(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL TIMES)
CARITA BEACH, Indonesia — A tsunami believed to be triggered by a volcanic eruption killed at least 222 people in Indonesia during a busy holiday weekend, sweeping away hotels, hundreds of houses and a group of people attending a beach concert.
More than 800 people were reported injured after the tsunami hit around the Sunda Strait at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, the Disaster Management Agency. At least 28 others were missing, but the toll could continue to rise because some areas had not yet been reached.
Scientists, including those from Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics agency, said Sunday that the tsunami could have been caused by undersea landslides or those occurring above sea level on the Anak Krakatau volcano’s steep outside slope following the eruption. The volcano’s name translates to “Child of Krakatoa,” a volcanic island formed over years after one of the largest eruptions in recorded history occurred at the Krakatoa volcano more than a century ago. The scientists also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.
Dramatic video posted on social media showed an Indonesian pop band named “Seventeen” performing under a tent on a popular beach at a concert for employees of a state-owned electricity company. Dozens of people sat listening at tables covered in white cloths while others bobbed to the music near the stage as bright strobe lights flashed and theatrical smoke was released.
A child could also be seen wandering through the crowd. Seconds later, with the drummer pounding just as the next song was about to begin, the stage suddenly heaved forward and buckled under the force of the water, throwing the band and all their equipment into the audience.
The group released a statement saying their bass player, guitarist and road manager were found dead, while two other band members and the wife of one of the performers remained missing.
“The tide rose to the surface and dragged all the people on site,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, when the current receded our members are unable to save themselves while some did not find a place to hold on.”
Tourists were also affected during the long holiday weekend ahead of Christmas.
“I had to run, as the wave passed the beach and landed 15-20m (meters, or 50-65 feet) inland,” Norwegian Oystein Lund Andersen wrote on Facebook. The self-described photographer and volcano enthusiast said he was taking pictures of the volcano when he suddenly saw a big wave come toward him.
“Next wave entered the hotel area where I was staying and downed cars on the road behind it,” he wrote. “Managed to evacuate with my family to higher ground (through) forest paths and villages, where we are taken care of (by) the locals. Were unharmed, thankfully.”
The Anak Krakatau volcano lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and Java Sea. It erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said.
The worst-affected area was the Pandeglang region of Java’s Banten province, which encompasses Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the disaster agency said.
Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 222 deaths had been confirmed and at least 843 people were injured. Rescue workers were still trying to access other affected areas.
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster.
“My deep condolences to the victims in Banten and Lumpung provinces,” he said. “Hopefully, those who are left have patience.”
In the city of Bandar Lampung on Sumatra, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor’s office. At the popular resort area of Carita Beach, some survivors appeared lost.
Azki Kurniawan, 16, said he was undergoing vocational training with a group of 30 other students at Patra Comfort Hotel when people suddenly burst into the lobby yelling, “Sea water rising!” He said he was confused because he did not feel an earthquake, but ran to the parking lot to try to reach his motorbike. By the time he got there, it was already flooded.
“Suddenly a 1-meter (3.3-foot) wave hit me,” he said. “I fell down, the water separated me from my bike. I was thrown into the fence of a building about 30 meters (100 feet) from the beach and held onto the fence as strong as I could, trying to resist the water, which feels like it would drag me back into the sea. I cried in fear. … ‘This is a tsunami?’ I was afraid I would die.”
The 305-meter (1,000-foot) -high Anak Krakatau volcano, located about 200 kilometers (124 miles) southwest of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, has been erupting since June. In July, authorities widened its no-go areas to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the crater.
However, Anak Krakatau remains much smaller than Krakatoa when it blew in 1883, killing more than 30,000 people. Krakatoa launched far-reaching tsunamis and created so much ash, day was turned to night in the area and a global temperature drop was recorded. The violent explosions sank most of the island into the volcanic crater under the sea, and the area remained calm until the 1920s, when Anak Krakatau began to rise from the site. It continues to grow each year and erupts periodically.
Gegar Prasetya, co-founder of the Tsunami Research Center Indonesia, said Saturday’s tsunami was likely caused by a flank collapse — when a big section of a volcano’s slope gives way. He said it’s possible for an eruption to trigger a landslide above ground or beneath the ocean, both capable of producing waves.
“Actually, the tsunami was not really big, only 1 meter (3.3 feet),” said Prasetya, who has closely studied Krakatoa. “The problem is people always tend to build everything close to the shoreline.”
Nine hotels and hundreds of homes were heavily damaged. Broken chunks of concrete and splintered sticks of wood littered hard-hit coastal areas, turning beach getaways popular with Jakarta residents into near ghost towns. Vehicles tossed by the waves remained belly up in the rubble or were lodged in the air under collapsed roofs. Debris from thatch-bamboo shacks was strewn along beaches.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people, lies along the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
In September, more than 2,500 people were killed by a quake and tsunami that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, which is just east of Borneo.
Saturday’s tsunami rekindled memories for some of the massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake that hit on Dec. 26, 2004. It spawned a giant tsunami off Sumatra island in western Indonesia, killing more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries — the majority in Indonesia.
Roads and infrastructure are poor in many areas of disaster-prone Indonesia, making access difficult in the best of conditions.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)
INDIA Updated: Nov 25, 2018 08:28 IST
Indonesian authorities have identified the body of Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja who captained the ill-fated plane that crashed into the sea on October 29. He was cremated on Friday.
“Indonesian authorities have confirmed identification of body of Capt.Bhavya Suneja. The remains will be handed over to the family in presence of @IndianEmbJkt today. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” tweeted external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
His body was cremated in Indonesia on Friday. “His parents, wife and in-laws are there. The body was handed over to the family Friday and cremated the same day,” said Rohit Dhingra, cousin of Bhavya’s wife.
The Lion Air flight, with 188 fliers and crew on board, crashed into the sea off Java, minutes after taking off from Jakarta.
