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East Timor

How do people manage to live in Florida? Guys, you know who you are; I'm thinking of you and I hope all is well.

Today's topic: what the heck is up with East Timor? The media moaning about how the West has ignored the situation there is starting to take on a really tired ring, it's getting to a point where they can just re-run old articles about Bosnia, or Algeria, or South Africa from a long time back and change the names. I mean, are we going to get over ourselves at some point and find a principle or two hiding under the bed, or what?

It's not like we don't know about what's going on there, heck even I've heard about the place going back several years at least. News reports have been faithful in reporting massacres, intimidation, brutality and all the other instruments of a particularly vicious species of power. As is fairly usual with these situations, I haven't been following it closely enough to remember what the root cause of the problem is, why Indonesia feels it should be able to swagger in and do whatever it darn well pleases including walking over local corpses that happen to get in its way. I'm not even sure I care, since whatever it is can't possibly be important enough to justify the things that have happened there.

I'd make a terrible revolutionary. I can think of precious few things worth killing children for.

But anyway, back to the point: I really do wish, just once, that the U.S., or someone, doesn't have to be us, since I generally think the world would be better off if we would generally shut up once in a while, would take a stand. Would be willing to go on record as saying, "Intervention in the affairs of other nations is sometimes justified, namely when the government of the nation in question seems to get its kicks from massacring its own people," adding an emphatic "dammit" or two if they so desire. Instead we get years and years and years of hand-wringing, and no doubt reams of cautious reports sent to officials in high places suggesting that a "wait and see" posture will undoubtedly be for the best, and by the time the wildfires burn out the dead are heaped high and the hatreds are more bitter, and somehow the rest of us manage to sleep at night.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson