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The world in a name. Naming practices, resistance and national identity in Timor-Leste.

Fessentiel ne s'apprend pas: ca s'invente

Jorge Semprun (2)


You want to know my name ... my full name? I do have many names! ... Why is that so? ... That's a long story to tell ...

... but today I have got the time to listen, all the time in the world. It is a mid-week day, the height of the rainy season in Timor-Leste, early 2005. I came as I often do to this esplanade cum restaurant sitting on the beach on the way to Areia Branca: a few wood posts and beams, a hay roof, some palapa boards. Here we find fresh fish or a succulent octopus rice, which we have with hot aimanas and budu, the local delicious salad. Here we come for an evening drink or at night to watch the stars over Dili bay, sometimes the slow dance of lights carried by the octopus fishermen and women walking far into the shallow waters, or by daylight to watch theflight of a majestic eagle over our heads. We feel good because the young women who attend at our table call us maun (or mana).

I have all the time to listen to the story Nina (3) wants to tell me, as I have previously heard other stories from other girls and boys who work in this and other restaurants I visit. I came riding my bike today to have some lunch and decided to let myself stay on as the rain was pouring so heavily that we could hardly see the Kristurrei a few miles to the east, and reading my book out in the open air was a pleasant way to let time pass by. I stayed on under heavy rain after having a ripe mango, and later the rain stopped and then came again, a thunderous shower as I had never witnessed elsewhere, only to give way to some glorious moments of the sun piercing once more through he clouds. So I have all the time to engage in a conversation with Nina when she slowly approaches my table, the place being completely left to ourselves (all other people having gone away or across the street to another part of this complex where the kitchen is located and you can find a billiard pool and some disco music). I listen to this story of a young restaurant waitress as I would indeed do time and again in the months I lived in Timor-Leste, both previously and ahead of this day, a way as good as any to go beyond thefirst impressions, often so disturbing as to shake our guts, into more consistent narratives of lives in the hard years this country has suffered, as a good "spectateur engage" (committed observer) in the vein of Raymond Aron. I filled several note books with their stories pro memoria futura, for my own memory, for the memory of those I may be able to touch with my writings rooted upon these memories.

I insist that she takes a seat but Nina rather stays up, a way of signalling the distance that exists between a Timorese young woman and this expat who comes regularly and whom she calls maun, this Portuguese fellow who sometimes gives a good tip or brings a souvenir, but we both know that we belong to different worlds and should not try to change the nature of those things. I listen to the story Nina wants to tell me because I want to know better her own world, and she wants me to dive mentally and affectionately into her own world, each one remaining in one's own physical sphere, and I have all the time today to listen to her story.

Nina ... here everybody calls me Nina ... you call me Nina, you ask "Nina, my tonic water, please', isn't it? ... Well, in Dili, I am Nina for almost everyone. But not so up in the village ...

I was born in the suco of Leomara, sub-district of Bazartete, district of Liquica. The mikrolet takes two hours from Taci Tolu ... you know, just outside Dili ... where the Pope came and where the festivities for our Independence took place. We travel along the coast in the direction of Indonesia and when we see the old prison from the time of the Portuguese just sitting on the seafront, we turn to the mountain, and then we go up and up, and we start seeing the big trees that shade the coffee bushes, the madres del cafe or madres del cacao ... that's how they are called ... beautiful big trees, many of them. and there are so many buzzers on the way under those trees, millions of them, always singing... And we go further up, Leomara is very high up, and when you arrive there you can see Dili in the distance, at the foot of the mountain. it does not seem we are very far, but the roads are not so good and it takes two hours to get there now with the mikrolet, and you see Atauro out on the sea. I was born in Leomara and my parents still live there. Some of my siblings also live in Leomara, some came to Dili like me.

I was born in 1980 in the house of my family. It was the 25th March 1980 the day I was born, and that day my father and my mother gave me my first name: Bui Telik. Every child gets a name as soon as they are born, and that name used to be a name in one of our languages, our gentile languages, not Portuguese or Bahasa Indonesia or English. All my siblings have gentile names: Bete Telik is my eldest sister who was born in 1976, Loi Malik is my el dest brother who was born in 1978, and the two younger boys are Resi Malik and Leki Malik, and the last girl who was born in 1985 is Kolo Telik. There were also two other girls who died, Siba Telik and Balo Telik. You may like to know that my father's name in the gentile is Olo Malik and my mother's Bete Telik, like my big sister. I also know the name of my mother's father and mother: they were Koli Mauk and Bui Telik. But I do not know the names of my grandparents from my father's side of the family. I think I have never met any of them, they must have been dead by the time I was born. So, we all have gentile names, and up in the village, in Leomara, those are pretty much our names. If not everybody knows them, at least in the family, and in the close relations of the family, in Leomara those are our names. Even in Dili I often speak to my siblings and some other relatives who live down here and we call each other by our names, that is, by the names in the gentile that our parents gave us the day we were born. This is the first name I have had but I do not use this name really much these days in Dili.

Then one day I was given a new name. It was 1985 just after my sister Kolo was born. All the family came to Bazartete, to the church which there still is in Bazartete, and we were all baptised and given new names. Together with the family, some friends and other relatives came along as well. I was still quite young but I remember it as a big day with a lot of celebrations. First, the priest baptised my grandparents, and my grandfather did not want to change his name, but my grandmother accepted a new name: Evangelina Mateus. Then the priest celebrated the catholic marriage of my grandparents. After that, he baptised my mother as Floriana Mateus and my father as Agus da Conceicao Martins, and then celebrated their own marriage. Then he turned to us, the children, and baptised us: Bete gained her new name as Elisita Mateus da Conceicao Martins, and her god-parents were our grandparents, who also performed the same for my brother Loi, who gained the name of Abrao Mateus da Conceicao Martins. My god-parents were a couple from Dili, Antonio Alves and Catarina Alves, so my baptismal name is Natalina Alves. Resi and Leki are now called Estelio de Jesus Moreira and Jordio Nunes Correia, because those were the names they got from their godparents. Kolo Telik, the last to be born, is Lauriana Mateus, their god-parents being Saint Antony and Saint Catherine of Alexandria. You see, all the names we got are Portuguese names.

A caveat is necessary to bring under consideration the notion of "Portuguese name" that Nina has just evoked. There are several approaches to the question, each one assuming a different perspective and yielding distinct results.

In the Portuguese Republic there is an official list of anthroponyms that can be given to a citizen in the registration process. This list--published by the Ministry for Justice and accessible in the internet at over one thousand anthroponyms, both male and female, and consists mainly of names which are known to have historically been in use at some point. Names proposed for new registration outside the extant list must be submitted to prior approval, a task which the administration has endorsed to "experts" in the academic world--whose criteria, however, are not (to my knowledge) publicly available. In comparative terms, the pool of possible names for Portuguese citizens falls thus in the category of "closed system" (4)--not an absolute closeness, but a very restricted, and administratively supervised pool.

The use of this list of names as a canon of "Portuguese names" to be applied in the case of the territory of Timor situated half-way across the world (or indeed in any Portuguese speaking country) would represent a blatant case of ethnocentrism, or even produce a distinctive colonialist taste to our approach. There would be easy to find names in Timor-Leste that do belong to the list--but our problem is rather located in those which would not. Can they nonetheless be considered "Portuguese"?

Notwithstanding, this very same listing can be one source of useful information, and provide a starting point for linguistic or ethno-linguistic exercises (such as the ones carried out by Maria Jose Albarran de Carvalho for the case of Timor and other former Portuguese possessions in south-eastern Asia (5)). This scholar has developed an hypothesis based on the trajectories of several names whose origin is documented (through calligraphic or epigraphic means) to be European Portuguese, and which have been subject to adaptations and transformations from the primitive matrix until their presentform--sometimes a long trajectory that verges on the point of breaking the links with their actual, primitive source. This approach helps to establish a "scientific" relationship between a given original source or matrix and actual manifestations of names exhibiting marked differences, but traceable to the presence of Portuguese people and their pool of names in the southern seas. It extends the coverage of Timorese names and helps in their classification, but still does not completely solve our difficulty: there are "Portuguese" names in Timor-Leste that would notfit into this shoe.

The listing of "transformed" names has not been systematically drawn (if this endeavour actually makes sense). The existent examples seem to indicate the presence of some sort of a break out of the chain imposed by the closed pool system, and the entrance into the world of open-ended name pools. These systems have been argued to be present in other Portuguese speaking countries in Africa and Latin America--the case of Brazil in particular having received considerable attention in this respect and thus, Timor-Leste does not seem to constitute a single case within the Lusophone world

When one hears and reads that Portuguese is a language spoken by hundreds of million people and that it is part of the world's top ten languages (6), one must immediately realize that this statement is true only if you consider that this language encompasses a wide range of diversity, The differences may be said to start with the official alphabet (for instance, in most African Portuguese the letters k and w and y are integral part of the standard written language, whereas they are absent from European Portuguese in spite of the recent 'Acordo Ortografico', still much an official document with few consequences on everyday language) and progress through various fields like synonymy (a never-ending topic of conversation is the existence of "false friends" in the language spoken in Portugal and in Brazil) or syntax, let alone pronunciation. The lively debates about the "orthographic agreement" promoted by CPLP governments and supposed to generate a "unified language" are testimony to the hard realities of actual disagreement and divergence in popular practices--and those are our main concern in the context of this discussion. We are legitimized to add a social dimension to these differences by bringing in the contrast between the "closed pool" system of names present in Portugal and the "open pool" that, among others, Brazil uses--and which constitutes a realization of the nature of the language as an on going process of social (and political) construction.

