This book provides a comprehensive country overview of Southeast Asia's newest nation, Timor Leste (East Timor). This book focuses on its cultural and ethno-linguistic diversity, and its political history from the pre-Portuguese period up to 2009. The book pays particular attention to the historical roots of the current challenges to nation-building by reviewing the Indonesian occupation; guerrilla warfare by the Timorese against the occupiers; the politics leading up to the United Nations' popular consultation and the vote for independence in 2002. Explaining the structure of the government and its parliamentary system, this book highlights the problems and historical and cultural underpinnings of the challenges Timor Leste faces in building a stable viable nation. The author presents a synopsis of selected issues including: language, truth and reconciliation, the Catholic Church's political activism, internal security problems, the 'politics of oil', and the fact that violent conflicts, from 2005 to date, have made it necessary for the United Nation's peacekeeping forces to return. Thus far, the book argues, Timor Leste's nation-building efforts have been hampered by the dynamic interaction of number of national and international factors. The first comprehensive political and cultural history of East Timor to date, this book fills a gap and will be an important single reference resource for students and researchers in the field of Southeast Asian Studies, Anthropology and Political Science.
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