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National identity in Timor-Leste: challenges and opportunities
journal contributionposted on 2010-03-01, 00:00 authored by Damien KingsburyDamien Kingsbury
Following a long independence struggle and international intervention, in 2006 the tiny impoverished state of Timor-Leste almost imploded in civil chaos and institutional collapse. The events of the time were quickly defined in terms of an east-west geographical and, broadly, linguistic and political divide, corresponding to pro- and anti-government groupings. International intervention quelled the worst of the violence, although elections in 2007 confirmed the general tendency, if not an absolute alignment, to the divide that had appeared in 2006. However, much also united Timor-Leste historically and culturally and, increasingly, in a broad acceptance of civic institutions. It was from this base that the small and sometimes fragile state began to build what promised to be a more coherent future.