Southeast Asian Grassroots Peacebuilding: Perspectives on Indonesia and Timor-Leste Relationship
Time & LocationSession 12
Fri 15:30–17:00 Room 1.504
- Andrey Damaledo Kyoto University
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- Bonds and Boundaries: Social Trauma and Repair in an East Timorese Society Victoria Kumala Sakti Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
Transitional justice mechanisms, such as trials and truth commissions, are commonly set up to assist societies emerging from violent pasts. This process is often conflated with the metaphor of psychological wound and healing while operating within a limited time frame. What happens after these mechanisms end or when they fail to achieve the often-ambitious goals of justice and reconciliation? This presentation draws from long-term and multi-sited ethnographic research and discusses the ways societies deal with the echoes of violence against the backdrop of widespread impunity and unresolved conflicts. The ethnography focuses on the case of Timor-Leste after the chaotic end to Indonesia’s 24-year occupation in 1999. Among the legacies of violence are the large-scale deaths of civilians, severe disruptions of kinship and cultural ties, and prolonged displacement of segments of the East Timorese population in West Timor, Indonesia. The paper examines how Meto speaking communities in Oecussi district, an enclave located entirely in West Timor, and among the newly established diaspora across the border remember their experiences of violence and rebuild everyday lives. It explores people’s serious efforts in restoring relationships with their ancestors, with the dead victims of the occupation, with the land, and amongst each other. The study weaves the experiences of the East Timorese in dealing with social trauma together with current theorising on the linkages of violence, memory and emotion, and on social repair.
- Dismissing Development Across West and East Timor Wendy Asche University of Queensland
Notions of upward linear development as part of the ‘global project of modernity’ are challenged by academics (inter alia: Ferguson 1995; Tsing 2005; Li 2007; Bulloch 2017) and the people who are targets of national and international development projects. I present a case study based on fieldwork in West Timor, Indonesia, which will exemplify some of the ‘frictions’ faced by local groups engaged in an international development project. The project was intended to unite West and East Timor through cultural exchange and the construction of two museums in both locations. The inter-linkage was to be mediated through the shared material culture of weaving, involving NGOs from the two countries, facilitated by a Dutch museum. The project’s planned trajectory was hampered by conflicting expectations, excessive bureaucratic requirements, disparity in the political balance of organisations involved and Dutch, Indonesian and East Timorese historical legacies of colonialism and war.
- Harvest of the Palm in East Timor and Indonesian West Timor Andrey Damaledo Kyoto University
In his classic Harvest of the Palm, Fox argues that ‘lontar production provides (a) time to engage in a variety of activities, (b) the ability to alter, at some risk, other aspects of the economy and, with this ability, (c) the means to adapt these subsystems, in a reasonably short time, to changing conditions (1977: 40). Fox developed this argument based in his comparative analysis the lontar economy in among the Rotenese and the Savunese and the swidden economy of those of the Sumbanese and West Timorese. This paper takes Fox’s idea further by exploring the lontar economy among different communities in East Timor and West Timor. It focuses on lontar mode of production and the reproduction the lontar juice into the local gin (tua sabu in East Timor and sopi in West Timor). The aim of this paper is to analyse the diversity of palm production and reproduction and how it contributes to different modes of livelihood adaptation and potential cross-border engagement.
The relationship between Indonesia and East Timor changed dramatically in 1999 when a majority of the East Timor population voted to reject the status of Special Autonomy within Indonesia. The departure of the Indonesian military was accompanied by widespread killings, the forced evacuation of thousands of East Timorese, and the destruction of 70 per cent of the territory’s public infrastructure. Despite this violent and destructive separation, Indonesia is now one of Timor-Leste’s major bilateral partners. In 2017, total trade between the two countries reached a value of US$580 million—a significant increase from US$175 million in 2010. There are around 9000 Indonesians currently living in Timor-Leste, making them the largest immigrant group in the country. Bilateral engagements have also been manifested in various sectors that led scholars to argue that Indonesia and Timor-Leste remain intricately entwined at the political, cultural and personal levels in many ways. Little attention, however, has been paid to the way these relationships evolved, been sustained and continued to develop. This panel invites contributions from scholars whose work touches on these issues and other issues related to Indonesia and Timor-Leste relationship beyond the institutional channels of trade, aid and investment. It seeks to contribute to scholarly debates on peacebuilding, particularly on grassroots channels of engagement such as objects, ideas, images, symbols, media, memories, and metaphors, in which people use to sustain or rebuild their relationships.