Alias Ruby Blade: A Story of Love and Revolution
Alias Ruby Blade: A Story of Love and Revolution tells the remarkable love story of human rights activist Kirsty Sword and political prisoner Xanana Gusmão. Once an aspiring documentary filmmaker, Kirsty instead became a revolutionary, working in Jakarta for the Timorese resistance. Using the pseudonym "Ruby Blade," she smuggled video equipment, computers, and audio cassettes to their leader Gusmão, who was serving a life sentence in the notorious Cipinang Prison. As they exchanged letters, video messages, paintings, photographs and even bonsai trees, they fell in love without ever having met. Through archival footage, accounts from friends, and interviews with Sword herself, the film not only explores their remarkable relationship, but also the history of a decade of resistance that ultimately led to the UN-organized referendum on East Timor in 1999 and the country's independence. Official Selection Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2012
Human Rights Watch began to monitor human rights abuses in East Timor in the 1980s. According to a UN-sponsored truth and justice commission, approximately 178,000 people died from killings, starvation, and illness under Indonesian rule in East Timor from 1975 to 1999. The East Timor independence movement was extremely successful in internationalising awareness of human rights abuses by the Indonesian government. It involved dozens of solidarity organisations, intellectuals, and universities worldwide. East Timor finally became a sovereign state in May 2002, but the new state was not able to press the UN to pursue justice for crimes by the Indonesian government.