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East Timor Demonstration Against the War in Iraq

East Timor Demonstration Against the War in Iraq

February 15th, 10 am

Assemble at Borja da Costa Park, Farol, Dili, East Timor

February 15th is an "International Day Against the War in Iraq". In cities all over the world, people will hold peaceful demonstrations to protest the impending war against Iraq.

East Timor will also participate in this international movement for peace.

After 25 years of war, the people of East Timor want peace, not only for ourselves, but for the whole world. East Timor is a small and new nation, but we know quite a lot about the death and destruction that come with war, and we don't want to see similar destruction anywhere. Therefore, several
civil society organizations* in Dili, joined by many East Timorese and international citizens, are organizing a nonviolent demonstration to ask for peace in Iraq and in the world.

The march will assemble at 10 am in Borja da Costa Park in Farol, Dili, and from there will walk to the embassies of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. At each embassy, the organizers will read a statement for peace, and they hope to discuss their concerns with each Ambassador in person, asking him to communicate those concerns to his home government.

As every East Timorese knows, the Indonesian invasion of this country resulted in massive civilian casualties and destruction. Yet, during 24 years of illegal occupation, neither East Timor's resistance nor any foreign government advocated invading Indonesia or attacking Indonesian civilians. The Indonesian people, like the East Timorese, were victims of Suharto, not to be punished for his crimes. Likewise, the people of Iraq, living under Saddam's repression, are not his co-conspirators. An invasion
of Iraq would kill even more Iraqi civilians, on top of hundreds of thousands who have already died from the decade-long embargo. The decision about who should govern Iraq is one for the people of Iraq to make, not foreign governments although those governments can provide nonmilitary help, if requested by the Iraqi population.

The government of the United States (with support from Great Britain and Australia) is leading the charge for war against Iraq. These three governments have helped East Timor's independence since 1999 but from 1975 until 1999 they supported the brutal Indonesian military occupation of this
country, supplying weapons and training to the Indonesian army to better enable it to kill and torture the East Timorese people. There is no moral principle in their current desire to overthrow Saddam Hussein, with consequent massive casualties among Iraqi civilians and others, when they felt no compulsion to overthrow Suharto, who was at least as bloody and brutal as Hussein. We believe that the real reason for this call for war is OIL not Saddam Hussein, international terrorism, or weapons of mass destruction. The United States, like many other governments that now want to overthrow Saddam Hussein, supported this same Saddam Hussein when his policies on oil were profitable for their companies.

*The demonstration in East Timor is being organized by many groups, including: Sah'e Institute for Liberation, La'o Hamutuk (The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis), Perhimpunan HAK, Fokupers, Haburas, Asosiasaun Mane Kontra Violensia, Judicial System Monitoring Programme, Fortilos, and Renetil.

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