When the Japanese invaded
why did we tell a lie?
Why did 40,000
Timorese have to die?
On a hillside outside Dili
we built a monument,
carved with an inscription
which said “we won’t forget”.
When Indonesia invaded
why did we hide our eye?
Did we know 300,000
Timorese had to die?
Though the inscription has now faded,
why did we build this monument?
There are some things you cannot hide,
why did we say “we won’t forget”?
Was it in our national interest
for us turn away?
Wasn’t it time for Timorese
to finally have their say?
Did we save them to betray them,
just to steal their oil;
or was there another reason
which led to their downfall?
Australia’s actions have revealed
our ever-present greed;
despite their malnutrition,
their hunger and their need.
We could save them – not betray them.
We could acknowledge it’s their oil.
Help them build a decent future,
That is free from grinding toil.
Written but not published in 2004
Copyright © 2021 John Tomlinson