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File photo of Samora Machel, first president of Mozambique
The first President of Mozambique Samora Machel will be posthumously awarded the Great Necklace of the Order of Timor-Leste on the 20th of May by the president of the Timorese Republic Taur Matan Ruak .
The honour expresses the gratitude felt towards a “true brother of the Timorese people”, who “was touched by the cause of the Timorese people and decisively expressed Mozambique’s support for their struggle”.
The presidential decree announcing the honour states: “Marshal Samora Moisés Machel was a brave and determined visionary, with no barriers preventing him from defending the inalienable right of the East Timorese people to self-determination, a right that once restored would make liberation a reality.”
“For Samora, the independence of Mozambique would not be complete without East Timor becoming an independent country.”
The Taur Matan Ruak decree recalls the “solidarity shown by the Mozambican people” under the Machel’s leadership, and celebrates the struggles of the Zimbabwean, Namibian and South African people which “resulted in the liberation of the three fraternal peoples (…) a valuable contribution to humanity”.
The Order of Timor-Leste “demonstrates the recognition of East Timor of residents and foreigners who, in their professional and social activity or even in spontaneous acts of heroism or altruism, have significantly contributed to the benefit of East Timor or mankind”.
The list of those decorated this year includes Portuguese and Australian citizens, an American journalist, an Indonesian citizen and a Mozambican. Father Eligio Locatelli, an Italian Salesian missionary who lives in East Timor for more than half a century is awarded the Necklace of the Order of Timor-Leste.
Researcher and adviser to former Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio, Carlos Gaspar, Portuguese singer Luis Represas and Portugal’s civil protection Commander Patricia Alexandra Costa Gaspar get the Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste.
Also decorated this year are director general of the Maritime Authority and general commander of the Portuguese Maritime Police, Vice Admiral António Silva Ribeiro, and Arnaldo José Ribeiro da Cruz, President of the National Service for Fire and Civil Protection.
They join two Portuguese-Timorese priests João Felgueiras and José Alves Martins.
Also decorated are priest Leão da Costa, Antero Benedito da Silva, Xisto Martins and Maria Manuela Leong Pereira.
The list of those decorated includes the Hobart East Timor Committee organization, American journalist Arnold S. Kohen, Australian activist Robert Anthony Hanney and former Australian Senator Bob Brown .
Australian former Labour parliamentarian Jean McLean, head of the Australia East Timor Association and Labour party member Anne Meredith Burgmann, former president of the New South Wales Legislative Council are also recognised.
Posthumously decorated are journalist Brian Peters, one of the five journalists killed in Balibo in October 1975, and Kevin Sherlock, legendary bibliographer and collector, passionate about Timor who curated, until his death, an important archive covering the country’s history, including the Portuguese colonial period.
Carlos Pereira de Lemos, former honorary consul of Portugal in Melbourne and active supporter of the Timorese community there, is awarded the Insignia of the Order of Timor-Leste, and also cited is Indonesian citizen Titi Irawati, activist and journalist who joined the anti-Suharto movement in Indonesia and fought for press freedom and in defence of political prisoners, who has worked since 1999 with the Timorese organization Yayasan HAK in Dili.
The other Mozambican to be decorated by Timor-Lest this year is the Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) Murade Isaac Murargy.