This was a letter to the editor a few years ago and reflects Indonesian sentiment on East Timor. Ask any Indonesian with similar feelings if they've ever visited East Timor or read any book or article from an independent, unbiased source:


I was disgusted by the article written by Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, "Why the world owes my people" (Newsweek, Oct. 4, 1999). Almost all the stories told by Belo were total lies and extremely biased.

* Indonesia did not invade East Timor in 1975. The Indonesian Army entered East Timor on the invitation of the warring factions to help restore order and curtail the civil war there, which erupted after the Portuguese left the island. That was the first time the Timorese breathed the air of freedom in East Timor, after more than 450 years under the yoke of the wicked Portuguese rule.

* It is not true that 200,000 people were killed in East Timor.

* The Indonesian Army saved the Timorese by allowing them safe-passage to the Indonesian territory of Kupang after violence erupted following the Aug. 30ballot there. These people are now given a free choice either to return to East Timor or stay in Indonesia. Their return to East Timor is in progress now, with people being transported by plane from Kupang to Dili.

* The Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) were not in East Timor.

* The Indonesian Military never obstructed relief operations in East Timor, but rather they fully supported them.

* The killing of Sander Thoenes and Indonesian journalist Agus were the full responsibility of Major Gen. Peter Cosgrove and his Australian troops.

* Bishop Belo now seems to love the Timorese. Where was he and what did he do to help the Timorese when they were under Portuguese rule?

* When the Timorese were freed by the Indonesians in 1974/1975, they were no more than coolies and East Timor was extremely underdeveloped.

* It is the Indonesian people who helped them become human beings in the true sense of the word. It was Indonesia which gave freedom to them. No nation in the world can deny this.

Finally, I would like to mention that nearly all of Newsweek's news reports and stories regarding East Timor were unfair toward the Indonesian government, the Indonesian people and the Indonesian Army in particular. I wonder what kind of code of conduct they practice. I have been subscribing to Newsweek for nearly a year now, but all of its stories about my country are biased and degrading.


Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.