On December 7, 1975, a tragedy befell East Timor. Secretly, and with the help of Western powers – including the US, the UK, and Australia – Indonesia invaded the small nation. Not only did they face an armed force, but also two Australian television crews attempting to document the invasion were murdered in cold blood.
Since then, up to 1993 when John Pilger and his team – director David Munro included – went into East Timor and made a documentary of their own, an estimated 200,000 people had been slaughtered by the Indonesian military. According to a CIA report from that time, this was one of the worst mass-murders of the 20th century.
John Pilger’s documentary tells this story with powerful footage of internment camps and countryside as well as interviews with those affected by it: East Timorese exiles Jose Ramos Horta and Jose Gusmao; British, Australian and Indonesian diplomats alike; and even Fretlin guerillas who managed to hide despite everything.
This is a must-see documentary for anyone trying to understand what happened in East Timor during those tumultuous years. It is important for us all to bear witness to history as it truly happened so that we can learn from our past mistakes. This documentary sheds light on a part of our global history that has been hidden for too long; one should watch it to learn more about these tragedies as well as pay homage to those affected by them.