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The Rebirth of East Timor

On May 20, 2002, East Timor became the first new sovereign state of the new millennium. After 4 centuries of colonization by Portugal, it was occupied by Indonesia for more than two decades. During that period, up to 200,000 Timorese, or about one fourth of its population, died as a result of internal migrations which led to hunger and disease. Thousands of other Timorese died in a guerrilla struggle against the Indonesian occupiers. The Truth Commission organized after independence declared the Indonesian military responsible for 70% of the violent deaths.

The United Nations was instrumental in the rescue of East Timor. It organized the referendum that expressed the will of the Timorese to become independent.  Then it assembled an international force which entered the country following the departure of the Indonesian military. Finally, the United Nations governed the country for two years, while preparing East Timor for self-rule. It was the first time the UN had taken such a role on the world stage.

This film was commissioned by the UN and produced by Patricio Henriquez for Macumba International, a Montreal-based company. Macumba chose Paul Carvalho as its writer-director for this production. Patria seeks to recap the traumatic events leading to the independence of the country. It ends with the ceremonies during which East Timor becomes a sovereign country.

On the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the rebirth of East Timor, is presenting the film here in its entirety for a limited time.