I’ve got to say I’m in two minds right now. Major Alfredo Reinado, as you all know, is holed up in Same with about 150 fairly well armed supporters. The Australian army is surrounding the town and have cut off water and food going in.
Reinado has vowed that he will not surrender to Australian forces but is open to negotiation with official East Timorese authorities. i.e. The Prosecutor General or El Presidente.
Now, there are a couple of journo’s in town, one of whom is an old mate, who want to go to Same, naturally, and get the unfolding story. The old mate journo does not have a photographer with him and has asked me if I would go as his snapper. Of course, I am champing at the bit for the chance to go. Duty (and the US Dollar) calls.
But here’s the rub. I have it on very reliable authority that the Australian government has contacted various newsdesks in Sydney and Canberra and ‘advised’ news editors not to send any reporters to the area. Now why would they do that? That is like a red rag to a bull. Surely it would be in the interest of the Australian authorities for journalists TO be there to show the World that they operate in a fair and legal manner. Or is there a hidden agenda, or does the Australian Government, in its usual paranoid manner, just not trust journalists on basic principle?
Whatever, I really wanna get up there! The reason I am in two minds is that about 8 years ago I promised my wife I would never go to war zones again, but, I could argue " the war zone has come to me, darling".
By the way, in a previous life I used to be a journo and still try to keep my hand in.
Oh, and when I say 'old mate' I don't mean we've known each other a long time. I just mean he is old.