Bad Things

Violence in Dili

flagboys_006.jpgThere were only 2 baked chicken stands open along the beach tonight. That is a sign that things are not well and there is trouble brewing in Dili.

There is still quite a bit of gang violence in the streets at night (aug2006). The Australian police and army keep a lot of it at bay but there is still some that slips through the cracks. Fire, rocks, bows and arrows, slingshots, and hook darts seem to be the weapons of choice. Though primitive they are deadly.

I took a few pictures of the burned out cars in Bairo Pite’ a suburb in Dili this morning. There were few guys hollering at me but I ignored them. They could well have been part of the mob that burned out those people that had lived there. It happened several months ago but an easterner would be in great danger sauntering around through this neighborhood, even now.

A lot of the area around the Comoro market had been torched a few months ago and the people that lived there have left town in fear for their lives. Some did not make it.

Now (aug) most of the burning of homes and shops seems to have ended. There was a time when 20-30 places went up in smoke every night. There is so much destruction in East Timor. A lot of it is left over from 1999 and 2002 and it has never been rebuilt and it all blends in together.

This 14 year old kid shows where someone hacked her arm with a machete. (in august 2006)

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Politicians and gangs are struggling for control. It is a weird time. 1600 UN people are supposed to be arriving soon. Sometimes it seems that there are enough bureaucrats and paper shufflers but maybe a few more won’t hurt.

Foreigners in general are fairly isolated from danger but for the people on the streets it can be a fight for survival. Some loose.

extras_043.jpgIt really doesn’t seem that a foreigner can really see the whole picture. There are too many subtle feuds going on and some big players behind the scenes stirring things up. It is sad that they are tearing up this beautiful country.

I still worry for the kids who have seen so much violence. In Comoro you can not get a picture of normal kids. They all flash gang signs and some hold up lighters with evil grins on their faces. It is really going to be tough to get a handle on these kids.

East Timor has a long ways to go but I think they will make it in time. We can only hope.


Aug 21, 2006

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