Mittwoch, 7. November 2007

when the man comes around

since i will be overexposed to country music over the next few days (timor leste, like some other parts of eastern indonesia, is country country), its perhaps only apt to start this one with a quote from the man in black himself:

"the wise men will bow down
before the throne
and at his feet
will cast their golden crowns
when The Man comes around

whoever is unjust
let Him be unjust to
and whoever is righteous
let Him be righteous to

whoever is filthy
let him be filthy still
listen to the words
long written down
when The Man comes around


its alpha and omega's kingdom come...
when The Man comes around."

(J. Cash, When The Man Comes Around)

like many other societies, timorese society seems to have a longing for The Man to come around in times of crisis. and one of the words i hear most when discussing the current situation with the educated elite, farmers, taxi drivers, bar staff, gang members, etc. is Justice. when i have try to unpack this notion of justice (i.e. is it legal, social or economic justice they long for) i have gotten nowhere. what people seem to be looking for is a millennerian, a higher kind of justice, one that will undo all the wrongs, punish the wrongdoers, reward the righteous and finally fulfill all the dreams of a better life people had when they struggled for this country's independence.

and many societies, the all-knowing wikipedia places them at 766, have myths pertaining to just this kind of a situation, when in times of a crisis a figure (usually male, usually bearded, usually hiding up in the mountains till the time is right) will come and save the day. interestingly, according to a man i spoke to who is well versed in timorese mythology, timorese society did not traditionally have this myth. now, however, there are multiple contestants for it.

for one, you have timor leste's most wanted (or least wanted, depending on your stance) fugitive, major alfredo reinado, hiding up in the hills in the west (and apparently occasionally in dili's seedier clubs) with his group of armed supporters, casting himself as a defender of justice and righter of all wrongs, defying all attempts to capture him. and secondly, the country is now awash with rumours that some of the most charismatic guerrilla fighters of the struggle against indonesia, such as vicente reis (aka sahe) or nino konis santana had not actually been killed in battle in 1979 and 1998, respectively, but had been living incognito in the hills and had now revealed themselves in this time of crisis. unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case and the dead remain dead, but the hope for The Man to come around and make it all right remains.

...and now its off to the hills again....

p.s.: i'm posting this at 5 am so my apologies if there are gaps in my argumentation, havent had any coffee yet...

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