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  East Timor is the world's newest nation.

East Timor is the 191st member of the United Nations.

East Timor is the First nation of the 21st century.

East Timor could well be the first fear based environment to be transformed into a love based environment.


The Struggle Continues.


The purpose of this page is to create awareness of East Timor, and to assist in developing an understanding that although East Timor was successful in its struggle for independence, the struggle to transform East Timor into a self sufficient independent nation, has only just begun.

Our goal is to promote awareness of East Timor and to highlight some areas in which assistance is needed, and can be easily provided with little effort on our part.

We have an opportunity to watch, and if we choose, to participate in the formative years of a nation.

We can obtain the latest news, and recent developments, from these links.


Help The Dream Become Reality.


We have provided some brief overviews, and we have provided links to pages which contain up to date information, as well as details of the work being done by many people, and organisations to assist East Timor to transform the dream of independence, into the reality of a nation.

Many of the links on this page will take you away from our site. Perhaps you would like to bookmark our page before you go?

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Located in the Indonesian archipelago at 2500 kilometres east of Djakarta, East Timor is a mountainous territory. In 1974, Portugal withdrew from this colony, and acknowledged East Timor's right to have a self-government.


A view of East Timor.

A civil war between rival nationalist factions, competing for independence followed.

In November 1975, Fretilin, the Eastern Timor Revolutionary Front declared on its own, the independence of the 'Democratic Republic of Timor'.


A few days later the Indonesian army invaded East Timor, annexing the region to Indonesia in July 1976. After an appalling repression, the Resistance movement fought to regain independence. From 1976 to 1982, slaughters, famine and illness resulted in the death of more than 200,000 people (about 25% of the population).

From 1989 the Indonesian authorities initiated a 'transmigration policy' sending Javanese inhabitants to East Timor, and appointing the Javanese settlers to the highest offices in civil service, and depriving the East Timorese from their land.


Fretilin's charismatic chief Xanana Gusmao was arrested and held in custody, but the East Timorese resistance to Indonesian occupation continued. Following a change in leadership within the Indonesian government the East Timorese were offered a so called 'special autonomy' status.

In August 20th 1999, the East Timorese were requested through a United Nations supervised referendum to decide on the so-called 'special autonomy' status offered to the East Timorese by the Indonesian government.

Despite a widespread and violent campaign masterminded by pro-Indonesian militias, the population voted (a staggering 98% of the population defied the militias to cast their vote). Approximately 78% of East Timorese voters, supported independence, and voted against the official 'self-government plan', which triggered an outburst of violence from the Indonesian military, and pro-Indonesian militias. Nearly 50% of all East Timorese were expelled from their homes, houses were ransacked, and burnt. Many East Timorese fled to mountains, where they took refuge to escape the prevailing terror.

Indonesia's parliament endorsed East Timor's independence vote, which paved the way for the half island territory to become the world's newest nation.

Anti-independence militia, went on a violent rampage after the overwhelming vote in favour of independence and, destroyed much of the island's coffee crop, along with most of the country's schools, hospitals, water, power, transport and communication facilities.

The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) together with United Nations peacekeeping troops were installed to oversee the transition of East Timor to full independence.

East Timor has elected an 88 member assembly, and former rebel leader 'Xanana' Gusmao won East Timor's first ever presidential election by a landslide.

East Timor is now a fully independent nation.


The 200,000 East Timorese who fled to the mountains, have gradually returned from Western Timor into a still uncertain climate.

Most of their homes were destroyed, and the capital city of the territory, Dili, has been mostly razed to the ground. The unemployment is at 40%.


Since 1999 Action Against Hunger has been working in East Timor.

We can use this link to make a donation to assist Action Against Hunger's work in East Timor.


East Timor Facts.


  • Official name: Republica Democratica Timor Leste (RDTL).
  • Population: 800,000
  • Currency: US dollar
  • Timor Leste's annual per capita income is about $478. USD
  • The national poverty line is 0.55 per day. More than 40% of East Timorese live below the national poverty line.
  • The average life expectancy of East Timorese is 57 years.
  • More than half of all East Timorese adults are illiterate.
  • Very few East Timorese have received more than elementary education.
  • More than half East Timorese infants are underweight.
  • East Timorese infant mortality is between 70 and 95 deaths per thousand births, which is 'Unacceptably high' says the World Health Organisation.

East Timor Projects.


The Fund for East Timor is a non-profit organization in the United States, founded to support the reconstruction and development of East Timor.


A useful source of information and news in respect of projects being undertaken in East Timor is Timor Aid Social.


The Projects List page on the Timor Aid Social web page, is particularly useful in understanding the scope of work being undertaken in East Timor.

Small Projects range from orphanages, and street children, through to the disabled, and sufferers of leprosy. Larger projects include rebuilding and vehicle acquisition.


Asia Pacific Support Collective, is another organisation which has been supporting grassroots initiatives in East Timor since 1999.



The Projects page on the Asia Pacific Support Collective web page, is also useful in understanding the scope of work being undertaken in East Timor.


