I have received quite a few SMS messages from people commiserating with us for our Christmas Eve burglary and as you may have noticed a few comments on the post also saying basically the same thing.
I do appreciate the sympathy but we have to get things into perspective. I read a report from a town near Seattle about a family of 6 gunned down in their beds. Two toddlers, their parents and grand-parents.
On Christmas day apparently a grandfather playing cricket with his family on a beach in Western Australia was clubbed to death in front of them over a row over some beer.
And of course there is Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur etc etc. The list goes on and on, just fill in your own locations.
Now for a comi-tragic story of Christmas.
My friend Henry, an irascible old sod at the best of times, got a ‘phone call from a friend of his, Lisa, to say that her dad, who has been in Dili General hospital for a couple of weeks, was fading fast and could Henry do anything to help. Henry arranged with Dr. Dan (another local hero) for a bed at Dan’s clinic and set off for the hospital with Lisa to pick up the old boy and take him somewhere more comfortable. Upon arriving at the hospital they were told that the old boy had died and could they please arrange to take the body away! ‘Of course’ said Henry, ‘give us the forms to fill in and an ambulance to take him way, no worries’. Well, longish story short, no forms to fill in, no ambulance to transport the old codger. So, Henry and Lisa washed the body, picked up the old guy and carried him out to Henry’s pick-up. They placed him sitting upright in the back seat and set off for Lisa’s home. So, there’s H, driving along with a dead ‘un in the back, looking in his rear-view mirror and being met with the icy stare of the newly departed. As Henry said, what would he say to any spotty faced 18 year-old ISF soldier if they were stopped at one of our frequent checkpoints. You’ve gotta laugh. The funeral was on Christmas Day.
Now for the ‘perspective’ angle.
All we had stolen on Christmas Eve was stuff. That was it, we can always replace stuff. Of course there is the feeling of violation and intrusion but worse than that is the hate I felt for the people that carried out the robbery. Now I’ve calmed down, and turned Chateau Sod into a stalag, much like the Aussie embassy compound, the hate has gone and believe it or not I actually feel sorry for the boys that robbed us. We know who they are but can prove nothing; they are between 16 and 22 years old. Try and imagine what they saw in late ’99. Militia and TNI rampaging through the streets, the UN abandoning them, relatives killed in front of them, their houses burnt, in some cases their sisters and mothers taken away. Imagine the contempt they must have for their current leaders and the Law when they see people like Rogerio Lobato, freed from prison in August for 30 days to have medical treatment in Malaysia, still there and apparently now a well man. People like ‘Major’ Alfredo Reinado, a prison escapee, who shot at unarmed police officers, who turned to an SBS camera and said ‘got him’ with relish after firing at the same unarmed police officers, still in the hills, heavily armed, dictating terms to the ‘Government’.
No wonder these boys think they can get away with anything. And why shouldn’t they when their ‘leaders’ set such an example.
Rant over and that’s off my chest.
Your comments are invited…….
ps - they also got our iron, so if you see Mr. and Mrs. Sod around town looking a bit dishevelled, you know the reason why.