Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Response to Mr. Pat Walsh’s article: “Jose Ramos-Horta's Ian Thorpe moment” published eurekastreet.com

First Published at: http://timorhauniandoben.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/response-to-mr-pat-walshs-article-jose.html

By: Jose ‘Josh’ Trindade

As an East Timorese who is intimately involved in ‘Tim Success” for TMR and closely observed the 2012 Timor-Leste election in general, I found the article from Mr. Pat Walsh, “Jose Ramos-Horta's Ian Thorpe moment” published on (http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=30596) very interesting.
I want to counter Mr. Walsh’s points from two aspects. Firstly, I want to argue against Mr. Walsh’s views on Ramos Horta. Secondly, I want to express my disagreements to Mr. Walsh’s point where he judges and compares the leadership qualities and capacities of Taur Matan Ruak and Lu Olo.

On Mr. Walsh Comments on Ramos Horta
In his article, Mr. Walsh stated that, “It is the electorate's dumping of Ramos-Horta that is the big surprise”. I want to say that it is not correct to interpret that the result of first round 2012 Timor-Leste presidential election, where Ramos Horta cannot make it to second round, does not mean that Timorese (or the electorate’s) ‘dumping’ Ramos Horta. We are not only misjudging but also lowering Timorese intelligence if one assumes that way.

In the universe of the Timorese, we have enough capacity to understand the importance of Mr. Ramos Horta’s qualities and capacities and the roles he can play to contribute to the bright future of Our Country. Yes, he is our national treasure. Whether Mr. Ramos Horta plays a role as president of this country or works as security guard at some office in Colmera does not matter. What matters is that the Timorese knows and understands that, whatever role(s) Mr. Horta plays in Timor-Leste, he does with good genuine intentions for his beloved homeland. Mr. Horta has proven himself, in fighting for freedom of the Timorese, he worked his way up the ladders and stood proudly and equally with some of the most powerful people in the world and with some of the best diplomats in the world. He represents Timorese pride, capacity and intellectualities. The roles he played during the resistance against Indonesia will be written down in Timor-Leste’s history books, with ‘golden ink’. To make the story short, I will say it this way, if an old Timorese men (or women, young men or women) meet Mr. Horta in the middle of the road in Hatubalico for example, I would imagine this old men will take off his hat, put it on his chest, nod to Mr. Horta and say, “bom dia or boa tarde Senhor”. At least this is what I will do.

Mr. Walsh further writes, “[t]heir rejection of his [Ramos Horta] offer to serve for a further five years is breathtaking and, in my view, living far too dangerously”. I understood three messages from this statement. Firstly, Mr. Walsh suggested that (or sound like) Ramos Horta is the only qualified person in entire Timor-Leste to take the role as president. I would like to understand where the capacities and qualities of other (even ordinary) Timorese are placed in Mr. Walsh point of view.

Secondly, when Mr. Walsh described that it was ‘breathtaking’ for him to accept the fact that Ramos Horta cannot make it to second round, which shows his misunderstandings of the Timor-Leste election processes. For example, if Mr. Walsh understood and followed the 2012 Timor-Leste first round presidential election process closely, it will not be breathtaking for Mr. Walsh to accept the fact that it is possible for Ramos Horta not to make it to the second round. I use a very simple formula for my prediction for final result. Let us put the most popular candidate (TMR) to second round automatically because the lowest expectation for TMR was to go to second round as the second most voted (not the first most voted nor absolute win). This is the most realistic expectation predicted by the TMR ‘Tim Success’. To predict who will go to the second round with TMR is easy because we already know that FRETILIN voters will be around 30% plus and minus 10%. This means that if the majority of 30% of FRETILIN voters vote for Lu Olo, it will take him to the second round with TMR. That means Ramos Horta cannot make it, not only because his lack of support from CNRT but also bad campaign strategies and his misjudgments of his popularity and how Timorese place him in their views. Basically in this election Ramos Horta was ‘shooting in the dark’ therefore one should take this election results easy when Ramos Horta did not make it.

Thirdly, when Mr. Walsh expressed that ‘without Ramos Horta’, “[Timorese People will be] living far too dangerously” suggested that Mr. Walsh does not believe in Timorese capacity and skills besides Ramos Horta. I would like to counter this argument by saying that, with all my respect to Mr. Ramos Horta, without him, the country will move on. Our (Timorese) ancestors have proven that.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Mr. Ramos Horta for accepting the result of the election very positively and proudly, which proved his high quality and world class leadership and diplomacy skills. His decision to be neutral in the second round of presidential election is the best decision from him so far, from my point of view from the time I started to know him. His willingness to cooperate and work with the new President and his ongoing campaign on peace and stability  is a true testament to how much he loves his homeland.

On Mr. Walsh’s Comments and judgment on the Leadership Capacities and Qualities of TMR and Lu Olo.
I want to point out why one should not take Mr. Walsh’s comments on the matter too seriously. The comments and judgments are solely based on his personal emotions, feelings, friendship and his whole relationship with Ramos Horta at personal and professional level. His mistake is that he put Ramos Horta at the center of the ‘game’ while Ramos Horta himself, put Timorese and their whole world at the center. Let compare his statements on Lu Olo and TMR bellow.

For FRETILIN Candidate Mr. Lu Olo, Mr. Walsh positively stated that
”Although the second round candidates have similar political and military pedigrees, Guterres is better qualified to be president. Since independence he has occupied significant national leadership roles, including heading the country's largest political party and serving as speaker of the parliament for many years. He has recently completed a law degree and can also take some credit for the responsible role played by Fretilin during its recent years in opposition”

And for TMR, he negatively stressed as follows,
”TMR is not ready. He has virtually no experience outside the military, which he was in charge of when the 2006 crisis began in its ranks. Many are rightly uncomfortable with the prospect of a recently retired general, Indonesian style, becoming head of a fragile state in which the military already plays an internal security role”

By now, one perhaps already guessed it right on why I said Mr. Walsh opinions on Lu Olo and TMR are based on his personal feelings mixed with emotions.
He is negative about TMR because, it is TMR who got the support of CNRT, therefore TMR is one of the reasons why Ramos Horta cannot go further in this election. He said positive things about Lu Olo because Mr. Walsh “thinks” that Ramos Horta will align with FRETILIN for the second round and he is wrong because in the end Ramos Horta declared himself neutral.

I would also like to addressed that it is not balanced opinion when Mr. Walsh solely credited both FRETILIN and Lu Olo’s roles in the first four years of running the Government since 1999. Without balancing it with the fact that CNRT and its AMP  Government is the
It is a drawback if one uses Mr. Walsh opinions as reference for campaign for the advancement of their candidate because the analysis he provided in the article was too shallow.