Speech by the Secretary General of the FRETILIN, Dr. Mari Alkatiri at the Commemoration Ceremony of the 36th anniversary of ASDT/FRETILIN
“FRETILIN is now like Flower Bloom”
FRETILIN Central Committee - Comoro, Dili
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Thank you. Normally I only wear this cap during campaigns, but since some people have started campaigning already, it is also my right to campaign.
Your Excellency, the President of the Republic.
Your Excellency and Comrade President LuOlo.
The Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
Presidents and Representatives of other political parties, invited friends, Members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Dear invited guests, Buiberes and Mauberes.
On the 31st of December 2009, when we once again reflected on the day Nicolau Lobato was killed in combat, in the name of the leadership I stated that we must celebrate 2010-2020, as a period of forthcoming peace, stability and development.
Right at this time we are all here as we have started to rehabilitate this party headquarters, we can also reflect back to 2006 when people came to burn this place down. Nevertheless we stood firm and now look to the future. This does not mean we will forget what happened in the past, because if we forget, we do not learn. But we must accept it as a burden for us all so that we can learn.
We can see where we erred and where others erred. This is the most important thing. We can’t just blame other people for mistakes, imagining only ourselves to never err. To think and say someone else made all the mistakes and someone else ruined everything. That’s not right. To think like that does not help us in seeking out solutions. To think like that is to always create confusion only.
The crisis happened in 2006 because there were many things wrong. It was not Mari Alkatiri alone who made mistakes. I however confronted my errors. Because of this, and I do not to reflect on it again, I confronted various threats, I faced justice and was vindicated. I did not run from Timor-Leste, I did not pass blame onto to others or blame my different ministers. I did not say that it was the government’s mistake, but accepted that as Prime Minister, it was my mistake.
When one is the boss, really the boss, it is not only to be the boss when things go right and then when something goes wrong we say it is our children who did wrong. Because of this, we all wish to look forward, we all wish our country to be better for everyone, but there is not one person alone who can create miracles. Our country will be better through all our efforts, with all of us working to find a way to help our nation move forward. One person alone will not be able to do this, regardless of whether he is a hero or not.
For this reason I am wearing the (FRETILIN) hat because it is campaign time. Only I do not come to blame someone else, I come to say that it is time for us to join together, time to look forward, to see our country as a collective project, a collective project of the Maubere people.
I do not dream of being a prophet, therefore I do not dream of writing another bible. When we say we should be humble, it means we also have to be honest. As the Portuguese saying goes – ‘actions are the measure of truth’. It is in our actions that we prove ourselves to be either honest or not. Now if we say we want to be humble, we must be honest and not just look for humility in other people or to blame others.
We invited all the parties to come together with us today to commemorate the 36th anniversary of ASDT/FRETILIN because for FRETILIN there is no party in this country that is our enemy. There are no enemy parties. Enemies are a thing of the past. Today you can come from one party and tomorrow part of an alliance. There is no enemy. Some people have said that perhaps the country would be better if FRETILIN and CNRT were together. We cannot say that just because we do not want something today, that we will not do that same thing then tomorrow. We can’t do that, not because we are friends or that we can’t be friends, but because to form an alliance, we must clearly know what the alliance will be based on. For this reason history is important and a guide for us to develop our country. We all wish our country to be the best in the world. Who doesn’t want that? We all want it. It is the Maubere people’s goal.
Some people think this country could be an example to the world, but there is only money and the country is still poor. On one hand, money is important, but on the other hand the capacity must exist to plan and realize programs and projects. The capacity to save money is good but when the money is used, there must be a benefit to the people. The money is not my grandfather’s or grandmother’s to do as I please.
It’s not ethical in Timor when we use money to buy people and to buy their souls. It’s not ethical and not good. It is also not ethical when we try to mobilize to buy votes. Perhaps in place of consciously giving to people, we should use the path of development to improve people’s well being. It is also not ethical to go to communities and use another party’s flag or symbols.
I think it is time for us to provide a good example for our beloved country, especially for the young people.
Dr Ramos Horta, former member of FRETILIN Central Committee (CCF) and founder of ASDT/FRETILIN, in the campaign I called him no longer the ‘founder’ but the ‘wrecker’ of FRETILIN. But he was unable to wreck FRETILIN, so he has become the ‘founder’ again. Dr Ramos Horta, President of the Republic has come here today, the first time as the Head of State, but he is also here as the found of ASDT/FRETILIN, and as a former member of the FRETILIN Central Committee.
Although we both have criticized each other heavily, we continue to invite him. I believe my brother Xanana would be here today too if he were not on the National Strategic Development Plan campaign. Xanana is also a former member of the FRETILIN Central Committee.
I have not yet called him ‘grandfather’ because I am also old already, and also because ‘Grandfather’ Xavier was not able to come today as he has just returned from Singapore and he is still recovering his health. Just before coming here today, I received a call from South Korea greeting me, “Camarada”. Who was it? Joao Carrascalao, the Timorese Ambassador to South Korea to send his congratulations to FRETILIN.
Before coming on stage I received an SMS from Lisbon, I thought at first from Dr. Ramos Horta but he is sitting here in front; it was in fact from Dr. Abilio Araujo to send congratulations to us all today as we commemorate 36 years of ASDT/FRETILIN. It is important for us to think back to when we started it all because we think back in order to write our history for the future. It is very important for us to do so that we can look forward as well.
