Thursday, December 6, 2012

Help keep ETAN strong ­ Please give to our end of year fundraising drive today!

John M. Miller
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
December 2012
John M. Miller and Charles Scheiner with , President Taur Matan Ruak 
ETAN's John M. Miller and Charles Scheiner (right) receive Order of Timor from President Taur Matan Ruak (center). 
Dear Friends,
I had the privilege of attending last May’s official ceremony in Dili on the tenth anniversary of Timor-Leste’s hard won restoration of independence. Timor-Leste inaugurated its newly-elected President as fireworks exploded in celebration.
Two days later, I was honored to accept on ETAN's behalf the Order of Timor-Leste -- the nation's highest honor. Timor-Leste's just-inaugurated President Taur Matan Ruak presented the award to ETAN (and to ETAN co-founder Charles Scheiner for his individual efforts) as the nation's thanks for our work in support of the country's liberation. I am proud of the part we played in the Timorese struggle for independence and since. We could not have done it without your steadfast support.
The medal now has pride of place in ETAN's Brooklyn, NY office, reminding us of all that we have accomplished over the years. The honor also reminds us of how much many East Timorese relied on our support. During my visit, people repeatedly told me of their faith and confidence that ETAN will continue to provide support and solidarity for their fledgling nation.
I am writing to urge you to give generously so that ETAN can continue to support human rights, justice and accountability, democracy, and an equitable and sustainable future for Timor-Leste. Our work is only possible with your support.
ETAN began as the East Timor Action Network soon after the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre when Indonesian troops -- firing their U.S.-supplied weapons -- killed peaceful demonstrators. Hundreds of young Timorese were murdered, and the eyewitness accounts from that day inspired us to action. ETAN's relentless grassroots pressure persuaded the U.S. Congress to end taxpayer-funded training for Indonesian soldiers in the United States and eventually changed U.S. policy from support of Indonesia's illegal occupation to support for Timor's right to self-determination.
ETAN is "A voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."
-- Noam Chomsky

East Timor is now the independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and we remain committed to supporting its people in pursuing justice not only for the victims of the Santa Cruz massacre, but for all the victims of the U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion and occupation. We continue to highlight the complicity of U.S. government officials in the oppression of the people of Timor-Leste, West Papua, and elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago, including the still-active Henry Kissinger, who gave a green light to the invasion of Timor-Leste.
Just last month, a now-high ranking State Department official recalled her time as a human rights officer in Washington more than a decade ago. She described ETAN as “punching above its weight” in revealing ongoing Pentagon training of Indonesian soldiers, leading Congress and the State Department to cancel the program. She said that she often uses ETAN as an example of effective citizen action, and that our work in the 1990s has had lasting, worldwide impact in curtailing U.S. training for armies which violate human rights.
In 2005, we changed our name to the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network to emphasize our support for human rights and democracy in Indonesia, where U.S. engagement with the military and police has encouraged them to resist accountability. In the past year, the U.S.-created and trained Detachment 88 has been engaged in a number of rights violations in West Papua and elsewhere. ETAN continues to oppose the administration’s efforts to re-engage with the Indonesian military’s notorious Kopassus special forces and plans to sell Indonesia’s deadly Apache attack helicopters.
2012 commemoration of Santa Cruz massacre, Dili. Photo by Manuela Leong Pereira via Facebook. 
We continue to work with the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT), helping to produce the respected monthly West Papua Report. We work with WPAT and others in supporting human rights and peaceful solutions in the region.
Noam Chomsky has called us "a voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."
Our information sharing and networking provide vital links among activists and others around the world. Our long-running email list keeps an expanding list of more than 3000 direct subscribers – including journalists, policy makers, East Timorese officials, activists and students -- informed with news and analysis of events affecting Timor-Leste and on solidarity around the globe.
One list subscriber recently thanked us for "the excellent work you have been doing these last years in keeping all people interested in Timor-Leste's present and future duly informed. Your objectivity and professionalism, providing an essential space for everybody to express itself freely has been a great contribution to consolidate Timor-Leste's emerging democracy. It is an example of how to give voice to the civil society and others at relatively low costs, an example that many other countries should follow."
ETAN works with advocacy and human rights organizations in Timor-Leste, West Papua, Indonesia and elsewhere, because together we are stronger.
This past year, we placed international volunteers with local groups in Dili, to assist their monitoring of national elections in Timor-Leste.  
As we continue our crucial work, we face a number of challenges. ETAN has never been very large or well-funded. We have become skilled at doing a lot with relatively limited human and financial resources. However, we have lost opportunities and with your help we could be doing more.
Many in Timor-Leste and Indonesia continue to expect a lot from ETAN. I know, because I often receive their requests for information and pleas for action. With your help, we can better respond to their requests and needs. We have many ideas for possible projects, but we need your help to gather the necessary resources to implement them.
I hope you will support ETAN. Please give generously now to help strengthen ETAN as we meet the challenges of the coming years. Thank you!
A luta continua,
John M. Miller
Coordinator, ETAN
P.S. Please consider becoming an ETAN sustainer by making a monthly donation by credit card. Help put ETAN on a firmer financial footing: information here

How to Donate to ETAN
You can donate safely by credit card through ETAN's website below ( Or you can mail your donation. To support ETAN's political advocacy work, write a check made out to ETAN. For ETANs educational efforts, U.S. tax-deductible donations of over $50 can be made out to A.J. Muste Memorial Institute/ETAN. Please mail your donations to: East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873.

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