Tuesday's campus visit from international journalist Allan Nairn brought home some sobering points.
Nairn, who has written about human rights abuses in numerous countries, came to the University of Houston to discuss atrocities in East Timor, a small nation neighboring Australia and Indonesia. Indonesian forces, which invaded East Timor in 1975, have squelched the human rights of the Timorese, torturing and murdering them by the thousands.
It's disturbing that Indonesia, the oppressive foot on the throat of East Timor, is a valued economic ally of the United States. As such, our government, the defender of this cradle of liberty in which we live, not only refuses to act against these butchers, but in fact has supplied economic aid and weapons to Indonesia without cessation.
However, the laziness or cowardice of this country's mainstream media in its failure to cover East Timor's horror is as disturbing as our government's position. The massacres in East Timor have been called the most intense mass murdering of civilians since the Nazis.
While The New York Times and The Washington Post have made occasional, brief mentions of the goings-on in East Timor, no major American news agency has devoted any in-depth coverage to these atrocities committed by Indonesia.
But how can we really expect serious coverage of such trivialities as the mass murder of innocent civilians by troops armed with American weapons when our nation's press is chasing such important stories as the nanny trial, O.J. Simpson and Clinton's extramarital activities?
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