First Published: Nov 25, 2018 00:08 IST
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)
JAKARTA, Indonesia — An Indonesian island devastated by a powerful earthquake and tsunami that has killed at least 1,400 people was was hit with another natural disaster early Wednesday: A volcanic eruption.
A government volcanologist said it’s possible the eruption of Mount Soputan, on the island of Sulawesi, was accelerated by Friday’s 7.5 magnitude temblor.
“It could be that this earthquake triggered the eruption, but the direct correlation has yet to be seen,” Kasbani, the head of Indonesia’s Vulcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation agency, told online news portal Tempo.
Kasbani, who uses one name, said volcanic activity had been increasing at Soputan since August and began surging Monday. No evacuations were immediately ordered after Wednesday’s eruption, which sent ash 19,700 feet — more 3.7 miles — into the sky.
Nazli Ismail, a geophysicist at University of Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh on Sumatra island, urged caution and stressed there was no concrete evidence to show they are linked.
“People talk about the butterfly effect. The concept is that when a butterfly flaps its wings, it can cause a catastrophe,” he said. “So it is possible for the earthquake to trigger the volcano eruption, but it’s not conclusive.”
Nazri said the Soputan volcano eruption isn’t surprising as Indonesia sits on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire,” and Soputan is one of the most active volcanoes on the island.
Planes were warned of the ash clouds because volcanic ash is hazardous for their engines.
The earthquake in Central Sulawesi set off a tsunami and has devastated several communities.
Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 250 million people and government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.
A couple of days ago I read an article from another Blogger concerning his experiences with Labor Unions, it was his article that gave me the idea to write this article to you today. The Author’s name is Dan Antion and you can find his article on his site at http://nofacilities.wordpress.com/
I was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia back in the mid 1950’s, this was an area where there simply were no Union jobs. All of the jobs in the area all paid what ever the Federal National minimum wage happened to be at the time. None of the factories, silk mills or saw mills paid anything to their employees that was not mandated by law. Besides the people being paid the minimum wage there were no benefits at all for the employees, no health insurance, not dental or vision insurance, no paid holidays, no vacations or vacation pay, no overtime pay when you had work on a holiday, unless in doing so put you over the 40 work week. Another big thing was there was no job security at all, you could have been at a job for 20 years and the foreman or “Boss Man” as most were called could come into work one morning in a bad mood and fire you for any reason, or no reason at all and there was nothing at all that you could do about it. Needless to say my Mom and Dad whom were both factory workers were in favor of Unions but it was something that they had to keep quiet because you would definitely get fired if the Bosses ever even thought you were talking pro-union even if you were not at work when they heard that you were condoning the concept of a Union. The reasons are pretty simple, if the Company was forced to have a Union then the bosses would have to have a real reason to fire you or to suspend you. The company would be forced to pay much higher wages and be required to pay for benefits like vacation pay, health insurance, paid sick leave. To me I believe that there are two main financial reasons for a company to treat their employees this way. One is pure greed from the ownership stand point. If you own a company what you don’t pay out in wages and benefits you get to put into your own pocket. Two, competition, you as an owner had to be able to keep the wholesale prices of your product in line with what other companies whom made the same products as you were charging. When you paid more out for your costs than your competition then the customers would buy from your competition and not you, thus putting you out of business. Back then competition was mostly all domestic, now days everything is international. This is some of the reasons why so many factories have closed here in the States and moved overseas, competition and cheaper production costs.
Now to the crux of this article to you today. I was a long haul truck driver from 1981-2013, I drove all over the lower 48 states and all of the Provinces of Canada. Most of my driving was here in the U.S. so I am only going to speak of my Union/non-Union experiences here in the States. I my self do believe that the concept of Unions is a very good thing for the working class poor people but as a truck driver I really did not like having to go to Union customers. Companies simply want to get employees to get as much product out the door as possible for the least amount of cost. Unions want to make companies pay the employees as much as possible and they want the employees to have to do as little as possible for that higher pay. Also Unions want to have as many members as possible so their theory is if the employees of a company do less and less than the company will have to hire more Union employees to get the finished product out the door. This in turn creates more revenue for the Union via the employees Union Dues. The problem between the companies and the Unions are just like the problems we all see in American politics between the Republicans and the Democrats, they are total polar opposites. The only way to make things work whether it is in politics or with companies and Unions is if both sides of the issues will decide to ‘meet in the middle’.
Examples of why a driver does not like to go to Union companies: There was a large Paper Mill in Lamar Louisiana that I went to several times, once you backed in the dock to get loaded you walked about 200 feet back into the Mill to the Shipping Office to sign and pickup the paper work for your load. By the time you walked to the Office then back to your trailer, it was loaded. These are big rolls of paper that are loaded with a clamp machine (adapted forklift). This Mill is non-Union and you could always hear the tires squealing on the forklifts as they were loading the trailers and your trailer was only in a dock for a total of about 15 minutes and you were ready to leave. One time I picked up a load from this Mill and the load was an (in-house) move, meaning that it was going to their own warehouse in Indianapolis Indiana. The difference here was that the warehouse in Indianapolis was a Union Shop. I got to the Receiver about a half hour early and was given a door assignment to back into which I did. This warehouse had about 40 dock doors and I was the only trailer in any dock. I waited for two hours and they still had not entered the trailer for the first time so I went back to the Receiving Office to ask when they might start, about another hour and a half passed before they pulled the first roll out. From that point it took them two hours to unload the trailer, my total time in their dock to get unloaded was 5 1/2 hours. Remember, at their non-Union Mill they loaded this load in 10-15 minutes.
