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Horta on flag burning and other such actions

Jose Ramos-Horta on flag burning and other such actions

Jose Ramos-Horta

Today I appeal to solidarity groups worldwide to actively refrain from burning the Indonesian flag (or otherwise desecrating symbols or property of Indonesia) as a means of protesting the Indonesian government and military’s outrages against the people of East Timor. As the multinational force moves into East Timor, it is important for us to show utmost respect for the Indonesian people. The Indonesian democracy movement has, for instance, placed itself solidly on the side of human rights in East Timor from the beginning. Instead we should direct our energies toward means to successfully implement the full and verifable withdrawal of all Indonesian armed forces—military, police, intelligence, and special forces alike. We can maintain respect for the people of Indonesia at the same time.

That said, I also appeal to all Indonesians to respect persons, property and sympols of the many nations taking part in the multinational force, and I call on them to refrain from attacking property or desecrating others’ national symbols. Our respect should be mutual.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to the many individuals throughout the world, the many excellent solidarity organizations and coalitions—in other words the grassroots—without whom recent changes in American, British, Australian and other nations’ polices toward Indonesia and East Timor would not have taken place. These changes were instrumental in pressing Indonesia to allow in an international force to stop the slaughter.

But, I also ask for your vigilance through the coming weeks and months, to end the violence once and for all, and to see East Timor into a peaceful and just transition to independence. Thank you.


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