The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Five months on, more mob violence

I haven’t written about Timor-Leste in ages, even though it remains the biggest item in my (still-in-alpha) tag cloud.

To be truthful, I’ve not been following the situation very closely of late, but it worries me that there are reports of anti-Australian sentiment on the streets of Dili, allegedly because Australian soldiers are taking sides. After speaking to an ex-Army man in seminars this year, I have a new respect for how difficult life is when you’re stuck in the middle of a conflict, but I wonder if there’s more that could be done to clarify the troops’ role, ensure their impartiality, and deal with the deep-seated rivalries that seem to be at the heart of the ongoing conflicts.

And it just so happens that the recommendations from the International Crisis Group report of a few weeks ago say exactly that, among other things. More recently, the UNHCHR also laid down its report, the one that was supposed to be all shock-and-horror, name-and-shame (but wasn’t really all that surprising). As nice as it is to be reading the work of people who actually understand what’s going on, I wonder if the sound recommendations in these reports will actually get followed, given the quality of Timor’s governance and the bickering that so often seems to slow its development …

At least the situation isn’t the violent chaos that some news services are claiming. Dili-gence reports from the ground that the trouble is confined to Dili and then only in pockets, even though some of those pockets are getting pretty hairy at times.

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