Out of the Ashes is a collection of essays that examine the historical background to developments in East Timor and provide political analysis on the initial reconstruction stage in the country’s transition to independence. The volume is divided into three thematic sections – background, assessment and reconstruction – bringing together the experiences and knowledge of academic researchers and key participants in the extraordinary events of 1999 and 2000.
After years of Indonesian rule, the people of East Timor voted to reject an offer of autonomy choosing instead independence from Indonesia. This decision enraged pro-integrationist militia who, backed by the Indonesian military, launched a program of violence and destruction against the inhabitants of East Timor. President Habibie eventually agreed to the presence of a United Nations peace-keeping force, but by this stage East Timor had been ravaged by destruction.
The new East Timorese government faced the challenges of the future with an understanding that the successful struggle for independence was both a culmination and a starting point for the new nation. As the events of 1999 recede, many of the issues and challenges highlighted in Out of the Ashes remain of central significance to the future of East Timor. These essays provide essential reading for students and interested observers of the first new nation of the 21st century.