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Scorched Earth

Peacekeeping in Timor during a campaign of death and destruction

As a UN peacekeeper, I joined the East Timorese fight for life. By then, the earth had drunk the blood of one third of their population. But worse was still to come. I would see it for myself. I saw bodies carried to their deaths, machetes carve flesh from bone, and bullets spray into crowds of Timorese and at us peacekeepers. I learned the true meaning of fear, hopelessness, and courage. Shades of truth were twisted for evil gain. Every day I prepared to die. Decisions I made, which seemed so right, jeopardized the lives of others. Police held automatic weapons to my head, militia wrote my name on death lists, and people drew their last breath, all of them brave, braver than me. For this is the true story of my experience. In the midst of the East Timorese fight for independence, militia were determined to enact their scorched earth policy and raze Timor to the ground. Timorese voted; Timor burned. It is their story, our story: a story that must be told.

Tammy Pemper is an Australian writer who has worked with the United Nations, Australian Federal Police, and the US Peace Corps to name a few. She is married to Peter, the Australian peacekeeper who is the central figure in Scorched Earth. Tammy also came under fire in Timor. In addition to her passion for writing, Tammy continues to support projects worldwide, and will donate the profits of this book back into the Timorese community.