When swimming in an open pool system a literate European Portuguese like myself can easily be confronted with situations in which one or several names of people are presented as being "Portuguese names" and he finds himself unable to identify them as such, even if he is not bound by the administrative corset of the official listing. This is precisely what has happened to me in Timor-Leste: I came across countless names of people--often with a "Portuguese" or at least a "Latin" sound--I had never heard be fore, and was unable to classify. This situation calls for a practical solution: to use the service of local informants (supposedly representative of their community) and ask them how would they classify those names: are they Portuguese? To put it in other words: the solution for our problem must contemplate the fact that the social and cultural construct of what is "Portuguese" in the context of Timor-Leste clearly out weights the ethno-linguistic evidence of an articulation between a given name and an eventual European historical matrix. This is the basis for my approach throughout this essay, which depends to a very large extent on the co-operation of local informants who were called to classify for me names of people according to the language they were supposed to belong to--a problem that was made all the more pressing by the fact that Timor possesses over a dozen languages which I did not dominate. In other words: languages were considered as sociocultural constructs rather than in their ethno-linguistic aspect.

This point can be illustrated by a second feature in the process of name formation which is somewhat less evident in the awareness of my local informants, but nevertheless quite interesting for the purposes of this reflection: the way in which the parents surnames migrate into the child's full name. Portugal has nowadays an established system, which prescribes as a norm that the full name of a child should incorporate surnames both from the mother and the father, that is to say, from all sides of the conjugal unit. This system is similar to the one prevailing in Spain (7), but quite different from most other European (and elsewhere, European derived) systems where the norm seems to be for the passing on to the lower generation of only one surname, or better, surname(s) from one of the parental sides. That is the case, for instance, in Italy, where children normally have a first name followed by the surname of their father.

Iberia seems to stand apart from the European rule, and within this space Portugal and Spain have developed distinctive forms of implementing this dual surname system 8. In Spain, the first name is immediately followed by the father's surname(s), and the mother's surname come in at the end. In casual forms of addressing, people are usually called by their Christian name plus their first (father) surname(s)--and it is the father's surname that will eventually be given to the following generation, thus drying up the maternal surname lineage. Portugal witnesses the implementation of a similar scheme only exchanging the order of the terms: after the Christian name, children bear the mother's surname (generally, the mother's father surname), followed by the father's surname(s)--also, as a rule, the father's father surname. So, even if women do keep their maiden names, to which they sometimes (but increasingly less so) add the husbands name, and they are an active part in the construction of their children full names, it is still the male lineage that prevails, and within one generation the female lineage tends to disappear.

Still, the Iberian pattern of full name formation, with its twin models in Spain and Portugal, seems to represent a special case in the European context. It has been argued that the Portuguese model as described was only consolidated under the Republic, in the early part of the 20th century--just on time to be exportable to the colonial possessions, such as Timor. Would this have been the case?

Let us bear in mind that, although there is not--to my knowledge--any systematic study of naming practices and rules in the various ethnic Timorese communities, the odd bits and pieces that are revealed in the archival material I was able to read, together with an indication by the author of a Tetum-Portuguese dictionary, suggest that the established practices would be considerably different (9). As a matter of fact, Luis Costa gives us a summary of Timorese/Tetum names, classifying them according to the fact they are used by male, female or both, and this classification holds true for first names and surnames alike. That is to say: in Tetum, you could have gender specific surnames.

Isn't this quite special? ... Not many people in Timor were able to speak Portuguese. I do not mean in Dili, or Baucau, sure there were many who spoke Portuguese ... there were schools where you learned the language ... And then those who served in the Portuguese army also learned some of the language ... Take for example Xiquito's father, he was "soldado de linha" in the Portuguese army and he still speaks some Portuguese ... But then the Indonesians came in 1975 and Portuguese was banned, was forbidden. Only one church in the whole country had permission to have a Sunday mass in Portuguese, that's all that was allowed. But they could do little to stop the Timorese from taking names in Portuguese. almost every Timorese got a name in Portuguese during the time the Indonesians were here, and that was the name we exhibited in school, or when we had to go to the hospital, or when we needed to address someone in the public administration ... that is the name that is written in our old identification documents ... because even without speaking Portuguese the Timorese chose to be known by Portuguese names just to make sure everybody knew we were not like any other "Indonesians", we were different ... We are different! We are Timorese!

"Baby Tom", the grandson of a close friend, is going to be baptised up in Dare. I borrow a 4WD and head to the road southbound from Dili, climbing up the mountain for a dozen kilometres or so, to arrive at Dare's church. The view over the capital city, with Atauro--and two Indonesian islands of Wetar and Alor on its flanks--on the background, is breathtaking, and reveals one vivid image of the sheer scope of transformations affecting this country over the quarter century of domination by the giant neighbour or as some would put it, of Javanese occupation: a city that hardly had 20,000 inhabitants (10) by the time of the Carnations Revolution in Portugal that stirred up the process of ending the colonial rule in 1975, had grown by the beginning of the current millennium into a vast urban agglomerate of nearly 200,000. And all this city can be seen from up here, in Dare, famous for its seminar and college dating back to the colonial period, where a sizeable part of the Timorese elite was educated, and which were later on used as a venue for talks between the fighting parts in the later years of Indonesian occupation. Dare houses a most famous NGO, and the presence of the Catholic Church is felt in many way, for the church has a multi-faced character and reaches out to people in several directions. That's why we have gathered here to celebrate Baby Tom's baptism by Father Lucio Norberto de Deus.

First, we witness the religious ritual in the church itself, around the water basin. Then we move to the priest's office, a small room on the left hand side of the church's entrance, to perform the registration of the this event. There I notice a couple of shelves filled with registration books, and my curiosity is suddenly awaken. Father Lucio explains to me that this neatly kept parochial archive has survived the stormy moments of fire and plunder that have destroyed so many other books and documents (like the fire that broke out in the Diocesis of Dili and reduced to ashes most of its content), and that its contents go back in time to the colonial period. Above all Father Lucio was so kind as to invite me to come back up again and explore leisurely the registration books of baptisms, marriages and burials for the parish of Dare.

The sheer amount of data available in those few shelves in Father Lucio's office just outside the church's main gate could not be systematically read. I was in no position to carry out a research into family reconstruction as I had practiced many years before in a totally different context. I could not devote more than a couple of afternoons to this task. A sampling procedure was necessary under the circumstances--and I opted to read all the entries in the baptismal records for the month of August in four different years:
1970 (during the Portuguese administration)   17 events
1980 (early Indonesian rule)                  62 events
1990 (consolidated Indonesian rule)           84 events
2003 (after Independence)                     14 events

The idea behind this choice was to obtain a glimpse of eventual contrasts between the time of Portuguese administration, when the Catholic Church commanded a very moderate influence in the territory, with subsequent moments under the Indonesian rule and after Independence, when the role of the said institution was undergoing deep transformations and social actors were finding new ways to express and align themselves.

Data related to 1970 reveals that those who were being baptised were mostly youngsters whom I have divided into three categories: little babies under one year of age (8 cases = 47%); boys and girls aged between 1 and 10 (2 cases = 12%); and those with ages between 10 and 14 (7 cases = 41%). There is no baptism of adults.

Those 17 children lead us to 14 couples of parents (there are cases of siblings, including twins) and 28 couples of grandparents (a grand total of 84 adults). All cases of baptised children bear "Portuguese" names--but this was not the rule in earlier-generations. In the parents generation, there is a 19 to 9 split between Portuguese and gentile names (and the latter are all in the families of the older children); in the generation of the grandparents, the split is 12 to 44, the vast majority having gentile names. This contrast suggests the existence of an articulation between baptism (or Catholic Church) and Portuguese naming, and a progression of this relation in the last phase of the colonial rule.

The formation of full names reveals an equilibrium between the twentieth century Portuguese model (first name plus surname from the parents), with 9 cases, and other forms of dealing with this issue: 6 children are given surnames from their godparents, and 2 other receive surnames without any link to either parents or godparents. It is as if the full name obeyed the same freedom of choice usually associated with decisions on first names--a case illustrated by the example of Joao Rego da Silva, born on March 5, 1958 and also called Mau Perca, the son of Lelo Bere and Soi Mau, paternal grandson of Mau Mali and Bui Rai, and maternal grandson of Lelo Bere and Oleca, who had Matilde Pereira de Jesus as his godmother, and a saint as godfather. His full name does not in itself reveal any relation to his close family or ritual family.

In 2003, taken here to symbolize a normal year after Independence, the number of cases is similar to that found in 1970, and just like in the time of the Portuguese colonial administration, baptism is a matter for children: 10 are aged less than one, and 4 between one and five years old. But in sharp contrast to the previous case, all the parents of the baptised children exhibit Portuguese names, as do the majority of the 52 identified grandparents: 35 individuals against 17 who maintain their gentile names (and no notice is given of the fact that they are still alive)

Both in 1980 and 1990 the situation seems to have been considerably distinct, starting by the fact that the number of baptisms was much higher. This is due to the fact that baptisms were not a children's issue, but involved all age groups in society. The books contain registers of baptisms of people aged from a few weeks to 64 years of age. In 1980, 20 out of 62 registered individuals who got baptised (32%) were aged 20 or more, whereas only 18 (21%) were under one. In 1990 the percentages for these categories are, respectively, 21% and 20%. These figures reveal that a substantial portion of those who came to the church for the ritual of baptism were not children, or youngsters --but really adults.

