Thursday, March 08, 2007

I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills

Life is full of disappointments and no one more than myself could be more disappointed about the present state of East Timor. As a campaigner for independence for East Timor, on and off over many years, I foolishly had a vision of an independant free country that could be an example for the world. It would be peaceful, self sustaining, have an educated population and be in close co-operation with Australia.

It hasn't happened and it is not going to either is it kiddies? I expect for your average East Timorese, they were better off under Indonesian rule.

Ah well, better educated people than me have made similar mistakes. I would like to ask ex Prime Minister Malcolm Frazer about Zimbabwe. While I was not keen on him when he was in power, he was a far more honourable person than our present PM. What I did admire him for, and he was one of the leaders in the fight, was the pushing for majority rule in Rhodesia, that is black rule.

The leader of Rhodesia, Ian Smith, was a tyrant and fought very hard to sustain it as a colony style country. Eventually world pressure saw the independant country of Zimbabwe rise.

Well, what a thorough mess that has turned into. Again, I reckon the average citizen was better off under the colonial system.

I recall a conversation with a New Zealand taxi driver in Aukland many years ago. He owned a farm in Kenya and employed many local workers and by the way he spoke, he would have been a good boss. He had to flee the Mau Mau in the sixties and just left his farm and migrated to New Zealand. Now Kenya turned into a decent place, not!

We in Australia don't have look across the Indian Ocean to see failures. New Guniea, Fiji and I guess now we add East Timor to the list. It is especially sad to see for Australians, many of whom have invested their hearts and labours in an independant East Timor.


  1. One of the guys at work today commented on the recent troubles and said most of them would have no idea what Australia has done for them and the extent of the relationship. He would know more than myself as he fled from there during the trouble in the 70s.

  2. You always get all sorts of extra info if you talk to people actually from the country much of which you won't read in the media. But over time, I have realised that this often comes with a bias, not that I am saying he is biased or wrong. You just have to be cautious in taking things as gospel. But I think he would right. An undeducated population don't read the broadsheets.