"Step by Step: Women of East Timor, Stories of Resistance and Survival"

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Jude Conway (ed.), Step by Step: Women of East Timor, Stories of Resistance and Survival, Darwin, N.T., CDU Press, 2010.

Review: Surviving and resisting in Timor-Leste
Conway presents a collection of oral histories that brings to the forefront the role of women in the resistance movement

Jen Hughes and Sara Niner

.../ ... Women are almost always invisible in the telling of East Timorese history. Most of the writing on East Timor is focused on male leaders and guerrilla-fighters. However over recent years in a campaign to recognise the actions of women during the independence struggle, a series of texts have been published by Timorese women and their international supporters. This book can be counted among them. It is an act of political solidarity by editor Jude Conway, and this is its great strength.

Step by Step: Women of East Timor, Stories of Resistance and Survival was launched around Australia and in Timor in 2010. It presents 13 oral histories from women well-known in Timor for their roles in that country’s independence struggle: on the guerilla front, in the diplomatic arena and within the student movement, both in Timor-Leste and beyond. Each story is accompanied by several pages of photos of these women, many taken by Conway who was part of their struggle for an independent Timor-Leste for over twenty years. The photographs amplify the stories, showing, somewhat disconcertingly, how love, marriage, birth, friendship and personal achievement continued during the Indonesian military occupation of Timor. .../...


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