“Teddies for Timor” and the Perils of Good Intentions

August 30, 1999, could have been a day of celebration. East Timor, or Timor-Leste, saw nearly 99 percent of its residents participate in a vote for independence from Indonesia, with over three-fourths marking their ballot for independence. However, after the vote, the country, which occupies one half of a small, arrowhead shaped island between Australia and Indonesia, erupted into violence. Pro-Indonesian military groups began attacking residents and destroying buildings. ….[READ]