The Diplomat: Jose Ramos Horta and East Timor's Fight for Independence

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The Diplomat: José Ramos Horta and East Timor’s Fight for Independence (56:00)
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For 24 years, José Ramos Horta, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, campaigned to secure independence for East Timor, a Portuguese colony invaded by Indonesia in 1975. This program takes up Ramos Horta’s story in the final dramatic stages of his journey, including the fall of President Suharto, the referendum to determine East Timor’s future, the overwhelming vote for independence, the carnage that ensued, the intervention of UN peacekeepers, and Ramos Horta’s triumphant return to his beloved homeland. An in-depth interview with Ramos Horta, a detailed examination of the independence movement, and extensive war footage enhance this comprehensive retrospective. (58 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (20)

1. Freedom Fighters: 25 Years in East Timor (03:02)
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José Ramos Horta begins fighting for East Timor's independence in 1974, yet in 1998 East Timor is no closer to freedom. Resistance guerillas fight for 25 years, keeping hope alive for the small country's independence.

2. Resistance Fighting in East Timor (02:29)

In May, 1998, the Asian economic crisis cripples Indonesia, and President Suharto is forced to resign. Archival film footage shows José Ramos Horta as a resistance fighter in East Timor. In 1975, East Timor declares it independence from Portugal.

3. Indonesia Invades East Timor (01:23)

Indonesia invades East Timor, killing all journalists and everyone else in their path. José Ramos Horta's mother tells which of her children were killed in the bombings.

4. Personality of José Ramos Horta (02:10)

In 1983, José Ramos Horta works daily at the United Nations. His ex-wife gives insight into his personality and explains how hard it was for Horta to be alone and unsupported in New York, far away from his family.

5. Global Campaign for East Timor's Independence (02:14)

José Ramos Horta's global campaign for East Timor's independence gains modest support in Asian countries such as Korea. Pressured by its need for foreign aid, Indonesia offers East Timor "limited autonomy" in 1998.

6. Austria: The Intra Timorese Dialogue in 1998 (02:17)

The Intra Timorese Dialogue in Austria in 1998 is formed to bring together all senior resistance leaders and pro-Indonesian leaders.

7. Stalemate in Intra Timorese Dialogue (03:06)

In Austria, pro-Indonesian delegates take offense at the rhetoric of the resistance leaders. José Ramos Horta works to create a document that is acceptable to the pro-Indonesians. The latter refuses to agree to the release of a resistance leader from captivity.

8. Indonesia Offers Independence to East Timor (02:51)

In 1999, Indonesia offers East Timor full independence--if they reject "limited autonomy." Ramos Horta publicly expresses his skepticism about Indonesia's "empty promises."

9. Slaughter in East Timor (03:09)

José Ramos Horta's stand on removing armed militia from East Timor rubs other resistance leaders the wrong way. Militia violence erupts, and pro-Indonesia soldiers slaughter over 200 people.

10. Indonesian Military Attacks United Nations Monitors (01:52)

The UN Security Council meets in May 1999. Indonesia agrees to a timetable for a UN supervised referendum if it can keep its army in East Timor. UN monitors arrive unarmed and are attacked by pro-Indonesian military.

11. Exiled José Ramos Horta Returns to Indonesia (02:49)

Exiled José Ramos Horta steps onto Indonesian soil for the first time in 23 years when he is invited to Jakarta for reconciliation talks. Ramos Horta visits Xanana Gusmao who had not seen his former deputy for 23 years.

12. East Timorese Vote on Their Independence (03:05)

Before leaving Jakarta, José Ramos Horta meets with other resistance leaders and the Foreign Minister. The latter publicly announces that Indonesia will withdraw peacefully from East Timor. East Timorese vote on their destiny.

13. East Timor Votes for Independence (02:38)

The polls have closed, and José Ramos Horta and other East Timorese wait for the results. Horta is interviewed on television and expresses his desire to return to East Timor as soon as possible, after being exiled for 23 years.

14. Violence and Massacre in East Timor (03:18)

On September 4, 1999, results of the ballot are posted: 78.5% vote for independence. Within hours of the vote being declared, houses of pro-independents in Dili were set on fire. Violence erupts and Dili is shut down as large-scale massacres take place.

15. Timor Is Destroyed (01:57)

Within days of the vote for independence, much of Timor is burned to the ground. Many people escape to guerilla strongholds. The UN sends a fact-finding mission to Indonesia, and President Clinton arrives on a diplomatic mission.

16. East Timor: Genocide? (02:17)

José Ramos Horta goes before television cameras to express his deep regret and fear that genocide at the hands of the Indonesians will go unchecked. Film footage shows the town of Dili laid to waste.

17. Victory for José Ramos Horta and for East Timor (04:08)

José Ramos Horta appeals to Cardinal Sin for help in getting peaceful resolution in East Timor. Horta talks with President Clinton, who had already put pressure on Jakarta. Jakarta accepts UN peacekeeping forces in East Timor.

18. Victory: Peacekeepers Arrive in East Timor (03:57)

On September 20, 1999, multinational peacekeeping forces arrive in East Timor and Indonesian troops pull out without incident. Xanana Gusmao returns to cheering crowds of East Timorese. Horta returns to his homeland after 24 years of exile.

19. East Timor: Freedom at Last (03:05)

Upon his return to East Timor, José Ramos Horta observes the destruction left behind by the Indonesian army, or what Horta calls "A monument of shame." East Timorese call for public executions of Indonesian generals. Horta calls for forgiveness.

20. Victory of Justice in East Timor (01:12)

José Ramos Horta explains his political orientation to reporters. He calls himself a social democrat who was not fighting for an ideology, but he fought for justice for East Timorese people.

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