Under Indonesian occupation: The city of Dili and the East Timorese clandestine youth

Vannessa Hearman

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)


    Writers, scholars and tourists have portrayed the city of Dili in the 19th and 20th centuries as as a sleepy backwater representative of the long years of neglect synonymous with Portuguese colonisation of the eastern part of the island of Timor. This paper discusses the transformations wrought to the city of Dili, now the capital of the independent republic of Timor-Leste, following the advent of the Indonesian occupation (1975-99) of East Timor. Specifically, it investigates how the youth clandestine movement used the urban landscape to resist the Indonesian occupation and to defend themselves against the repressive occupying army. This paper is part of a larger project examining life for a group of clandestine youth in the mid-1990s in Dili and how spatial features of the city under occupation played a large part in the way they experienced the city. Dili was a simultaneously menacing place as well as a site replete with possibilities for clandestine work. It draws on interviews, memoirs and government reports about the conditions of life in this city.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2019
    EventSpaces of Occupation Workshop: Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia (COTCA) project - Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Duration: 27 May 201927 May 2019


    WorkshopSpaces of Occupation Workshop
    CityKuala Lumpur
    Internet address


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