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East-Timor

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Frédéric Durand
, 
Christine Cabasset-Semedo

Part 2. Socio-cultural identities and factors in question

"Ema Lorosa’e", "Ema Loromonu": Identity and Politics in Timor-Leste

David Hicks

Texte intégral

  • 97 Mendes (P.R.) 2007, Timor Lorosae: Ramos-Horta Em Laga, Crónica de Um Anúncio Anunciado, “Hoje, aq (...)
  • 98 My first period of research in Timor-Leste was carried out over nineteen months between 1966 and 1 (...)

1In his campaign for the presidency of Timor-Leste, the then Prime Minister, José Ramos-Horta, officially opened his campaign in the last week of February 2007 with the words, ‘Today, here, in this land of Laga, I declare to all the people of Timor-Leste, east and west, north and south, and to the rest of the world my candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic’97 promising that were he elected he would be President of all of Timor-Leste -- north, south, east, and west. While Ramos-Horta may have been resorting to a conventional style of political rhetoric in order to emphasize his aspiration to be a president of all the Timorese, in light of the then prevailing political situation it is at least equally likely he was taking note of a curious development in the political rhetoric of the country. I refer here to the verbal distinction that in 2006 became fashionable in the press between ‘easterners’ (ema lorosa’e) and ‘westerners’ (ema loromonu) and continued to be used among some politically-motivated Timorese themselves as late as the early months of the following year. My intention in this paper is to examine the distinction and to assess its merits as an authentic verbal model of Timorese socio-political identity98. I shall commence with some ethnographic observations relevant to this inquiry and then discuss the origin of this dualism, consider its semantic nature, and examine the extent to which it is sociologically and politically viable. When other verbal markets of identity are considered in the context of this opposition, the problem – as we shall see – involves social classification and identification. Finally, taking into account claims that this contrast has the potential for weakening the nation-state I shall remark a division whose destructive potential is far realer than the alleged division between easterners and westerners.

2Let us commence by establishing the range of meaning associated with the terms ema lorosa’e and loromonu. At once it becomes apparent that the two designations are not applied with consistency by the Timorese. If we concede them their most generous applications the appellation ema lorosa’e covers those populations in the four eastern districts, Lautem, Viqueque, Baucau, and Manatuto while ema loromonu refers to those indigenes in the western districts of Liquiçá, Ermera, Aileu, Ainaro, Manufahi, Cova Lima, Bobonaro, and Oe-Cussi (Figure 1 and 2).

Figure 1. The Districts and Principal Towns of Timers-Leste and One Possible Line of Disjunction for the Alleged ‘Ema Lorosa’e’/‘Ema Loromonu’ Constrast

Figure 2. The Principal Ethnolinguistic Group on the Island of Timor

  • 99 In the opinion of Constâncio Pinto, Minister-Counselor/Chargé d’Affaires, the distinction is merel (...)
  • 100 Trindade (José) and Castro (Bryant) (2007) Rethinking Timorese Identity as a Peacebuilding Strateg (...)
  • 101 Tilman (A.) 2007, “Lorosae Versus Loromonu”, p. 1.
  • 102 International Crisis Group 2006, Resolving Timor-Leste's Crisis.
  • 103 Anon, 2007, AlertNet. Reuters: International Action by Churches Together (ACT).
  • 104 Cleary (P.) 2007, Long Road Back for Ramos-Horta.

