The dead don’t vote

There are many forms of democracy
not all protect against tyranny,
just across the Timor Sea
people are hoping to be free.
25 years of militarisation
has not crushed this tiny nation.
Indonesia offers integration,
it’s just code for annihilation.
Already 300,000 dead,
Timorese demand instead
an act of self-determination.
After 25 years of sorrow
people vote tomorrow:
and just to keep it fair
to soldiers everywhere
they arm one side but not the other.
What do you think of that, brother?

Militias at Liquicia
soldiers at Bacau
and police and thugs
with guns and clubs
are laying siege to Dili
slaughtering willy nilly.

Our Government says no to armed peace keepers
they are the friends of these grim reapers.
Timorese are voting for a nation
they will reject forced integration.
Just across the Timor Sea
people are voting to be free.
Independence by a country mile,
the dead may not vote
but they will smile.

Written in 1999.