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sábado, julho 08, 2006 

Música e poesia nos campos de refugiados



A vida não é fácil nos campos onde os refugiados vivem em condições precárias.
São cerca de 150.000 pessoas deslocadas, refugiadas, com medo de voltar para casa.
Há risco de doenças e de fome.
O Programa Alimentar Mundial alertou já para o facto de estar a ficar sem reservas alimentares, que se esgotarão em semanas, correndo o país o risco de passar por uma situação prolongada de fome. É ainda o PAM que diz que a alimentação distribuída aos refugiados começou a ser racionada.
Nos colégios, seminários e igrejas, os refugiados ocupam todo o espaço disponível. Dormem em espaços abertos, amontoados, numa confusão que certamente não queriam e que tem provocado alguns desaguisados que só mesmo um resto de bom senso dos próprios refugiados e a intervenção de quem lhes dá guarida tem conseguido deter.
Em alguns campos, são as tendas que lhes servem de tecto. Aí, talvez tenham mais privacidade. À frente de cada uma delas, pode ver-se uma cozinha improvisada, garrafões de água, um conjunto de cadeiras de plástico e mesa respectiva a ocupar a parte frontal da tenda.
Mulheres na azáfama diária do que pode caricaturar-se como a limpeza da casa, muitas crianças e um mercado de rua, completam o quadro dos campos de refugiados de Díli.
Totalmente superlotados de quem não têm nada que fazer há dias, meses a fio, os campos são autênticos viveiros de problemas.
Um grupo de jovens activistas, poetas, pintores, licenciados, todos eles tendo vivido e experimentado situações difíceis - ou trabalhando junto dos refugiados em 1999, ou convivendo com a morte de familiares, ou com uma intervenção política mais activa durante o tempo da ocupação dentro e fora do país – compreendeu bem a dimensão do problema e entendeu ser altura de voltar ao campo de trabalho, prestando assistência a quem precisa.
Durante a semana trabalham. Por isso, é aos sábados e domingos que actuam. Seleccionam de entre os campos os que devem ser visitados em cada dois dias de fim-de-semana. Têm pouco tempo para preparar o desempenho.
São um grupo sem nome. Estão interessados unicamente em minorar a aflição dos que vivem em tão precária situação há tempo demais, defendem. Uniram-se num único objectivo que absorve todo o tempo que têm livre e, integralmente empenhados, embrenham-se no trabalho a que se propuseram.
A Cris, o Abé, o Yah-Yah, o Budi, o Gil e o France procuram levar algo diferente que distraia adultos e crianças. Alguma alegria que os afaste da tristeza em que se sucedem os seus dias. Conversam, dizem poesia, cantam, ensinam a pintar. Brincam com as crianças. Distribuem sorrisos. E simpatia. E convidam, envolvem quem visita generosamente os refugiados a juntar-se-lhes. Desafiam-nos às gentes de nacionalidades diferentes a dizer poesia ou a cantar numa língua que não é a sua.
Ali se canta, se lê, se diz poesia, se ri, se contam histórias. Cumpre-se a função! Fins de tarde, fins-de-semana nos campos dos refugiados de Díli.

The Canberra Times - Saturday, July 8

Commentary: Who benefits from the turmoil in East Timor?
By Bruce Haigh [a retired Australian diplomat and political commentator. During his time with DFAT he worked on Indonesian issues.]

THE MEDIA seems intent on avoiding investigating the underlying causes of tension in East Timor. There are more questions than answers. There are, however, some known facts. Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta have moved to align themselves with the leadership of both Australia and Indonesia. They both agreed to shelve charges against Indonesian soldiers accused of killing civilians in East Timor in 1999. This stance placated both Australia and Indonesia. Both favour private investment from Australia and Indonesian interests.

Mari Alkatiri is liked by neither Indonesia nor Australia. He is in favour of the prosecution of Indonesian soldiers. On this issue Indonesia has done everything to avoid being made to answer for these crimes and Australia has moved to avoid embarrassing Indonesia.

Foreign Minister Downer was incensed at Alkatiri's dogged negotiations over oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

Prime Minister Howard is deeply suspicious of his communist past, his caution towards businessmen and his hostility to the World Bank and IMF. Howard is concerned with his links to Cuba and got himself into the state of mind where he believed an Alkatiri government might have been prepared to harbour terrorists. This line of thought is supported by the United States Administration. This might seem a bit hysterical, but that is the prevailing intellectual atmosphere in the offices of Howard and President Bush at the moment. Through laziness or ignorance the Australian media has lined up with this thought process and by and large is reporting events from East Timor through this prism. On the left we have the baddie, Mari Alkatiri and on the right we have Gusmao and Horta. There is real tension in East Timor but is it being encouraged by major outside influences? Who are the youth from the west of East Timor?

In my opinion their rioting tenacity went beyond grievance and had a resilience and focus beyond ordinary understandable emotion. They destroyed forensic evidence against Indonesian soldiers held in the Attorney-General's office in Dili and stole 36 computers. How many rioters would target forensic evidence and pinch 36 computers when they might have taken TVs or hi-fi systems? More recently they targeted the homes of leaders of the resistance who remain hostile to Indonesia. Why was an Australian-trained officer of the East Timorese army sitting in the hills demanding the resignation of Alkatiri, his family having earlier made good their escape to stay with relatives in Australia? Alkatiri had and continues to have popular support. He was not defeated on the floor of the house so what was this officer on about? Why did Alkatiri feel it necessary to dismiss 600 soldiers?

The elusive hit-squad theory being touted by the ABC may have something to it but the question needs to be asked, who was Alkatiri seeking to protect himself from? In any case the small number of people allegedly recruited by Alkatiri would not have been enough to carry out the program of killings being bandied about and they certainly could not have taken on the 600 troops that Alkatiri gave marching orders to. And why did the Minister for Agriculture, who is a contender for the office of Prime Minister, come to Australia at the height of the rioting in Dili?

If there is an unholy alliance between Indonesia and Australia over a mutual desire to get rid of Alkatiri it will not last long beyond the present game plan. Australia does not want East Timor to be a mendicant state. Indonesia does; it has a point to prove to its other restless provinces. So it will continue to stir the pot. Australia is apparently aware of this. There is a proposal to quickly erect barracks to house 3000 soldiers. (Where are they coming from?) However, for the time being, in the absence of any thoughtful or investigative reporting, spin prevails. Spin ruled for a time in 1999 when Downer said there was no connection between the Indonesian Army and the so called militia (Downer's rogue elements) but the truth came out before the end of that year without a hint of an apology from Downer or Howard, and so it will be again.

However, the danger is that, the attempt to hobble Alkatiri by one means or another having failed, he may still be in a position to mess up the Australian game plan for the creation of a compliant entity and bolster the Indonesian game plan by keeping East Timor in a state of unrest. With two powerful and rival neighbours is it ever going to be thus for East Timor? Just because of the players involved it should not be hands off for the Australian media, and nor should spin be allowed to rule. We need to know who has been advantaged by the prolonged rioting when, in view of the recognised and mutually experienced pain of the past, all East Timorese have a vested interest in a negotiated settlement. In whose interest has it been to get rid of Alkatiri? Who is stirring the pot, for what reason and for what gain?

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