This site brings together the publications of Dr. Sara Niner about people & politics in Timor-Leste.

23 May, 2011

Xanana watching footage of his 1992 capture

Xanana watching footage of his 1992 capture

Interesting Dateline segment on Xanana watching and commenting on footage of his 1992 capture in Dili. Xanana was very calm sitting on the big leather lounges in his office, looking almost confounded by his younger self and that man’s composed, even friendly, resistance to the entreaties of the Indonesia generals to tell his men to lay down their arms and call the whole resistance struggle off (which he did under much greater pressure in the months to follow). His responses were muted and it was interesting to wonder how this would play out in his very close relations with the Indonesian political elite today, some of whom like the Indonesian President are ex-military.
The reaction to the footage was also recorded of the Timorese policeman Augusto Pereira whose house Xanana was hiding in and who was jailed and tortured for 6 years after Xanana's capture. Most of his family too was jailed and they had never reunited after their imprisonment. His reactions could not have been more different to Xanana's, he detailed the horrific torture he received and unlike other torture survivors Xanana has valorized (those in his movie ‘A Heroes Journey’ for instance) for forgiving their torturers and moving on with their lives, he seemed stuck in those terrifying moments of his past and his life defined by them.

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