Many of the major projects which are being undertaken to rebuild the infrastructure of East Timor are being co-ordinated by The United Nations Development Programme. This link will take us to the United Nations Development Programme website.


East Timor's First President.


East Timor's first elected president is former resistance fighter and now independent candidate Jose Alexandre 'Xanana' Gusmao.


To learn more about President Gusmao, we can use these links…


Detailed Map Of East Timor.


The Creation Of Timor.

An East Timor Legend.


There was once a crocodile who had lived for many hundreds of years in a swamp and whose great dream was to grow and reach a phenomenal size. But not only was he a small crocodile, he also lived in a very confined space. Only his dream was large.

A swamp, of course, is the worst possible place to live. Shallow, stagnant water, hemmed in by strange, ill-defined banks, and above all lacking in food to tempt a crocodile.

For all these reasons, the crocodile was sick and tired of the swamp, but he had nowhere else to live.


Over the years, thousands of years it would seem, it was the crocodile's love of talking that kept him going. Whenever he was awake, he would talk and talk... he would ask himself questions and then, as if he were somebody else, would answer them.

Even so, when you talk to yourself like this for centuries, you begin to run out of topics of conversation. Not only this, but the crocodile was also getting hungry, first because there weren't enough fish or other creatures in the swamp to provide him with suitable meals, and second because although they were tasty, tender animals to be caught, like goats, piglets and dogs, they all lived a long way of.

"I'm sick of living on so little, in a place like this!" he would exclaim in exasperation.

"Be patient, be patient..." replied his imaginary companion.

"But a crocodile cannot live on patience!" he would grumble.

There is of course a limit to everything, including resistance to hunger. The crocodile's body grew weak and his spirits sank. His eyes became dull and he could hardly lift his head or open his mouth.

"I must get out of here and look for food further a field..."

With an effort he climbed the bank and made his way through the mud and across the sand. The sun was high in the sky, scorching the ground. There was no refuge anywhere. The crocodile became weaker and weaker until he remained where he was, roasting alive.

At that moment a lively young lad happened to pass by, humming to himself.

"What's the matter, Crocodile? You're in a bad way! Have you broken your legs? Did something fall on you?"

"No, I haven't broken anything. I am all in one piece. Its just that although I am small, I can't carry my own body any more. I am too weak even to find a way out of this sweltering heat."

The lad replied, "If that's all it is, I can help you."

And with that he went up to the crocodile, picked him up and carried him to the edge of the swamp.

What the lad failed to notice as he carried him, however, was that the crocodile had perked up considerably: his eyes brightened and he opened his mouth and ran his tongue round hid saw-like teeth.

'This lad must be tastier than anything I have ever eaten' thought the crocodile, and imagined stunning the lad with a lash from his tail and then gobbling him up.

"Do not be so ungrateful" replied the other voice inside himself.

"The need justifies the end."

"That may be, but remember it is also shameful to betray a friend, and this is the first friend you have ever had."

"So you expect me to do nothing and starve to death?"

"The lad rescued you when you needed him. Now, if you want to survive, it is up to you to look for food."

"That is true..."

So when the lad placed him on the wet ground, the crocodile smiled, rolled his eyes, shook his tail and said, "Thank you. You are the first friend I have ever had. I cannot give you anything in return, but if you have never been further than this swamp we see all around us, and would like one day to travel abroad, to cross the sea, come and see me..."

"I would like that very much, because its my dream to see what lies out there across the sea."

"Dream? Did you say dream? I too have a dream", replied the crocodile.

They went their separate ways, the lad little suspecting that the crocodile had been tempted to eat him, which was just as well.

Time passed, and one day the lad returned. He hardly recognised the crocodile, his burns has disappeared and he looked plump and well fed.

"Listen, Crocodile, my dream has not gone away. I cannot stand it anymore."

"A promise is a promise. I have been finding so much food that I had almost forgotten my dream. You did well to come and remind me of it, Lad. Do you want to set off right now, across the sea?"

"That is the only thing I want, Crocodile."

"Then me too. Let's be off."

They were both delighted with the arrangement. The lad settled himself on the crocodile's back, as if in a canoe, and they set off out to sea.

It was all so big and so beautiful! What astonished them most was the open space, the size of the vista that stretched away before and above them, endlessly. Day and night, night and day, they never rested. They saw islands big and small, with trees and mountains and clouds. They could not say which was more beautiful, the days or the nights, the islands or the stars. They went on and on, always following the sun, until the crocodile finally grew tired.

"Listen, lad. I cannot go on. My dream is over. We have been travelling for a long time, but now the time has come for me to die. In memory of your kindness, I will turn myself into a beautiful island, where you and your children can live until the sun sinks in the sea."

"Mine will never be over..."

The lad was still speaking when the crocodile suddenly grew and grew on size until, still keeping its original shape, he turned into an island covered with hills, woods and rivers.

And that is why Timor is the shape of a crocodile.

Taken from Fernando Sylvan's Cantolenda Maubere.

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