- Category : Political
- Type : MS
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (7,8,13,20,44,51)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Vessel of Love 2
Indonesian resistance leader, the charismatic East Timorese poet-revolutionary heading the Independence Movement of East Timor. After 500 years of Portuguese colonization and 24 more of Indonesian occupation, the people of East Timor now revel in one man's promise of freedom from fear.
Gusmao writes that he grew up to the groans of prisoners being whipped in public by Portuguese colonialists. At 16 he ran away from his studies at a Catholic seminary and wound up in Dili, teaching Portuguese at a Chinese school and working as a government surveyor. He was fired when, in his first act of defiance, he threatened to punch his boss in an argument over racial discrimination by East Timor's landlords.
In 1974 Gusmao began a career as a journalist. The Portuguese began to withdraw from East Timor that year but in 1975, President Suharto ordered his troops to invade. Gusmao joined the resistance, fleeing into the mists of the heavily forested mountains that run the length of the island. By 1981 he was the leader of the resistance, the most wanted man in the country.
After struggling for 17 years against the Indonesian occupation of his country, he was betrayed and captured in late 1992 by soldiers. The following year he was sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence later commuted to 20 years. Gusmao began writing his memoirs in Cipinang Prison in Jakarta in 1994 at the request of a Portuguese solidarity group. He wrote it in clandestine moments, entirely from memory. The manuscript was smuggled out to Portugal later that year.
In August 1999, after the East Timorese people had voted for independence from Indonesia, troops killed, burned and looted, leaving some 1,000 citizens dead and three fourth of the people homeless. During the two weeks of violence, Gusmao's father was believed to have been killed, September 1999. The little island is racked with poverty. His wife, Emilia, son Nito and daughter Zenilda, fled Timor in 1991 to live in Melbourne.
Released in September 1999, following death threats, Gusmao was flown to safety in Darwin. With the authority of Nelson Mandela and the charisma of Che Guevara, Gusmao traveled the country, reaching the grass roots of the freedom movement. Gusmao captured the hope and courage of his people, representing a vision of the future. He now works in an uneasy alliance with the U.N., which has been criticized by many Timorese for being hopelessly slow in delivering economic aid. The country is debating the many issues of independence, whether the official language should be English or Portuguese, which currency to use and how to conduct their first elections in mid-2001. Despite his great popularity, Gusmao says he does not want to be the nation's first president.
Gusmao met 34 yr-old Kirsty Sword in 1994 when Ms Sword, a former Australian Volunteers Abroad worker and ballerina, visited Mr. Gusmao while he was serving a 20 year sentence in a Jakarta prison. Their relationship
blossomed in 1999 when Mr. Gusmao was transferred to a nearby house and Sword became his secretary. After being released from prison, he had divorced his first wife of 28 years, Emilia Baptista.
On 7/02/2000, Gusmao wed Kirsty Sword in the town of Dare, 15km south of Dili. Only 20 family and friends attended. On 9/30/2000, she gave birth to their son, Alexandre Sword-Gusmao, 3.4 kg, 50cm long, "late on Saturday night local time" JST in Dili, East Timor, (formerly in Indonesia) [08s33, 125e35].
The wildly popular 55-year-old Gusmao, the symbol of East Timor's struggle for independence since it was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, won his country's first presidential election on 4/16/2002.
"At the stroke of midnight, 5/20/2002, world leaders and dignitaries ... were to witness the swearing in of president-elect Xanana Gusmao and the raising of the red, yellow and black East Timorese flag."