There is a need to place the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor in a more telling historical context than that provided by Robert Connolly’s film Balibo and Luke Davies’ review of it (‘Cover Story’, August). East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 with the approval of the United States. Gough Whitlam was pressured not to object; the underlying fear was that China or Russia might invade East Timor and become a threat to the security of the region. Furthermore, in citing instances of Australians – and others – turning a blind eye to international injustice, the Indonesian takeover of West Papua in 1969 should not be overlooked. West Papua – whose people are Melanesian, not Indonesian – has since been exploited by the Indonesian government for its timber, gold and copper resources, and for Javanese resettlement, with little or no consideration given to the welfare and freedoms of its Indigenous population.

Bruce Connor
Auckland, NZ