PMC Multimedia

30 November 2014

AUDIO: Max Stahl reflects on 1991 Santa Cruz massacre and the future

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Max Stahl talking about his new film, The Reconciliation, at the PJR2014 conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

AUCKLAND (Radio New Zealand Sunday/Pacific Media Watch): British cameraman and film maker Max Stahl risked his life 23 years ago to record Indonesian troops shooting and beating to death scores of young people in the Santa Cruz cemetery in the Timor-Leste capital of Dili.

He buried the footage of the 12 November 1991 massacre in the cemetery before retrieving it later that night and smuggling it out to show the world.

It was one of the most horrifying scenes ever to be recorded on tape and ultimately led to Indonesia relinquishing control and Timor-Leste becoming independent in 2002.

Stahl is in New Zealand as part of the Pacific Journalism Review 20 years of  publishing conference in Auckland.

Today he spoke to public radio about that event and how he has gone on to record the "memory of a nation" and set up the Max Stahl East Timor Active Archive and Cultural Resource Centre (CAMSTL), which is a recognised by the UNESCO World Memory Heritage project and supported by the French national video library.

The Radio NZ Sunday interview by Wallace Chapman prompted New Zealand cartoonist Malcolm Evans to seek to do a caricature of Stahl. By chance, he found the above cartoon.

Evans, who was also a participant at the conference and had both and digital and still exhibition of his cartoons on display, sent the cartoon to Pacific Media Centre Online, saying:

"I was particularly pleased to hear Max Stahl’s chilling address, and I’ve just been listening to him speaking on Radio NZ this morning. 

"It prompted me to Google his image, with a view to doing a caricature image of him, and by chance came across this cartoon that I’d forgotten I did some years ago."

Listen to Max Stahl (21m 53s):

The Malcolm Evans cartoon from the past.

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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators. (cc) Creative Commons