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Jamsheed Marker's Emergency Exit from East Timor

Dublin Core


Jamsheed Marker's Emergency Exit from East Timor


Timor-Leste -- History -- Autonomy and independence movements.
United Nations Mission in East Timor.


Oral history video clip featuring Jamsheed Marker, United Nations Special Envoy to East Timor. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Marker, Jamsheed


Tape number: 4108G


video / mp4




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Marker, Jamsheed


During the negotiations that took place, I used to go to East Timor all the time and meet—there were two things that we wanted—that I wanted—that my colleagues and I did. One was to keep talking to all the parties. And in East Timor we found, apart from Xanana Gusmão, the two bishops, Bishop Belo and Bishop Nascimento, were extremely able and responsible interlocutors. That made our job so much more easy. On the Indonesian side, I couldn’t have had anyone better than Ali Alatas: a superb foreign minister, a superb diplomat and a man of great vision and understanding. It really was a pleasure to work with him and with the Portuguese foreign minister, Jaime Gama, whom I knew less well but whom I got to know very well as the negotiations went on. And they were all very committed, very competent, and genuinely seeking a solution, so that made the mediator’s job so much easier. Now, when I was on one of my—I don’t know how many trips I made to East Timor, but on one occasion, when the pro-independence group were getting rather restive because things were now, they thought, were coming to a head. And I was going to East Timor, and I was advised against going there because they said there was a threat to my—well, maybe a threat to my life, or they wanted to take me hostage or whatever. Even Xanana told me from prison: he said, “You know, when you go there, please, Mr. Ambassador, don’t go out for walks alone in the evening. I know you like doing that, but you know, this time be a little cautious.” And there was some sort of a threat. When I got to East Timor, they insisted that I stay not in the hotel normally, but in a military house. And I went there and we had our—I had my discussions up to about two in the morning. I spoke to the different East Timorese groups, both pro-independence and pro-integration, until about two in the morning; I was to leave the next morning. And when we were leaving there was—we saw there was a procession that had come out, and so we were taken by a roundabout route to the airport. But these guys saw us—I mean, saw me—and started storming the airport. The plane that was supposed to take us, it landed and, when it saw that crowd at the terminal building, took off straight away without disembarking its passengers. And so we were kind of stuck over there. And I told the—the crowd had increased. I told the colonel who was in charge of them, Colonel Suratman, I said, “Whatever happens, you’re not to open fire, because this—this I will definitely not allow. It doesn’t matter what happens. Use whatever other methods you have.” I discussed with him—there was an Indonesian army helicopter base, and I said, “Just send for the helicopter,” which landed, and then we sort of made a dash from the terminal building into the helicopter. And as I took off, I waved to them and they waved back to me, and that was it. So now I have material, as I say, for a Broadway musical, Miss East Timor.

Original Format

Beta tape




Media Entertainment, Inc., “Jamsheed Marker's Emergency Exit from East Timor,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed November 18, 2018,