One time I picked up a load of car fenders that were on either 5 or 6 racks that took the loader literally no more than about 5 minutes to load. This load was going to a General Motors Assembly Plant in Michigan. General Motors is very strict about incoming freight and they only give you a half hour window in which to be arriving, if you are late the company that you drove for gets a big fine so you don’t dare be late. My appointment was for 5 AM. I checked in at 4:30 and was told to pull in front of door #5 and to stay there until someone comes out and tells you to back into the dock. All of the dock doors had trucks lined up waiting just like I was. A couple of times during the day I went in to check with the Receiving Supervisor to see when they might get started as my dispatch had me a reload to get picked up and that customer was wanting to know when I might show up. Turns out that all of the Receiving Department employees were sitting in the break room doing things like reading newspapers and books, playing card games and watching TV. When the Supervisor asked them to please go out and unload these trailers they cursed him quite badly and told him to go F-off. The Supervisor one time even got a hold of the Union Representative who showed up on his little three-wheeled power cart and he asked the employees to please go unload the trailers, he got cursed just as the Receiving Supervisor had before him. Turns out that at about 6 PM I finally got to back into my dock door and they did get me unloaded in about 10 minutes. That was the one and only load that my company ever hauled into or out of a U.A.W. (United Auto Workers) location. Is it any wonder why the Company built factories in Mexico to get away from the Union here in the States?
Twice I had to pick up a load of flooring tile at a manufacturer in north-east Illinois. Both times I had gotten appointments for about 10 AM. The Shipper had a good-sized parking lot for the trucks to wait in until they were called to back into a dock door. Both times the company I worked for ended up canceling the load and the reason was simple economics. This was a Union Shipper, after waiting for a couple of hours past my appointment time I went inside to see what was going on as no trucks had moved from the docks yet. Just like at the GM Factory the shipping department employees were all just siting around in their break room. I was told that the Union had gotten a deal where the employees only had to load 4 trailers per shift, figuring 2 hours per trailer x 4=8 hour shift. Reality was that when the day started at 7 AM the employees would hustle to get their 4 trailers loaded. But, it actually only took them about 30 minutes to load a trailer so, 4 x 30 minutes =2 hours. Then the employees would just go to the break room each day until their 8 hour shift was finished then they would check out and go home. The reality was that they had a whole lot full of trucks waiting to get loaded that they didn’t give a damn about.
Folks, here is my take on this issue. We all know that all companies are in a global economy, if your company makes a product, lets say widgets, you are not only competing with other Widget Companies in your State or even just in your home Country. If I have a company here in Kentucky, Union or not, and I make Widgets at a cost to me of 48 cents each and another company in lets say China and or Indonesia comes into the market selling Widgets for a total cost of 35 cents each having a production cost of 20 cents per Widget then I have a tough choice to make. Either I get my production cost down to no more than 20 cents per unit so that I can stay competitive, or I close my factory before I go bankrupt. The other option is to close up my factory here in Kentucky and to open up a factory in a place like China or Indonesia where I can be competitive. Either way, I must close up my factory here in Kentucky.
My Mom instilled in me a major ‘work ethic’, the concept that when you are at work, you bust your behind, you work. It has long been my belief that if you are an employee and you are lucky enough to have a Union job then you should always work as hard as you can and to always put out the best possible product for you employer. If you are employed in a Union Business I have always believed that you need to produce at a higher level because you are being paid at a higher level than your non-Union neighbor. Getting contracts where you can work for two hours and sit on your butt in the break room for the next six hours is how companies either go bankrupt, or move away to a non-Union location, like China. Either way, you now have no job at all.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC NEWS)
The Associated Press
MATARAM, Indonesia (AP) — A powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok on Sunday, killing at least 39 people and shaking neighboring Bali, one week after another quake on Lombok killed more than a dozen.
The latest quake, which triggered a brief tsunami warning, damaged buildings as far away as Denpasar on Bali, including a department store and the airport terminal, where ceiling panels were shaken loose, authorities said.
Video showed screaming people running in panic from houses in a Bali neighborhood and vehicles rocking. On Lombok, soldiers and other rescuers carried injured people on stretchers and carpets to an evacuation center.
Muhammad Rum, head of the disaster management agency in West Nusa Tenggara province, which includes Lombok, told Indonesian TV the death toll had risen to 39. Earlier, officials had said at least three people had died.
The quake, recorded at magnitude 7.0 by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 10.5 kilometers (6 miles) in the northern part of Lombok.
“I was watching TV when I felt a big shake,” said Harian, a Lombok woman who uses one name. “The lamp was shaking and people were shouting ‘Get out.’ I ran out into the dark because the power cut off.”
A tsunami warning was lifted after waves just 15 centimeters (6 inches) high were recorded in three villages, said the head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the quake was felt strongly across Lombok and Bali and had damaged houses on both islands.
Iwan Asmara, a Lombok disaster official, said frightened people poured out of their homes to move to higher ground, particularly in North Lombok and Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province.
The Bali and Lombok airports continued operating Sunday night, according to the director general of civil aviation. There had been a half hour evacuation at the Lombok airport following the quake because the electricity went off. TV showed crying women consoling each other outside Lombok’s airport.
The island was already reeling from a magnitude 6.4 quake on July 29, which killed 16 people.
Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)
JAKARTA, Indonesia — A strong earthquake struck Indonesia’s popular tourist island of Lombok on Sunday, killing at least three people and briefly triggering a tsunami warning one week after another quake in the same area.
The latest quake caused people to flee their homes and move to higher ground. Authorities said the quake may have caused some damage. Najmul Akhyar, district chief of North Lombok, told MetroTV that there was an electrical blackout so he was unable to assess the entire situation, but that at least three people had been killed.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 quake struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 6 miles. Its epicenter was about 1 mile east-southeast of Loloan.
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami warning after the quake struck. The warning was lifted later Sunday.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told KompasTV that the quake strongly jolted Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, and may have caused damage there.
He said the quake was also felt in parts of neighboring Bali island.
Iwan Asmara, an official from the local Disaster Mitigation Agency, said people poured out from their houses in panic to move to higher ground, particularly in Mataram and North Lombok district.
A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Lombok on July 29, killing 16 people.
Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)
|Introduction||The Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Portuguese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. Between the referendum and the arrival of a multinational peacekeeping force in late September 1999, anti-independence Timorese militias – organized and supported by the Indonesian military – commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees. The majority of the country’s infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country’s electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state. In late April 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation’s security when a military strike led to violence and a near breakdown of law and order in Dili. At the request of the Government of Timor-Leste, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor-Leste in late May. In August, the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. In subsequent months, many of the ISF soldiers were replaced by UN police officers; approximately 80 ISF officers remained as of January 2008. From April to June 2007, the Government of Timor-Leste held presidential and parliamentary elections in a largely peaceful atmosphere with the support and assistance of UNMIT and international donors.|
The island of Timor was originally populated as part of the human migrations that have shaped Australasia more generally. It is believed that descendants from at least three waves of migration still live in the country. The first were related to the principal indigenous groups of New Guinea and Australia, and arrived before 40,000 years ago. Around 3000 BC, Austronesians migrated through to Timor, and are possibly associated with the development of agriculture on Timor. Thirdly, proto-Malays arrived from south China and north Indochina. The mountainous nature of the country meant that these groups remained separate, and explains why there is so much linguistic diversity in East Timor today.
Timor was incorporated into Chinese and Indian trading networks of the fourteenth century as an exporter of aromatic sandalwood, slaves, honey and wax. Early European explorers report that the island had a number of small chiefdoms or princedoms in the early sixteenth century. One of the most significant is the Wehali (Wehale) kingdom in central Timor, with its capital at Laran, West Timor, to which the Tetum, Bunaq and Kemak ethnic groups were aligned.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to colonize the Malay archipelago when they arrived in the sixteenth century. They established outposts in the (now Indonesian) Maluku Islands and Timor and surrounding islands. During the House of Habsburg’s rule over Portugal (1580-1640), all surrounding outposts were lost and eventually came under Dutch control by the mid-seventeenth century. Effective European occupation of a small part of the territory only began after 1769, when the city of Dili, the capital of so-called Portuguese Timor, was founded. In the nineteenth century, the Netherlands gained a foothold on the western half of the island West Timor, and formally received it in 1859 through the Treaty of Lisbon. The definitive border was established by the Hague Treaty of 1916, and it remains the international boundary between the successor states East Timor and Indonesia.
For the Portuguese, East Timor remained little more than a neglected trading post until the late nineteenth century. Investment in infrastructure, health, and education was minimal. Sandalwood remained the main export crop with coffee exports becoming significant in the mid-nineteenth century. In places where Portuguese rule was asserted, it tended to be brutal and exploitative. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a faltering home economy prompted the Portuguese to extract greater wealth from its colonies which met Timorese resistance.
In late 1941, Portuguese Timor was briefly occupied by Dutch and Australian troops in an attempt to preempt a Japanese invasion of the island. The Portuguese Governor protested the occupation, and Dutch forces returned to the Dutch side of the island. The Japanese landed and drove the small Australian force out of Dili, and the mountainous interior became the scene of a guerrilla campaign, known as the Battle of Timor. Waged by Allied forces and Timorese volunteers against the Japanese, the struggle resulted in the deaths of between 40,000 and 70,000 Timorese. Following the end of the war, Portuguese control was reinstated.
The process of decolonization in Portuguese Timor began in 1974, following the change of government in Portugal in the wake of the Carnation Revolution. Owing to political instability and more pressing concerns over the decolonisation of Angola and Mozambique, Portugal effectively abandoned East Timor and it unilaterally declared itself independent on November 28, 1975. Nine days later, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces before the declaration could be internationally recognized.
As political parties began to form and emerge inside the country, the Indonesian military headed an operation that backed Apodeti, a pro-Indonesian party that encouraged divisions between the pro-independence parties of East Timor. A brief civil war occurred in 1975. Indonesia alleged that the East Timorese FRETILIN party, which received some vocal support from the People’s Republic of China, was communist. Fearing a Communist domino effect in Southeast Asia—and in the wake of its South Vietnam campaign—the United States, along with its ally Australia, supported the pro-Western Indonesian government’s actions. The UN Security Council had a unanimous vote for Indonesia to stop its invasion and to withdraw immediately from East Timor’s borders, and was blocked by the United States from imposing any economic sanctions or other means of enforcing this mandate.
The territory was declared the twenty-seventh province of Indonesia in July 1976. Its nominal status in the UN remained that of a “non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration.”
Indonesian rule in East Timor was often marked by extreme violence and brutality; estimates of the number of East Timorese who died during the occupation vary from 60,000 to 200,000, A detailed statistical report prepared for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor cited a minimum bound of 102,800 conflict-related deaths in the period 1974-1999, namely, approximately 18,600 killings and 84,200 ‘excess’ deaths from hunger and illness.
The East Timorese guerrilla force, Falintil, fought a campaign against the Indonesian forces from 1975 to 1999, some members being trained in Portugal by Portuguese special forces. The Dili Massacre proved a turning point for the East Timorese cause internationally, and a burgeoning East Timor solidarity movement grew in Portugal, Australia, and the United States.
Following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United States and a surprise decision by the Indonesian President B. J. Habibie, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held on August 30, 1999 to choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence. 78.5% of voters chose independence, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by elements within the Indonesian military and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militias led by Eurico Guterres, broke out soon afterwards. A peacekeeping force (INTERFET, led by Australia) intervened to restore order. The militias fled across the border into Indonesian West Timor, from which sporadic armed raids were attempted. As these raids were repelled and international moral opinion forced Indonesia to withdraw tacit support, the militias dispersed. INTERFET was replaced by a UN force of International Police, the mission became known as UNTAET, and the UNTAET Crime Scene Detachment was formed to investigate alleged atrocities. UNTAET was headed by the late Sérgio Vieira de Mello as UN Transitional Administrator from December 1999 to May 2002. On December 2, 1999 De Mello established the National Consultative Council (NCC), a political body consisting of 11 East Timorese and four UNTAET members charged with overseeing the decision-making process during the transition period leading to independence. However, UNTAET experienced difficulties initially in establishing its credibility amongst the Timorese leadership, leading to street violence. An important workshop on March 1, 2000 brought the Timorese and UN leadership group together to tease out a revised strategy, and identify institutional needs. The Timorese delegation was led by José Ramos-Horta, and included Mari Alkatiri. The outcome was an agreed blueprint for a joint administration with executive powers, including leaders of the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), led by future president Xanana Gusmão. Further details were worked out in a conference in May 2000. De Mello presented the new blueprint to a donor conference in Lisbon, on June 22, 2000, and to the UN Security Council on June 27, 2000. On July 12, 2000, the NCC adopted a regulation establishing a Transitional Cabinet of four East Timorese and four UNTAET representatives. The revamped joint administration successfully laid the institutional foundations for independence, and on September 27, 2002, East Timor joined the United Nations.
