"If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die": How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor

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Princeton University Press, Nov 16, 2009 - Political Science - 344 pages

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.


A riveting narrative filled with personal observations, documentary evidence, and eyewitness accounts, "If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die" engages essential questions about political violence, international humanitarian intervention, genocide, and transitional justice.

 

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Contents

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1
CHAPTER TWO COLONIAL LEGACIES
21
CHAPTER THREE INVASION AND GENOCIDE
40
CHAPTER FOUR OCCUPATION AND RESISTANCE
66
CHAPTER FIVE MOBILIZING THE MILITIAS
92
CHAPTER SIX BEARING WITNESSTEMPTING FATE
115
CHAPTER SEVEN THE VOTE
139
CHAPTER EIGHT A CAMPAIGN OF VIOLENCE
161
CHAPTER NINE INTERVENTION
185
CHAPTER TEN JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION
205
CHAPTER ELEVEN CONCLUSIONS
229
Notes
249
A Note on Sources
295
Bibliography
297
Index
313
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Geoffrey Robinson is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali. Before coming to UCLA, he worked for six years at Amnesty International's headquarters in London. From June to November 1999, he served as a political affairs officer with the United Nations in Dili, East Timor. Robinson lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

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