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Justice For East Timor In Our Time? (Int'l Edition)

International -- Readers Report

Justice for East Timor in Our Time? (int'l edition)

Your timeline in "Showdown in Jakarta" (Asian Business, Feb. 14) describes "enraged" soldiers and militia running "amok" destroying East Timor last September. But recent reports by U.N. and Indonesian commissions of inquiry make it clear that the violence was a planned effort to overturn the U.N. referendum.

Indonesia's willingness to name top generals as responsible is a beginning, but there is no guarantee that full-scale prosecutions will happen, much less meet international standards. After all, despite repeated pledges, Indonesia has yet to rein in its armed forces and their militia allies who continue to block the return of East Timorese refugees.

President Abdurrahman Wahid's promise to pardon General Wiranto doesn't inspire much confidence, either. Should Indonesia's efforts at prosecution collapse, justice for the East Timorese will have been delayed and likely denied.

The military's human-rights abuses in East Timor were central to a systematic effort to undermine an internationally sanctioned plebiscite. East Timorese, driven from their communities with their country left in ruins, must actively participate in bringing those responsible to justice. A U.N. Human Rights Commission investigation recommends a joint Indonesian, East Timorese, and international tribunal under U.N. auspices. This would ensure that all the main parties are represented.

John M. Miller

East Timor Action Network/U.S.

Brooklyn, N.Y.Return to top

Migrant Brawn Is a Pillar of the New Economy (int'l edition)

You say, "much needs to be done to make sure the New Economy becomes a global economy" ("Globalizing the New Economy," Editorials, Jan. 31). From talking with employers around the country, I have found that industries involving unpleasant work and/or low wages-- such as meatpacking, egg and poultry production, carpet manufacture, home construction, and agriculture (especially "stoop labor," which includes milking cows)--increasingly rely on immigrants. The same trend prevails in such services as car-washing and lawn maintenance.

Hence, it is not capital investment that is keeping productivity high and inflation low. Rather, it is the availability of willing and able substitute workers, now that we have convinced our people to "get an education" so they can avoid physical work.

We claim more education is needed because of increased job requirements. Yet many of the immigrants are uneducated and often cannot even speak English, but they perform the work. The day of reckoning will come when their children become educated and shun manual work.

Mack A. Moore

AtlantaReturn to top

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