We hear a lot of talk about the National Strategic Development Plan. I received a copy before Mr. Xanana Gusmao, as the de facto Prime Minister, began traveling place to place looking for the people’s support. So we decided not to say no, but think that what we have already done should not be reinvent. Such as we hear today when we reinvent – we all waste time.
We need a plan to implement up to 2030, but we also need to see clearly 2030 and 2040 who will govern up to then? I will not live to that time. My brother Xanana will also not live to that time. So if I will not be alive and neither will brother Banana be alive, perhaps it is better to look for consensus to make such a plan so that a future government doesn’t just put it in a drawer. We have experienced this before when we had the National Development Plan. We later prepared the Road Map and the Sector Investment Programs. The AMP just put them in a drawer, they put everything in an empty drawer and locked it all up. It’s been a waste of three years time to prepare their plan. Now they are making a new plan.
We can’t just straight out reject the plan that comes from Xanana, or from whomever. We all need to see it, study it, look for consensus so we all can develop for the future and so that the generation of today and the generation of tomorrow can still hold on to this plan. But a plan is not like the Bible because a plan must be dynamic. It is not like the Bible or the Quran. The plan can be made, but the plan made today can be changed tomorrow. If we start to make it like the Bible or the Quran, then we may start to think there is a new religion formed.
For a true plan we should sit together and discuss it so we can come to an agreement on the plan and to implement it for our country and our people. Through a consensus, we can contribute to such a plan. We will still contribute because who would not want our country of Timor-Leste to not do well?
Now some are starting to talk of municipal elections. Before I also thought that it was too soon to implement municipal elections. When I said that we were content to accept it all as planned, some thought and said that I was power seeking. Following the process, the suco elections that were held, although parties did not participate in the election, we still know FRETILIN largely won and as a result they have delayed the municipal elections. That’s not a problem as we are ready anytime. FRETILIN was the only one to say from the start that it was too soon to have municipal elections.
Now some others have started to say that if there are early national elections, which depends on our brother Ramos Horta. The President of the Republic is still studying the issue, but I have heard that after big brother prophet Xanana Gusmao returns, he will ask for early elections. I have heard that rumour. If it is true or not or some secret then the President of the Republic may know, I don’t know but have heard the rumours. If I think that this is the idea, we need to prepare a good temperature for holding early elections.
We are ready, for FRETILIN elections can be tomorrow, anytime later or in 2012. I can say that FRETILIN is ready to win. Ready to win not like we won in 2007 – no! To really win!
Now an Alliance for the Future. In the leadership’s name, as we have said already many times, whether FRETILIN wins 30% or 40% or 50% or 60%, we will make every effort not to rule alone. FRETILIN will look for others from other political parties to come together and govern with us. For the next ten years Timor-Leste still needs everyone; no one should feel excluded or isolated in their own nation. This is not the time to bring confusion. However we cannot oblige someone to join us who does not want to join.
Before 2007 everyone was running from FRETILIN. Some saw FRETILIN as a sickness, as a demon spreading a disease – contagious. But that time is past. Now no one sees FRETILIN as some disease, now it seems FRETILIN has become the “pretty girl”. So pretty that everyone wants to go out with FRETILIN and to marry FRETILIN – because FRETILIN is like a blossoming flower. Perhaps because Lu-Olo is the handsome one as I am already too old to be that.
Well that’s good because that shows that the time where everyone saw FRETILIN as the enemy is in the past. It shows that Timor-Leste has found the road to peace and development. Some people from CNRT have come to me asking, “I have heard that you have met with PSD,” and I say: “Why not? They are not diseased, they are fine. Why shouldn’t I meet with them? I have said to them, if they want to talk with us, we will talk with them. Firstly, because my eyes are open. Secondly, because we don’t fear anyone. That is the condition of these times.” Before when I studied mathematics, I learnt the principle that the necessary conditions are sufficient.
Now Comrades, today on this 36th anniversary, we commemorate ASDT/FRETILIN birth for all of us and not only FRETILIN. Eight years since the restoration of independence, today we all celebrate the restoration of independence as a holiday, I think that in future as a state we should have one message, on this holiday of the Restoration of Independence, National Independence, we must give the opportunity to provide development for the people. Not to have our people left by on the side of the road. This celebration is for everyone, is a celebration of the people. We want people to taste the fruits of independence in this nation, and we will do that shortly when we hold our party consolidation program.
We know that the restructuring of FRETILIN will finish soon. Now we will hold our consolidation program. I have information on our party database (of members), but only that which has already entered in the computer, not other membership subscriptions yet to be put into the database.
The information comes from all 13 districts and the database figures to date show that our party membership exceeds 150,000. I want to say the following for other parties here today to hear, but we always say this wherever we go, village to suco, suco to sub-district, sub-district to district, that of any 100 voters, 60 will be registered FRETILIN members.
Therefore in 2012 perhaps our share of the vote will be 60%? The Baucau restructuring has surpassed that percentage already. Viqueque and Lautem are close to it. But better yet, we should talk about a district most people don’t expect, Ermera is also close to that figure. Today I am campaigning, and campaigning properly! Ok. My message is this: already in many districts of 100 voters, 60 are FRETILIN members, that means if just the members vote for FRETILIN, we will win 60% of the vote at the next elections.
(Note: this is a translation of a transcript of an unwritten speech delivered in Tetum. Some meaning and nuances may have been lost in translation. Readers should bear this in mind whilst reading it.)