A small but instructive and eye-catching selection of materials from the archives of Timor solidarity groups worldwide was recently exhibited in Dili.
Titled Solidarity through the years, 1974-1999, the exhibition was organised by Klibur Solidaridade, a collective of young Timorese groups and international activists. The exhibition, designed to strenghten existing ties and encourage new contacts between Timorese and internationals, coincided with a 3-day activists conference and other activities as part of a larger national celebration of the tenth anniversary of the 1999 independence ballot.
Materials came from all parts of the world with Australian materials featuring prominently – especially covering the first ten years of the occupation. Cecily Gilbert and I carried from Australia representative items from the collections of Friends of East Timor in Perth, Denis Freney’s Campaign for an Independent East Timor roneos of resistance radio messages and the East Timor News periodical, posters, publications and leaflets from Melbourne’s Timor Information Service, the Australia East Timor Association and the Australian Council for Overseas Aid Human Rights office run by Pat Walsh. It was a treat to experience young East Timorese seeing these materials for the first time and having the opportunity to explain the background to some of the items.
The exhibition was held at the Fundasaun Oriente, the former home of the recently deceased Manuel Carrascalao and site of a militia massacre in April 1999. A well on the site has been transformed into a poignant memorial to the victims of militia/TNI violence.
The Timorese Resistance Archive and Museum has reportedly expressed interest in some exhibition materials for future display. Australian items we carried to Timor will be held by the Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR) archive.
Some background to the exhibition can be found here.
A random sample of our images from the exhibition launch can be found here.