Tactical Omissions. "Deliverance: The Inside Story of East Timor's Fight for Freedom", by Don Greenlees and Robert Garran. [review]
The account of the events surrounding East Timor’s liberation from Indonesia by News Limited journalists Don Greenlees and Robert Garran is subtitled ‘The inside story of East Timor’s fight for freedom’. Dealing as it does primarily with the diplomatic machinations of the Indonesian and Australian governments in that period, it would be fair to say the subtitle should read ‘The inside story of those who worked against East Timor’s fight for freedom’. By detailing the story of East Timor’s transition to independence from the perspective of Jakarta and Canberra, the two reporters run dangerously close to echoing the perceptions of these two governments. The book reads in some parts like press releases from, alternately, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Indonesian state newsagency, Antara. A well-placed former Australian army officer remarked to me that, after reading the book, he came away ‘almost feeling sorry for the TNI [Indonesian Army]’.