Timor Tour of Duty

Nov 2nd, 2009, in News, by

A newly released film on East Timor in 1999 opens old wounds between Indonesia and Australia.

Premiering at the New York International Film Festival, October 22 to 29, is the Australian documentary Timor Tour of Duty which is said to “explosively” reveal the Indonesian military’s secret war against Australian and international soldiers in East Timor, after the new country voted to secede from Indonesia in 1999.


The documentary features a re-creation of a firearm and grenade attack on Australian forces near the border with Indonesia on 14th June 2001, which many have suspected was carried out by TNI Special Forces, Kopassus, dressed up as East Timorese pro-integrationist militia. edenmagnet

Timor Tour of Duty

Timor Tour of Duty is directed and produced by Melbournian Sasha Uzunov, said to be a freelance photo journalist, blogger, and amateur film maker, and who himself served in the Australian army, doing two tours in East Timor (1999 and 2001). timortourofduty

Some of the, sometimes curious, press releases about the film:

Pete’s comrade, Scott Sherwin reveals they [returning Australian soldiers] were treated as outcasts by the Australian government because the true details about the firefight could have disrupted sensitive diplomatic relations with Indonesia.

Indonesia still remains a hotbed of anti-western sentiment as witnessed by terrorist bombings in recent times.


Sasha Uzunov, an Australian film maker and former soldier who served in East Timor believes that the United States was the “good guy” back in 1999 when it intervened in the tiny southeast Asian land of East Timor to avert genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military.

The film recently won a special commendation Platinum Reel Award from the 2009 Nevada Film Festival.

99 Comments on “Timor Tour of Duty”

  1. Oigal says:

    Oigal, I don’t want to have to give you another bloody nose.

    That’ll be the day sunshine (as much as I would enjoy your attempt) 🙂

    as I said you have been weighted measured and found wanting

  2. ET says:

    @ Danny

    Oigal, actually I wasn’t laughing at torture, murder, rape (you forgot to mention this) of innocent civilians. I was laughing at myself, how I can be so objective, how I was defending and blaming TNI at the same time.

    These smiley emoticons and in fact the Indonesian cultural oddity of continuously laughing or smiling to hide embarrassment can be quite disturbing and often creates misunderstanding.

    Sorry to lecture but I think you should be aware.

  3. Browser says:

    @ ET

    Sorry to lecture but I think you should be aware.

    no problem, actually glad someone care enough to correct me, thank you 🙂

    Actually, (again) I wasn’t addressed it to the people of TL. I was addressing it to my self, but for other reason, like I said on my previous post. I have a weird sense of humor.

    And if you ask my opinion, I wasn’t embarrassed about what happened. Never felt that way.

    I regret it, yes.
    I am sorry for those people / victims, yes.
    I hope that it will never happen again, yes.
    I hope for the better TNI (in this case, the soldiers’ morale) in the future, yes.

    But I never feel embarrassed. It’s a history, and for me, it will be best to look for a better future than to stuck in the past, smiling and laughing to hide embarrassment.

    the Indonesian cultural oddity of continuously laughing or smiling to hide embarrassment can be quite disturbing and often creates misunderstanding.

    I don’t mean to “get back at you” or whatever the phrase is, but actually, it is not Indonesian culture. Maybe it is a culture of certain tribe(s) / people in Indonesia, but surely it is not my culture (and I am an Indonesian), never do such thing, never taught to do such thing. I actually surprised / confused when I read your comment about that “embarrassment” thing.

    Again, I feel sorry, regret it and hope for a better future, but never embarrass. I mean, it’s in the past and it’s a fact, so, the best thing to do is correcting ourselves than to laugh and smile.

  4. Browser says:

    Oh, this is Danny, I changed my nickname 😉

  5. Odinius says:

    I’m not likely to offer a defense of ABRI/TNI, but I’m deeply wary of documentaries these days. Too many ridiculous, half-baked conspiracy theories and poorly documented assertions.

    I’ll wait until the companion book.

  6. Zorobabel says:

    I don’t know if this particular attack was carried out by Kopassus, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I have many relatives who work at BIN–the Indonesian intelligence agency–and they have explained to me how most of the post-election violence in East Timor was orchestrated by the Indonesian military and intelligence services. No surprise there, as I think this is widely known.

    They have also told me that, yes, they killed Munir and justified it by saying he was selling information to the Dutch. I don’t know exactly what kind of top secret info about Indonesia that Munir could possibly have had, but then again this is Indonesia, and conspiracies permeate every level of society.

    That’s just how this country works, though. Every Indonesian knows who was behind the violence in East Timor, who killed Munir, who set up the KPK, etc. The Turkish people have a term for the convergence of the military, police, intelligence, political/economic elite; they call it the Deep State. That’s what we have here in Indonesia. Those who profit from the Deep State or who are blindly patriotic will defend it. Those with a little intelligence or not connected to the Deep State will decry it. Defenders of the Deep State usually keep their mouthes shut when talking to other Indonesians, but they can come to places like IndonesiaMatters and spout their nonsense because they think foreigners don’t know better.

  7. Oigal says:

    See some dodgy Ltcol has spilled his guts and confessed to what the whole world already knew (tempo and the australian newspaper).

    It was interesting to read this bloke was honourably (?) discharged after the Santa Cruz Murders in Dili. What beautiful memories he must have as old age and fate reaps her due.

  8. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Seksi Mr. Patoengs,

    I think Zorobabel has posted something which cuts to the thick of things – specially with the Turkey reference – might be worth giving this more attention.

    Drs. A. Sudarsono

  9. Red says:

    We love peace but we do not usic state of war is not our culture but to build a better human civilization on the earth and gods not only the army but the whole people of Indonesia will be a weapon if our country teased. regards FREEDOM

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