(The Humanitarian Social Network)
I've just taken over a project based in Timor-Leste, and will be travelling there regularly. I need some context and background on the place. Can anyone suggest books, articles, documentaries, anything that will help give me more of a sense of the place and its recent history than the potted histories, poverty stats, and conflict analyses I'm finding in academic articles and program evaluations?
One of my favourite Timor books is Irene Cristalis' recent book: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/East-Timor-Irena-Cristalis/97818481...
Geoffrey Robinson's 'If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die' is good background reading, if not very well-written (in my opinion): http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/If-You-Leave-Us-Here-We-Will-Die-Ge...
The based-on-real-events film 'Balibo' is fantastic and definitely worth watching, and see if you can get your hands on the ABC Australia mini-series 'Answered by Fire', too, about the 1999 Referendum.
Additionally, this Good Reads link might be of use: http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/east-timor
Great, thanks! I've seen Balibo and will look for the others in the local library. There was a lot of material on Timor-Leste in my undergrad IR classes, but it's been a looooong time since then, and so much has happened! These initial stages of trying to figure out who's who, who's involved with which political party, and all that are always trying (but interesting too!).
Yep, ETAN is definitely worth subscribing too. Heaps of news every day, and great analysis as well. The people on the ETAN mailing list know what they're talking about.
HRW have got quite a few reports etc that are good background knowledge: http://www.hrw.org/asia/east-timor
Ahh, I could go on forever..
Unfortunately there is very little else that focuses on modern TL - most of the literature covers '75-'99 and stops there.
For docos, Decade, the UN's 2009 film about 10 years of the UN in TL gives a rare overview of events 1999-2009. Obviously it's a bit biased but the history is sound and it's only an hour so it's worth watching to get the big picture. For a picture of daily life, check out UNMIT's YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/UNMITVIDEO) which has lots of great videos from their TV show "Ba Pas" (For Peace) featuring ordinary and extraordinary Timorese people. The content is almost all Timorese-produced so most of it is in Tetum but there are some English stories too.
To understand the history, the CAVR film is a MUST (if you can find a copy - ask around in Dili or PM me). Also good are Pasabe, a 2006 doco filmed in a village in Oecusse where a massacre took place in 99, and Rosa's Story (2002) part of the ABC "Birth of a Nation" series.
You should also go walk around the post-CAVR exhibit (on Balide road) which is free and open to the public during working hours, the Resistance Museum (on the Parliament road) is also quite good. Go with your Timorese staff.