History is Subjective. It Depends on The Regime Whose Reign at That Time.

Do you realize that one historical event could be told differently as the time goes by or as the change of the regime? I will give you one example about one historical event that be told different by the changing of the regime.

The Integration of East Timor to Indonesia or Indonesian Invasion to East Timor?

Based on book “30 Tahun Indonesia Merdeka” (30 Years of Indonesian Independence) on 16th October 1974,  The Indonesian Government at that time supporting the Decolonization of  Portugal.  Minister of Overseas Territory Affair at that time Dr. Antonio de Almeida Santos visited Indonesia on 16th – 19th October 1974 to discuss about that plan regarding the Portuguese

Dr. Antonio de Almeida Santos
Dr. Antonio de Almeida Santos

Timor. President Soeharto at that time said that Indonesia didn’t have a territorial ambition over Portuguese Timor. He said that Indonesia as a country who gained it’s independence against colonization was fully supporting the intention of Portuguese Government to decolonize Portuguese Timor. President Soeharto also hoped that the decolonization process could run smoothly, securely ,  orderly manner and he was hoping that the process wouldn’t shock the ASEAN region. President Soeharto also mentioned that decolonization process based on the principal of Self Determination, If Portuguese Timorese people said it intention to join or becoming the part of Indonesia, Indonesia will accept that decision as long as the integration of Portuguese Timor to Indonesia didn’t against the constitution.

Afterward, from the year of 1976 until the end of New Order Regime, Indonesian people are told that Portuguese Timor later changed to East Timor was integrated to Indonesia through a peace referendum process and because it was the will of all East Timorese people.

After the fall of New Order Regime which was marked by the resignation of President Soeharto in 21st May 1998, the facts revealed itself. The truth was, there was no referendum in 1974. The truth was Indonesia invaded East Timor in 7th December 1975 through Operation Lotus (Operasi Seroja). Wikipedia said that “Operasi Seroja (Operation Lotus) was the largest military operation ever carried out by Indonesia. Following naval bombardment of Dili, Indonesian seaborne troops landed in the city while simultaneously paratroopers descended. 641 Indonesian paratroopers jumped into Dili, where they engaged in six-hours combat with FALINTIL gunmen. By noon, Indonesian forces had taken the city at the cost of 35 Indonesian soldiers killed, while 122 FALINTIL gunmen died in the combat.

A.M. Hendropriyono
A.M. Hendropriyono


A. M. Hendropriyono was a former chief of Intelligence Agency was a veteran from a Operasi Seroja. He served as a paratrooper back then. he said to Metro TV that,”I just went back home from cinema with my wife. When I got home the phone rang and it came from the headquarter and he told me to return to base because we will be dropped to East Timor”

Later on, so many untold stories come up regarding the invasion especially when President B.J. Habibie decided to hold the referendum over East Timor to determine whether they still want to join the Republic of Indonesia or separate from Indonesia and become a single independent country. Especially stories around the violation of human rights during the invasion from 1975-1978. It said that around 50.000 to 80.000 East Timorese died during the invasion and it also confirmed by the foreign minister at that time, Adam Malik.

So for around 22 years the government had told the lies around the “Integration of East Timor”. I still remember when I was in elementary school that my teacher once proudly said that East Timor was the youngest province in Indonesia. They decided to join the Indonesia after 450 years be colonized by the Portuguese.

This is just one from many examples about truth that one historical event could change. It depends on who’s is ruling at that time.


One thought on “History is Subjective. It Depends on The Regime Whose Reign at That Time.

  1. Nice post…

    but we must never forget, what is the reason behind da integration of timor region with Indonesia…

    and also, we must never forget, what is the reason behind the separation between timor region and Indonesia…

    if we could see deeper, the US and their allies are behind those event…

    there is no eternal friendship in politic… is just about importance problem :)

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