3The district of Dili, which as the figure shows, lies between these two sectors, is the nation’s conceptual centre. This so-called ‘division’, one may note, is that it is geographical and not linguistic or ‘ethnic’ (whatever that particular designation might mean in the context of Timor-Leste). As a comparison of Figure 1 and Figure 2 shows, the country’s linguistic geography is not coterminous with this geographical classification, the Tetum-speaking peoples, for instance, being located in both Eastern and Western sectors99. Another discrepancy is that whereas the district of Oe-Cussi, which might lay a claim to be considered the exemplary loromonu district since it is the most westerly, is in my experience, usually disregarded as a component of the schema until called to the attention of one’s interlocutor. Another point of interest is the lack of consensus on the part of Timorese individuals themselves regarding the precise referents or even propriety of either pair of terms100. Alex Tilman, for example, who is himself Timorese, recalls that he has always been aware of this distinction and has himself ‘often referred to those coming from the eastern half of Timor-Leste as Easterners and the other half as Westerners’, but nevertheless qualifies this statement by adding that ‘it never crossed my mind that this dichotomy would one day translate into such a depth dividing the East Timorese into two ethnicities101. The division is only as relevant as speaking about a Sydneysider and a Melbournian.’ In light of Mr. Tilman’s comments, therefore, perhaps it might be judged useful to examine the context in which this distinction seems to have become appropriated to suit the requirements of contingent ambitions. This appears to have occurred at least as early as January 2006. On the ninth of that month, one hundred and fifty-nine members of the Timorese armed forces, the Falintil-FDTL (F-FDTL) or F-Forças Defensas Timor Lorosa’e (Falintil-Timor-Leste Defence Forces), at whose head was one Gasção Salsinha, signed a petition addressed to President José Alexandro (Xanana) Gusmão complaining about their conditions of work (International Crisis Group 2006: i). Evidently most ‘petitioners’, as they came to be dubbed, were natives of the more westerly districts and although the story is somewhat complex and has a number of interesting ramifications, all that needs remarking here is that when these aggrieved petitioners failed to receive sufficient measure of satisfaction from the authorities, they deserted their posts. This resulted in the commander in chief of Falintil-FDTL, Taur Matan Ruak, dismissing them. By his action he precipitated a convoluted sequence of events (including a number of killings) and overblown rhetoric; the most consequential of which was the petitioners complaining they were being discriminated against because they were ema loromonu. Ema lorosa’e, they asserted, were favoured in the army. That some political bias may have to some extent have been implicated is indicated in the International Crisis Group’s Asia Report of October 10, 2006 where it is suggested that, whereas President Gusmão inclined towards ema loromonu, Prime Minister Alkatiri was disposed towards ema lorosa’e102. In late April violence reasserted itself, in the form of several head-on clashes between the petitioners and the national police force, the Policía Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL), and these mêlées were quickly joined by unemployed youths. With the petitioners as their inspiration the young thugs adapted the ema loromonu/ema lorosa’e formula to discriminate among themselves in accordance with where their family homes were and used it to incite brawls. Looking for some easy explanation for what they cast in their media outlets as a collapse of civil order the international press found in this simple opposition an ideal, readily understood and simple, explanation. Meanwhile, although it may not have expressed itself in violence the expression’s rhetoric implications were heard throughout the nation. Hence, when -- many months later -- even if Ramos-Horta was not specifically alluding to it in his campaign, most Timorese would have understood what he was referring to. A newspaper article published by the journalist, Loro Horta, on May 18, 2006, though more skeptical than most, underlined the facile acceptance that the contrast, ema loromonu/ema lorosa’e, had attained by that time as a handy piece of polemical rhetoric. He maintained in his account that ‘Regional rivalries are an even bigger problem. The five hundred [sic] soldiers who ignited the recent protests were predominantly from the western part of the country, and they had regularly complained about discriminatory practices in the allegedly eastern-dominated national army. When the riots broke out in Dili, many police officers from western areas refused to tackle the protesters, allowing what should have been an easy situation for a united force to control to disintegrate into a tragic circus.’By early June another foreign organization, the International Action by Churches Together, had accepted and perhaps may be described as having itself exploited the presumed antagonism between easterners and westerners by redefining it as something of the order of a national cleavage. ‘What started as a conflict within the army in March 2006,’ it noted, ‘has since resulted in an extensive country-wide conflict between people from the Western part of the country with those from the east. The fighting first erupted in Dili where houses and offices were looted and set on fire and has since spread to affect all communities [sic]’103. In another publication, Paul Cleary, while commenting on the violence, likewise exaggerated the geographical extent to which the easterner/westerner antagonism -- even assuming it was at all valid -- applied: ‘At the core of this crisis’ he wrote, ‘was a dispute involving 600 soldiers [sic], representing almost half of the army, who claimed that senior officers from the eastern region discriminated against them104. The government’s decision to sack the soldiers created an angry mob, and this spiraled into widespread east-west violence.’

  • 105 Ximenes (F.B.), 2006, A Presentation on Timor-Leste.