The formation of full names in those dates also seems to adjust to a more clear pattern, that of the adoption of godparents names (69% of the cases in 1980, 83% in 1990). The use of the individual's parents surnames only occurs 8 times (in 62 cases) and 4 times (in 84 cases), respectively.

In those years, documents do show how entire families came to the church to perform this complex, multi-layered ritual. Take this example that occurred on August 8, 1990. Domingos Sarmento Pereira, born on January 25, 1935 (aged 55), the son of Manuel and Sineta, paternal grandson of Vinte and Saraman, and maternal grandson of Mau Duau and Colelo, was baptised; his godfather was Antonio Sarmento Pereira (who gave him his surnames) and Elisa do Nascimento. The very same day, Domingas Carvalho Santos, born on May 13, 1940 (aged 50) took the holly waters; she was the daughter of Mau Liqui and Silequi, paternal granddaughter of Lacano and Bilequi, and maternal granddaughter of Lequi Mau and Lequi Mali. Her godparents were Paulo de Carvalho and Maria Pereira dos Santos, who both contributed with surnames to her full name. Next day, August 9, Domingos and Domingas got married in the church of Dare, and then their three children were baptised: Augusto Sarmento Soares (whose grandparents were Jose Rebelo and Domingas Sarmento Soares); Ana Costa Sarmento (godchild of Carlos and Guilhermina Costa Sarmento); and Lucia Ribeiro da Silva (her godparents were Joao Ribeiro Soares and Alda da Silva).

Reading this registers, as well as several others of a similar nature, the story of Nina and her family came straight to my mind: hers was not an odd case, but rather one in many instances of families who sought the umbrella of the Timorese Catholic Church, and performed rituals of integration such as baptism in a collective way (thus accounting for the fact that similar periods of time register a much greater number of cases in 1980 and 1990 than either before the Indonesian occupation or after Independence). To be sure: the ritual of baptism was accompanied by the adoption of a new name for all those who went through it, be they very young babies or elderly persons. In all instances, the new names were "Portuguese" names--at least in the sense of the anthroponyms chosen for first name and patronymics for surnames. The formation of full names--to the extent that it can be said to have shown a majority or mainstream pattern--distanced itself from the model used by the colonizers.

To substantiate the impression that "Portuguese names" actually dominated the scene, I decided to read through the index of anthroponyms registered in the baptismal record for the whole year of 1995 (that is, during Indonesian occupation). I came across an universe of 886 individuals, sharing a total of 431 names. This represents a ratio of almost two persons per name, a very low ratio that indicates the facility with which one single name could actually individualize its bearer; this is further stressed by the fact that 264 names occur but once, and only in 7 cases the same name is repeated more than 10 times. (11) All those who are more frequently used do belong to the standard Portuguese pool of names: Maria, Jose, Domingos, Antonio, Joao, Isabel, Domingas. That is, like the overwhelming majority of the names given to people who came to church in order to be baptised, these are names expressed in the forbidden language of the territory (and a language whose rudimentary bases were certainly not understood by most of those who were making use of one of its tools, the names of person).

Could it be that the institutional pressure of the priesthood was responsible for this choice of "Portuguese" names? Was it a "top-down" movement with origins in the clergy? This hypothesis--which cannot be altogether discarded at this stage--would seem to be odd, since one of the reasons many people point as a critical factor in the capaacity of the Timorese Catholic Church to expand its presence and strengthen its relationship with the population, moving from an organization which commanded the support of less than one in five persons in the late colonial period (curiously enough, some church leaders seem happy to downplay the social influence of their organization before 1975 only to underscore the vast progress made afterwards ...) to the advantageous situation in which the share of nominally Catholic Timorese at the end of the Indonesian rule was above 90%, was its ability to switch from the use of Portuguese to Tetum in the liturgy, and the accelerated formation of local priests who performed their role in the local languages (in sharp contrast to the attitude it had shown during the Japanese invasion in the 1940's, when the clergy was almost entirely composed of European priests most of whom fled from their flock). The current Bishop of Dili is widely regarded as a main force behind the drive to institutionalize Tetum as a language of Catholic liturgy, having himself been responsible for many translations and publication of basic religious leaflets or booklets accessible to non- Portuguese speakers. Actually, it is often quoted that the sole exception to the rule that imposed a prohibition of the public use of Portuguese after 1975 was one weekly Catholic Mass at the parish church of Santo Antonio de Lisboa de Motael, in Dili--and the Catholic Church seems to have been able to accommodate itself to the situation, and even to derive benefits from the way in which it organized the response to the Indonesian ban on the language it had been using ever since the first missionary had set foot on the island. Clearly, other factors will have to be considered in order to form a sharper picture of the social dynamic involved in this process.

My siblings and I have quite different life stories, you know ... Of course, there are those who died just after they were born, only a few days after coming they were gone, they were twin girls and did not get to be baptised. They are angels ... that is what is written on their tombs, angels who did not get a proper Christian name for they were not baptised ... Then there are Elisita and Abrao, the eldest ones, who have remained in Leomara, they lived with my parents until they got married and started their own family, and still live and toil the land up in the village. Both got married quite young, Elisita was fifteen, I think, she has had seven children but one passed away. I guess it will be not much longer when Tinita wants to get married herself, she is fourteen ... And Abrao got married when he was seventeen and his wife was sixteen, they have five children, also one passed away ... They all have their own houses up in Leomara. Kolo Telik, that is to say, Lauriana, my youngest daughter, also remained with my parents up in the mountains and she got married some years ago. She is only twenty and already has two beautiful girls.

My godparents brought me to Dili when I finished school in Leomara. you know there was only a few years to go to school and then most people had to work the land. But I came down to Dili to live with my godparents, Antonio and Catarina Alves, and I attended school all the way up to the last year, that is to say, I could have gone into the University and I may still consider it, the turmoil of those years after the Indonesians went back and destroyed so much in this country caused many problems to my godparents and they could not afford to pay for my studies anymore. But I would like to study and to have a nice job. Computers, that is what I'd love to work with ... Just like my brother Estelio ... My godparents had a stall in the market, first it was in Comoro, then they had one there and another one in Taibessi, they were doing pretty well, and I did help them in my hours off school, but now I have to work full time. But I still have hopes.And I have a boyfriend but we do not have the means yet to get married. You remember seeing Xiquito around?

Estelio and Jordio were also brought to live in Dili with their godparents to work for them, and both did just like I did, they went to school, only then Estelio was able to continue and go to the University, and Jordio became a mechanic and has been working for the UN and things ... He's really good at what he does, he has been invited to move with the UN when they leave ... But I do not think Jordio will ever leave Dili: he loves this place! Estelio has finished his degree at the university with those professors coming from Portugal, just like you have done, and is working with computers in a bank, his boss often comes here for dinner ... I have seen you and him sitting together, I just cannot remember his name. He also has a girlfriend from Oecussi, she works in the telephone company, she has studied also, so they do not seem to be in a hurry to get married and have children. Jordio is setting up his own house, he wants to get married. I believe you have seen Jordio, the other day he came in his motorbike with his girlfriend, yes, I am sure you have seen Jordio and Dina ... Her real name is Olandina, I believe, but everybody calls her Dina ... She is from Atauro ... and you see, they are a little different there ... Have you been to Atauro?

One hundred and forty one square kilometres, rising up to nine hundred and seventy seven meters above sea level.

Almost fifty kilometres of coast line, either of volcanic cliffs that dive steep into the transparent waters, without any beaches, or long beaches of fine, white sand that run into dry, poor corn fields.

Seven thousand inhabitants.

Five sucos.

Three different languages, plus Tetum, the common language of the country.

Two religions (on the surface of things): Catholics and Protestants, a vast majority for several decades. (12)

Twenty odd nautical miles to the north of Dili, or three hours on the Saturday ferry. Closer to Wetar and Alor, Indonesian islands with whom contacts remain stronger, than to mainland Timor-Leste.

Spared for the most part from the violence of 1999.

This fragile jewel, where you find nice woodcarvings and dried fish and silent gardens of coral and multi-coloured fish of all shapes and sizes, is Atauro.

As I listen to the story of Nina, Atauro is a presence in the background. When the rain is pouring intensely, Atauro disappears from view--but then it slowly resurfaces, a hazy hue of blue at first, becoming more and more present on the horizon, its colour turning darker, always keeping an air of dense, proud mystery to itself.

In Atauro my guide is Elisa, a young American volunteer living in the island for several months when we first met on a fishermen's boat crossing the strait. It is Elisa who guides me to Father Pedro from the Gereja Lokal Yerusalem, a Protestant unit in one of the sucos, a co-operative man who has spent, as we meet, 23 of his own 46 years as the main leader of this community and who is willing to open for me his Buku Tema'at (General Register) and discuss the names we can find there.

This Buku Tema'at registers, at regular (normally three years) intervals the "hearths" or "households" of the members of the religious community, allowing for instance to observe the initial conjugal unit and the way in which people move on to form and establish a new, independent household. My approach was limited to a survey of the register that covers the years 2000-2003, and I found there the names of 333 individuals in 73 different households. Each household has a family name (patronymic) which is common to all its members. In the 73 households there were 23 different family names to be found--and only one of them was identified by Father Pedro as an "Indonesian" name, the result of transmigration programs of the 1980's--and this, remember, in a small island which is supposed to keep closer links to Indonesia than most of the country, the historic presence of Protestant populations a sign of a proximity with Western Timor. All other 22 were identified as "Portuguese"--and in this case all these patronymics could well fit into a standard Portuguese naming system. This finding lends support to the hypothesis that they derive directly from the colonial settlers, given that their origin is clearly European. They may well have started to be used in the colonial era, when the protestant settlers first arrived in the island.

