”…

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