4Even after the arrival of Australian troops in May 2006 and the assumption of the premiership by Ramos-Horta, this dialectical construction demonstrated its long legs, at least in the capital. There, the gangs -- whether or not they supported the disgruntled ex-troops – extended the application of their rhetorical tool to the general populace as a means of coercing whomever they desired for whatever reason they wished -- or even for no particular reason at all. Recalling the visit to his native land he made that summer, Mr. Fausto Belo Ximenes, a student at Stony Brook University, described how he had learnt of youthful thugs stopping taxis to inquire whether the occupants were ema lorosa’e or ema loromonu and threatening them if their answers were not registered as satisfactory.105

  • 106 A commentary reproduced from emails posted on the East Timor Studies mailing List at the Australia (...)
  • 107 cf. Hicks (D.) 1984, A Maternal Religion: The Role of Women in Tetum Myth and Ritual.
  • 108 Rêssuk, Raklung’u, and Rahêssuk (Duarte (J.B.), 1984, Timor: Ritos e Mitos Ataúros, p. 15)).

5So much, then, for the action that embraced the expression, but what of the terms of the opposition themselves?106 The terms ema lorosa’e and ema loromonu can be disassembled as follows. Ema = ‘people’, lorosa’e = ‘east’, ‘eastern’, ‘easterly’; while loromonu = ‘west’, ‘western’, ‘westerly’. Since loro = ‘sun’; sa’e = ‘rise’, ‘come up’; and monu = ‘to fall’, ‘go down’, the derivations are clear enough. Loromonu = ‘the sun goes down or falls’; the ‘place where the sun goes down’, i.e., the ‘West’. Similarly lorosa’e, which translates as ‘the sun rises’; ‘the place where the sun rises’; ‘the place where the sun comes up’, i.e., the ‘East’. The complementary opposition, Ema lorosa’e/Ema loromonu, is all of a piece with the dualistic mode by which concepts and their verbal expressions are predominately ordered in Timorese classificatory thought107 and their pedigree may very well be ancient. But their being thoroughly engrained in Timorese classification should not encourage us to conclude they necessarily correspond to any socio-political – or even cultural – reality. I have already remarked the anomalous classificatory status of Oe-Cussi and that of the Tetum-speaking speakers residing along the southern coast, but there other discrepancies that undermine any attempt to impose an unambiguous moiety system on the Timor-Leste population. The three ethno-linguistic groups that occupy the island of Ataúro108 are frequently omitted from the schema, and the same might be said of the district in which Dili is located. Then there are the Galoli, who though residents of Manatuto district, are sometimes not classed as ema lorosa’e even though geography would identity them as such (Figure 1).

  • 109 cf. McWilliam (A.) 2007, “East and West in Timor-Leste: Is There an Ethnic Divide?”
  • 110 Soares (D.B.) 2003, Branching from the Trunk: East Timorese Perceptions of Nationalism in Transiti (...)
  • 111 As they are in the diet of most hinterland Timorese.

6 Ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu, however, is only one of a number of identificatory markers. One that some observers regard as coincident or virtually coincident with ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu is firaku/kaladi whose etymologies and semantic characters are obscure109. In one exegesis, firaku is of Makassai origin and means ‘our relatives or friends’ (fi = the inclusive first person pronoun; raku = ‘relatives, friends’) (Ximenes 2007). According to another, firaku is said to derive from the Portuguese expression vira o cu (‘display one’ s buttocks’) on the supposed grounds that easterners are temperamental and stubborn110, possessed, one might say, of an ‘in your face’ attitude. Kaladi is said to have derived from two possible sources. One is the Portuguese word calado = ‘calm’, ‘quiet’, ‘silent’, ‘taciturn’, ‘sullen’, ‘dumb’, psychological and behavoural qualities the Portuguese allegedly detected in the people of the western districts and used to make a contrast with those of the firaku. A second possible derivation comes from the Mambai word kaladi (‘yam’). The argument here is that other Timorese originally borrowed it to refer to the Mambai people because yams are a staple in Mambai diet111 and thereafter presumably extended it to embrace the other westerners, the Bunaq (Bunak), Ema (Kemak), and the rest. Again, however, we meet with the same objections to the application of the terms as we encountered with ema lorosa’e and ema loromonu. How do the peoples of Oe-Cussi, Atauro, and Dili district outside of the capital and its immediate environs, and the Tetum-speaking peoples of the southern coast fit it? If, they fit in at all.

  • 112 Henriques (José Pereira) 2007, Interview, July 1, Viqueque town.

