I am going to indulge myself today and reminisce about the old days and talk about personal things. About 14 years ago I set up the Oxford university East Timor society with the encouragement of my East Timorese mate, Joao Boavida. (Joao -where the f… are you?) Noam Chomsky even agreed to be our patron when we approached him at a presentation he was giving. Anyway, a couple of weeks back I was introduced to a certain Wing Commander of the Bangladesh airforce. All he talked about was East Timor or Timor-Leste ( its official name) and its many connections with Bangladesh. Everything from portugese traders to present day Bangladeshi entrepreneurs making a living out there to the shared experience of genocide at the hands of a state bent on imposing its will.

My airforce contact has some amazing shots of Timor-Leste from the sky ( he was a copter pilot with the UN peace keeping force) and equally amazing tales to tell - some of which I shall recount here another day. He even argued, though a little unconvincingly, that the people there look like us Bengalis (how unfortunate that would be…). To prove his point he apparently persuaded a group of East Timorese women to wear saris, and took a snap of them. He now challenges bengali friends and colleagues to tell the group apart from bengali women, and he insists that that those taking the test don’t manage to detect any difference!

I am co-producing a documentary film ( more on this later too!) and it is apt that I should be re-connecting with East Timor. It was a documentary about the massacre in Dili by the Indonesian forces in the early nineties which made me realise the power of film making. As always I am looking to my south african mates to point the way ahead, and I have already received essential tips from them. For which, thanks. As always.