East Timor Reveille for Courage: Recollections of an Australian Human Rights Activist, 1998-2001
by Vacy Vlazna
Published by Olympia Publishers
About the Book
Vacy Vlazna is a poet and a skilled story teller building a hands-on, vigorous, humanitarian account of East Timor's freedom struggle. There is much to admire and enjoy in this compelling story of courage and of sophisticated political analysis coloured by a commitment to a common humanity on behalf of the people of now Timor Leste. Her focus on the daily lives of a poor, but not always powerless, people will not be repeated in any official, diplomatic account. That is the originality and the value of this reveille for Timor. Learn from the brave, resolute Timorese people and their supporters. Admire the value of independence and the vision needed to get there. Grasp the stamina, love, courage and the humour which peppers the pages of this book. Em. Prof. Stuart Rees OAM.
About the Author
Vacy Vlazna migrated as a child, with her political refugee parents, from Czechoslovakia to Australia. Her work background is teaching and academia with a doctorate in literature. She was involved in the Australian solidarity movement for East Timor since 1995 and served in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET. She is a recipient of the Australian Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal. She writes political commentary on a number of independent online magazines. Vacy lives in Sydney, on Guringai Country.
What do I hope to achieve from publishing this book?
East Timor, Reveille for Courage: Reflections of an Australian Human Rights Activist, 1998-2001 is like the proverbial postcard- 'I wish you were here!’ I hope readers will share alongside me the truth of the Timorese people’s extraordinary everyday heroism while suffering the brutal injustices of a 24 year occupation condoned by our governments. And share in East Timor’s historic choice for independence, the affirmation that the good, the determination, the resilience of the human spirit does triumph over cruel, rapacious state terrorism. I optimistically hope the Timorese exemplary call to courage inspires our finest hour daily.
Also, after a 20 year hiatus I want to remind and reintroduce the Timorese to readers at this timely moment when the Australian government is maliciously conducting Stalinesque secret trials against Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Colleary who risked their careers to expose the Australian government’s spying on the impoverished Timorese to get the advantage on the negotiations on the Timor Sea rich oil and gas resources.
The betrayal of the people of East Timor by ‘our' governments shaped a collective conscience and political will across the world unprecedented in my lifetime. Mark this when others say: “What can be done?” Vacy Vlazna knew what had to be done and this outstanding book is her extended postcard from the communities whose freedom and resistance she championed. John Pilger
The book East Timor Reveille for Courage by Vacy Vlazna is simply an outstanding personal chronicle of years surrounding the ballot for Independence on August 30 1999, and the early years after, during which Vacy played important roles.
As her book title indicates, the Timorese people are a signal for courage, in my view, unmatched in human history. Given the brutal occupation and grubby political betrayals, Vacy is not excoriating - rather she recounts experiences with the eye of a poetic and activist observer to present an illuminating account.
A must read for understanding especially now as Australia is vindictively punishing Witness K and Bernard Colleary for exposing Australian greed, theft and treachery against Timor-Leste.
Rob Wesley-Smith, MM (Maubere Mutin)
Recipient of The Order of Timor-Leste
2018 Fitzgerald Social Change Award (NT)