I was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1966. As a student of the Italian and Indonesian languages at Melbourne University in the 1980's I became aware of the plight of the people of a small half-island called East Timor. A colony of Portugal for 500 years, East Timor or "Timor-Leste" was invaded by its huge neighbour, Indonesia, in 1975. It's a long story, but like many Australians and other citizens of the world, it made me angry and sad to learn that my own government aided and abetted that invasion in order to gain the upper hand in negotiating access to oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea, just north of Australia. At the cost of a quarter of a million Timorese lives. I decided to do something about it. And I still am today.
* Conservative Australian political commentator, Andrew Bolt, referred to me as a "pin-up spy" in an article he wrote in the Herald Sun newspaper on 28 February 2002 (page 23). According to Bolt my activism on behalf of Timor-Leste was dangerous and compromising to other aid workers. Since then we have learned that the Australian Government itself has become adept at disguising spying operations under the cover of "aid and development": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWdTPKnT7Lg