BRIERE, Elaine




Author Tags: Photography, Politics

Aware of the struggle for independence in East Timor for 30 years, photojournalist Elaine Brière published 64 b&w portraits and documentary images in East Timor: Testimony (Between the Lines, 2004), with text by Noam Chomsky and eight others.

She first visited East Timor in 1974 for two weeks. "When I was there in April 1974 the Carnation Revolution had just taken place in Portugal and the imperialist Salazar-Caetano government had been overthrown. This was a big turning point for the people of East Timor, as they thought they would regain independence." Indonesia launched a brutal invasion of East Timor on December 7, 1975. Brière became an activist in the Timorese liberation struggle after meeting with Noam Chomsky in Victoria in 1985. He put her in touch with solidarity networks working on behalf of East Timor. "So for about two years, it seemed that all I did was print up photographs for the movement," she says. Brière became a founding member of the East Timor Alert Network in Canada in 1986, working with Derek Evans of the Canada-Asia Group and later Maureen Davies, an Ottawa lawyer. Her film Bitter Paradise: The Sell-Out of East Timor was named Best Political Documentary at the 1997 Hot Docs Festival in Toronto. After a 26-year hiatus, she returned to East Timor in 2000, during which time many of the photos in her book were taken. Other photos depict events at the APEC protests in Vancouver in 1997 and other activities in Canada. After a horrific and prolonged fight against the occupying troops of Indonesia's President Suharto, East Timor gained independence on May 20, 2002. The fledgling country immediately began a new struggle against Australia for control of its petroleum-rich seabed ever since Australia gave formal notice in March of 2002 that it would not participate in international legal arbitration through the International Court of Justice. "The West betrayed, and continues to betray, through its foreign policy, this tiny nation of people who want only what we in the West have: freedom and democracy," Brière says.

[BCBW 2004] "Politics" "Photography"