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Book cover of "If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die": How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor

"If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die": How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor

by Geoffrey Robinson

Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691135366

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Synopsis of "If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die": How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor

"Those of us with a special interest in the final frenzy of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor will be deeply grateful to Geoffrey Robinson for the narrative power and depth of insight that makes his book the outstanding treatment of these events. But the value of his book goes far beyond that: as a historian who has thought deeply about political violence, as a human rights practitioner familiar with the ways of states and institutions that perpetrate and condone massive human rights abuses, and as a reflective participant in the UN mission that oversaw the referendum on East Timor's independence, Robinson is uniquely qualified to bring out the wider meanings of what happened in East Timor in 1999, and triumphantly succeeds in doing so."--Anthony Goldstone, coeditor of Chega!: Final Report of the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation

"In this outstanding book, Robinson provides an authoritative and gripping account of the violence visited upon East Timor by the Indonesian Armed Forces that is unparalleled in documentation, sophistication, and insight. His appraisal of the conditions enabling the belated United Nations intervention in East Timor is likewise unrivalled in its combination of scholarly analysis and insider insights."--John Sidel, London School of Economics and Political Science

"This is the single most important book about the complex and dramatic events of 1999 in East Timor. Combining a scholarly analysis of violence with first-person reporting, it provides a profound and nuanced understanding of recent East Timorese history."--John Roosa, University of British Columbia

Publishers Weekly

In this intimate, informed account, historian Robinson (The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali), examines the tumultuous events surrounding East Timor's 1999 attempt to gain independence from Indonesia. With expertise and an insider's perspective-a principal researcher for Amnesty International in the 1990s, Robinson joined the UN mission overseeing East Timor's independence referendum-the author offers rare insight into the country's internal turmoil. Particularly riveting are Robinson's descriptions of the days preceding the historic vote to separate from Indonesia: "dressed in their Sunday best, some East Timorese left home in the middle of the night to reach the polling station by dawn." The importance of that vote, in which "98.6 percent of those who had registered cast ballots," is hard to overstate; just hours after voting ended, however, pro-Indonesian militia groups erupted in a violent backlash that would kill approximately 1,500 civilians and send 400,000 fleeing the country. Despite the overwhelming brutality of the story, and a bleak assessment of actions from the UN and international community (as much a part of the problem as the solution), Robinson manages to cap his detailed report with a hopeful note.

About the Author, Geoffrey Robinson

Geoffrey Robinson is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include "The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali". Before coming to UCLA, he worked for six years at Amnesty International's headquarters in London. From June to November 1999, he served as a political affairs officer with the United Nations in Dili, East Timor. Robinson lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

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