By MAHINDA ARKYASA in Jakarta
The Timor-Leste government has extended it condolences for the passing of Dr George Junus Aditjondro on December 10. Aditjondro was an Indonesian academic, activist, researcher and journalist who exposed conditions in Timor-Leste during the country’s time of struggle.
Dr Aditjondro was also a committed advocate for proper development following Timor-Leste’s independence in 2002.
Timor-Leste government spokesman Minister of State Agio Pereira said that “the voice of George Aditjondro was crucial in challenging the thinking of many in Indonesia and Australia about the events occurring in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999”.
Pereira added that Aditjondro’s commitment in exposing injustice played an important role in moving Timor-Leste towards the restoration of its independence.
“His voice of advocacy, warm friendship towards the Timorese people and unremitting support in the struggle will not be forgotten,” Pereira added.
Aditjondro first visited Timor on May 1974 as a correspondent of Tempo magazine, and later interviewed various Timorese leaders about political persuasions that occurred inside and outside of Indonesia.
Following the Santa Cruz massacre in 1991, Dr Aditjondro became the leading figure who opposed Indonesian occupation, and had a critical role in exposing media reporting on Timor and the positions of Indonesian intellectuals, who according to Dr Aditjondro, had allowed themselves to become influenced by censorship and media manipulation.
On 20 May 2010, the National Parliament of Timor-Leste recognised Dr Aditjondro’s contribution by awarding him the Princess Grace of Monaco medal.
In addition to his passion for Timor-Leste, Dr Aditjondro was also known as an unrelenting critic of corruption in Indonesia, a dedicated advocate for empowering local agricultural communities and a key figure in nurturing environmental awareness.