7Another question involves the moral associations of these terms. In the opinion of some commentators, the two expressions have derogatory connotations that render them suitable as mutual depreciations. Perhaps in some contexts and for some individuals such may be the case, but I have not accumulated any evidence in support of this contention. To the contrary: one Tetum resident of Viqueque with whom I raised this issue recalled how when he was in the Timorese army in the early 1970s firaku and kaladi were used in a mutually friendly manner, implying a bond a social anthropologist would at once recognize as a joking relationship.112

  • 113 Tilman (A.) 2007, op. cit., p. 3.
  • 114 Hicks (D.) 2007, “Community and Nation-State in East Timor: A View from the Periphery”.
  • 115 This distinction corresponds, up to a point, with what Edward Shils has discerned as the concept o (...)

8In addition to ema lorosa’e, ema loromonu, ema firaku, and ema kaladi, another expression used in Timor-Leste may be heard in the Tetum dialect spoken in the Viqueque sub-district on the southern plain where we find foho/fehan being employed to distinguish the inhabitants of the plain (i.e., the Tetum themselves) from those who live in the mountains (the Makassai, Waimaq, Kairui, Nauete [Naueti], and others). In this expression foho = ‘mountain’, ‘hill’, ‘north’, ‘an inhabitant of the mountains’, ‘a northerner’; and fehan = ‘lowland’, ‘the southern plain’, ‘an inhabitant of the southern plain’. Finally, one might note that foho is applied by Dili residents to denote those Timorese (the majority of the population) who reside in the countryside,113 with the referent ‘countryside’ included within the word’s semantic range. This contrast, which can be represented as Dili/foho, though it has generated far less attention than lorosa’e/ema loromonu or firaku/kaladi, is more fraught with political potential than either,114 since it corresponds to political, cultural, and social differences between the capital and its hinterland that may not bode well for the unity of the nation-state.115

9These are the most common global identifiers, but this much having been said, one must note that the most common indexes of identity resorted to in Timor are language, and – above all – place. Someone from Lospalos whose first language is Fataluku would be referred to as ema Fataluku or ema Lospalos; someone from Maubisse whose first language was Mambai would be referred to as ema Mambai or ema Maubisse.

  • 116 Dionísio Babo Soares (2003, op. cit.) suggests that the expression might owe its birth to competit (...)
  • 117 When, in my capacity of observer with the Carter Center, I drove from Kupang to Dili in August 199 (...)
  • 118 Oe-Cussi, of course, is actually situated in the western part of Indonesian Timor.
  • 119 Had there been a break-down into districts and had such a pattern of preference been established t (...)
  • 120 Scambary (J.) (with Gama (H. da) and Barreto (J.)) 2006, A Survey of Gangs and Youth Groups in Dil (...)

10To return for a moment to the expression ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu, it may be that Dili’s location influenced its creation and dissemination since though not located at the geographical centre of Timor-Leste the capital nevertheless does provide a convenient point of reference for applying them, all the more so since Dili’s ethnic diversity affords abundant opportunities for discriminating among the capital’s 150,000 inhabitants, who come from all the districts116. But if the ethnic diversity and density of humanity in Dili offered a fertile environment in which this verbal distinction could originate and flourish what – one might ask – was the agent or agents that affected its transformation into a politically charged expression? In search of an answer we must return to the June, July, August, and September of 1999 when the Timorese were in the midst of deciding whether or not to accept the offer of autonomy made to them by the Government of Indonesia. At the time foreign observers raised the possibility that after the ballots had been counted voters in the more westerly districts might have voted for the autonomy option while those in the eastern districts might have rejected it, thus disclosing a fundamental political fissure in the political geography of the country. The ubiquitous displays of the Indonesian flag in Bobonaro, Ermera, Liquiçá, and Cova Lima in the days leading up to what was officially termed a ‘Consultation’, but which was popularly – and more realistically – characterized as a ‘referendum’ or ‘plebiscite’117 suggested as much. Then there was the history of Timor-Leste before the Indonesian invasion on December 7, 1975. In the nineteen months preceding that incursion, the pro-Indonesian party, Apodeti, had found its firmest support in the sub-district of At Sabe, in Ermera district, whose chief, Guilherme Gonçalves, was among the most prominent proponents of integration into the republic. Contrarily, some of the strongest opposition to the Indonesian occupation had come from the eastern districts. Finally, there was, of course, the plain geographical fact of the western districts’proximity to Indonesian Timor118. The United Nations was cognizant of this issue and considered it of sufficient concern to include among its protocols for the Consultation the provision that the ballots from all thirteen districts were to be mixed, thereby making it impossible to determine if such a pattern of voting eventuated119. The possibility that this radical alignment, even if it never really existed, did in fact continue to persist hung there, seven years later, in the political atmosphere of Timor-Leste and was ripe for exploitation by any group of disaffected individuals nursing a grievance or looking for a violent way of expressing their discontent or ambitions. Or, for that matter, politicians. And, as it happened, there were the aggrieved solders at the ready, politicians on the make, and gangs of bored, young men hanging about Dili’s streets just waiting for something that would incite them into violence.120

