|Issue No 63
|21 July 2000
Soccer Balls for Timor
By Liam Phelan
A recent visit to East Timor organised by the CFMEU and Soccer Australia brought a little bit of joy to this small nation struggling to get back on its feet.
It has been almost a year since the historic vote on August 30 when the East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia.
The Indonesian army and militia destroyed the country on the way out, murdering innocent men, women and children and burning and looting as they left.
"It's shocking. Nothing prepares you for the reality of seeing the absolute devastation," says the gravel-voiced CFMEU Organiser Steve Dixon.
Dixon, Portuguese-speaking CFMEU organiser Tony Vicente and former Socceroo captain and Soccer Australia representative Alex Tobin brought 230 soccer balls to East Timor and distributed them to schools, villages and communities.
"It was amazing to see how something simple like a soccer ball could lift the spirits of the kids. One ball gets used by a whole groups," said Vicente.
Both men had nothing but praise for the patience and stamina of the former Aussie soccer captain Alex Tobin.
"He was made to order. In Dili Stadium he coached for five hours in 40c heat and never missed a beat. They all loved him," Dixon said.
The group travelled throughout Timor, visiting Los Palos, Raca, Con, Bacau, Manatutu, Aileu, Gleno, Ainaro and Liquica, where the town was razed.
"They had destroyed absolutely everything there. The place was levelled," Dixon explained.
The group also visited a large school in Dili, where the buildings were donated and built by the CFMEU. The children were writing on scraps of paper.
"We will be sending crayons, pencils, exercise books over to help them get back on their feet," Dixon said.
Despite the devastation, Dixon said the attitude of the East Timorese was overwhelmingly positive towards their group.
"CFMEU members can be really proud of their efforts. The equipment and balls they raised funds to buy lifted the spirit of whole communities."
Interview: Paul Keating's Big Picture
The former Prime Minister is still painting on a broad canvass. He talks to Workers Online about the new economy, fair trade and political chi.
Unions: War in the West
Only six months after signing individual staff contracts, the gloss has worn off for some of BHP's Pilbara iron ore workers.
Environment: Farmers Fudge DNA Dangers
Farmers have missed the chance to have a meaningful debate into the use of genetically modified crops.
International: 'Dot Union' Proposal on the Table
ICANN, the global governing body of Internet domains, has released the following expression of interest in proposing a top-level domain for trade unions
Economics: Edge of the Abyss
Political economist Frank Stilwell argues that a constellation of events gives good reason to be worried about the Australian economy.
History: Taming the Tigers
Prominent labour historian, Dr Ming Chan, is visiting Australia to report on how workers are faring in the new Hong Kong.
Review: Music is Crap
It's already the second half of the first year in the new millenium. Who would have ever predicted a crisis in the popular music industry when we are at such an advanced stage ?
Satire: Last Kosovars Found Behind Couch
State Emergency Services personnel were called to a house in Brighton this morning, where the last five remaining Kosovar refugees have been found wedged behind a couch.
View entire latest issue
© 1999-2000 Labor Council of NSW
LaborNET is a resource for the labour movement provided by the Labor Council of NSWURL: http://workers.labor.net.au/63/b_sportspage_timor.html
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005