Timor Talk whoseland.com


In a neat house in a south-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Charmaine Clarke, a young Aboriginal activist sat across a dining table and faced three refugees from East Timor. It was the first time that Charmaine had formally met anyone from East Timor. So too, for Elizabete Lim Gomes, a writer and poet, and her friends, Jose da Costa and Sancho de Silva, two students who had fled East Timor ahead of the Indonesian military. They had never talked with an Indigenous Australian before.

Over bowls of hot vegetable soup each told stories of dispossession, persecution, cultural deprivation, resistance and exile. As the hours passed, a rare dialogue took place in which two indigenous groups discovered a common bond, based on the struggle to reclaim the historical lands of their people.

On this same day more than 250,000 Australians walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge to show their support for reconciliation as part of Corroboree 2000 .

While the television screened images of people crossing the Harbour Bridge into history, Charmaine, Elizabete, Jose and Sancho experienced a special sense of solidarity as indigenous people for whom land rights are central to their sense of identity and belonging.
Read Sancho's story
Read Elizabete's story
Read Charmaine's story
Read Jose's story



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