11The observation made by Scambary, Gama, and Barreto that these youth gangs in the capital identified themselves as ema lorosa’e or ema loromonu in graffiti suggests that however the so-called ‘division’ came into existence, they, like some of the politicians, sensed its potential for exploitation. At least in the capital, to the extent of which the division might be acknowledged, it would appear to be almost entirely a phenomenon of Dili and its immediate environs. Support for this proposition is to be found in an episode which lasted from April 19 to May 7, 2005 in which young country men and women from all thirteen districts assembled in Dili to stage what became known as the manifestasaun. It involved thousands of young persons whom the Catholic clergy had transported from the hinterland (foho) into the capital to demonstrate their Church’s opposition to the premiership of Mari Alkatiri. Although orchestrated by the clergy, the demonstrators were unharnessed from the usual constraints imposed by their senior kin back home and were permitted generous expression of their personal indulgences. Traditional dances and guitar strumming complemented overblown speeches and political rallies while more privately – and a lot more quietly-nocturnal couplings on the Dili beach complemented the hymns and prayers that the more devout offered to the night air. Given such liberal amplitude, one might have supposed that the demonstrators -- had they wished -- would have had every kind of opportunity to make the most of the ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu or ema firaku/ema kaladi identifications. But no such advantage was taken. The only distinctions publicly communicated – on placards -- were those identifying the demonstrators as being from one or other district. A more global expression of self-identity or ‘otherness’ was, it would seem, felt unnecessary.

12I began by referring to Ramos-Horta’s campaign. Significantly, neither during the build-up to the presidential election, which took place on April 9, 2007, or in the subsequent run-off on May 9, 2007, did the issue of ema loromonu versus ema lorosa’e become a political bone of contention. Nor did it receive any sustained mention in the press. Following the presidential election came the parliamentary elections held in June, and for which my wife and I served as international observers with the Carter Center. We found ourselves suitably positioned to pay close attention to party rhetoric including that which evoked the ema loromonu and ema lorosa’e expression. If it was used, it was employed with little polemical power and all Timorese individuals with whom I discussed the expression, denied its socio-political authenticity.

  • 121 Scambary (J.) & al., 2006, op. cit.
  • 122 In a panel discussion sponsored by the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) I attended on July 7, 2006 (...)
  • 123 Snowdon (K.) 2007, East Timor: Presidential Campaign Continues Despite Violence.

13In the political context of 2006, ema loromonu/ema lorosa’e is most cogently to be understood as a rhetorical device initially articulated for self-serving advantage by disgruntled Timorese soldiers and then assimilated as a handy marker of identity for young thugs.121 It was anyway, as remarked earlier, preeminently operational within the capital and its environs and found little acceptance in the hinterland122. The factitious character of the ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu opposition has also been remarked by the President of Timor-Leste’s Parliament, Francisco “Lu Olo” Guterres, who was reported to have said in an interview that the division was “an artificial creation within the crises”.123 His disclaimer notwithstanding, Guterres nevertheless still sought to turn to his own advantage a previous statement made by President Gusmão on March 23, that lorosa’e commenced with the district of Manatuto as suggesting the expression really carried political weight.

  • 124 As for the contrast, firaku/kaladi, we need to know more precisely which ethno-linguistic groups a (...)
  • 125 cf. Perlez (J.) 2006, A Nation building project Comes Apart in East Timor; Ramos-Horta (J.) 2006, (...)
  • 126 Gusmão was born in this district, a natal circumstance that may have had some bearing on the resul (...)

