Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo
Turning his faith into work for justice in the world, Bishop Ximenes Belo has worked for peace and justice in East Timor. Born in 1948 in East Timor, Belo studied at Catholic schools, eventually attending the Dare seminary in Dili. He studied philosophy and theology in Portugal and Rome before becoming ordained in 1980. In 1988, he was made the head of the East Timor Catholic church. When Indonesian troops murdered Timor civilians in Kraras, Belo flouted his submissive image and protested vehemently against Indonesian rule. Because the church was the only institution in Timor able to communicate with the outside world, Belo became the conduit for people's suffering, informing the church and the rest of the world of the actions of the government. After a second massacre in the Santa Cruz cemetary in 1991, the bishop hid a number of fleeing resistance leaders and publicized the events to the world. As a result, he was put under surveillance, was prohibited from travelling, and survived two attempts on his life. In 1996, he and Jose Ramos-Horta received the Nobel Peace Prize "for their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor." Belo, still only 60, continues to be a voice for peace and justice even after East Timorese independence in 2002.
"Let it be stated clearly that to make peace a reality, we must be flexible as well as wise. We must truly recognize our own faults and move to change ourselves in the interest in making peace... Let us banish anger and hostility, vengeance and other dark emotions, and transform ourselves into humble instruments of peace."
"The world censures those who take up arms to defend their causes and calls on them to use nonviolent means in voicing their grievances. But when a people chooses the nonviolent path, it is all too often the case that hardly anyone pays attention. It is tragic that people have to suffer and die and the television cameras have to deliver the pictures to people's homes every day before the world at large admits there is a problem."
"Striving for the defense of the rights of all peoples is not only the privilege of those guiding the destiny of the people or those enjoying lofty positions in society, but it is the duty of the duty of everyone whatever rank or status."
"Let us always think of many anonymous people througout the world, struggling for the protection of human rights ... press on, take courage, remain true to your ideals, you will not be forgotten."
Publications / Speeches