A slightly different story can be found in the case of first names. In this in stance, we find 120 masculine and 115 feminine names for the 333 people. That means a ratio of 1.4 individuals per name, a very high capacity of the first name to actually single out and individualize its bearer. Amongst the 120 masculine names, Father Pedro identified only 9 (7.5%) as "non-Portuguese"; in the case of feminine names, only 10 in 115 (8.7%) were said to be "non-Portuguese". The conclusion is clear: the vast majority of names used in this community were viewed by the people as being "Portuguese". Unlike the list of patronymics, the full list of first names contains a substantial number of cases --such as Esdras, Gileofas, Nislau, Obadias (masculine) and Buningas, Izajelia or Sofanias (feminine)--which are not present in the original European Portuguese. They are local creations, not colonial legacies.

Another motive of interest in the names used in a protestant community derives from the thesis, widely circulated among my informants in Dili and with ramification in some accepted wisdom about Protestant communities, that there would be a tendency to use "biblical" names, in part due to the influence of ceremonial readings from the Bible and the clergy in these societies. The small amount of data collected in Atauro does not lend support to this belief, and "biblical" names such as Abel, Salomao, Saul, Eva, Rakel do not stand out as more frequently used than other anthroponyms.

The general pattern of naming practices that the community of Father Pedro in Atauro has shown to me does not appear to be substantially different from the one I have found in other communities who do not share the religious affiliation of those Timorese, like the case of Dare, and thus I am led to suspect that the influence of institutional religion upon naming practices in Timor should not be overestimated. The reason for the choice of "Portuguese" names has to be looked elsewhere.

Xiquito! ... come along, boy ... how are you, I wasn't expecting to see you here today ... (they kiss and we shake hands the Timorese way). Not long ago we had talked about you, you must have your ears quite hot, haven't you? ... I am talking to Maun Rui about names ... my name and the names of other people ... and I am telling him that we are proud of having Portuguese names ... even people who can speak no sentence in Portuguese enjoy having Portuguese names ... don't you agree? ... must go and see if my service is required ... Why don't you sit here for a little and tell Maun Rui what you know about names?

And so he does.

Xiquito is Nina's boyfriend.

Xiquito is a Lorosae, i.e., his origins are in the eastern part of the territory (actually he comes from Tutuala, in the district of Lautem, close to the small island of Jako, one of the most amazingly beautiful spots in Timor-Leste), as op posed to Nina, who is a Loromunu (but I still did not know then, when I was sitting in the esplanade talking with Nina in early 2005, that this distinction would rise to prominence one year later and would fuel up to this day much talk on the topic of national identity and its apparent fragmentation). (13)

Xiquito is very often around in the esplanade on weekends, trying to use his free time to be near his beloved Nina while she works, and he has come to sit at my table, have a coke and chat a couple of times. (That's why I know a few things about Xiquito).

Xiquito is older than Nina by almost five years.

Xiquito has moved to Dili only after the Independence, full of hope in a new lifestyle, and for a long while he has found it difficult to secure a decent living. But now he has managed to engage in a new venture that may change his perspectives.

Xiquito has been enrolled in the Training School set up by the Government with the support of the Portuguese co-operation programme in Tibar, on the western outskirts of Dili. (14)

Xiquito is among a vast group of young adults with very basic schooling who are offered a four-month course to become better masons, electricians, plumbers, carpenters. They come from the four corners of Timor-Leste. They are of different backgrounds and age. They are the children of Babel Lorosae, the very apt name coined for this half-island by Luis Filipe Reis Thomaz, to signify their linguistic plurality. (15) They do not belong to the country's elite. They can, as a group, be taken to represent a cross-section of the Timorese population. And the headmaster of the training school is Pedro--a frequent guest of this very same esplanade, a friend I have met in Timor-Leste after having lost track of him, like so many others, when I had finished my university degree in Coimbra.

Xiquito and Pedro are going to open for me the doors of the training school, that is, to let me go over their register of students for the years 2002-2005, and to help me interpret what I find.

The number of students for whom data is made available totals 305. From this group, it is possible to know the year of birth for 178. A decision was thus made to look at those born after 1979 (considering that this would represent a date when the whole of the territory was under Indonesian actual administration), resulting in the selection of 105people. Then women were excluded by virtue of the very low number of cases (only 9). And so we got a group of 96 men born in Timor-Leste after 1979.

Mardojony Henry does not count as having a "Portuguese name", although his surname is Madeira. Firman Nelson Amaral is an ambiguous case: Firman could be easily classified as either Indonesian or gentile, or even "Portuguese" in the widest sense. Joni Martins would also elude a neat classification: the English origin is mixed together with a Portuguese spelling. In all, we may be speaking of half a dozen names in this ambiguous no-man's-land, or positively ascribed to a specific language other than the one we are considering. All the other names were indicated to me as being "Portuguese" without any shadow of a doubt. Those names present variations in relation to the canonical European Portuguese. Without any presumption to be systematic, let's consider several cases:

~ Nunes or Baptista, for instance, arefrequent European surnames--but in Timor they appear as a first name.

~ Carlito (a diminutive from Carlos) or Manecas or Nelito (both diminutives of Manuel), jump from casual, informalforms of nomination to full status first names.

~ Zaquiel is among those which can be regarded as an adulteration of (or merely as an evolution from) an original name, in this case Ezequiel. (The most striking example of this form of deviation I came across--in a quite different situation, as the person in question was working as a clerk in an office in town--was the case of a woman whose name had evolved from Imaculada--Immaculate, that is, without blemish or sin--to ... Maculada, the true opposite of the original!)

The list of cases could be extended if we were concerned with following the lead of ethno-linguists like Maria Jose Albarran and wished to throw some light on the evolution of some names from their European origin into their final Timorese form. That is not, however, the purpose of this essay. Rather, our attention can be diverted to a list of anthroponyms which Xiquito said, without a blink in his eye, that they were "Portuguese": Averio, Azitio, Eligio, Estrosio, Railando, Trfonio (the list is longer...). To my ears trained in European Portuguese they may have a familiar sound--but they are unknown in other Portuguese speaking countries, and it will be hard to find an ancestor in the canonical Portuguese for most, if not all, of the names in this list. Let's put things very sharply: these are names invented in Timor-Leste (languages are living entities.) and assumed by those who actually use them to be part of a large pool of names Xiquito considered as "Portuguese".

Since we had access to all students' full names, it became possible to observe the incidence of "Portuguese" names in this cross-section of the Timorese population which is supposed to be free of any religious (and perhaps even ethnic) bias that other sources we have used might have induced. Those 96 individuals shared a pool of 59 different surnames--only 6 of them being "non-Portuguese": Bere, Galosu, Lim, Obe, Poto, Yilman. One of these might be Indonesian (Yilman), one other is most likely from the Chinese community (Lim), the other four belong to gentile languages of Timor-Leste. Still, nine out of each ten family names used in Timor-Leste at large after the Indonesian invasion were regarded by those who took them as being "Portuguese names"

To speak the truth, Portuguese names exist in Timor for quite a while... Look, for instance, at our government: apart from the Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri who belongs to a family of Muslims who have settled in the territory for several generations and tend to keep--just like the Chinese do--their own characteristics as a special community, all others have Portuguese names, and already had those names before the Indonesian invasion in 1975: Ana Pessoa, Roque Rodrigues, Jose Ramos Horta, Rogerio Lobato ... Look at the name we gave to the airport: Nicolau Lobato, the brother of Rogerio who died fighting in the mountains. Those names existed at the time of the Portuguese rule. they were mostly given to those who were baptised, to those who lived in Dili and could go to the schools. Even Xanana had a Portuguese name before he chose the name that made him famous ... you know he is registered as Jose Alexandre Gusmao ... You see, a lot of the leaders in Timor have Portuguese names and they were amongst those who actually spoke Portuguese. The President of the Republic declared in 1975, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, read the Proclamation in Portuguese. No wonder they had Portuguese names.

But look at Xanana, now our President, for so long our leader in the mountains. even when he was imprisoned in Cipinang he was our leader ...: when he was in the mountains he chose his "war name" as Kay Rala, and that is a gentile name. The chief of our army, Taur Matan Ruak, that is, the "snake with two eyes" also dropped his other name, Jose Maria Vasconcelos, in favour of one expressed in one of the Timorese languages. In the time of the fight against the invaders, "war names" were chosen in gentile languages. It is curious: the guerrillas used as much as they could the Portuguese language in the documents they had to write, in their letters to each other, in order to make it difficult for the enemy to understand what was going on if they came across those documents ... but on the other hand, when they wanted to be accepted by the people in the villages, when they wanted to be seen as old fighters in the Timorese tradition of warfare, when they wanted to facilitate their integration and their daily life among the common people, they dropped their Portuguese names and picked up old fashioned, gentile names.

The Presidency of the Republic took upon itself, with the concourse of several other entities, the setting up of Resistencia Timorense--Arquivo & Museu. It is an important venture to keep the memories of the Resistance alive and underscore the importance it had in the shaping of national identity: Timor-Leste was born out of a Resistance struggle, this is inscribed in its genetic code, the new generations have to be made aware of this important element of their living past, the survivors of the hard times require adequate respect be paid to them, Xanana knows all that and is keen on this project. It aims at preserving material evidence of the Resistance, and traces of the history of the country made by those who contributed in so many different ways to its victorious achievements. A visit to this facility is a must for anyone who cares to understand the life of the Timorese and the reason for their being an independent nation.

