Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Visit to a Presidential Campaign Office

Tuesday, 14 Feb. I arranged to visit the campaign headquarters of one of the major candidates for President, Taur Matan Ruak (TMR), along with my friend Carmen. The visit was facilitated and hosted by one of the coordinators for TMR’s campaign, Fidelis . The HQ is at the Fundasun dos Veteranos (Veterans Foundation), Taibessi, Dili. I think they have rented the entire series of buildings at the foundation for the purposes of running the campaign. The veterans would be associated with the old FALINTIL organization, which TMR was in charge of during the mid or late 1990’s – I could certainly be wrong about this, I'll need to check. And he only recently retired as head of the armed forces - F-FDTL - at the rank of general.
A campaign poster features prominently at the front of the entrance to the main offices. TMR’s office is separate from this structure; it is located on its own. The main building hosts the coordinators of the campaign along with the associated office that handle various aspects of the campaign. There is a big office designed for consultation with the media and access for journalists to the internet/wireless. We were introduced to a number of people responsible for running the office, I will need to check, but I suspect they were the other two coordinators of the campaign. The atmosphere of the place was very open and convivial.
Going back to the main campaign poster, one of the first things that stands out is that TMR is wearing his military – FALINTIL, not F-FDTL – uniform.

My rough translation of the messages on the banner are:
Uluk ba fakar ran, Imi Iha Oin, Hisik Kosar, Iha fali kotuk
First to spill blood, You at the front, working hard, sweating, at the back/behind again, to support (me?).
Uluk ho Imi, fakar ran, ba ukun an. Fila fali ho Imi, hisik kosar ba moris diak.
First with you all, to spill blood, to independence, return with you all, work hard/sweat to live well/good life.

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