Dili -- 1991



The Dili Massacre

In October 1991 a delegation from Portugal was scheduled to come on a fact-finding mission to East Timor. However, the killing of two East Timorese political activists delayed the arrival of the Portuguese group. On the 12th of November a Mass was organized for Sebastio Gomes Rangel, one of the assassinated men. After the mass the attendees moved in a procession to the Santa Cruz cemetary. Apparently some members of the procession were carrying pro-independence flags and banners. Once at the cemetary, the mourners were fired on by the Indonesian security forces. There was no warning or provocation, and the soldiers fired indiscriminately. Eye-witnesses estimate that about 100 people were killed, a huge difference from the "official" estimate of 19. Despite widespread international condemnation and an internal Indonesian inquiry, the official line is still that the troops were responding to chaos and riot. Charges and penalties against the members of the Indonesian forces were much lighter than those given to East Timorese civilians.

DILI - 1991

Hearts of stone have tried to seal
The voices of the world who know
Of politics and death and deals
Done to make the oil flow.

Voices speak of blood and bone
All splattered through a holy place
A hundred dead and more! They moan
The mass is ended - go with grace.

And Timor - crushed and bled to white
As soldiers strut and rape and kill
Tetum gagged before the might
Of states and allies' weakened wills.

Human rights - a pious cant?
The laughter's dead in Dili's halls
But we must heed their tragic chant
Or Justice slips, and finally falls.