In April 2006, riots broke out in Dili following rivalry within the military and police; 40 people were killed and over 20,000 fled their homes. Fighting between pro-government troops and disaffected Falintil troops broke out in May 2006. Upon the invitation of the Prime Minister, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Portugal sent troops to Timor, attempting to quell the violence. On 26 June, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri resigned as Prime Minister, following an ultimatum from President Xanana Gusmão that he would resign if Alkatiri did not. José Ramos-Horta was appointed as Alkatiri’s successor on July 8, 2006. In April 2007, Gusmão declined another presidential term. In the build-up to the April 2007 presidential elections there were renewed outbreaks of violence in February and March 2007. José Ramos-Horta was inaugurated as President on May 20, 2007 following his election win in the second round. Gusmão was sworn in as Prime Minister on August 8, 2007. President Ramos-Horta was critically injured in an assassination attempt on February 11, 2008 in a failed coup apparently perpetrated by Alfredo Reinado, a renegade soldier who died in the attack. Prime Minister Gusmão also faced gunfire separately but escaped unharmed. The Australian government immediately sent reinforcements to East Timor to keep order.
|Geography||Location: Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note – Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco
Geographic coordinates: 8 50 S, 125 55 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 15,007 sq km
land: NA sq km
water: NA sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries: total: 228 km
border countries: Indonesia 228 km
Coastline: 706 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources: gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use: arable land: 8.2%
permanent crops: 4.57%
other: 87.23% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,065 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones
Environment – current issues: widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Environment – international agreements: party to: Climate Change, Desertification
Geography – note: Timor comes from the Malay word for “East”; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
|Politics||The Head of state of East Timor is the President of East Timor, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Although the role is largely symbolic, the president does have veto power over certain types of legislation. Following elections, the president appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as the Prime Minister of East Timor. As head of government, the prime minister presides over the Council of State or cabinet.
The unicameral Timorese parliament is the National Parliament or Parlamento Nacional, whose members are elected by popular vote to a five-year term. The number of seats can vary from a minimum of fifty-two to a maximum of sixty-five, though it exceptionally has eighty-eight members at present, due to this being its first term of office. The East Timorese constitution was modelled on that of Portugal. The country is still in the process of building its administration and governmental institutions.
note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.1% (male 197,975/female 191,716)
15-64 years: 61.6% (male 347,573/female 334,908)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 17,578/female 19,027) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21.5 years
male: 21.5 years
female: 21.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.05% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 26.52 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.02 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 41.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 48.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 35.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.94 years
male: 64.6 years
female: 69.39 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.36 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: chikungunya, dengue fever and malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Timorese
Ethnic groups: Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
Religions: Roman Catholic 98%, Muslim 1%, Protestant 1% (2005)
Languages: Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58.6%
female: NA (2002)
Education expenditures: NA
|Government||Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
conventional short form: Timor-Leste
local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
local short form: Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
former: East Timor, Portuguese Timor
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Dili
geographic coordinates: 8 35 S, 125 36 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
Independence: 28 November 1975 (independence proclaimed from Portugal); note – 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of Timor-Leste’s independence from Indonesia
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
Constitution: 22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Legal system: UN-drafted legal system based on Indonesian law remains in place but is to be replaced by civil and penal codes based on Portuguese law; these have passed but have not been promulgated; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 17 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jose RAMOS-HORTA (since 20 May 2007); note – the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections
head of government: Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 8 August 2007), note – he formerly used the name Jose Alexandre GUSMAO; Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis GUTERRES (since 8 August 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 9 April 2007 with run-off on 8 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2012); following elections, president appoints leader of majority party or majority coalition as prime minister
election results: Jose RAMOS-HORTA elected president; percent of vote – Jose RAMOS-HORTA 69.2%, Francisco GUTTERES 30.8%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament (number of seats can vary from 52 to 65; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 30 June 2007 (next elections due by June 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party – FRETILIN 29%, CNRT 24.1%, ASDT-PSD 15.8%, PD 11.3%, PUN 4.5%, KOTA-PPT (Democratic Alliance) 3.2%, UNTERDIM 3.2%, others 8.9%; seats by party – FRETILIN 21, CNRT 18, ASDT-PSD 11, PD 8, PUN 3, KOTA-PPT 2, UNDERTIM 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice – constitution calls for one judge to be appointed by National Parliament and rest appointed by Superior Council for Judiciary; note – until Supreme Court is established, Court of Appeals is highest court
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction or CNRT [Xanana GUSMAO]; National Democratic Union of Timorese Resistance or UNDERTIM [Cornelio DA Conceicao GAMA]; National Unity Party or PUN [Fernanda BORGES]; People’s Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent Timor-Leste or FRETILIN [Mari ALKATIRI]; Social Democratic Association of Timor or ASDT [Francisco Xavier do AMARAL]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Mario CARRASCALAO]; Sons of the Mountain Warriors or KOTA [Manuel TILMAN] (also known as Association of Timorese Heroes)
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, ARF, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Jorge CAMEO
chancery: 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 504,Washington, DC 20008
telephone:  (202) 966-3202
FAX:  (202) 966-3205
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Hans G. KLEMM
embassy: Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Conqueiros, Dili
mailing address: US Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250
telephone: (670) 332-4684
FAX: (670) 331-3206
Flag description: red, with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag; a white star is in the center of the black triangle
|Culture||The culture of East Timor reflects numerous influences, including Portuguese, Roman Catholic, and Malayisia, on the indigenous Austronesian and Melanesian cultures of Timor. Legend has it that a giant crocodile was transformed into the island of Timor, or Crocodile Island, as it is often called. East Timorese culture is heavily influenced by Austronesian legends, although the Catholic influence is also strong.
