Madalena Soares is one of the few women who bore arms in East Timor’s 24-year guerrilla war against Indonesian military occupation. This interview is little more than a fragment, a fleeting glimpse of Madalena after the Living Memory crew came across her unexpectedly and decided to improvise. She described how she fought with the resistance army Falintil from 1975 until capture in the Ainaro district in 1991. A militant of the women’s movement Organização Popúlar das Mulheres de Timor (OPMT), Popular Organisation of Timorese Women, she was engaged in organising women to support the struggle and in training them in arms use. She was captured during an Indonesian offensive at Mauxiga and then taken to Ainaro, where she was held and interrogated at the barracks of Battalion 613, formerly a Portuguese army barracks. Her toes were crushed during the ‘chair torture’ to which prisoners were regularly subjected, and which she demonstrates here. It necessitated a later operation at Ainaro hospital, organised by a sympathetic Indonesian officer.
This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States
Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Place of Interview: Mota Ulun, Liquiça District, East Timor (Timor-Leste)
Credits: Interviewer: Jill Jolliffe, Cinematographer: Nicola Daley
Other Names: Kasian; Date of Birth: 1955-09-20; Prisons: Fahi Lebu, Mota Ulun, East Timor (Timor-Leste); Other Prisoners: Soldiers from Battalion 613, Ainaro.; Perpetrators: Battalion 613 barracks, Ainaro, East Timor; Battalion 613 barracks, Sector B, Ainaro de Cima, East Timor.