Sunday, September 5, 2010
Balibo: Bloodshed and much more
Balibo, the name fascinated me enough to watch this movie. It is based on the book Cover-Up (republished as Balibo), by Jill Jolliffe. Balibo is the name of a small town situated near Indonesian border of East Timor, which is witness to the gruesome murder of five Australian Journalist on 16 October, 1975 now known as Balibo Five. The five journalist in their 20s-Greg Shackleton, Tony Stewart and Gary Cunningham from Australia’s Channel Seven; Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters from Channel Nine went to cover up the Indonesian invasion of East Timor go missing from Balibo. Roger East, veteran war correspondent with much persuasion from Jose Ramos-Horta, an aspiring politician of East Timor, goes to investigates their death after four weeks but never comes out alive from the country. The official line stated that Balibo Five were killed in a crossfire. But in 2007 Australian investigation discovered that they “were shot and/or stabbed deliberately, and not in the heat of battle” to prevent them from revealing Indonesia’s invasion.
East Timor achieved independence but not before seeing the brutal killings of 100,000 Timorese. Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1996 served from 2006 as Prime Minister of East Timor until his inauguration as President after winning the 2007 East Timorese presidential election. As a founder and former member of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), Ramos-Horta served as the exiled spokesman for the East Timorese resistance during the years of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor (1975 to 1999)
The movie is a depiction of the risk faced by journalists all over the world in bringing out the truth. Unfortunately, the deeds are covered up or go unaccountable for some ulterior motives by government and policy makers. After 35 years of Balibo Five, journalists are still in danger. Each year more than hundred journalists are killed in different parts of the world (International News Safety Institute).