On the 18th March 2021, I was a recipient of The Hon Shaoquett Moselmane’s generous hosting at Parliament House of the launch of my book, East Timor Reveille for Courage; Reflections of an Australian Human Rights Activist 1998-2004.
The book was officially launched by HE Mr Luciano Valentim Da Conceicao, Consul-General of Timor-Leste together with my conversation with Em.Professor Stuart Rees OAM followed by Dr Susan Connelly SOSJ in conversation with former ACT Attorney-General Bernard Collaery about Timor Sea Justice.
I also invited the dedicated editor of AMUST, Mr Zia Ahmad who graciously attended the Parliament House event despite the heavy rain.
AMUST readers, particularly those of you from Sydney’s diverse multicultural communities, are intimately familiar with the warm indefatigable generosity, care and service of The Honourable Moselmane who is a Member of the NSW State Legislative Council.
Mr Moselmane is a role model for walking on and for encouraging others to walk the straight path, “You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind: You enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil.” (Quran 3:110)
I met The Hon Moselmane some years ago at a function he hosted for Palestine in Parliament House. He is one of the rare politicians, federal and state, who dares diverge from the Australian government’s support for Israel to do what is right for the men, women, children of Palestine.
So why is East Timor, now Timor-Leste, of significance for us. Islam demands that the oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, be helped.
My political activism for the Timorese led me to activism for Palestine. How? In my book I present the similarities of the Timorese and Palestinian struggle; in brief, there are 4 basic parallels;
1. A violent military occupation daily inflicting war crimes and crimes against humanity. (by Indonesia and by Israel)
2. Theft of land, resources and dignity.
3. United Nations’ dereliction of international law obligations.
4. Western government accomplices and bystanders.
Also as Australians, we have a WWII blood debt to the brave Timorese people who saved the lives of Australian commandos. But rather than supporting Timorese in their legal struggle for independence in 1975, our successive governments handed East Timor to the Indonesians, just as the British handed Palestine to the Jewish army.
And soon after Timor-Leste became independent in 1999, our government planted spyware in Timorese government offices to get the advantage over the negotiations for Timorese oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.
Now, in Canberra, Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery are being persecuted by the government for exposing the spying operation against our neighbour, the poorest country in Asia. Furthermore these two men of integrity are being tried in undemocratic SECRET trials and have, so far, been forced to attend court 40 times.
I am reminded of the innocent Gazan prisoner, Mohammad el Halabi who has attended the Israeli court 158 times and due to attend again in April.
There is a petition: https://www.change.org/p/christian-porter-drop-the-charges-against-bernard-collaery-witness-k
Integral to my own spiritual practice, I begin the day reflecting on the daily Rumi poem on the 18th, the day of my book’s launch, the poem ended with these lines,
The universe and the light of the stars come through me.
I am the crescent moon put up
over the gate of the festival.
I understood it as a blessing: the crescent moon is the symbol of Islam, and of course I thought of Shaoquett and his staff- Louay, Sadaqat and Saleh, who were there above the gate, the entrance to the day’s festival – my launch.