Orchestrated chaos

Crisis in East Timor

The big bold type across the magazine's cover said "Slaughter in East Timor." But the issue was dated 1979, not 1999. Inquiry, a small-circulation (and now defunct) biweekly, was deploring the U.S. press's inattention to the atrocities taking place in the former Portuguese colony. Unfortunately, what has been happening in East Timor this month has been going on in varying degrees ever since Indonesia brutally invaded and annexed this small remote territory in 1975 shortly after Portugal abandoned it. Well before the recent rampage in which heavily armed irregular militias killed an estimated 7,000 people, destroyed much property and sent many thousands into hiding or exile, East Timor had lost almost a third of its populace—more than 200,000—to repressive Indonesian rule, either in massacres or by enforced starvation.


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