On 20 February 2001, the Madison city council unanimously approved the following resolution making Ainaro, East Timor an official Madison sister city and the first such East Timor sister city in the US. Thanks go to Senator Feingold, Representative Tammy Baldwin, Mayor Sue Bauman, alderperson Barb Vedder, and others for their support. The local East Timor Action Network also thanks Natercia Godhino-Adams, who addressed the council, a psychiatric nurse born in East Timor who works with Sister Cities International in Ohio, and who has recently counseled traumatized Timorese children. Additional credit for organizing and activism go to Madison's Diane Farsetta.
WHEREAS Madison has a long history of engagement with the people of East Timor (including advocating to end human rights abuses in East Timor); hosting East Timorese community leaders, women's rights activists and medical workers in Madison; visiting East Timor both during and following the period of Indonesian military occupation; providing much-needed medical aid to East Timor; observing the United Nations-organized referendum for independence in East Timor in 1999; and engaging in cultural exchanges of music, traditional weavings and coffee);
WHEREAS 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and East Timorese leader José Ramos Horta has called for a street in the capital, Dili, to be renamed "Wisconsin" in recognition of the existing relationship between these two areas;
WHEREAS The people of East Timor suffered greatly under a twenty-four year long occupation by the Indonesian military (Amnesty International and Catholic Church sources report that at least one-third of the population of East Timor was killed during the occupation);
Deleted with regrets: WHEREAS The government of the United States was complicit in the occupation of East Timor by selling arms and providing training to the Indonesian military and by providing political cover for the occupation;
WHEREAS Following the 1999 referendum for independence, the departing Indonesian military engaged in a scorched-earth campaign, destroying seventy percent of all buildings nationwide, according to the United Nations;
WHEREAS International solidarity with East Timor is especially important now as the Timorese face the difficult tasks of reconstruction and establishing an independent country;
WHEREAS The community of Ainaro, East Timor was especially hard hit by 1999's violence, with over ninety-five percent of its buildings destroyed, including the only hospital and all the town's school buildings;
WHEREAS The people of Ainaro have asked international friends to join them in a sister relationship and have welcomed the Madison community as their sistering partners;
WHEREAS Madison residents have already visited Ainaro, established person-to-person ties and delivered school supplies;
WHEREAS Agriculture is important to the Ainaro region, as it is to Wisconsin;
WHEREAS There is widespread support in both the Ainaro and Madison communities for mutually beneficial exchanges of information, ideas and skills in such areas as agriculture, construction, women's issues, information technology and cooperative business practices;
WHEREAS The people of Madison have a long and noble tradition of furthering peace, understanding, cooperation and democracy through sister city relationships.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, we the people of Madison do hereby undertake to establish a sister city relationship with the town of Ainaro, Ainaro district, East Timor.