The dramatic murder of Roger East. Dec.7, 1975
Memories of December 7th, 1975
Memories of December 7th, 1975
In the morning of December 7th, 1975, very earlier in the morning my father woke everybody up.
Wakeup! Wakeup! The Indonesian troops have landed in Dili and intense gunfire broke out in Dili.
I was 12 years old at that time and my siblings all were still very young. We were living in Remexio at the time about 30 minutes from Dili.
Everybody woke up. My farther, then, ordered us to go outside. So we did. Outside we saw big Hercules airplanes hoover over us. As we were staring at those planes, my father said." these are our allies from China. They come to help us”. Well it was not true. Perhaps my father was over confident with propaganda that China would help us should there was any foreign invasion. In fact, those warplanes were dropping Indonesian paratroopers in Dili.
Around 9:00am the first refugees from Dili had arrived in Remexio desperately look for safe place to hide. We thought that the war would not advance further. So we remained in Remexio. But the Indonesian troops with all the modern military hardware, such as light guns, armored cars, tanks, airplanes, helicopters, and war ships, supply by the United States and other western countries made it impossible for FALINTIL, the armed win of FRETILIN, to contain them from advancing.
On December 24th, on the eve of Christmas, around 2:00pm, Remexio fall into the hands of the Indonesian army. My family and I had no choice but to evacuate. That was the beginning of a long journey. We left behind all our belongings carrying only the necessary. My father at that time was working at the Remexio Clinic so he thought that there would be no medicine in the jungle. He packed up all the necessary medicines and loaded onto our two horses and took off to Bereleurai. The medicine was then used to treat the people in Remexio during the war.
Life became harder in the Bereleu Rai. Thanks to the people of Bereleu Rai whom provided us with shelter and food. But there was not enough food supply. So, at 13 years old, I decided to join FALINTIL. I joined FALINTIL not only because of my patriotic pride but also because being a FALINTIL I could have access to food in areas controlled by the enemy.
We stayed in Bereleu Rai until mid 1997. In Bereleu Rai, although we were constantly bombarded everyday by war ships and by airplanes, we grew food and raised livestock.
By mid 1977 Bereleu Rai was stormed and we were forced to evacuate further. It was the general encirclement of the entire Remexio District. The Indonesia soldiers advanced from every front so we were in a constant run. It was a dark year. Many people, civilians mostly, women and men, children, died either by constant bombardments or die from starvation. I still remember in a riverbank where I saw children being abandon alive by their parents, they were crying looking for their parents or crying for help; I saw men and women, husband and wife died together along the riverbank. It was a nightmare!
We were in constant run. But in October 1977, earlier in the morning, the Indonesian army, battalion 410, stormed our hiding place and captured more than 50 people, including my family, who were hiding there. We were than brought to Remexio village.
That was the end of our journey in the jungle and the beginning of a new phase of our struggle for independence.