14Although I conclude that in its substance ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu is little more than a geographical expression that happened to be manipulated to suit the politics of confrontation, this is not to deny that the designations have acquired a degree of social acceptance. Indeed, given the use that has been made of them, in the unsettled political environment of Timor-Leste today, they may well have the potential to become more definitive markers of Timorese identity124. But as things stand at present, they lack sufficient socio-political force to pose anything like the threat to the integrity of the nation-state that the aforementioned accounts in the International Crisis Group’s Asia Report and Paul Cleary, among others might imply.125 This does not imply, however, that the nation-state does not have social or political divisions that threaten to subvert its integrity. One opposition cited here that may pose a serious challenge to the integrity of the Timorese polity is that of Dili/foho and another that has only recently become clear may be discerned in the results of the 2007 parliamentary elections. At first glance it may seem to converge upon the ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu contrast but closer inspection tells a different tale. This involves the localization of Fretilin support, which the election showed as occurring overwhelmingly in Baucau, Viqueque, and Lautem. By contrast, the party revealed itself to be relatively weak in the other districts, where apart from Cova Lima, other parties, principally the Congresso Nacional para a Reconstrução de Timor (CNRT) and the coalition party, ASDT/PSD (Associação Social Democrática Timorense/Partido Social Democrática Timor Lorosa’e), triumphed. Given the anomalous status of Manatuto in the easterners/westerners typology, it is of interest that the Congresso Nacional para a Reconstrução de Timor (CNRT) was the decisive winner (gaining just over 30% of the votes) with the coalition party, ASDT/PSD (Associação Social Democrática Timorense/Partido Social Democráta Timor Lorosa’e), and Fretilin sharing roughly the same percentage of the votes (just below 20%)126. Within the districts that voted for Fretilin, however, there were sub-districts and suku that did not vote for that party and one would therefore be rash to regard the three ‘Fretilin’ districts in the East as constituting a solid block of support. While not a political reification of the ema lorosa’e/ema loromonu contrast, then, this pattern is clearly a manifestation of real political differences, something that cannot be plausibly claimed for a rhetorical duality that was first exploited by aggrieved solders, then assimilated by Dili gangs and pressed into service by political opportunists, and subsequently seized upon and amplified in the international press.

Notes

97 Mendes (P.R.) 2007, Timor Lorosae: Ramos-Horta Em Laga, Crónica de Um Anúncio Anunciado, “Hoje, aqui, nesta terra de Laga, digo a todo o povo de Timor-Leste, lorosae e loromonu, tasifetu e tasimane, e ao res to do mundo, a minha candidatura a Presidente da República”. Laga is a sub-district about 150 kilometers east of Dili.

98 My first period of research in Timor-Leste was carried out over nineteen months between 1966 and 1967, and was followed by a series of shorter investigations comprised of three weeks in 1999, six weeks in 2001, almost eight months in 2005, and a stay of two weeks in 2007. This paper is thus the product of over forty years of research in Timor-Leste in the course of which I have accumulated many debts. Of particular salience in respect of the present study are the following. Institutions: The London Committee of the London-Cornell Project for East and South East Asian Studies which was supported jointly by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Nuffield Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Fulbright Committee of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board; individuals: Rudy de Asis, José Henriques Pereira. I also thank Rumiana Decheva, Vanessa Prüller, and Paulo Castro Seixas, who as members of the panel on Timor-Leste, commented on my paper when I read it on Friday, September 14, 2007 in Naples. My appreciation also goes to the conveners of the panel, Christine Cabasset-Semedo and Frédéric Durand, for their splendid work in efficiently bringing together and organizing an impressively large group of knowledgeable participants, among the most notable being Noemia Amaral, a Timorese researcher from Dili. I also wish to thank Drs. Cabasset-Semedo and Durand for commenting on an earlier version of this article and making suggestions that I have incorporated into my final version.

99 In the opinion of Constâncio Pinto, Minister-Counselor/Chargé d’Affaires, the distinction is merely geographical (Pinto (C.) 2007, Interview: 30 November, Washington, D.C.).

100 Trindade (José) and Castro (Bryant) (2007) Rethinking Timorese Identity as a Peacebuilding Strategy: The Lorosa’e – Loromonu Conflict from a Traditional Perspective, p. 36). In their study of loro sa’e/ loromonu, they write that Timorese whom they interviewed ‘mentioned various interpretations’ of the expression, ‘... some suggesting that many people view the terms as a reality and that they represent an actual social difference and division...’ whereas ‘... others also thought otherwise... [believing] the terms were not fundamentally discriminatory but simply a type of classification to distinguish two peoples from different regions... ‘

101 Tilman (A.) 2007, “Lorosae Versus Loromonu”, p. 1.

102 International Crisis Group 2006, Resolving Timor-Leste's Crisis.

103 Anon, 2007, AlertNet. Reuters: International Action by Churches Together (ACT).

104 Cleary (P.) 2007, Long Road Back for Ramos-Horta.

105 Ximenes (F.B.), 2006, A Presentation on Timor-Leste.

106 A commentary reproduced from emails posted on the East Timor Studies mailing List at the Australian National University on 26 May 2006 about the 2006 crisis of that month was devoted to the issue of easterners and westerners (East Timor Studies 2006).

