Chega! Launched in Indonesia

Principal editor, Rani Elsanti, with the product of three years work

Chega!, the monumental 2005 report of Timor Leste’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) is set to be widely circulated inside Indonesia.

Something like a Domesday Book for Timor Leste, Chega! is the benchmark account of the dramatic and tragic history of Timor’s struggle for self-determination, 1974-1999.

The Indonesian-language, five volume, 3,500 page boxed set of Chega! was published in Jakarta last week by KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia) after more than three years’ work. The Indonesian edition also includes a 100-page summary volume and an electronic version of the whole report text on CD.

Publication was funded by the governments of Ireland and Germany.

Jakarta launch of Chega
The National Library of Indonesia hosted the well-attended book launch in Jakarta on the evening of 7 October 2010. East Timorese were represented at the launch by the current director of the Post-CAVR Secretariat in Dili, Agustinho de Vasconselos, and two of his senior staff.

Speakers at the launch included Benny Harman (Chair of the Indonesian House of Representatives Committee III) and Indonesian historian Hilmar Farid

Facebook members can see images from the book launch on KPG’s Facebook Album.

Chega! ‘A gift to humanity’
Hilmar Farid noted that there was nothing comparable to Chega! in Indonesia, hailing it as benchmark for what Indonesia needs on its own history.

‘A gift to humanity’ was MP Benny Harman’s judgement of the report.  He said Chega! meant that everything Indonesians had been told about Timor-Leste in the past was a lie and that it should be made available to the Indonesian public through the education system.

Pax Benedanto, General Manager of KPG, said publishing Chega! was KPG’s largest ever project and a source of pride and honour for the firm. He expressed the hope that it would be received in Indonesia “dengan hati besar dan kepala dingin” (with a big heart and a cool head).

Obtaining Chega!
Information on how to obtain this newly published Indonesian version of Chega! will be provided here as soon as the information is to hand.

The set is listed for sale in Indonesia at about AUD$100 through KPG’s online store, but as of 12 October, stocks are not yet available.

The original 2005 electronic versions of the report can be accessed in English and Portuguese on the Post-CAVR Secretariat website. They are not yet available in printed form.

Chega! and archives
The print publication of Chega! in Indonesia draws new attention to this extraordinary resource. In turn, its launch again highlights the crucial task of preserving the complete original source material on which Chega is based.

The future of the CAVR archive, a national treasure in its own right, is a key question underlying long-delayed and controversial legislation now before the parliament of Timor Leste. We can only hope that the final decision of the legislators recognises the long-term importance of the archive to the nation and the people of Timor Leste. We hope the legislation will decree professional archival management of, and public access to, the CAVR archives.

See earlier blog post on the future of the CAVR archives here.

Many thanks to Patrick Walsh, former special advisor to CAVR (2002-2010), for information and images on the Jakarta launch.


One Response to Chega! Launched in Indonesia

  1. nina says:

    This launch was really an important effort to bring the issue in front of the Indonesian public.
    I think it could be a significant means to learn about the past history!
    A struggle continues !

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