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Timor Film Stirs Up Controversy

Australian film maker, Sasha Uzunov, said he was not surprised at the Indonesian reaction to his film...Timor Tour of Duty... A number of Indonesian websites were buzzing on the blogosphere but have unintentionally helped to promote the film despite the criticism.

"I must have hit a raw nerve in Jakarta, especially with the Australian media over the weekend re-running stories about the Balibo Five killings of Australian and New Zealand newsmen in 1975," he said.

Timor Tour Of Duty looks at the Indonesian military's secret war against Australian and New Zealand troops and international peacekeepers in East Timor.

The film also touches upon the pro-Indonesian Timorese militia's brutal murder and later mutilation of New Zealand soldier Private Leonard Manning in July 2000.

Timor Tour of Duty has been accused of "opening up old wounds" between Australia and Indonesia over East Timor 1999 of western arrogance towards Indonesia.

"The Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor and the subsequent fight for independence remains a sensitive issue in Indonesia. But I'm not anti-Indonesian. I'm just trying to give the voice of those Australian soldiers who were trying to restore peace in East Timor," he said.

"Australian governments have in the past and present bent over backwards to accomodate Indonesia's sensibilities," he said "There is nothing wrong with that but from time to time, allies need to be able to tell each other both good and bad news," Uzunov said.

The Indonesian and the East Timorese governments have in recent times made an attempt to bury the hatchet.

According to a 2008 BBC report

"Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed "remorse" for wrongs committed during East Timor's vote for independence in 1999.

"He made the statement as he received the final report of their two countries' Truth and Friendship Commission in the resort of Bali."


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