Sunday, March 11, 2012

Books on East Timor

This is a selection 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.

Elections and Constitution Making in East Timor by Dionisio De Costa Babo Soares and M. Maley et al.. These five papers on the 2001 and 2002 Elections in East Timor were given at a public seminar at Australian National University in December 2001. The authors were participants or observers of these elections and incorporate in these papers much firsthand experience of the complex challenges and constitutional issues facing the newly-independent country.

East-Timor: How to Build a New Nation in Southeast Asia in the 21st Century? edited  by Christine Cabasset-Semedo and Frederic Durand. Thirteen specialists contribute to this overall study of today's East Timor and the problems and potentials ahead in the 21st century. Three papers in Part 1 explore aspects of East Timor's transition towards new nationhood - multidimensional identity construction; statehood and humanitarian assistance, reconciliation and media roles. Part 2 looks at: socio-cultural identities and translations; policies and identity; and village-level identities and national identity. Part 3 discusses aspects of politics, legitimacy and electoral processes. Part 4 looks at the future of Timorese society, issues of human security and dissent, grassroots relationship and potential in tourism development. With a clear chronology of events 1974-2009, black-and-white photo insets, tables, glossary and bibliography.

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.

If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die: How Genocide Was Stopped In East Timor by Geoffrey Robinson. This is a book about a terrible spate of mass violence. It is also about a rare success in bringing such violence to an end. If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die tells the story of East Timor, a half-island that suffered genocide after Indonesia invaded in 1975, and which was again laid to waste after the population voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999. Before international forces intervened, more than half the population had been displaced and 1,500 people killed. Geoffrey Robinson, an expert in Southeast Asian history, was in East Timor with the United Nations in 1999 and provides a gripping first-person account of the violence, as well as a rigorous assessment of the politics and history behind it. Robinson debunks claims that the militias committing the violence in East Timor acted spontaneously, attributing their actions instead to the calculation of Indonesian leaders, and to a "culture of terror" within the Indonesian army. He argues that major powers - notably the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom - were complicit in the genocide of the late 1970s and the violence of 1999. At the same time, Robinson stresses that armed intervention supported by those powers in late 1999 was vital in averting a second genocide. Advocating accountability, the book chronicles the failure to bring those responsible for the violence to justice.

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