“FALINTIL is the fish and the people are the water”
August 20th is the 42nd birthday of the Armed Forces of the National Liberation of Timor-Leste (FALINTIL). During the struggle against the Indonesian occupation, FALINTIL assumed political and military responsibilities for 24 years.
After the Timorese people obtained independence, FALINTIL became the basis for the development of the Timorese military, transforming from a guerrilla force into a conventional army and acquiring the name FALINTIL-Defense Force of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL). During the independence struggle, people described FALINTIL as “Military, policymaker, and guerrilla force” and said “FALINTIL is the fish and the people are the water.” Before independence, the circumstances of the occupation demanded a different mission than what is called for today. In the post-independence period, FALINTIL should act as an inspiration for the development of Timor-Leste’s new, conventional military.
This means that FALINTIL’s mission is not yet over. Instead, FALINTIL should continue contributing to the nation’s development. Therefore, today FALINTIL’s mission is to serve the people. Article 146 no. 2 of the constitution states that FALINTIL-F-FDTL must uphold national independence, territorial integrity, the people’s freedom, and security against external threats.
Fulfilling FALINTIL’s constitutional mission demands intelligence, skills, and discipline. To commemorate the 42nd anniversary of FALINTIL, one should declare “With the spirit of FALINTIL, I know how to love and how to serve.” This encapsulates the new struggle that FALINTIL should embrace on its anniversary.
Ex-guerillas from FALINTIL continue to contribute to the nation despite their old age. They will help develop F-FDTL into a modern military force in this post-independence period. This modern military can serve the people in the security, social, economic, and infrastructural areas.
In order to perform in these areas, the new government must prioritize creating conditions that can strengthen F-FDTL, including good policies, laws, and infrastructure.
CONGRATULATIONS TO FALINTIL ON ITS 42nd ANNIVERSARY!
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE PEOPLE OF TIMOR-LESTE!