Illiteracy is still widespread, but there is a strong tradition of poetry. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, for example, is a distinguished poet. As for architecture, some Portuguese-style buildings can be found, along with the traditional totem houses of the eastern region. These are known as uma lulik (sacred houses) in Tetum, and lee teinu (houses with legs) in Fataluku. Craftsmanship is also widespread, as is the weaving of traditional scarves or tais.
|Economy||Economy – overview: In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of Timor-Leste was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias. Three hundred thousand people fled westward. Over the next three years a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. By the end of 2005, refugees had returned or had settled in Indonesia. The country continues to face great challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in offshore waters has begun to supplement government revenues ahead of schedule and above expectations – the result of high petroleum prices. The technology-intensive industry, however, has done little to create jobs for the unemployed because there are no production facilities in Timor. Gas is piped to Australia. In June 2005 the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and preserve the value of Timor-Leste’s petroleum wealth for future generations. The Fund held assets of US$1.8 billion as of September 2007. The mid-2006 outbreak of violence and civil unrest disrupted both private and public sector economic activity and created 100,000 internally displaced persons – about 10 percent of the population. While real non-oil GDP growth in 2006 was negative, the economy probably rebounded in 2007. The underlying economic policy challenge the country faces remains how best to use oil-and-gas wealth to lift the non-oil economy onto a higher growth path and reduce poverty. In late 2007, the new government announced plans aimed at increasing spending, reducing poverty, and improving the country’s infrastructure, but it continues to face capacity constraints. In the short term, the government must also address continuing problems related to the crisis of 2006, especially the displaced Timorese.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.608 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $459 million (2007 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 19.8% (2007 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $2,500 (2007 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 32.2%
services: 55% (2005)
Labor force: NA
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: NA%
Unemployment rate: 50% estimated; note – unemployment in urban areas reached 20%; data do not include underemployed (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line: 42% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 38 (2002 est.)
Budget: revenues: $733 million
expenditures: $309 million
note: the government passed a transitional budget to cover the latter half of 2007 and has moved the fiscal cycle to a calendar year, starting with the budget they passed for 2008 (FY06/07 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.8% (2007 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 15.05% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $74.94 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $68.78 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: NA (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: coffee, rice, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
Industries: printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
Industrial production growth rate: 8.5% (2004 est.)
Electricity – production: NA kWh
Electricity – consumption: NA kWh
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 78,480 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – proved reserves: NA
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 200 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $1.161 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $10 million; note – excludes oil (2005 est.)
Exports – commodities: coffee, sandalwood, marble; note – potential for oil and vanilla exports
Exports – partners: US, Germany, Portugal, Australia, Indonesia (2006)
Imports: $202 million (2004 est.)
Imports – commodities: food, gasoline, kerosene, machinery
Economic aid – recipient: $184.7 million (2005 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
|Communications||Telephones – main lines in use: 2,400 (2006)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 69,000 (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: rudimentary service limited to urban areas
domestic: system suffered significant damage during the violence associated with independence; extremely limited fixed-line services; mobile-cellular services and coverage limited primarily to urban areas
international: country code – 670; international service is available in major urban centers
Radio broadcast stations: at least 21 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster and 20 community and church radio stations – frequency type NA)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster)
Internet country code: .tl
Internet hosts: 285 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA
Internet users: 1,200 (2006)
|Transportation||Airports: 8 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Heliports: 9 (2007)
Roadways: total: 6,040 km
paved: 2,600 km
unpaved: 3,440 km (2005)
Merchant marine: total: 1
by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2008)
Ports and terminals: Dili
|Military||Military branches: Timor-Leste Defense Force (Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L’este, Falintil (FDTL)): Army, Navy (Armada) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 284,903
females age 16-49: 272,212 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 224,096
females age 16-49: 231,901 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 13,045
female: 12,670 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: NA
|Transnational Issues||Disputes – international: Timor-Leste-Indonesia Boundary Committee has resolved all but a small portion of the land boundary, but discussions on maritime boundaries are stalemated over sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Pulau Batek/Fatu Sinai in the north and alignment with Australian claims in the south; many refugees who left Timor-Leste in 2003 still reside in Indonesia and refuse repatriation; Australia and Timor-Leste agreed in 2005 to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for 50 years and to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: 100,000 (2007)
Illicit drugs: NA
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
(CNN)Suspected suicide bombers struck three different churches in Indonesia on Sunday morning, killing at least nine people and injuring scores more, police say.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)
When Bardina Degei cooks dinner, she doesn’t use a stove. She rarely even uses a pot. In her wooden home in Enarotali, the capital of Paniai regency in the restive Indonesian province of Papua, the housewife usually just places a sweet potato — known locally as “nota”— directly into the fireplace.
After half-an-hour, the charred tuber is retrieved and devoured with eager, unwashed hands. Degei sits on the mud floor — she has no furniture — which is where she also performs her daily chores, such as washing clothes with murky water from the nearby swamp. A bucket in a roofless room serves as a latrine. As the youngest of her husband’s four wives, she has been assigned no fields to tend. (Polygamy is common here.) Of course, working late can be dangerous: Most of the village men are unemployed and many drink heavily, plus there are the soldiers. “No one dares to walk around the village after 5 p.m.,” she says.
It’s a rare glimpse of daily life in the highlands of Papua, a former Dutch colony that was absorbed into Indonesia in 1969 following a controversial referendum, when just 1,026 elders were forced to vote though a public show of hands before occupying troops. An existing movement agitating for independence against Dutch rule swiftly turned its ire against the Jakarta government, which maintains tight control over the region, barring foreign journalists or rights monitors. In 2003, the province was officially split into Papua and West Papua, with independent Papua New Guinea occupying the eastern part of the island.
