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East Timor Betrayed

Peter Hicks
Language: English


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[1999]
Testo di / Lyrics by Peter Hicks
Musica di / Music by Geoff Francis

"Has there ever, morally, been a worse episode in human history than the cynical betrayal of East Timor by it's so-called "friends" - Australia, the USA, the United Nations, the United Kingdom - all have played their shameful parts?
Within hours of the result of the East Timorese independence ballot being announced, UK prime minister Tony Blair had even despatched an underling to Jakarta - to offer to sell the Indonesian government more arms! We're used to some evil things from reptile politicians - but can anybody cap that?"

Così scriveva Peter Hicks, il grande cantautore australiano, ai tempi dell'invasione indonesiana di Timor Est (la parte dell'isola di Timor ex colonia portoghese, cui il Portogallo aveva concesso l'indipendenza nel 1975, ma che era stata immediatamente invasa dall'Indonesia che ne reclamava il possesso e la "riunificazione" a Timor Ovest, già territorio indonesiano).

*

Timor Est è stata occupata come colonia dal Portogallo a partire dal XVI secolo. Le isole vicine erano occupate dai Paesi Bassi. Tutte diventarono parte dell'Indonesia dopo la Seconda Guerra mondiale.

Il 28 novembre 1975, approfittando del movimento nato dalla Rivoluzione dei Garofani in Portogallo, Timor Est dichiarò la propria indipendenza. Dopo solo nove giorni fu invasa dall'esercito indonesiano. Il 30 agosto 1999, gli abitanti di Timor est votarono per l'indipendenza con un referendum; ne seguirono dei sanguinosissimi scontri dovuti alla rivolta delle truppe di invasione filo-indonesiane, che portarono all'intervento di una forza multinazionale dell'ONU. Il 20 maggio 2002, con il ritiro definitivo della forza multinazionale e con l'accettazione da parte dell'Indonesia del fatto compiuto, Timor Est è diventata una nazione indipendente.
East Timor, you are burning, and your rivers are turning to blood,
In humanity's name, who will help you?
Are ten thousand dead not enough?

They looked across to their neighbours,
It was time now to call in their debts,
"We were there for you when you needed us most,
"And you promised you'd never forget."
But that Downer and Howard, both for once disempowered,
Say, "I don't think that you've thought this thing through,
"Indonesia's a good export market, so
"There's not very much we can do."

East Timor, you are burning, and your rivers are turning to blood,
In humanity's name, who will help you?
Are twenty thousand dead not enough?

Their anguish reached out 'cross the oceans,
To Europe and the U S of A,
But America's interests are perfectly safe,
So Bill Clinton has nothing to say.
And that nice Tony Blair, with compassion and care,
With his ethics, religion and charms,
Sends an underling out there the very next day,
To sell Indonesia more arms.

East Timor, you are burning, and your rivers are turning to blood,
In humanity's name, who will help you?
Are thirty thousand dead not enough?

Well surely the United Nations,
After all, isn't that why they're there?
To stop the innocents' slaughter and
To echo humanity's cares?
But that Kofi Annan, he's the president's man,
He says "Sorry" and just shakes his head.
He's very well paid for a nation betrayed,
But he'll never sleep straight in his bed.

East Timor, you are burning, and your rivers are turning to blood,
In humanity's name, who will help you?
Are forty thousand dead not enough?

Now Dili's a simmering ghost town,
Its fires all a'smouldering with tears,
But the ghosts there will come back to haunt you,
Torment you and taunt you for years.
You who stayed out of sight to allow genocide
That was well in your power to prevent,
Not to stop the bloodshed but to round up the dead
Your soldiers you finally sent.

But from the ashes of East Timor's martyrs, the flames of their freedom will rise,
To humanity's shame no-one came to your aid,
But keep faith that you will grasp your prize.

From the ashes of East Timor's martyrs …

Contributed by Riccardo Venturi - 2005/8/4 - 11:55



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