Letter: Timor's innocents

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your editorial "Heartening lessons from the vote in East Timor" (31 August), makes the point that "violence does not work", implying that ultimately the brutal force of a despot which is clearly against the will of the majority of the people will always fail. This has clearly been the case in East Timor, but what is seldom mentioned is the restraint that the East Timorese have brought to bear in their campaign.

Never, never have they been tempted to carry on the trade of terrorist and take the war outside the boundaries of their homeland. No Indonesian embassy has been attacked, no buses of innocent civilians raked with machine- gun fire and grenades, no aircraft brought from the sky. No city centre has been car-bombed and littered with the bodies of passers-by.

The East Timorese have the complete moral high ground. They have been repressed by a brutal military which has the uniform and arms of a disciplined army but none of the codes or discipline.

Surely now the United Nations should accept that the loss of a third of the population is enough and seek to impose peace-keeping troops before more of these innocent people are sacrificed.

ROGER WILLOTT

East Timor Support Group UK

Worcester

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