If We Stay Here, They Will Kill Us

On the day the referendum result was announced, I stood with independence leader Leandro Isaac on the steps outside the Mahkota Hotel as he hugged journalists and friends. "We will die if we have to," he told me, but even with the streets of Dili empty and thousands of refugees already taking shelter in schools and church compounds, nobody believed the worst-case scenario of Indonesian military brutality would happen. Shortly afterward, Dili descended into total violence. Most foreign journalists fled, but a core group of 30 of us remained, deciding to move to the Turismo Hotel for safety. Almost immediately police...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!