A sick rewrite of Indonesian history

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2005

On tsunami aid to Indonesia, Associated Press reporter Denis D. Gray stated, "Washington imposed a ban on U.S. military equipment to Jakarta in 1999 after the Indonesian Army and pro-Jakarta militias killed 1,500 people in East Timor in a failed attempt to repress an independence movement in what was then an Indonesian province."

That is one sick rewrite of history. In 1975 Indonesia invaded East Timor to secure oil and the deep submarine passages off the island. There were 690,000 people in East Timor at that time. The Indonesians massacred 60,000 within the first few months and over the next 20 years killed a total of over 200,000. Gang rape and torture were the lot of the surviving population. Look up: Fence of Legs East Timor, on the web.

Back home, Indonesia's own home ministry estimates 400,000 were killed in the mid 1960s when Suharto took power in Indonesia (Amnesty International says over a million were killed). Time magazine called it a boiling blood bath. You can find it under: Suharto boiling blood bath.

So where was the love then? At least 600,000 humans dead and gone and our free U.S. press never showed their suffering the light of day. The U.S., Britain, France, Australia and Japan all supported Suharto at that time. When Suharto massacred East Timor; President Ford and Henry Kissinger went to Jakarta two days before the invasion to give what the Timorese call "The Big Wink."

Be sure that Jakarta and some in Washington, D.C. will use the tsunami disaster to try to lift U.S. sanctions against military aid to Indonesia. Don't do it. Already there are reports coming out of Indonesia that the army is taking U.S. donations to their bases and letting children starve.

Our country was primary in founding the United Nations. We are big enough and strong enough to provide food and clean water for millions as our part of the tsunami humanitarian effort. The United States ought to work with the United Nations to make sure the civilian population receives what we are sending. We ought to give nothing but food to the Indonesian military and make sure they stand in line like everyone else.

Dick Callahan


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