21 June, 2006

TVRI Berita Pagi

The past few weeks have been very worrying for the people of East Timor, now known as Timor Leste. All the hopes that were raised in 1999, when the people voted for independence from Indonesia - now on a knife edge. This took me back to 1992 when I was in Denpasar, Bali, and Xanana Gusmao was a political prisoner in the Denpasar jail. Then as now the intervention of major powers like the USA and Australia had the potential to cause great harm or benefit. Which will it be this time?
TVRI Berita Pagi

I am sitting in a peaceful room
In a garden of jambu
And bilimbing
Three kinds of coconut
TVRI is with us
In full colour
Bringing us the world
As they see it
Berita Pagi presented
In sophisticated style
By model women
All about what the men
Are doingIn their uniforms
With their guns
Bosnia Herzogovena
In full colour
Mogadishu in ruins
We are so lucky
In Kuta with so many
Men with guns
To protect their rule
From quiet folk with sarongs
And stick brooms
Pounding their chillies
Washing rice
Grating coconut
Marinating their tempeh
And Xanana Gusmao
Not far from here

This poem was written in Kuta, Bali in 1992. It has been published in several literary journals.


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