Fighting Spirit of East Timor: The Life of Martinho da Costa Lopes

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Martinho da Costa Lopes is an East Timorese national hero - the first Timorese leader of the East Timorese Catholic Church and an outspoken supporter of human rights and self-determination. Fighting Spirit of East Timor is the story of this extraordinary man's life. Born in East Timor in 1918, Dom Martinho was educated in the traditional hierarchy of the Catholic education system. During the early 1970s he edited the church newspaper, Seara, until it was closed by the Portuguese secret police in 1973. After the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, Martinho worked tirelessly to protect human rights. He was the first person to speak out publicly within East Timor about the abuses perpetrated by the occupation forces, attracting criticism from the Indonesian government - but in the mid 1980s, it seemed the world did not care. Martinho was slandered by Australian politicians and the press, and he resigned from the position of Apostolic administrator under pressure from the Vatican. In 1983, he left Timor, and in exile in Portugal, he was spurned by the Catholic Church. He travelled extensively, speaking and raising awareness about East Timor, and died in 1991. Rowena Lennox has created a moving and dramatic portrait of a man who continues to inspire the East Timorese people in their struggle for social justice.