By the time I last visited, a good, substantial archive had already been made available, and with the assistance of a team led by Jose Mattoso, it had been duly organised and catalogued. The Archive of the Resistance offers material evidence that corroborates Xiquito's assertion on the use of Portuguese as a working language by the guerrilla internal organization--a point that was also stressed by Taur Matan Ruak in an interview to the Portuguese review CamOes (in which he explains why the use of Portuguese rather than being considered as a colonial inheritance to be discarded by the new, independent Timor-Leste, was rather envisaged as a tool in the fight against the cultural hegemony of the invaders, or "a weapon to combat the malay language"). (16)

The printed catalogue of this institution mentions a number of those who have contributed with documents to be integrated in the collection, giving for almost all of them their official name, and their "war name". Here are but a few examples: Leandro Lobato/Grei Harana, Joao dos Santos/Sina Makassar, Antonio Soares/Tata Mailau, Joao Lay da Silva/Besi Mean (which actually means, in Mambai, "hot iron"), and many, many other, using languages as varied as galoli, makassae or fataluku. This is only one instance of a written, easily available source that offers support to this idea.

Before the opening of this facility I had already engaged the help of some students from UjVTL, as well as from Alvaro da Costa (aka Letribus jja'i Buti), a freedom fighter, in order to establish a list of correspondence between what I may call here "civilian" names and "war names". The "civilian" names make use of Portuguese, whereas the "war names" systematically revert to gentile languages.

It is curious to notice that, in the Timorese army that was established after Independence and which inherits part of the corps of guerrillas operating in the territory, not only the leader (Taur Matan Ruak), but a number of higher officers keep their "war names" as a reminder of their past in the Resistance: Lere Anan Timor (Tito dos Santos), Falur Latalaek, "the dove without grave" (Domingos da Costa). Of course, there are several more examples that could be quoted.

You have to go back in time, you know, and remember that Timor has a long tradition of warfare ... Just go outside Dili to a village or Tutuala, where I come from, and you will come into a very different world, much closer to what was the Timorese way of life for centuries. In those days the liurai, the political and military leaders, used to adopt war names, to choose one name different from the one they used everyday to identify them as war leaders. The memory of those times is very powerful. there are so many people in the villages that still recognize the power of old liurai and their descendents. I witnessed this as I lived in Tutuala until after the Independence, I only came to Dili after Xanana proclaimed our Independence on May 20, 2002 ... and of course the Resistance made all it could to establish deep bonds between their own action and the idea of continuing old struggles that the people knew well. I remember contacting the men in the Falintil before the referendum of 1999 and I remember that they all had gentile names ... Adopting "war names" in the same way that liurai used to do was a means to speak to all the people and tell them "we are continuing in the line of our forefathers" ... "we are the new heirs of their teachings" ... even when they were not country people and were born or raised up in Dili. Those names, after all, were names that everybody was familiar With ... names that evoked the past and the power of the dead--right when the struggle for a better future was under way.

What may come as surprise to you now is that after we have gained Independence and got rid of the invaders, after we have established our sovereignty, some of our leaders have come down from the mountains or from abroad, some from prison, and they have started new families: Xanana, our President, Taur Matan Ruak, the Chief of the Army, Francisco Guterres Lu Olo, the speaker of Parliament and many others. And they have had to choose names for their new children. Xanana married an Australian wife and their sons are Alexandre, Daniel and Kay Olo Gusmao (two of them are similar in Portuguese and in English, the other one is a gentile Timorese name). Taur and his wife have a daughter called Lola and a boy Taur Junior; and Francisco Guterres son is called after his father's gentile: Lu Olo Guterres ... That's to say: it seems that some people are now choosing again gentile names. Isn't this curious?

Nina is arriving with a hot pot of octopus rice, a bowl of budu, and some aimanas. My appetite is by now quite ferocious. I have heard so much through this afternoon and evening, I must try to register it all in my memory and rush home to fill my notebook. But now time has come to savour my dinner. Xiquito declines my invitation to share my food and prefers to move back behind the bar and talk to his friends. Nina is busy attending some other patrons. None of my friends has come tonight.

I sit alone at my table on the edge of the beach.

I hear the music of the small waves breaking nearby.

I look at the sky and see plenty of stars: the clouds have been brushed away and this is not full moon.

Atauro cannot be seen in the distance where I know it sits.

I shall have to come back and contemplate all the beauty of what I have learned today.


Some months have gone by. It is again a mid-week day, I have finished my work a little earlier than usual, took my bike and rode all the way to Kristurrei, and headed back to my favourite esplanade. At this hour it is still empty, too early for the happy hour or dinner, so I am free to choose where to sit and take a table on the edge of the beach, ask Guio (or was it Rosa? the twin sisters are difficult to tell...)for my usual tonic water, and let myself be involved in the warm, lazy atmosphere of the place, watching Atauro change yet again its tone of blue as the sun slowly moves in its westward trajectory like if it was going to dive in the ocean at the far end of Dili bay, and the changing direction and intensity of its rays keep in a seemingly perpetual motion the colours of the clouds, the sky, the water ...

Some months have gone by since the day I had, in this very same place, a long conversation with Nina, and later with Xiquito. In this interval, I had many other conversations on the subject of names and naming practices in Timor-Leste. I have been up to Dare to look into the church's registers. I have constructed family trees of some of those people who showed themselves willing to confide some of their life stories to me. I went across the channel to Atauro in pursuit of the protestant communities and had the good chance to be allowed to read one important source of historical and sociological information in one of them. I visited the Resistencia Nacional--Arquivo & Museu in search of data on the names of those who have been involved in the Resistance, and with the help of some students from UNTL (Abrao, Aires, Epi, Mino, Vasco, ...--thank you boys!) and also from an old member of the "military front", I drew maps bringing together "Christian/Portuguese" names, "gentile" names, "war" names--some of the different names the guerrillas assumed in distinct circumstances. I travelled to Tibar, to the training school where Xiquito was enrolled together with hundreds of other Timoresefrom all corners of the country (that is to say, from areas where different languages are spoken), whose doors--and enrolment listings--were opened to me by my old friend Pedro, now the headmaster of the school. And I had let all those pieces of information, those precious little stones which I believed could be brought together to form a mosaic, float freely ...

Now I could start to assemble the various bits and pieces and try to give them a shape--certainly not as neat and detailed an image as if I had had the means for a full, professional research into those and other sources. This would not be an image painted with fine brushes--it would have the rough, approximative aspect that mosaics are known for. It would certainly have the imprint of the deep, strong feelings the subject had engraved in my mind and of the light that my European eyes coming from a former colonial power (but where I had been engaged in anti-colonialist struggles) were now seeing.

The new light was coming hand in hand with a sensation of surprise due to theforce of the links between the Timorese and what they regarded as Portuguese --at least as this was voiced and made ostensible--and this must be readily acknowledged: in fact, Timor-Leste had been, in the words of a colonial administrator of the 1930's, "a colony without colonizers" (Captain Armando Pinto Correia). (17) By 1970 the census reveals that only about 300 European Portuguese (apart from the military contingent that was regularly replaced) had settled in the colony--a few in the hinterland as farmers, most in Dili and other cities and outposts in the minute public administration and services. (18) The long years since the first Portuguese had setfoot in the island (19) (sometime after 1510, maybe 1512), going after the sandalwood trade with China that was at least two centuries old by then, and the reputed "permanent" presence of the colonial power (actually only religious orders seem to have been there until the early 18th century, when the Portuguese moved their local outpost from Lfau--where Dampier had met, in the late years of the 17th century only three Europeans--to Dili), have been combined with the acknowledged strategy of domination based on the manipulation of internal strife and struggling between warring factions, lasting well into the 20th century. Tanja Hohe (20) has shown in great detail how successive outside powers had "negotiated" their rule with the previously established local political agents whose legitimate claim to power defied the memory of the living. This all amounted to a perception, or a willingness to regard the colonial legacy as a very thin layer covering part of the Timorese elite, but stretching not far off the limits of its direct influence. Even the alleged case of bigger success--the establishment of the Catholic church--would be touching perhaps 15% of the population by 1975. And the evidence before my eyes was suggesting precisely a very significant (and for me, quite unexpected) role of the colonial heritage in shaping the self-image of the Timorese

What could better serve the purpose of giving free reins to my accumulated thoughts, letting loose those bits and pieces of evidence gathered with loving care over many informal occasions, allowing the electric impulses that run through our brain to make their computational job without restrictions, than to come and sit all alone in this esplanade where I feel at home, in a fine warm evening, sipping my tonic water, gazing out at Atauro and the ocean, all the time in the world to be devoted to this adventure. Va pensiero, sull'ali dorate ...

