TIMOR CONNECTION: Ego Lemos and his children, Maucello (peace sign) and Avida, meet with Janelle Saffin to recall shared East Timor time.
TIMOR CONNECTION: Ego Lemos and his children, Maucello (peace sign) and Avida, meet with Janelle Saffin to recall shared East Timor time.

Two for Timor time

East Timorese musician, eco-activist and father Ego Lemos was in Lismore last week to peform at NORPA's World Stages event at Lismore City Hall. (And what a wonderful celebration of cultural diversity that was.)

While he was in town Ego caught up with Page MP Janelle Saffin in her Lismore office.

Janelle and Ego met in East Timor during the tumultuous mid-2000s. East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 2002. Then came the difficult period of building a new country after years of brutal foreign rule.

Janelle was an advisor to Jose Ramos-Horta from 2004-2007 during that country's early years.

"They were hard times, but important," Ms Saffin told The Echo.

"I was getting ready to come home - but then I couldn't."

Ramos-Horta was elected president in the 2007.

"It was a great moment when Ramos-Horta became president," Ego said. "He was a man of peace."

Ego and Janelle met in 2006 when he was organising an arts festival with help from Ramos-Horta.

"I wanted to bring together artists from all over the country to celebrate that we are all one," Ego said. "Art is a way to express anger and trauma positively. It's healing."

Ego's performance at World Stages showed just that.


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