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Timorese Bishop Remembered

April 6, 2015 0 Comments

Monday April 6

The Timorese Bishop died last (Easter) Thursday night. The funeral is today and arrangements have been going on for days. The flower van will be coming here as Rina, our host, had a fair bit to do with him. He will not be forgotten by the Timorese: he suffered severe head injuries when he was attacked by Indonesian police in the 1991 massacre, because he harbored Timorese in his church grounds.

Yesterday we drove along the east coast for 20 km, up to Hela. On the way back many trucks and buses full of Timorese were coming into town. Police were directing traffic, and the trucks were parking in a big park, adjacent to the beach, along the route of the funeral procession. No newspapers, but with mobile phones, the word gets around, and they come to town. They will throw flowers on the coffin as it passes.

Sharing some stories in Rina's Home in Dili

Sharing some stories in Rina’s Home in Dili

On the drive we went east, as far as it was interesting, and as far as we dared, because of the earlier mentioned freedom fighters. We’re not keen to go too far east to test their attitude. They are known to kidnap for money, a spectacle or both. But not murder we understand.

The road trips to the east and a few days earlier to the west showed narrow coastal flood plain, with a combination of subsistence agriculture (mainly fish and rice) and industry (gravel quarry, brick works, diesel driven power station). Resort development is increasing and is sanctioned by the Timorese government, with land being leased from a Timorese person or clan, and developed by the Chinese or Portuguese. Some Australians have smaller leases and are running accommodation and bars etc. along the beach in Dili.

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