THE BLOG

Genocide? Where?

07/31/2007 12:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

No surprise here. Nothing I haven't seen many times before. But occasionally, the covering up of genocidal violence in the corporate press does get to me, especially when encountered before my first cup of morning coffee.

The New York Times' Seth Mydans, reporting from Dili, East Timor, informs us that Portuguese is the now the official language of that small, battered nation, "a language that most people in East Timor cannot speak." As Mydans further explains:

"For a quarter of a century, Portuguese had been a dying tongue, spoken only by an older generation. It was banned after Indonesia annexed the territory in 1975 and imposed its own language."

"Annexed." This is how the American mass media describes what Indonesia did to East Timor from 1975 to 1999 -- that is, when the topic is raised at all. (New York Times -approved humanitarian scholar Samantha Power is a bit more critical, insisting that "the United States looked away" while the Indonesian military was on its killing spree.) And naturally, Mydans goes no further in his piece, leaving the reader to assume that some distant, geographical rearrangement took place, nothing terribly serious, it's happened before in global history, etc., y-a-w-n.

That Indonesia brutally invaded East Timor and wiped out a third of its population is not mentioned or even alluded to. And that the United States not only supported this mass murder, but actively aided the Indonesian military while lending diplomatic cover as a couple hundred thousand Timorese were slaughtered or starved to death seems to have escaped Mydans' journalistic attention, and that of his editor as well. Were Mydans in, say, Kosovo, he would doubtless fail to mention Milosevic when surveying that terrain. Right? Of course. I'm ashamed to broach something so obvious.

Now that's settled, let's see what's on the Sports page . . .