Monday, December 26, 2016

Reflections 41 years after Invasion Day, Secenber 7

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Reflections 41 years after Invasion Day,
December 7

By Pamela Sexton

Dili, Timor-Leste - Recently, thousands of U.S. military veterans travelled to North Dakota to support the peaceful struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux to defend their sovereignty and protect their land and water. I watched the veterans bend down to ask forgiveness from the many indigenous tribes gathered there. They apologized as veterans from the same military that has carried out genocide against Native Americans since before the U.S. achieved independence. In this way, they acknowledged the past and affirmed their commitment to ensuring the bitter past doesn’t repeat itself.

This December 7, I bent down in Timor-Leste to apologize for the crimes of my government against the East Timorese people. On that day in 1975, U.S.-armed and -trained Indonesian troops launched their illegal invasion. I feel a deep sadness and shame that my government has not yet formally and responsibly acknowledged its support for crimes committed here on that day and the 24-year Indonesian occupation which followed. An important first step would be for the U.S. to declassify and release all its records related to Indonesia and its invasion and occupation of Timor-Leste. ...

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