Enarotali is as remote as it is desolate; the journey here involves a 90-minute flight from the provincial capital Jayapura to Nabire, and then a stomach-churning five-hour drive by hire car. (There is no public transport.) The town of some 19,000 people consists of wooden houses ringed by bamboo fencing, corrugated iron roofs transformed by rust into varying tawny shades.
Very few Indonesians have made the journey here, let alone journalists, and practically no foreigners. Before Christian missionaries arrived, Mee Pago Papuans worshiped a God named Uga Tamee. There were other changes, too. “We were not used to wearing these clothes,” says Degei, indicating her vividly colored, hand-woven turban, dark shirt and a bright skirt. “Before, we only wore leaves on our bodies.”
Papua is Indonesia’s poorest province, where 28% of people live below the poverty lineand with some of the worst infant mortality and literacy rates in Asia. But it is also Indonesia’s land of gold. The world’s largest and most profitable gold mine, Grasberg, owned by Phoenix-based Freeport McMoran, lies just 60 miles from Paniai, a highland province around the size of New Jersey and home to 153,000 people. In 2015 alone, Freeport mined some $3.1 billion worth of gold and copper here. In addition, Papua boasts timber resources worth an estimated $78 billion.
These riches are, however, a source of misery for Papuans, ensuring Indonesia’s powerful military maintains a suffocating presence. A 2005 investigation in The New York Times reported that Freeport paid local military personnel and units nearly $20 million between 1998 and 2004, including up to $150,000 to a single officer. Papuan calls for greater autonomy threaten this golden goose, and are dealt with mercilessly.
According to rights activists, more than 500,000 Papuan’s have been killed, and thousands more have been raped, tortured and imprisoned by the Indonesian military since 1969. Mass killings in Papua’s tribal highlands during the 1970’s amounted to genocide, according to the Asia Human Rights Commission.
Indonesian police arrested more than 3,900 peaceful protesters in the region last year alone. We Will Lose Everything, a 2016 report by the Archdiocese of Brisbane, contains testimony of atrocities committed the previous year, such as extrajudicial executions, torture — rape and electrocution are especially popular, according to another report — and the brutal crushing of peaceful demonstrations. “It’s difficult to count the number of victims as incidents happen every week,” says Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch.
The screws have tightened as Papua’s resources bring an influx of settlers from elsewhere in Indonesia. The province’s 3.5 million population is 83% Christian, but the demographic is changing as Muslim economic migrants arrive from Indonesia’s populous islands of Java, Borneo, Sumatra and Sulawesi. Javanese warung canteens sell fried chicken and gado-gado mixed-vegetables served with peanut sauce. Local people struggle to compete.
“The migrants started to sell chicken and vegetables in the traditional market cheaper than the local Papuans,” explains Abeth You, a 24-year-old Paniai native who moved to the provincial capital Jayapura for work. “It made the native Papuans — the mama-mama [the women] of Papua — lose their market.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, vowed to address the inequalities and rights abuses in Papua during his election campaign in 2014. The former carpenter secured 27 of Papua’s total 29 districts — including Paniai — on the way to the Presidential Palace in Jakarta. But precious little has changed in Papua, and today local people feel betrayed.
“Our hearts have been broken because in 2014 we voted for Jokowi, with the expectation that he would fulfill our hopes for justice to be restored,” You says.
In fact, Paniai suffered a nadir just two months after Jokowi’s October inauguration. On Dec. 7, 2014 a group of 11 children were outside singing Christmas carols in front of a bonfire in Enarotali when two Indonesian soldiers on a motorbike broke through the gloom. The startled children told them that they should turn on their headlights.
One of the soldiers took umbrage at their tone and later returned with four soldiers, according to local Pastor Yavedt Tebai. The soldiers, who had been drinking, chased and beat the group with their rifle butts, said victims and witnesses. Then one of the soldiers fired into the group of children.
One child, 16-year-old Yulianus Yeimo, was beaten so badly he fell into a coma.
A couple of hours later, the nearby government Election Commission building was set ablaze, and things escalated the following day. About 1,000 young Papuan men, women and children gathered on a soccer field in front of the local police station and military command center to demand justice. They carried ceremonial hunting bows and performed the waita dance — running in circles and simulating birdsong — of Papua’s Mee Pago tribe. Some protesters started hurling stones at police and military posts.
As tempers grew more heated, an order was sent to the soldiers through internal radio: “If the masses offer resistance more than three times, shoot them dead,” it said, according to an official document seen by TIME that has not been released to the local media.
Yeremias Kayame, 56, the head of the Kego Koto neighborhood of Enarotali, saw the impending danger and appealed for calm, imploring the crowd to go back home. Nobody was in the mood to listen. “When I turned around I suddenly got shot in my left wrist,” he told TIME on the porch of his brightly painted wooden house.
Kayame still doesn’t know who fired but says the bullet came from the ranks of amassed soldiers. “It was crowded, many shots were fired,” he adds.
Local man Alfius Youw was hit three times, according to his cousin who witnessed the shootings. “I ran to him and examined his body to make sure it was him,” Yohanes, who like many Indonesians only goes by one name, told TIME somberly. “I saw he was dead … I kissed him.”
The Papua Police Chief Inspector General Yotje Mende told reporters that his officers were only “securing” their station because it was under attack.
“We have to defend ourselves when people threaten to kill us,” Papua Police spokesperson, Commissioner Pudjo Sulistiyo said in 2015. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
According to Human Rights Watch, five young protesters were killed and many more injured.
News of the killings only filtered through to Jakarta the following day. Three weeks later, Jokowi gave an impassioned speech in Jayapura, where he expressed sympathies with the victims’ families and vowed to address the historic abuses in Papua. “I want this case to be solved immediately so it won’t ever happen again in the future,” he said.
Security Minister Wiranto said in October 2016 that he was setting up a non-judicial mechanism to settle historic human-rights violations. But the excuses started almost immediately. “Most of the violations occurred a long time ago. Some were in the ’90s and in early 2000s. The point is we are committed to addressing these violations, but there are processes to go through,” he said.
