Previous posts in this discussion:
PostEast Timor (Ronald Hilton, USA, 09/11/99 10:00 am)
We have received a long message from Martha Macintyre of the University
of Melbourne. We are very well informed about what is going on in East
Timor, and WAISers know that we are not guilty of "U.S. ethnocentrism
and knee-jerk anti-Communism." I agree with what Martha Macintyre about
the nature of the fight, and we are appalled as she is. However, the
fact that some fighters were waving flags with the picture of Che
Guevara shows how he has become a symbol around the world. The
killers in East Timor are being manipulated, as are similar groups
around the world. The people of East Timor are the victims. That is
obvious. Yet it is too simple to accuse the U.S. of "cynical
self-interest dressed up as humanitarianism." There are conflicting
groups in the U.S. government, as when President Carter agreed to turn
over the Panama Canal, an act for which not only his political rivals
but also some serious observers have criticized him.
Martha Macintyre says "The Timorese have dark skin and don't have oil. I get sick to my stomach when I hear U.S. politicians mouthing pious piffle about humanitarianism." Again, some American politicians do mouth pious piffle, but that is true only of some. Even with the best of intentions, there are serious questions as to how far the U.S. and NATO can be the world's policemen for human rights. The most public-spirited Americans realize the awful complexity of using force even in the best of causes.
Martha Macintyre attaches a statement by Amnesty International Australia with which I entirely agree, and I am confident all WAISers would.