Making Them Indonesians: Child Transfers out of East Timor
monographposted on 19.08.2020, 06:56 by Helene van Klinken
'One Indonesian soldier was particularly nice to me. He gave me pretty clothes and sweets and used to take me for walks and to his office. Then one Sunday, it was just after my first communion, I was coming out of church with other children when soldiers took me and put me into a vehicle. My uncle tried to stop them. I remember screaming and being very frightened. They took me to the nearby airfield and then in a helicopter. As we took off I threw the handkerchief my uncle had given me out of the helicopter. In Dili I stayed for some time in the soldiers’ barracks in Taibessi where there were East Timorese women, one of whom cared for me. On one occasion I tried to run away and find my way back home. After some time the soldier was finished in Ainaro; he collected me from the barracks and took me back to Indonesia by plane.— Biliki, in Jakarta (2003) recalling her last recollections of her life in East Timor as a seven-year-old child in 1978. Biliki was one of approximately 4,000 dependent East Timorese children who were transferred to Indonesia during the occupation of East Timor by Indonesia between 1975 and 1999. Many, like Biliki, were taken by soldiers to be adopted, others were sent to institutions in Indonesia by government and religious organisations. This book is the first detailed account of the history of the transfer of these children to Indonesia.'