sábado, 11 de junho de 2016

"An Open Letter to Xanana and Cronies"

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"Dear Xanana and cronies,

My son, Hadomi, and I are writing this letter to explain why we are returning the flag that you gave him at his father’s funeral a year ago. 
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It is one year since Mau Nando died and we still don’t have answers to several of our questions. I had asked several people to deliver this letter to you personally. I hope they did. 
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But someof them said, "No" (for all kinds of reasons). I used to admire you...you used to be an inspiration. I used to keep a letter you had written to me from Cipinang in 1993 as if it were a sacred object. In that letter you said: "I hope I never disappoint you." But after living with Maun Nando for 17 years, and hearing Maun Nando's stories about you and the way you treated him, I became not just disappointed, but disillusioned, and disgusted. I suppose you thought that Maun Nando would just die quietly, taking with him al his thoughts, and conversations with you. 

Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on where you stand), he often woke me up at 2am and beyond to release all of his despair and frustration about your maun-alin relationship, in which you somehow always managed to turn him into your maid/ errand boy “orang lapangan”, making him do all the tough things you didn’t want to do, making him work late at night, on weekends, and then not appreciating his work. He wasn't the only one. Many people have the same grievances similar to this. And now I feel as if Hadomi and I have secondary trauma, inheriting all the nasty stuff that you did to him, which he un-loaded to us.

Hadomi and I really wanted to go home for his father's koremetan this June 2nd. His father only died once and has a one-year anniversary only once. For the rest of his life, Hadomi will be without a father, while you and your cronies get to hi hi hi ha ha ha with your kids and grandkids, enjoying your elderly-ness. Maun Nando said to me: "Xanana itu sangat berkepentingan menikmati masa tua dia." Hilarious. Now I know what he means. Everytime we see fb posts of you with your children and grandchildren, laughing and celebrating, it only reminds us of what you took away from other children. Let that spectre haunt you. Several months ago, we had already packed our bags to go back to our "home" and to the koremetan. His father sacrificed his time and his life, went to prison for a long time, so that he could build a beautiful, safe, loving community and country called "East Timor". 

But after observing and taking notes on what has been going on in the past several months, I’m not certain anymore that it is safe for us. You and your cronies have created a political environment that makes women, children, youth, educators, and others feel insecure, unstable, and unsafe (except for you and your cronies of course).

Maun Nando sacrificed his youth and his life in order to build a Timor Leste that is peaceful and prosperous, a place where his own children can grow-up without fear, and yet here we are, in exile, with almost no support except from my own family, thanks to your dirty money politics. My son and I have lost everything: our home, the country that we dreamed of building together with Maun Nando, a future for Hadomi as a Timorese. I suppose you should know how Hadomi feels about this flag you gave him. He said: “When I grow up, I will find out which areas the East Timorese are competing in at the Olympics…I will train, and then join the opposite team, and beat the Timorese. That will be my revenge.” When I reminded him that he is also half- Timorese, he said: “I don’t care.” I’m sure he is not the only one who feels this way. 

There must be a lot of other orphans out there, whose fathers have died tragically, who are also going to turn into rebels one day, if they haven't already. When you eliminate people, their children just replace them. You should have learned that lesson from Suharto. Oh, but I forgot: indeed you and your buddies are Suharto’s very best students, so loyal to his methods; so you did learn that lesson, only too well. "Guru kencing berdiri, murid kencing berlari."

This is not just my “personal problem”. It’s a social, political, structural, economic problem. You often talk about your “lack of human resources”, but the brilliant educators that you do have, you kick around and treat like second and third class citizens. You act as if that country only belongs to you and your families, but it belongs to everyone who also struggled in the anti- colonial resistance, including outsiders, foreigners like Benedict Anderson, like Hadomi and myself. But I suppose that is what Ben Anderson meant by “imagined communities”. It’s only imagined. It’s not real. 

And yet Hadomi’s father gave his life for this country. What a paradox. Why do we even have to convince you and your cronies that we are worthwhile citizens? After all this time, you’d think that you and your pals would have already figured that out. Why do we have to fight so hard for our citizenship and rights in that country, when we have already given our heart and soul all these years? What more could you possibly want? So you know what: you can have it all.

It occurred to me that while other men are also crying -- posting how they are crying and in tears, in their comments in facebook, you on the other hand, have no mercy. Perhaps you and your friends might benefit from some form of trauma therapy or grief counselling. Seriously. Instead of taking time to grieve and mourn, you campaign and campaign, attack each other…You should all just stop, take time to cry, shed tears, and heal. You all don’t have to pretend to be so macho. When I look back, I feel really sorry for Maun Nando.There he was -- he had to work with you almost everyday for so many years. And yet no matter what he did, you somehow managed to continually sabotage and dominate him.It's enough to kill anybody. 

Why is it that everyone close to you is either dead or seriously ill? Some of your cronies are silent now. They just want to "aproveita". If they do speak, they use clandestine names, a pseudonym, or are anonymous. What kind of society are you building? Where everyone is so afraid, so terrified to speak? One person actually called long- distance (imagine!) only to remind me that you have “a lot of spies”. It made me laugh. I already know that. It’s ironic that you accuse the Australians of spying on you, but other Timorese think you’re spying on them.

If I were just thinking of myself and Hadomi, then I should just stay silent too and disappear quietly. 

Who knows what you might do to us with all your spying? But what about our community? The country, values, and principles that Maun Nando fought and died for?

P.S. I'm posting this in fb to make sure your spies deliver it to you.

Sincerely,

Joy Siapno and Hadomi de Araujo"
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