The last generations of Timor-Leste have all lived through the most traumatic experiences. During the War of the Pacific, the island was taken by Australians in a move destined to protect their northern shores from Japanese attacks--but these came in using brutal force (in 1941) and stayed for a short but deadly period of four years. Thirty years later, a brief and low intensity civil war which lasted for few weeks was followed by the invasion and occupation by Indonesian forces: first entered the military in December 1975, then civilians followed suit, to claim most posts in the local administration, to be re-settled in the countryside, to take over control of local wealth. Credible international organizations estimate that in the period 1976-1980, the Timorese population was reduced from its probable 700,000 to less than half a million, that is: two hundred thousand dead due to executions, direct fighting, provoked famine (or over one quarter of the entire population). Timor-Leste was on the side of the Cold War where this record could escape the ominous label of a crime against Humanity, although it does stand the comparison to the Killing Fields of Cambodja (the Khmer Rouge regime is responsible for perhaps 1.7 million deaths in the years 1975-1979, a figure that amounts to approximately one quarter of the entire population of 7 million people) and thus did not trigger any intervention that would stop the genocide. And in 1999, after a massive vote (in a UN supervised referendum) in favour of independence, which won the ballot on a 4 to 1 ratio, the Timorese witnessed a rampage of devastation, which left several thousands of dead, and an estimated three quarters of the infrastructures of the country brought to the ground. It is on this scorched earth that the Timorese are now proudly building up an Independent Democratic State, which has awakened my curiosity and solidarity. Like that of so many Portuguese and other people from all around the World whom I met in the first Independent country of the Third Millenium

The magnitude of the challenge laid before the Timorese society back in 1975 is difficult to measure or simply describe in its brutal character, but it implied, among others: a military invasion and aggression that was responsible for wiping out a substantial part of its population; a civilian invasion that offered olive branches with the one hand--in the form of roads, schools and hospitals so badly overlooked by the Portuguese colonialists (those items that so often appear in statistics as supposedly undisputable evidence of the inroads of "development" even if this progress is marred by countless cadavers)--while the other hand plundered the natural resources such as the tropical forests (a process in which companies run by top military officers had a prominent role). It did bring along a religion which had already a few followers in the territory, and which would never move behind a feeble acceptance (just watch the "Indonesian"--Muslim--cemetery in Dili, with its ample space, good conditions, neat organization, but mostly empty of graves, and the impressive contrast it offers with Santa Cruz cemetery across the road, (over)crowded with graves in a most chaotic fashion, or the Xina Rate, a well kept and densely occupied cemetery belonging to the tiny Chinese community a mile away). It did bring along a language--Bahasa Indonesia--imposed as a language of culture and in the public administration (and it did bring the prohibition of Portuguese, thus setting the basis for a situation I have called "plurilinguism with rivalry", that is, a situation in which languages spoken tend to be not complementary but rather mutually exclusive, such as the case with Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia).

The combined forces of violence and extermination, of appeals to conversion and offers of little bits of solace, and the imposition of frames of reference for daily life common to other parts of the Indonesian constellation all shared the aim of promoting the assimilation and erasing the distinctive traits of the people of Timor-Leste. To no avail.

The Timorese from the eastern part of the island responded with a clear strategy of resistance, taking advantage of a myriad of opportunities they could find to oppose assimilation and reaffirm their autonomous identity. The forms used to pursue this goal were, for sure, extremely varied, and they played a dialectical game with the invaders' structure of power.

One aspect of the Republic of Indonesia that was set up at the time of the proclamation of Independence in August 1945, and survived the change of regime in 1965, pertains to the nature of the relations between the state and religion. Indonesia, with its nearly 240 million inhabitants, is the fourth most populous country in the world. It is also the largest Muslim country, since about 85% of its population adhere to Islam. But the philosophical principles which govern this republic--the Pancasila--allow the cult of monotheist religions, recognizing Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Christianism (both the Catholic and the Protestant branches). (21) The other side of this coin is the virtual obligation of all citizens to be identified by their religion--what, for example, shows up in population censuses and which had some weight in the practical forms adopted by the Timorese to cling to their own identity and oppose the kind of integration that was being proposed (should we rather say: imposed). At the end of the day, to be "Christian" was a legal form of existence (whereas "animism" or a similarly designed form of belief would not)--and the history of permanent quarrels between the local hierarchy of the Catholic Church and the higher authorities, including the papal nuncio in Jakarta, are a symbol that the exercise of this legal form of being "Indonesian" could not be equated with assimilation and de-structuration of distinctiveness.

The "Christian" opportunity was adopted in Timor-Leste, many informants establishing a close link with the organization of a population census by the new Indonesian administration in the early 1980's. In a related mode, naming practices --which have made such an impact on my perception of Timorese identity --and their plastic capacity to adapt to different situations, assume a prominent and symbolic role: what bigger rebuttal of the invaders' claim to incorporation into a common fatherland than a stubborn refusal to use their names and follow the canon, and to revert to the opposite attitude consisting of reinvigorating a stream that began slowly to grow until it was all over the place, and to use names whose origin was a clear, undeniable factor of differentiation--Portuguese names. In the difficult conditions of isolation from the outside world (Timor-Leste was for a long while shut off from contacts with the outside, including foreigners being denied the right to visit), they have turned the problem of a small pool of locally known Portuguese names on its head: they have invented new names which they regarded as equal to those the colonialists had brought along from Europe, sometimes already modified by human use on the long journey. I came to regard the spread of naming practices that have re-shaped the onomastic landscape of Timor-Leste as a living image of one people who did not hesitate to manipulate the colonial heritage in order to maintain--in a context of great difficulty and marked difference from the colonial rule--their threatened identity. I might add: this practice did not only contribute to the maintenance of a pre-existent phenomenon, but to the forging of a new face for their identity.

Two factors seem to converge on this phenomenon: on the one hand, there is a visible hand in the form of those who performed the rituals by virtue of which the Timorese would come to adopt a new name, different from the one they carried since the day they were born (and which would nevertheless be kept in use in certain social circles of proximity). Catholic priests, for sure. But also Protestant clergymen. Maybe even officers of the civil registration. To an extent, they made sure that the option being taken by those who performed the rituals kept them in side the boundaries of the Indonesian legal system. It is difficult to escape the fact that an institutional framework existed that both accepted (the Indonesians) and promoted (the Timorese clergymen) the religious rituals--and that there was a close connection (although I would not argue for a complete overlapping of the two) between baptism and the adoption of "Portuguese names". A facilitating institutional frame was thus in place. However, the wide social scope of this practice, and the inventiveness revealed in the various listings I was able to draw, strongly suggests that a spontaneous element (or "down-up", if you wish) was also present. How else could one explain the inventiveness revealed by the an throponyms pool but for its spontaneous nature? This is the critical link between naming practices and "identity" which could hardly be seen to exist if the described praxis was totally controlled, or imposed in a top-down fashion, by the institutional facilitators

Carlo Ginzburg has written wise words on the significance of the name--"the element that distinguishes an individual from any other in all known societies" --and naming practices: "The lines that converge on a name and those who depart from the same, as sort of cobweb's filaments, offer the observer the graphic image of the social fabric in which the individual is inscribed". (22) That's to say: the names of people are powerful tools to analyse their situation inasmuch as they are a fundamental component of their own identity, both at an individual and at a shared, collective level--each of those levels being dependent on the existence of the other to allow the emergence of sense. The observations I have made in the field have permitted a glimpse at the evolution of naming practices over a period of a quarter century, or one generation--a period that was enough to re-draw in a dramatic, deep and extensive way the onomastic map of an en tire country.

The social behaviour of the Timorese that we have been considering in the lines above seems to have one point in common with other phenomena where the hand of fashion can be discerned: as a matter of fact, the choice of names, in Timor as (for example) in France, shows a marked variation along the time, at least as far as the generations who lived under Indonesian rule are concerned. But unlike France ("where fashion has governed the choice of first names for almost a century"), (23) the most interesting phenomena of fashion in our case, as opposed to the durkheimian stance of scholars like Philippe Besnard, are not "those where the individual has no awareness of having the same preferences or making the same choices as other people, choosing a first name for one's child being one such case". In the case of Timor-Leste, and according to the argument I have been elaborating, it is the awareness of the political implications (in the widest sense) of naming practices that is so striking

Looking at Atauro across the strait, I feel an immense distance--far superior to the 14,000 kilometres that separate me from my native Portugal--towards the benches of the Universidade de Coimbra, where my metier d'historien was first raised and nurtured;, and I feel the cloisters of Oxford University and its broad horizons that took me into open worlds and less segmented academic perspectives, lurking behind my eyes. The historical quest, though, remains a powerful engine in my approach to the living experience of these months of residence in Dili in 2005. It is still the historian's craft, or the bite of Clio's bug, that seem to carry the day: how was this specific form of social behaviour possible in Timor-Leste at the time of the Indonesian occupation?

I do share George Steiner's concept that "the use of 'if', a conditional sentence, expresses rejection of the brutish, unavoidable course of events, or the despotism of facts". (24) Regardless of the necessity of eventually returning to the "despotism of facts", whatever epistemological status we may ascribe to such an expression, counterfactual exercises possess heuristic virtues that are perhaps useful to exploit in this context. And time is no problem in this lazy afternoon by the ocean ... Long gone are the days when New Economic History first introduced formal counterfactual logic and explicitly used it in historical explanation --a methodological development I struggled to discuss with my first university students at the Faculty of Economics in Porto in the late 1970s (25). The success of counter factuals in History has reached other fields of inquest and the realm of the wider public interest, as the success of What If books (Robert Cowley, Jeremy Black), with contributions by reputed academics has shown in recent times. Or indeed Philip Roth's acclaimed novel The Plot Against America. (26) Countefactuals seem worth giving it a (cautious) try. (27) So, why not try and imagine different courses of action in Timor-Leste over the last half century--courses that have not been taken but were clearly situated within the realm of possibilities?

