Monday, January 10, 2011

Books on East Timor

Here are a number of recent additions to our collection of books on East Timor:

New Nation: United Nations Peace-Building in East Timor by Geoffrey C. Gunn and Reyko Huang. The UN's 1999-2005 pioneer peace-building efforts in East Timor had to deal with major political, linguistic and anthropological differences which were (or are) major factors in any attempts to build Timor Leste as a functioning nation. The authors were involved in various areas of the post-1999 reconstruction efforts. Using their experiences, they detail the East Timor scenario and also highlight principles of democratic peacemaking and nation-building which could be applied in other situations. With bibliography, website details and index.

East Timor - A Country at the Crossroads of Asia and the Pacific: A Geo-Historical Atlas by Frederic Durand. Originally published in 2002 in French, this geo-historical atlas of East Timor is not just a set of maps but will be an invaluable resource for anyone concerned with the country's past or its present needs and development. One hundred and thirty-six colourful maps, tabulated data are incorporated in chapters on East Timor's geography and demography, its ethnolinguistic mosaic, the Portuguese colonisation period, the Indonesian invasion and the associated violence and death tolls and also national development 1974-1999, and the United Nations Supervision period 1999-2002. With a chronology, bibliography, and glossary.

Gender and Transitional Justice: The Women of East Timor by Susan Harris Rimmer. Gender and Transitional Justice provides the first comprehensive feminist analysis of the role of international law in formal transitional justice mechanisms. Using East Timor as a case study, it offers reflections on transitional justice administered by a UN transitional administration. Often presented as a UN success story, the author demonstrates that, in spite of women and children's rights programmes of the UN and other donors, justice for women has deteriorated in post-conflict Timor, and violence has remained a constant in their lives. This book provides a gendered analysis of transitional justice as a discipline. It is also one of the first studies to offer a comprehensive case study of how women engaged in the whole range of transitional mechanisms in a post-conflict state, i.e. domestic trials, internationalised trials and truth commissions. The book reveals the political dynamics in a post-conflict setting around gender and questions of justice, and reframes of the meanings of success and failure of international interventions in the light of them.

A Dirty Little War by John Martinkus. In 1994 Australian journalist John Martinkus went to East Timor to report on Indonesia's brutal repression of the province's independence movement. It was a conflict that gave rise to the highest per capita death toll of any conflict in the 20th century. He subsequently made many return visits before deciding to move to Dili in 1998, becoming the only foreign journalist in East Timor for many years. Martinkus travelled with the guerrillas and unearthed the secret war Indonesia was waging against this fledgling nation - a war that eventually erupted and led to Australia's troops being called in. This is the insider's view of that 'dirty little war'; a first-hand and deeply personal account of a shocking period in this region's history told in a gripping fashion.

Timor: 1250-2005, 750 Ans De Cartographie & Et De Voyages (In French) by Frederic Durand. Timor island has figured in many expeditions throughout history: in the quest for precious wood by Chinese merchants in the 13th century, Magellan's first voyage around the world between 1519-1521, the Bounty epic in 1789, the discovery of Australia towards the end of the 18th century, and in the vague expansionist plans of Indonesia's General Suharto. While many primary sources have for the most part been lost, the outline of Timor's ancient history can be retraced through maps, drawings, engravings and the testimony of travellers over the years. This book attempts a chronology of this history, explores some of the myths of the origins of Timor, and explores the island's contacts with the outside world in more recent times. Illustrated with more than 200 maps, drawings and engravings, the book is based on several narrations and previously unpublished documents. In French.

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