Monday, January 11, 2010
01.01.2010: FRETILIN pledges to make 2010-2020 “The Decade of Peace, Stability and Development”
Dili, 1 January 2010
FRETILIN pledges to make 2010-2020 “The Decade of Peace, Stability and Development”
FRETILIN’s Secretary General Dr. Mari Alkatiri yesterday pledged that FRETILIN continued to extend an open hand to all who want to work with it for the liberation of the people of Timor-Leste from poverty and for lasting peace, stability and development of the people of Timor-Leste. "Let us all make the decade 2010-2020 the Decade of Peace, Stability and Development. The new year also will be the new dawn of a decade of victory over Poverty for our people. Together we can win this struggle against poverty in our midst and win peace and stability for future generations," Dr. Alkatiri declared yesterday morning.
Dr. Alkatiri was speaking at a ceremony yesterday in honor of Timor-Leste and FRETILIN’s fallen national hero, President Nicolau dos Reis Lobato. The ceremony was attended by other luminaries including FRETILIN Party President Francisco Guterres Lu Olo, His Excellency Mr. Xanana Gusmao himself a former FRETILIN Central Committee member, the Bishop of Dili Dom Alberto Ricardo and other members of the Catholic clergy, Brigadier General Lere from the F-FDTL, UDT President Joao Carrascalao, FRETILIN party faithful and other invited guests. It was a very moving ceremony for all, preceded by a mass at the nearby Motael Church and then releasing flowers into Dili bay in honor of Nicolau Lobato’s hitherto unknown resting place.
“Many, including Xanana Gusmao and the Bishop, spoke of Nicolau Lobato as a guiding light of selfless dedication, determination, and unquenchable love for his people, our people. He has brought us together as he brought others together in the past to struggle for our people. As we stand at the door of a new decade, we of FRETILIN pledge to make this next decade of 2010-2020, the Decade of Peace, Stability and Development, carrying forward the example given by Nicolau Lobato’s life and deeds in the struggle for the liberation of the Maubere people into the liberation of our people from violence and poverty,” declared Alkatiri to rousing applause.
His Excellency Xanana Gusmao delivered an emotional speech in which he was visibly moved, expressing the honor he felt at being invited to attend and speak at the mass and ceremony for this national hero, who “led me to join FRETILIN and from whom I learnt a lot,” he said. “FRETILIN is the party I respect most of all,” he added.
Joao Carrascalao, the President of a once opposing political force in 1975, was equally moved and moving in his praise for Nicolau Lobato. “FRETILIN is lucky to have had a leader like Nicolau. Timor-Leste is lucky to have the example of someone like Nicolau who gave his life for his people,” he said being moved to tears.
Bishop Dom Ricardo was first a colleague of Nicolau Lobato when he was a young seminarian, and became a friend. He recounted the trying moments after the Indonesian invasion where he saw the selflessness, determination and courage of the young leader. “He was a dedicated Catholic who carried with him a gun to fight but also a rosary which he prayed everyday,” he told the mass. “He was simply a man for whom there were basic truths and when he believed in them, it was right or wrong and nothing else,” he said.
FRETILIN’s President Francisco Guterres Lu Olo paid homage to the national hero whose life is an example to all Timorese leaders today and will be in the future. “In the example of his life we can see that we are all from the same roots as Nicolau, and that is why we are all here today,” he said.
Nicolau dos Reis Lobato was killed in combat 31 years ago yesterday, on 31 December 1978. His body was flown to Dili in a helicopter, “taking him up to the heavens closer to the God of his belief to be blessed” said Bishop Ricardo during the mass service, before being paraded before the international media as a signal of the end of the Timorese resistance to Indonesian rule.
“His death and the knowledge of it though initially a demoralizing blow to the resistance, ultimately and instead it spurred all of us in the Timorese struggle for self-determination. Those like myself, Dr. Mari, His Excellency Mr. Xanana Gusmao, the FALINTIL, to fight because of his example in giving his life. ‘The last bullet will be my victory’ he often told his fellow FRETILIN comrades. And so it was. His victory though coming many years later, came nonetheless, vindicating his conviction and determination for the rights of the Maubere people and our ultimate Victory,” Lu Olo declared proudly.
The whereabouts of the remains of President Nicolau Lobato are to this day unknown but are believed to be those of a headless cadaver recovered in an unmarked grave in December 2003 by workers digging in the yard of the residence of the then Prime Minister’s residence in Farol, which at the time of Nicolau Lobato’s death was the residence of Colonel Dading Kalbuadi, the Indonesian Military Commander in Timor-Leste.
Since 2004 samples of the remains together with DNA samples from his only two immediate surviving relatives, brother Rogerio Lobato and son Jose Lobato have been held Darwin at the Northern Territory forensics agency awaiting some conclusive report, to no avail. Recently The Age (28 December 2009) reported that NT authorities would be renewing efforts to conclude the requested DNA testing, utilizing “new technology”.
For further information please contact Jose Teixeira on +670 728 7080