107 cf. Hicks (D.) 1984, A Maternal Religion: The Role of Women in Tetum Myth and Ritual.

108 Rêssuk, Raklung’u, and Rahêssuk (Duarte (J.B.), 1984, Timor: Ritos e Mitos Ataúros, p. 15)).

109 cf. McWilliam (A.) 2007, “East and West in Timor-Leste: Is There an Ethnic Divide?”

110 Soares (D.B.) 2003, Branching from the Trunk: East Timorese Perceptions of Nationalism in Transition.

111 As they are in the diet of most hinterland Timorese.

112 Henriques (José Pereira) 2007, Interview, July 1, Viqueque town.

113 Tilman (A.) 2007, op. cit., p. 3.

114 Hicks (D.) 2007, “Community and Nation-State in East Timor: A View from the Periphery”.

115 This distinction corresponds, up to a point, with what Edward Shils has discerned as the concept of ‘centre/periphery’ (Shils (E.) 1975, Center and Periphery: Essays in Macrosociology).

116 Dionísio Babo Soares (2003, op. cit.) suggests that the expression might owe its birth to competition that resulted from Makassai-speakers, from the east, and Bunak-speakers, from the west, migrating to Dili following the Second World War.

117 When, in my capacity of observer with the Carter Center, I drove from Kupang to Dili in August 1999, only two weeks before the date of the consultation, I witnessed on the section of the road from Batugadé to the capital a multitude of Indonesian flags stuck outside homes on either side of the road.

118 Oe-Cussi, of course, is actually situated in the western part of Indonesian Timor.

119 Had there been a break-down into districts and had such a pattern of preference been established there is little doubt the Indonesian government and those who wished for autonomy would have forcefully pressed the case for the western districts remaining in the Republic. And given the reluctance with which the Indonesian government eventually severed ties with Timor-Leste in October 1999 who can know whether Timor-Leste as we know it today would exist?

120 Scambary (J.) (with Gama (H. da) and Barreto (J.)) 2006, A Survey of Gangs and Youth Groups in Dili, East Timor.

121 Scambary (J.) & al., 2006, op. cit.

122 In a panel discussion sponsored by the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) I attended on July 7, 2006 in New York, there was general scepticism among the three Timorese speakers who participated regarding the legitimacy of the distinction ema lorosa’e/ ema loromonu, one individual dismissing the expression as a mere stereotype and a second declaring it to have been ‘no big deal’ in the past though at the current time it was being used by politicians for their own ends.

123 Snowdon (K.) 2007, East Timor: Presidential Campaign Continues Despite Violence.

124 As for the contrast, firaku/kaladi, we need to know more precisely which ethno-linguistic groups are implicated in this dualism. In the case of foho/ fehan physical geography rather then ethno-linguistic affiliation appears to be the defining feature.

125 cf. Perlez (J.) 2006, A Nation building project Comes Apart in East Timor; Ramos-Horta (J.) 2006, “East Timor is not a Failed State”.

126 Gusmão was born in this district, a natal circumstance that may have had some bearing on the result.

Table des illustrations

Légende Figure 1. The Districts and Principal Towns of Timers-Leste and One Possible Line of Disjunction for the Alleged ‘Ema Lorosa’e’/‘Ema Loromonu’ Constrast
URL http://books.openedition.org/irasec/docannexe/image/661/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 109k
Légende Figure 2. The Principal Ethnolinguistic Group on the Island of Timor
URL http://books.openedition.org/irasec/docannexe/image/661/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k

Auteur

David Hicks is Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University and Life Member of Clare College, University of Cambridge. His books include Tetum Ghosts and Kin (2004), Structural Analysis in Anthropology, A Maternal Religion, Kinship and Religion in Eastern Indonesia, and Ritual and Belief. His papers have appeared in the American Anthropologist, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, and the Bijdragen tot de Taal-, land- en Volkenkunde. Contact: dhicks@notes.cc.sunysb.edu

© Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine, 2009

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