Pacific Visions

Interview with Caroline Canafax, Pacific Vision Founding Editor

Caroline Canafax

Interviewed by Mariza Cabral

for Pacific Vision

Foreword from Mariza Cabral:
I met Caroline in the 1990s when I was a graduate student of engineering at the University of Washington. A video of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor had just become public which put East Timor in the international spotlight for the first time since the 1975 Indonesian military invasion and occupation. I felt compelled to use the momentum to inform the university community of the many other attrocities that were taking place there, so I got busy organizing informational events at the university. Caroline, too, was interested in informing the American people about East Timor’s suffering, and printed several articles in Pacific Vision. She was among the handful of people I met in Seattle who was even aware of what was going on there. In contrast to myself, in my late 20s and with no prior experience with activism, Caroline was a veteran and in her 70s. She was also an immensely warm woman who spoke to me as a friend – becoming an important presence in my life, as a foreign student with no family support in the U.S. Our friendship has survived the years that I went to live in Europe, and my less than stellar record at keeping in touch during those years. Thank you, Caroline, for remaining my friend!

Close to Slavery: The U.S. Guestworker Program

by Mary Bauer

Southern Poverty Law Center

Pacific Vision Contributed Article

The debate over immigration reform has spawned legislative proposals to create a vast new pool of temporary foreign workers – potentially millions – who would be available to U.S. businesses seeking cheap labor.  President Bush, in fact, has called for a “legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis.”  

Happy Mother’s Day! ‘MomsRising’ and the Struggle for Rights

by Kristen Dobson

Reprinted from Parent Map Magazine, May 2007
Image from
Selena Allen thought she had it figured out. The Kent mother was pregnant with her second child, and she and her husband had good jobs. They were excited about the new baby and had carefully worked out finances so that Selena could stay home for a month after the birth to bond with her newborn.

"I had two and a half weeks of paid leave saved up, and we could afford another week and a half unpaid by cutting corners," Allen says. "We were set for the birth at the end of May. But, lo and behold, Connor had other ideas."

East Timor Hits Potholes on the Road to Independence

by Charles Scheiner

Reprinted from Estafeta, Winter 2007

Women’s Health in East Timor:

by Megan Lavelle
Pacific Vision Contributed Article

Mother and child in a camp for displaced persons. Photo by Megan Lavelle (7/11/2006).

I am excited to have been invited to contribute to this issue of Pacific Vision. I was asked to write a short piece on women’s health in East Timor, and given the crisis of violence that began in May 2006 and the recent round of elections, the topic couldn’t be more germane.

Resounding Victory for Democracy in Aceh

by Liem Soei Liong

TAPOL, The Indonesian Human Rights Campaign

Reprinted from the TAPOL Bulletin, January 2007

The local elections in Aceh on 11 December 2006 resulted in convincing victories for independent candidates. Irwandi Yusuf and Muhammad Nazar secured the positions of governor and vice-governor while other key posts, such as district heads (bupati) in North and East Aceh and mayors of the cities of Lhok Seumawe and Sabang, were also won by independents. The Acehnese voted for a dramatic change in the political landscape.
Voting in the  December elections. Photo by TAPOL.

Under Indonesian law, there is no place for independent candidates in elections but the recently adopted LOGA (Law on the Governance of Aceh) made provision for such an option. As a result, independent candidates who obtained the necessary initial number of supporters were able to stand and they gained considerable support from the electorate. It is understood that LOGA will be amended to enable local parties to contest future elections. This is a precedent that is bound to reverberate in other parts of Indonesia.

As things stand, political parties in Indonesia need to have branches in at least half of the provinces to be able to compete in elections. This restricts elections to national parties and blocks the way for local parties.

No second round needed

The governorship in Aceh was a much coveted position, especially since the tsunami when there has been a strong emphasis on reconstruction and reconciliation. All the larger national parties such as GOLKAR, PPP, PAN, PBB, PDI-P, PBR and PKS fielded candidates. The candidates were nominated in pairs for each of the top positions being contested. Several of the pairs were independents while one pair was a combination of a party representative and an independent.

Suharto-Era Repression Survives in One Corner of the Indonesian Archipelago: West Papua

by Ed McWilliams
Pacific Vision Contributed Article

For many concerned about the plight of people living under severely repressive regimes that receive military and other support from the United States, Indonesia has been a prime case. For decades during the cold war, and even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Suharto dictatorship in Jakarta was recipient of unfailing US support. Although Congress placed restrictions on US military assistance to the regime after a massacre of civilians in East Timor in 1991, Pentagon-led Administration efforts persisted in seeking to reinstate military-to-military assistance to the unreformed Indonesian military.

The fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998 and a succession of democratically elected governments in Jakarta since then have reduced Congressional opposition to US military assistance to Indonesia. The Indonesian military-led retaliatory brutality in East Timor in 1999, following a massive Timorese vote for freedom from Jakarta rule did lead to several years of renewed restrictions. However, support for such restrictions has since weakened. Taking advantage of a "national security waiver" attached to 2006 Appropriations legislation which continued restrictions on military aid, the Bush Administration began a broad program of assistance to the Indonesian military (TNI), absent any substantial reform of that rogue institution. Arguing that the United States need to "partner" with the Indonesian military in order to confront terrorism, the Bush Administration continues to deflect concerns about TNI corruption, unaccountability and continuing human rights abuse.

Book Review: On Venezuela

by Barbara Zepeda

for Pacific Vision

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