Timor-Leste, or East Timor in English, (Its name is a bit of a Department of Redundancy Department: "East", "Timor" and "Leste" all mean that direction 90 degrees clockwise of north) is country with just over a million people. A former Portuguese colony, like the Philippines its population is avidly Catholic. These are some of the reasons its people were fiercely determined to break free of the predominantly Muslim former Dutch colony of Indonesia.note East Timor declared nationhood in 1975 after Portugal ended its colonial rule, but Indonesian forces almost immediately invaded. Portugal heavily campaigned diplomatically for its independence, especially since the Santa Cruz massacre. East Timor held a referendum in 1999, in which its people overwhelmingly voted for independence, unswayed by harassment from pro-Indonesian militias. However, it wasn't until 20 May 2002 that it finally became a nation in its own right, after 25 years of Indonesian rule during which at least 100,000 East Timorese were killed by occupying forces. The nation's full name (in English) is the Democratic Republic of East Timor, and it is genuinely democratic. Despite its newfound freedom, East Timor remains beset by problems. Political instability led to an Australian-led International Stabilisation Force entering the country, a mission that remains ongoing. In early 2008, the then-president, Jose Ramos-Horta, survived an assassination attempt. Ramos-Horta was voted out in 2012, and gracefully hailed the peaceful elections as a sign his country was maturing. East Timor is a small, poor country with only about 2,100 internet users as of June 2010, and as a result its presence in and output of fiction is small.
East Timor in fiction
The East Timorese flag
The red field symbolizes the country's historic struggles for independence; at the hoist side is a yellow isosceles triangle symbolizing its colonial past, upon which is superimposed a black triangle, symbolizing the obscurantism Timor-Leste needed to overcome, and the white triangle within symbolizes the guiding light to peace.