Making Them Indonesians
Child Transfers out of East Timor
By Helene van Klinken
“… a remarkable contribution to the literature on children and youth in Timor-Leste … The aims of the book are also admirable. It comes as much out of compassion for children as it does from an academic search for understanding the complexities of resistance.”
— Review by Angie Bexley in The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
Read the full review
“I hope this book will help East Timorese who were taken to Indonesia as children to realise that they are not alone in their experience.”
— Foreword by Her Excellency Ms Kirsty Sword Gusmão
About Making Them Indonesians
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.
About the Author
Helene van Klinken worked in Java, Indonesia, in university contexts between 1984 and 1991, and 2000 to 2002. She first visited East Timor in 1989 after the territory was opened to outside visitors. In 1999 she worked for the United Nations as a political affairs officer in the lead up to the popular consultation, and in 2003 was a volunteer at the CAVR (the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor). This book is based on the PhD thesis she completed at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, in 2009. Together with Achnesia Felina Manganang, she founded the Istoriaku website to assist those transported from East Timor and document their experiences.
For media inquiries, please contact our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah Cannon.
While many of our books are published online for free, this does not mean that the books are in the 'public domain': copyright laws do still apply.
Copyright for all material published on this site is owned or licensed exclusively to Monash University Publishing. All rights reserved. Apart from any uses permitted by Australia's Copyright Act 1968, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process or in any form without prior written permission of the copyright owners. Inquiries should be directed to the publisher, Monash University Publishing.
Readers are free to read, copy, download, print and display a work provided that:
• this is solely for personal use or use within the reader’s organisation;
• full acknowledgement is made of the author/s and the original copyright owner;
• the work is not used for any commercial gain in any form; and
• the reader in no way alters, transforms or builds on the work outside of its use in normal academic scholarship without the express permission of the author and publisher of the publication in question.
In all cases of re-use or distribution, readers or authors must make clear to others the license terms of the work. Enquiries should be directed to Monash University Publishing.
Authors of Monash University Publishing titles are not permitted to publish these works on any website other than their personal sites, without written permission from the publisher. Authors are encouraged to post the title of their book on any website and post links on any site that direct readers to the Monash University Publishing site.
Every effort has been made to obtain copyright permissions for the images reproduced in our publications. If you are a copyright owner of materials reproduced in one of our works and have concerns regarding their use please contact Monash University Publishing.