Then Wiranto backtracked when speaking to TIME in Jakarta on June 5, saying he has no plans to establish a grievance mechanism in Papua. Instead, “All will be [settled] by law,” he said.
Wiranto, who the U.N. has indicted for “crimes against humanity” relating to more than 1,000 deaths during East Timor’s bloody 1999 independence vote, said that 11 cases of human-rights violations in Papua have already been settled, including the Paniai incident.
Families of the Paniai victims greeted such claims with grim incredulity. “I’ve been interviewed four times for the past three years, but there has been no progress at all,” Yohanes says. “I’m tired.”
He says that years later, he still lives in fear. “I’m afraid,” he says. “I’m afraid of being arrested by the military, afraid to be shot.”
His brother Yacobus echoed the view that people in Paniai are fearful of discussing the incident. He says he was beaten by the military after helping to bury four of the victims. “After burying the bodies, the military came looking for me,” he says.
The shootings haven’t stopped. On Tuesday, Indonesian police shot at villagers in Paniai’s neighboring Deiyai regency. One person died and 17 others were wounded, including children, during a confrontation between villagers and the manager of a construction company who refused to help transport an unconscious man to hospital.
The man, 24-year-old Ravianus Douw who drowned while he was fishing in a nearby river, died on the way to hospital. Incensed villagers protested in front of the company’s site office. Police said the villagers threw rocks at officers, who responded by firing warning shots. But locals say the mobile brigade (Indonesian paramilitary police) began shooting at the crowd, killing one.
“We were so panicked, we are afraid there will be revenge,” 29-year-old Dominggu Badii, who lives near the hospital and witnessed the injured being hurried in, tells TIME. “I have been hiding in my house for two days.”
The Deiyai parliament has called for the officers involved to be held to account and the police mobile brigade to be withdrawn from the area.
Paniai has always been a troublespot for the Indonesian government. The lack of meaningful development feeds the discontent of the tribal Mee, Moni, Dani, and Damal peoples, who live sprawled across Papua’s verdant central highlands. Many joined the Free Papua Movement (OPM), the rebel army that claims to defend the rights of the Papuans by launching sporadic attacks and kidnapping raids on Indonesian soldiers. Some of the top OPM leaders hail from Paniai, including Tadius Yogi and Daniel Yudas Kogoya.
In response, thousands of people in Paniai have been arrested and arbitrarily detained by the military in recent years, under the guise of “safeguarding national sovereignty.” Some never reappear. Among the people of Papua, Paniai is known as “a tragic, forgotten place.”
Poverty feeds the discontent. The little rice on sale in Enarotali is too expensive for locals to buy. Bread is just as out of reach. People here grow everything they eat: mainly nota plus some fruit and leafy vegetables. Farming is the job of the women, who each can maintain four or five fields of the sweet potato. They usually keep most of the harvest for the family, with the rest sold in the local market. Ten pieces of nota cost only 10,000 Indonesian rupiah (75 cents).
Over time, economic inequalities have grown between the native Papuans and the new migrants, who have arrived in greater numbers since the opening of a new air routes to Nabire Airport. What few jobs exist typically go to the better-educated and wealthier migrants. Papuans rarely have the capital or the necessary skills to run their own businesses competitively.
“The young people are not interested to stay in the village … because there’s no jobs or money here,” says John Gobai, the chairman of the tribal council of Paniai.
Isolation keeps the world’s eyes off Papua. In addition, reporting restrictions for international media remain tight. Earlier this year, French journalists Franck Escudie and Basille Longchamp were deported from Papua for a “lack of coordination with related institutions” despite having been granted rare permission to film.
According to Phelim Kine, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, Jokowi’s election campaign pledges to lift reporting restrictions to boost transparency and development have not been realized. “There are new hazards for foreign journalists attempting to report from Indonesia’s restive easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua: visa denial and blacklisting,” he said in a statement.
The lack of press scrutiny means international pressure on the Indonesian government has been largely limited to Papua’s immediate neighbors. In March, six Pacific nations — Tonga, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and the Solomon Islands — urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate the “various and widespread violations” in Papua, including the Paniai shooting. These same countries have historically backed the OPM.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir shrugged off the group’s allegations, telling journalists in Jakarta, “In Indonesia, a democratic system still applies and there’s free media so it’s hard for the evidence of human rights cases to be covered up.”
Local people want more foreign governments to take note. When an official delegation from the Netherlands, headed by the nation’s human rights ambassador Kees Van Baar, visited Jayapura on May 4, local people broke their silence, beseeching, “We want freedom,” according to a source who also attended the meeting but who asked to stay anonymous.
Indonesia has another presidential election in 2019, but Papuans say they are unlikely to vote again for Jokowi. “Jokowi is a person who has good intentions, but he is surrounded by the people who are involved in the Paniai shooting,” says Gobai, the tribal council chairman.
He wants Jokowi to know that the Paniai people, aside from living under the looming threat of a rapacious military, wallow in destitution, with paltry education and health services.
Gobai says the Paniai people, like other Papuans, consider their vote to Jokowi as a “debt” he must repay. “They don’t need money, they just want justice,” he says.
Despite the threats and intimidation, families of the Paniai shooting victims carried out one last symbolic act of defiance: burying one victim’s body on land just opposite the police and military station. Knowing that justice may never be served, at least they won’t let those responsible forget their crimes. “A member of our family has been killed,” says Yacobus, head bowed. “What else could we do?”
A blog based on sports and my views on pressing issues
Healthy Living: Mind, Body, Spirit, and Soul
Thoughts and memories of a young English woman who fell in love and went to live in Algeria
Exploring the world one bite at a time
BE-ing your most joyful, naturally healthy, whole, balanced, and vibrant YOU!
Pequeñas dosis a base de concentrado de palabra. Frases, poesía, microcuentos y otros escritos.
Life as an Ambulatory Equine Veterinarian