The Crossing: A Story of East Timor
by Luís Cardoso
Published by Granta, UK, 2002
East Timor hit the world’s newspaper headlines in August 1999 after its bloody, brave vote for independence from Indonesia—one of the great expressions of a people’s democratic spirit. Luis Cardoso’s beautifully lyrical memoir of growing up in East Timor portrays a people and a culture struggling to form their own identity under successive waves of colonialism. Exquisitely crafted and evocative, Luis Cardoso’s personal history of his homeland takes as its central image a crossing—from child to adult, Portuguese to Timorese, tolerance to repression, colonialism to independence.
Beloved Land picks up the story where world attention left off. Blending narrative history, travelogue, and personal reminiscences based on four years of living in the country, it shows the daunting hurdles that the people of Timor-Leste must overcome to build a nation from scratch, and how much the international community has to learn if it is to help rather than hinder the process. In Timor-Leste, “small” does not necessarily mean “simple.” Beloved Land shows that the story of Timor-Leste as much more than the narrow litany of conflict and violence often presented in the media.
In The Redundancy of Courage, East Timor becomes the fictitious country of Danu. Fretilin, the East Timorese guerrilla resistance movement, becomes FAKINTIL, and the Indonesians become the malais. Although the characters are fictional, they are closely based on people involved in events in East Timor during 1975. During this time, this tiny society threw up various ordinary people who were asked to do extraordinary things and delivered. The narrator of The Redundancy of Courage is not one of these heroes. Adolph Ng is one of life’s cowards. A homosexual educated at a Canadian university, he returns to his homeland and opens one of the only hotels on the island. He is resented by his countrymen because he is of Chinese origin, and he is apolitical until he is swept into the resistance movement by accident.
This book tells the story of East Timor’s heroic struggle against impossible odds and explains why you so seldom hear about it in the western media. Matthew Jardine’s concise account of the circumstances preceding the confrontation between Indonesia and East Timor aims to counter the inadequate media attention and dispenses with lengthy theoretical analysis in favor of a journalistic clarity fitting the urgency of the situation. An installment of The Real Story Series, a collection of works including and inspired by the de-mythologizing writings of Noam Chomsky, East Timor: Genocide in Paradise is produced for a particular historical moment and is intended to motivate immediate action among its readers.
The Devil’s Tears is a confronting, absorbing story of the human suffering in Timor during its occupation. In 1975, when their tiny half-island nation is invaded, Cesar da Silva flees Timor along with his wife and children. But in their desperate bid for freedom, amidst the chaos and devastation, the family becomes separated. Believing his wife and two daughters dead, Cesar finds passage to the Portugal of his heritage and later to Australia. In 1997 Australian journalist Abby is determined to visit Timor and show the world the terrible suffering of the Timorese people. Her quest, along with her photographer friend David, takes her into horrifying danger. When their paths cross those of Ana da Silva, the story of Cesar and his family is gradually revealed.