Truth & reconciliation in Southeast Asia & the Melanesian Pacific: a project summary

Can historians be peacemakers? Recent experiences with truth and reconciliation processes in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific suggest that they can be. There is a role for historical research and memory in helping to build sustainable peace and stability in new nations. On the other hand, ignoring violent pasts undermines peacebuilding efforts. In the… More Truth & reconciliation in Southeast Asia & the Melanesian Pacific: a project summary

Self-Determination Abandoned: The Road to the New York Agreement on West Papua

By David Webster West Papua, occupied by Indonesia since the 1960s, is making headlines with a wave of protests sparked by anti-Papuan racism. How did this territory come under Indonesian rule? This article from Cornell University’s journal Indonesia (now in open access) provides context on how the Papuan right to self-determination was abandoned in the… More Self-Determination Abandoned: The Road to the New York Agreement on West Papua

Voting with Betel Juice: a Timorese short story by Dadolin Murak

In this story, written in 2017 and recently translated into English. Timor-Leste writer Dadolin Murak depicts a family caught up in the politics of a Timorese election. Timor-Leste (East Timor) experienced Indonesian military occupation and crimes against humanity from 1975 to 1999, when the country voted for independence. That vote, on 30 August 1999, is… More Voting with Betel Juice: a Timorese short story by Dadolin Murak

The Solomon Islands “Ethnic Tension” Conflict and the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A Personal Reflection

By Terry Brown To date there has been only one truth commission in Melanesia, in Solomon Islands. This was a mixed national-international commission, struck after an internal conflict within the country. At the time of the conflict, Canadian Anglican Terry Brown was the bishop of Malaita, a diocese of the Church of Melanesia. His chapter recounts… More The Solomon Islands “Ethnic Tension” Conflict and the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A Personal Reflection

Reflecting on Reconciliation

By Maggie Helwig (Excerpted from Flowers in the Wall: Truth & Reconciliation in Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Melanesia; original here. To situate myself at the start—I am a settler in Turtle Island/Canada (henceforth referred to as “Canada” simply for convenience), of mixed English, Irish, and German ancestry, living on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of… More Reflecting on Reconciliation

Chega! for Us: Socializing a Living Document

By Maria Manuela Leong Pereira The Asosiasaun Chega! Ba Ita (ACbit, the “Chega! for Us” Association) aims to promote the values and principles that underlie the work of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Friendship (CAVR), including human rights, justice and reconciliation. We are committed to bringing the lessons of the past to guide our… More Chega! for Us: Socializing a Living Document

Development and Foreign Aid in Timor-Leste after Independence

By Laurentina “mica” Barreto Soares State-building and development is a continuous process. Timor-Leste has been engaged in this endeavour since the restoration of its independence in 2002, following a period in which the United Nations helped lay the groundwork for institutional development from 1999 to 2002. Many have acknowledged Timorese development is a difficult process,… More Development and Foreign Aid in Timor-Leste after Independence

“Politika Taka Malu,” Censorship, and Silencing: Virtuosos of Clandestinity in Timor-Leste

By Jacqueline Aquino Siapno Excerpted from Flowers in the Wall This chapter explores the paradox of being asked to examine “the truth” when the methods used during the clandestine period were to have no history of records (i.e., leave no trace behind)—a negation of the work of historians and historiography (while keeping in mind the… More “Politika Taka Malu,” Censorship, and Silencing: Virtuosos of Clandestinity in Timor-Leste

Incomplete Truth, Incomplete Reconciliation: Towards a Scholarly Verdict on Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

Truth commissions have often been studied through the lens of the most famous commission, South Africa’s TRC, which formed after the end of apartheid in 1994. In this and other scholarly accounts, truth commissions are often found at best to be partially successful, and at worst fatally flawed. Sarah Zwierzchowski’s chapter for Flowers in the… More Incomplete Truth, Incomplete Reconciliation: Towards a Scholarly Verdict on Truth and Reconciliation Commissions