In 1992, Rui Marques and others from Forum Estudante Magazine in Lisbon, Portugal organized the East Timor Peace Mission, in which 120 students and journalists from around the world embarked upon a peaceful protest against the atrocities committed toward the East Timorese people beginning in 1975 when Portugal granted the colony its independence and Indonesia illegally invaded.
The protesters boarded the Lusitania Expresso, a Portuguese ferry boat, in Darwin, Australia and sailed to East Timor, where they intended to lay wreaths of flowers on the graves of the hundreds of Timorese who had been massacred by Indonesian soldiers while they were mourning in the Santa Cruz cemetery November 12, 1991.
The video, which I made with my VHS camera when I was a 21-year-old 2nd-year Ryerson University Film Production student, documents the fears and hopes of the protesters, the aggressive, threatening reaction of the Indonesian military to the mission, and the stand-off with fully-armed Indonesian warships, planes and helicopters as the boat approached the shore.
It is part of a permanent museum installation about East Timor in Lisbon, and is being featured as part of a new documentary on the Peace Mission by Francisco Manso Producoes for RTP1 (the Portuguese public TV channel). It is also being screened at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony and Conference in Timor-Leste, the world's newest democracy, in November, 2012.
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