The Guardian 26 October, 2005
Remember Balibo 16.10.1975
Andrew (Andy) Alcock
On October 16, 1975, five Australian-based journalists were murdered in the small East Timorese town of Balibo by the Indonesian military (TNI) during an incursion prior to its illegal invasion later in the same year.
These courageous men gave their lives to ensure that the world knew what crime the Indonesian dictatorship was about to commit against the tiny nation of East Timor. They were attempting to expose a terrorist crime.
We all know what happened in East Timor following that event in Balibo. The TNI murdered about 300,000 East Timorese and it committed sickening crimes against humanity in what only can be described as genocide.
It had already murdered three million Indonesians when it seized power in 1965 and had begun its genocide in West Papua. Since leaving East Timor the TNI has carried out similar crimes in Acheh and Maluku (the Moluccas).
Last Sunday was the 30th anniversary of the TNI crime in Balibo. It rated hardly a mention in the Australian media and politicians of the major parties said nothing about the courage of these men.
Throughout the past 30 years, Australian political leaders supported the Indonesian dictatorship as it carried out its bloody policies in our region.
Since East Timorís independence, the Australian and US Governments have shamefully resumed military cooperation with the TNI even though very few of the war criminals in its ranks have ever been brought to justice.
We can take pride that the Australian army greatly assisted Timor Leste to be independent and to restore some peace in our region during one of the proudest moments in our history. However, we cannot take pride in the move by our government to support the TNI, the largest terrorist organisation in SE Asia and to cover up the murders of the Balibo 5.
We must never forget the names of those journalists.
300,000 East Timorese
Andy Alcock is the Information Officer,
Australia East Timor Friendship Association (SA)