Motael Catholic Church, Dili, Timor Leste

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Comments (4)

Ian Stehbens on March 21, 2008

Motael Catholic Church, built in 1955 in Portugese style is significant in the recent tragic history of Timor Leste and Indonesia.

This was the location at which Sebastian da Costa was killed by Indonesian military on 28 October 1991. His funeral was held on 31 October, and following the week of traditional mourning, people assembled and went to the Santa Cruz cemetery, according to traditional custom, but such an assembly was forbidden by state military in the volatile climate. No protest against Indonesia rule was permitted but the youth decided that this was the time to demonstrate during the march and the assembly at the cemetery. At the cemetery, the army [TNI] opened fire and many people were massacred. TNI reported that only 20 were killed, but the removal and disposal of bodies and the use of hoses to clean the area removed evidence, and to this day bodies have never been located or returned to relatives for burial. International investigation established that 300 were killed at Santa Cruz that day.

A sobering photo. A memorial photo.

Rafal Ociepka on March 22, 2008

Another splendid view... Great shot, Ian

But the story is very sad, so often I don't understand, why people are so cruel...

Rafal

Ian Stehbens on March 23, 2008

Correction: Sebastian da Costa should read Sebastiao Gomes. He was born 3 Sept 1973 and was killed 28 October 1991.

Ian Stehbens on March 23, 2008

Dear Rafal,

Thankyou for your response. I really appreciate your interest in reading the story, and your appreciation of the photo.

Kindest regards,

Ian

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on March 20, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens

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