Ramos-Horta’s ‘forgiving’ stance under fire

ABC News 31st August 2009

By Indonesia correspondent Geoff Thompson

As East Timor celebrates a decade of self-rule, President Jose
Ramos-Horta has called for an end to all United Nations-led
investigations into the serious crimes committed along the nation’s road
to independence.

But it is a controversial stance, and a victim of the violence in 1999
says she is now ashamed of her country’s head of state.

Last night, Indonesian pop star Krisdayanti flirted with tens of
thousands of East Timor’s people and danced on stage with the two giants
of the country’s struggle for independence – Prime Minister Xanana
Gusmao and Mr Ramos-Horta.

It took place on Dili’s foreshore in front of the Portuguese-built
governor’s offices, which were overtaken by Indonesia’s administrators
and now house East Timor’s own leaders.

And where Krisdayanti danced last night was exactly the place where, 10
years ago, journalists watched militia leader Eurico Guterres call for
his men to find and kill independence supporters.

And that is exactly what they did, including an attack on the house of
Manuel Carrascalao, which took the life of his young teenage son.

But such crimes should no longer be investigated by the United Nations
Serious Crimes Unit, Mr Ramos-Horta said yesterday.

He said the money would be better spent on East Timor’s young judiciary.

“My stated preference, both as a human being, victim, and head of state,
is that we, once and for all, move that 1975-99 chapters of our tragic
experience, forgive those who did harm to us,” he said.

“We must forgive our brothers and sisters and those in the Indonesian
army who committed heinous crimes against us.”

I first met Christine Carrascalao in 1999 when, strong but utterly
distraught, she attended a Sunday Mass just two days after Eurico’s men
killed her little brother, known as Manuelita.

Ten years later, she does not agree with her President’s ideas of
justice and forgiveness.

“Justice is not about forgiving. It is about setting what is right and
what is wrong,” she said.

“What you’ve done wrong in killing, murder, torture, you should teach
them a lesson that it cannot happen again because there will be
punishment.

“You cannot just say, sure it is fine, we’ll let everything go simply
because we want to. That should not be on.”

Ms Carrascalao says she is ashamed of her President.

“For not asking for justice, yes. For being afraid to ask for justice,
yes. Yes, I am,” she said.

(Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/08/31/2671245.htm)

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