New book from President Ramos-Horta 

The ebook of the English edition of President Ramos-Horta’s new collection of speeches and interviews, Words of Hope in Dangerous Times, has been published. The print and Portuguese and Tetun editions will be published in the near future, both in print and ebook. We will announce these editions as soon as they are published.

The English ebook is available on various ebook sites including Kobo and Kindle.

As the title suggests we live in dangerous times, Timor-Leste faces hard choices to consolidate it future, and the world faces the danger of an escalating and dangerous geopolitical situation. Nevertheless, all is not doom and gloom. Throughout the collection President Ramos-Horta is always keen to point out the progress that his tiny nation has achieved over the past 20 years, but in so doing he makes it clear that there is still much work to be done.

The topics covered in the collection cover issues such as Timor-Leste ‘s quest to join ASEAN, a process commenced nearly 50 years ago with Ramos-Horta’s meeting with the then Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik in Kupang; the issues facing the country’s development, its political, judicial and security forces; climate change and the responsibility of the developed nations; the place of China in the world today; the hypocrisy of the total focus on Ukraine by the so-called international community in contrast to the ongoing betrayal of the people of Myanmar; multilateralism; the Pope and Grand Iman’s call for human fraternity and its relevance to Timor-Leste and international affairs; and the constitutional duty of East Timorese politicians to achieve sustainable inclusion and a democratic republic worthy of that name.

At one point President Ramos-Horta describes the ‘iron stubbornness’ of the East Timorese people. This is an accurate and more than apt description of a people who have struggled for their independence, sought to build a special place in the world and have recently weathered the storms of political instability, climate change and Covid19.

Excerpts from the book

“It is time for us to concentrate and stay focused on our collective future, the future of our people. In the spirit of human fraternity and in the spirit of the principles laid down in our own Constitution we must pursue and build together a just, inclusive and sustainable society and nation. We must always try to reach out and build bridges; including with those who in the past we may have had differences and even considered to be enemies. Our ability to engage in respectful dialogue resolve differences is our collective strength. It is the strength of our humility and of our national mission. Humility is the virtue of the truly great people. As a people we must always espouse humanity and compassion. We must always engage in dialogue to build our collective, inclusive and sustainable future.”

“The people of Myanmar feel abandoned, betrayed, by the so-called international community. They ask, why the difference in treatment, prompt and extremely generous support for Ukrainian civilians and refugees, so much sophisticated military support for Ukraine, and such a mute reaction to the war waged against the people of Myanmar? But they are still fighting on and dying.”

“The basic fact is that, whilst we need to reduce overall global energy and resource use, most low-income countries actually need to increase their energy and resource use in order to meet their own human needs. You can see that in light of this, it is the others, not us, that need to make the sacrifices. Global ecological breakdown is being driven almost entirely by excess growth in high-income countries. It is they that must urgently reduce their resource use to fair and sustainable levels. … A Just Transition is a global peace initiative. A Just Global Transition is the policy of deterrence of our time. Climate conflict and war will not be avoided by an increase in military spending but by addressing the common challenge of climate change. On a global basis, how many F-35s would we need to forgo to transform global energy production? How many F-35s would we need to forgo to begin the process of Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation? How many F-35s is it worth to save the planet from the increasingly ravaging effects of climate change?”

“There can be no doubt that China plays an important role in the peace and development of our region. Timor-Leste recognises the central role of the People’s Republic of China in the world. As a global leader and permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has a great responsibility in promoting and defending dialogue for the preservation of regional and global peace. Peace will only be real and lasting when it is achieved through dialogue and mutual respect, in which no party is coerced and humiliated, in which peace is not imposed by the stronger party.”

“The principles of Chinese foreign policy – mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence – sit comfortably alongside those of Timor-Leste. The policy of our small country is one of being a good neighbour to all and of having zero enemies in the world. Our constitutional goal in terms of foreign policy is to promote the establishment and the development of relations of friendship and cooperation among all Peoples and States. It is a policy of promoting human fraternity at all levels. In this regard we only hope to enjoy the strengthening of cooperation with all countries.”