20 May 2003

anniversary of Timor Lorosae
The Democratic Republic of East Timor celebrated the first year of independence today. At the other end of the Indonesian archipelago:
Separatist rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh will "fight forever", their leader said as government troops deployed in force.

"We have been fighting Indonesia for 27 years... we are confident that we will be able to resist them," Mahmood Malik said from exile in Sweden.

The Indonesian army launched a major offensive this week aimed at destroying the rebels within six months after peace talks in Japan collapsed over a demand for them to surrender their arms.

Empires have such bad memories. The Indonesian empire cannot remember what the people of Timor Lorosae said at the start of their quarter-century struggle for independence. The Indonesian military is going to destroy the rebel movement within 'six months'. Evidently they cannot remember saying that before, either.

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