Australian Left Review


Denis Freney


In the six months since the article below was written, the main trends outlined have been confirmed by events. Fretilin forces continue to fight throughout the territory, despite the heavy blows Inflicted by the death of President Nicolau Lobato and the betrayal of Xavier do Amaral (now Suharto’s puppet Vice President) and Alarico Fernandes. The genocidal war continues on Suharto’s side, but, even on Jakarta’s own census figures, they control only half the population of East Timor. Within Indonesia, the Suharto regime has never been more under challenge. Workers, driven to desperation by high inflation and low frozen wages, have engaged in a series of illegal strikes; students are reorganising following the repression of the last half o f 1978, while intellectuals, dissident military men, and even some o f the puppet parliamentarians, are criticising the regime. Internationally, however, Suharto continues to manoeuvre within the context of the conflicts in Indochina and between the Soviet Union and China. This inevitably places East Timor in a difficult position in attempting to win support, for example, within the non-aligned nations movement. Nevertheless, the crucial and decisive factor is the continuing resistance of the Maubere people — the final guarantee of victory.



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