Thursday, February 14, 2008

UN cowards?

United Nations police were "bloody cowards" who left East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta lying bleeding outside his house for nearly 30 minutes after he'd been shot, the President's younger brother has said.

Arsenio Ramos Horta told The Age he cradled his brother's body, trying to stem the bleeding from his bullet wounds, as he waited more than 20 minutes for an ambulance. The Age

President Ramos Horta was shot twice in the back and lay bleeding in the roadside out the front of his house. He had been on his morning walk and been warned twice not to return home. The first from his niece who was also his housekeeper and being held by the rebels, the second a diplomat who saw the rebel attack on the house.

Earlier charges were confusing, as are these latest. They talked of the rebels disarming his personal guard, then of the failure of Australian and New Zealand troops. I’m not sure these days what constitutes ‘UN Cops’, but I can understand the anger at the failure to protect.

Obviously Ramos-Horta was not in danger on his morning walk or the personal guard would have been with him, they stayed to protect the home and failed. He will survive this attack, variously described as a coup and a kidnapping gone wrong.

Australia and New Zealand, UN apart are a key to the future of East Timor. Perhaps former administrators Portugal also have a strong role to play. We all live in divided countries, division seems to be the rule, but this is not Iraq!

Ramos-Horta, Xanana Gusmao and others are still fighting to mould a small but strong democratic society. The historic enemy want the same thing, I believe. It will take a bit of strength now to pull both sides into a functioning whole.


D.K. Raed said...

So not only a "failure to protect", but then being over-protective in road-blocking an ambulance for a seriously wounded (and for all they knew bleeding to death) president! I'm glad Ramos-Horta is in safe hands in Australia now. I hate to think how uncaring the hosp care might've been.

Cart said...

d.k. He should be home in three weeks, give or take, and under protection. Rudd flew to East Timor today to meet with PM Gusmao and to be briefed by an increased Aussie presence.
It is so bloody important that the response has been immediate and Rudd didn't hold back from fronting up personally.
I'm still scared the wheels will fall off this incredible ride, that we will wake up.
Feeling proud of my country is a new experience.

D.K. Raed said...

Don't be scared. Embrace it. Nothing lasts forever. I'm glad your PM flew personally to ET. That's the way it should be done. We are so removed, I don't think we've even sent Condi to play piano for them.