Australian Left Review

Article Title

East Timor's Border War


Roger East


Australia’s nearest neighbor, East Timor, has cast the die. In three convulsive months this tiny Portuguese colony has springboarded from passive politics into an armed camp crusading for independence. The standard-bearers are Fretilin, a loosely knit grouping of many political shades cemented together only by the beckoning beacon of fre e d om . It is unchallenged now, and unchallengeable. Their opponents, UDT and Apodeti, were thrashed on the battlefield of their own choice and are now despised by the Timorese for accepting the patronage of Indonesia to recoup their losses. For Australia to pretend the situation is otherwise must reflect either on their intelligence or their integrity. Canberra’s studied neutrality has elevated the possibility of Indonesia embarking on all-out war against the East Timorese.



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