The guidelines for genocide have been set.All the rules that clarify exactly what constitutes the act the crime of genocide have also been set forth.The U.N has even made the act of genocide a crime, punishable by death or life in prison.But, with that being said, the act of genocide and severe human rights violations still occur in today's complex and violent world.This is no more apparent than in East Timor.
Timor is an island nation located at the southeastern end of the Indonesian archipelago.No larger than the state of Connecticut in the U.S.A. it has over 700,000 people.Just North of Australia, the island was colonized by the Portuguese in 1520. Over the next two centuries both the Dutch and the Portuguese claimed the island as their own.Eventually the island was divided with the Dutch taking the Western half and Portugal taking the Eastern half.East Timor remained a colony of Portugal for over four centuries until 1974.
The population of East Timor as of 1975 was just under 700,000 people. Of that, 97% were natives of the island, while the Chinese made up 2% and the Portuguese made up the rest of the population. The island has a mountain range that runs through the middle that dominates the landscape.Most of the native peoples live in isolated villages.The main occupation is farming with some small coastal fishing villages scattered about.The Chinese run most of the trading outposts on the island.Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism, is the major religion on East Timor, while the rest of Indonesia is strictly Islamic.As I will point out later, the difference in religion will play a significant role in some of the atrocities committed by the pro-Indonesian militias.
The natives of Timor have experienced many episodes of conquest that included some form or other of genocide.Thefirst occurred when the Portuguese originally colonized the island.The Portuguese were especiall…