Back in 1959 the colonial government in Dili was able to control and repress a rebellion that broke out in Viqueque without much being known of this outside the island. Actually, only in recent times has this revolt caught the eye of historians and social scientists. (28) The source of the revolt seems to be traceable to a group of Indonesian refugees who had settled in the eastern part of Timor fleeing possible repression of their political activities associated with movements to break the national unity and foster the claims of eastern Indonesian populations. Between 1959 and 1974, that is, the year in which the Portuguese Carnation Revolution opened up the stage for the organization of public opinion in Timor-Leste, there seems to have existed a hiatus, and no visible connection between the historical events and the newly formed organizations can easily be traced--even if some claim the roots of anti-colonialism to go back to the Viqueuqe uprising.

We can posit as our first hypothesis that the ideas of Mohammad Yamin, an Indonesian nationalist historian who stood for the extension of sovereignty of the new Republic over Portuguese Timor would have conquered the ear of a few followers in the inner circle around President Sukarno, in the second half of the 1950s. And Sukarno, displaying a strategic modicum of patience that seems to have eluded the instigators of the Viqueque uprising, would have allocated a few resources to the promotion and nurturing of an anti-colonialist movement in its dwarf neighbour, promoting the vision of integration of the half-island into the new Republic of Indonesia as the re-establishment of a pre-colonial, centuries old order. Who had divided up the island in two pieces but the colonizers? Who had raised frontiers where formerly there was freedom of circulation if not the European powers? As the sentiment of common interest and shared history gained ground among a local elite who started to anticipate upcoming benefits from the strong international affirmation of the new country (the Non-Aligned Movement, the Conference of Bandung, ...), while the Portuguese administration was struggling to maintain a status quo and utterly unable to show any signs of a development policy in a small, poor, far away territory (around 1960, the Governor (29) was sending letters to Lisbon complaining that the promised equipment and funds to repair damages caused by the Japanese during the Pacific War were lagging behind. and when asked to provide the central administration with actual projects for a few infrastructures he was forced to admit there was not a single engineer in the territory who could be entrusted with its elaboration), Sukarno would invade the territory on January 1, 1960, greeted as a liberator by large sectors of the population, and supported by a phalanx of freedom fighters.

The parallelism with the events that took place in Goa, Damao and Diu, the "Portuguese State of India", incorporated into the Indian Union under Nehru, is not to be missed. What major, structural differences can we claim to have existed between those two Portuguese territories in the Indian Ocean? Which differences marked their situation at the opening of the 1960s? All we know is that Goa--the Rome of the Orient, so powerful the influence of the Catholic Church was meant to be--keeps nowadays the Portuguese language as a venerable ruin (much like Dutch in Indonesia) for touristic purposes, alongside other remains of a distant and buried past.

What if Sukarno, in the midst of the turmoil that was consuming Indonesia in the mid-1960s (and in which he would eventually sink and perish ...) would have--for reasons that address much more internal equilibria and the balance of forces within a powerful army thirsty to enlarge its realm of influence than the defence of those revolutionary principles which were being used to provide rhetorical justification--promoted a demonstration of his determination and muscle, combining the support to street demonstrations in Dili and other places in Portuguese Timor with an exhibition of military might on land, on sea, and in the air next to its borders? What if Portugal was to respond to such an initiative with an attempt to save its face, selling out--at least in the short run--its soul? What if Portugal would then accept an effective, albeit discreet, tutelage of the colony by Indonesia, perhaps more interested in keeping doors open to the Western powers than actually seizing a poor, small territory that posed no threat?

Does it seem to the reader that I have navigated northwards to the Southern China Sea and have drunk from the experience of Macau? Again, it would not be off my point which is precisely this: why did not Timor follow a path similar to Macau, another dwarf next to a mighty neighbour who boosted anticolonialist rhetoric? Macau, it should be recalled, became one "special zone" of the People's Republic of China in December 1999, after years of negotiations aimed at securing Portuguese interest--and its population never took up Portuguese as a "political" language. As Macau becomes the world capital for gambling with its huge Casinos, the sound of Portuguese hardly echoes in its streets.

Timor. Goa. Macau. Three Portuguese territories in the Asian space. Three different forms to solve the colonial issue and to reshape the colonial heritage in the new emerging forms of life. Three different outcomes in what regards the relationships between these territories in the post-colonial era and the former colonial power. Three substantially different lives for the Portuguese language and for the way in which it does participate in the complex identity structures of each one of those peoples. The question remains: why?

To go back to the argument I was spelling out before engaging in this counterfactual exercise, what seems to be clear is that the social processes under consideration require for a full grasp of their ontology that historical contingency be taken into account. What has happened did happen in a situation where other outcomes were possible or even likely. Remember T. S. Eliot?
   What might have been is an abstraction
   remaining a perpetual possibility
   only in a world of speculation.
   What might have been and what has been
   point to one end, which is always present

   ("Burnt Norton", I: 6-10, in Four Quartets)

It is therefore the human agency, the consideration of the plurality of dimensions encapsulated in any given experimentum mundi that lies at the heart of History and vindicates its raison d'etre, that must be summoned into our presence to allow a full understanding of the processes by which one people constructs, often with scarce materials and even debris from other times, all re-woven together in a new configuration, what is a complex, dynamic identity. (30)

I have moved away from History and navigated the vast ocean of Social Sciences since that was a fundamental condition to construct a "thick description" (Clifford Geertz) and to lay solid foundations for any attempt at gaining an in sight into the identity the Timorese forged for themselves, and its complex structure, a phenomenon akin to Mauss' "phenomene social total". (31) After completing the voyage my scarce means allowed, and limited by what my scientific imagination and curiosity made possible, I am now returning back to History and its inherent notion of contingency, to the vast field of human agency overpowering the determination of "objective" conditions. Using other words: I am returning to the notion of freedom as a constructive force in surpassing any class, gender, political (so heavy in the case under consideration), ethnic or other single-issue (so often read in deterministic ways) explanation for what are historically defined complex phenomena. The eye of Chronos remains wide open, presiding over the unfolding of socially dynamic processes.

Atauro is now ultramarine blue and violet, hues on the most sombre side of the spectrum. In the tropics, the transition from day time with the last rays of sun inundating the skies, into dark night, is very sudden, and dusk all but a brief moment. The island will soon fade under the mantle of the stars--unless there will be full moon tonight, and then Atauro will remain a sleepy, ghostly presence on the horizon, not a single sparkle of light to be seen on it. I am certainly grasping the last moments of natural daylight as I come to realize a couple of hours must have passed while I was sitting on the edge of the beach sipping tonic water, immersed in my mental voyage, my wandering into distant pasts and recent encounters, conversations, readings, dominated by the plays of my memories. As Shakespeare wrote, "The genius and the mortal instruments are then in council, and the state of man, like to a little kingdom, suffers then the nature of an insurrection" (Julius Caesar, II, i)

The change of atmosphere that the abrupt fall of night brings about slowly awakens me to the surrounding reality: a few people have arrived for a drink or dinner, Rosa (or is it Guio? I shall never be able to tell ...) and her fellows Aida, Ana, Anita, Beba, Reka, are getting ready to attend the newcomers and they walk up and down along the table's path. I must start thinking what am I going to order for my own dinner. Who shall come up to me this evening, awakening me for good, asking for my choice of food?

Have I come closer to making sense of my disparate memories, all those bits and pieces that floated freely in my mind, sometimes clashing as if fighting a battle, some other times moving close together as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fitting together? Is the mosaic that I have been building an approximate picture of the experimentum mundi of this people who is offering me a most gratifying welcome into their land, their history, their lives? Did I move a step closer to understanding the inner strength of this people who has opened so many windows for me to gaze into its identity and worldviews, and challenged many prejudices that my previous lack of experience with post-colonial situations had kept intact, as if my anti-colonialist involvement in the distant past of my youth was still dominating my horizon? Have I been capable of manipulating both the theoretical frameworks I learned so long ago and the empirical data that is glued to my everyday life experiences in this country over the last months, the curiosity and attention devoted to conversations entertained in a most casual way, in such a way as to provide my potential readers with a moving story of how a poor, isolated, repressed people was capable of using scarce symbolic resources to oppose a vast programme of assimilation and restate, in a configuration that used old features invested with new meanings, their willingness to maintain their autonomous identity? Are my references to actual historical events solid enough to ground my speculations? Is this story over, that is, frozen for the new generation to reproduce, and thus reified, or is it open to new searches and innovative moves that better respond to the moving conditions brought about by Independence? Is the social dimension of naming practicesfully grasped and its spontaneous nature and wide acceptance well balanced with the institutional framework that provides a means for it to be integrated into wider contexts of meaning? And the leads that I have followed into registers so carefully and lovingly kept: do they make justice to the outstanding scope of the social dynamics I have been confronted with pushing me into wandering like an albatross, wondering in awe and astonishment, meditating, pausing, marvelling? Will I ever convey to my reader what has gained some shape inside my mind in these thunderous moments? I remain absorbed in the inner play of these thoughts as the night falls over Dili bay, as dinner time approaches and with it the esplanade where I sit in a table by the edge of the beach sipping my tonic water is getting busy with patrons.

The sound of voices in the esplanade is gradually replacing the sounds of silence I was immersed into, and they are now getting louder, I feel pulled back from my digressions into the chair in which I sit on the edge of the beach, it is about time to wrap up my thoughts and come down to earth and to the humid heat of an early night in Dili, and to the basic needs of food and drink. The voices in the background are quite undistinctive, none of my friends has actually arrived, there is no particular conversation in a higher tone calling the attention. And then something familiar reaches my ears, a joyous voice I have not heard for some time now, and it takes no more than a fraction of a second for me to put a name to this voice: Nina. It is Nina's voice. It is Nina who is calling me. It is Nina who is coming up in my direction, Nina whom I have not seen maybe for a few weeks. Tonight Nina's voice seems to have a special overtone of joy, and I feel happy Nina is coming my way to take my orders for dinner.

Maun Rui! ... how nice to see you here today ... long time you had not come ... and I have great news I wish to share with you ... very exciting news indeed: Xiquito and I are getting married! Yes, we are getting married ... you know, Xiquito finished his training course in Tibar's school, he's now a certified carpenter, and he landed himself a nice job with that Portuguese company that is doing a lot of building in Timor. It is very nice that Xiquito has got this job and I have my job and so we can get married. It did not take all those things that used to be involved in marriage like the barlaque which my brother had to pay to his bride's families in the village ... here in Dili we do not always go by all those traditions and we can set up our own household with our jobs. Our wedding will be next month, and you must come, of course you must come to our wedding. You know, we have to get married next month because I am pregnant. yes I am going to have a baby. Oh, I am so happy ... Look at my age!... my sisters who remained in Leomara are both married, even the young one she is married for some time now. I have nieces who will soon marry for sure. And I am going to have this baby by Xiquito. it will be just before the end of the year, maybe it will come on Christmas day, who knows? I have been thinking a lot about my baby these days. still do not know whether it will be a boy or a girl. I don't know about Xiquito, really don't, but I sure would rather have a boy, you know. and I have thought about our conversation about names, you remember that, because all babies must have their own name, it is important that babies have their own name when they are born and parents must know in advance what name they will give. Of course my son. I hope it will be a boy. will have his mother surname which is Alves, you know, and also Sousa de Almeida, that is Xiquito's surname, his father surname, because he is the son of both of us and it is nice that he carries the name of both his father and his mother, isn't it? Not like me, I carry the surname of my godparents ... But then I think that now that we have gained our independence we do not need Portuguese names anymore. we are now free and we can go back to using our old, gentile names, like in the time of my grandparents. or even the time when my parents were young. at least I like our ancient names for first names. So I thought I would like you to help me chose a name for my boy, that is, I would like to ask if you like this one: Kay Rala Alves Sousa de Almeida?

Rui Graca Feijo

Centro de Ciencias Sociais

Universidade de Coimbra

(1) The research embodied in the present essay was carried out in Timor-Leste during my residence in the territory between January 2005 and March 2006. The research was not supported by any institution, and resulted from my own private curiosity and emotional investment in the recent history of Timor-Leste while I was teaching at the Universidade Nacional de Timor-Leste, and later working as UN sponsored advisor to the Presidency of the Republic. The last revision of this essay for publication, however, was done while I was benefitting from FCT grant SFRH/BPD/7l238/20l0.The idea of using names and naming practices as a means to go deeper into the culture and identity of the Timorese was first discussed with Joao de Pina Cabral, and later in the context of the conference "Nomes e Pessoas: Genero, Classe e Etnicidade na Complexidade Identitaria" (Lisbon, ICS, September 2006). A number of contributions to that debate were later published in two separate volumes: in the book edited by Joao de Pina Cabral and Susana de Matos Viegas, Nomes: Qenero, Etnicidade, Familia (Coimbra: Almedina, 2007) and in a special volume of Etnografica 12 (1) 2008 prepared by the same anthropologists, entitled Outros Nomes, Historias Cruzadas: os nomes de pessoa em Portugues, which contains my own paper "Lingua, nome e identidade concorrencial: o caso de Timor-Leste" (pp. 143-172). I invite the interested reader to refer to those volumes and my own paper for further discussion and fuller bibliographical references. Another essay especially prepared to be presented in a conference in Dili entitled "Os nomes dos Timorenses: Resistencia a Indonesia e Construcao de Identidade nacional" can be read in Michael Leach, Nuno Canas Mendes, Antero B. da Silva, Alarico da Costa Ximenes and Bob Boughton, eds., Hatene kona ba/ Compreender/Understanding/Mentegerti Timor-Leste (Dili: Timor-Leste Studies Association, 2010), 73-78. More recently I published "'Traducao' e 'Falsos Amigos': questoes em torno dos 'nomes portugueses' em Timor-Leste" in Kelly C. Silva & Lucio Sousa (eds), Ita Maun Alin, o Livro do Irmao Mais Novo: Afinidades antropologicas em torno de Timor-Leste, (Lisboa: Colibri, 2011).

(2) Jorge Semprun, Adieu, vive clarte... (Paris: Gallimard, 1998), 236. This sentence translates roughly as follows: "What is essential cannot be learned: it must be invented'.

(3) Nina and Xiquito are fictional characters. They exist only in my narrative, but their features and the stories they tell are real in the sense that they pertain to flesh and bone Timorese who have been stripped of their individuality and condensed into these two personae. Since this essay is about names and naming practices, it should be stressed that I have used for these fictional characters and for Nina's family only names that I have come across in Timor-Leste (thus maintaining myself out of the process of invention which I argue does characterize the Timorese experience with Portuguese names). All other people mentioned in this text are real persons and their names correspond to those they actually use.

(4) Manuela Carneiro da Cunha (University of Chicago), in her introductory remarks to the Conference Nomes e Pessoas: Cenero, Etnicidade e Classe, held in Lisbon in September 2006 under the auspices of the Instituto de Ciencias Sociais, made a point of distinguishing between "open" and "closed" pools of names. Unfortunately, her contribution, which is taken up in some papers has not been published in either of the proceedings from the conference.

(5) See Maria Jose Albarran de Carvalho, "Panorama Linguistico de Timor--identidade regional, nacional e pessoal", Camoes 14 (2001): 67-79; and "Timor Lorosa'e e direccoes desviantes do Portugues conservado/incompletamente adquirido na zona--contributos para a aprendizagem da lingua oficial", n.d., roneo.

(6) George Weber, "The World's 10 most influential Languages" accessed at http://www.

(7) See, in the formal context of a novel, a reflection on the Spanish system in Jorge Semprun, L'Algarabie (Paris: Fayard, 1981).

(8) I refer the reader to the article by Nuno Goncalo Monteiro in the special issue of Etnografica 12 (1) 2008: 45-58, for a full discussion of this problem ("Os nomes de familia em Portugal: uma breve perspective historica").

(9) Luis Costa, Dicionario de Tetum-Portugues, 2nd ed. (Lisboa: Edicoes Colibri/Instituto Camoes, 2001).

(10) Luis Filipe Reis Thomaz, De Ceuta a Timor (Lisboa: Difel, 1994) 672-673.

(11) For comparative purposes, see Jacques Dupaquier, A. Bideau and M.-E. Ducreux, eds., Le Prenom. Mode et Histoire (Paris: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 1984). See also Robert Rowland's paper in Etnografca's special issue ("Praticas de nomeacao em Portugal durante a Epoca Moderna: ensaio de aproximacao"), 17-43; Rui Graca Feijo, "Um exercicio sobre nomes" Boletin de la Asociacion de Demografia Historica 5 (i) 1987: 50-63.

(12) See Frederic Durand, Chatolicisme et Protestantisme dans File de Timor: 1556-2003. Construction d'une identite chretienne et engagement politique contemporain, (Toulouse/Bangkok: Editions Arkuiris/IRASEC, 2004).

(13) Andrew McWilliam will provide some time later a most interesting discussion of this topic in his "East and West in Timor-Leste: is there an Ethnic Divide?" in Dennis Shoesmith (ed) The Crisis in Timor-Leste: Understanding the Past, Imagining the Future, Darwin, Charles Darwin University Press, 2007, pp. 37-44.

(14) The official name of the institution is Centro Nacional de Emprego e Formacao Profissional (CNEFP), and its director is Pedro Fraga, whom I thank again for his cooperation in this project.

(15) Luiz Filipe Reis Thomaz, Babel Loro Sae--o problema linguistico de Timor Leste (Lisboa: Instituto Camoes, 2002).

(16) Taur Matan Ruak, 'A importancia da Lingua Portuguesa na Resistencia contra a ocupacao Indonesia" Camoes 14 (2001): 41-2.

(17) Capitao Armando Pinto Correia, Timor de Les a Les (Lisboa: Agencia Geral das Colonias, 1944), 15.

(18) Thomaz, De Ceuta a Timor, 675.

(19) A useful overview of the history of Timor in the last half millennium can be found in Geoffrey C. Gunn, Timor LoroSae--500 years (Macau: Livros do Oriente, 1999).

(20) Tanja Hohe, "The Clash of Paradigms: International Administration and Local Political Legitimacy in East Timor" Contemporary Southeast Asia 4 (3) (2002): 569-90. See also Tanja Hohe and Sofia Ospina, Traditional Power Structures and the Community Empowerment and Local Governance Project--Final Report Dili (2001).

(21) Norman G. Owen, ed., The Emergence of Modern Southest Asia--A New History (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005), 445.

(22) Carlo Ginzburg, A Micro Historia e Outros Ensaios (Lisboa: Difel, 1989). This quotation is from an article written in co-authorship with Carlo Poni, entitled "O nome e o como', in the said volume at pp. 174-175 (I am forever indebted to Emanuela Galanti who first introduced me to the fascination of Carlo Ginzburg's writings, back in 1980--and ever since he has been a reading companion of mine. Emanuela must also be credited with her enthusiasm and support which were critical for me to write this piece in the quiet hospitality that made Rome to rhyme with home. My hearfelt thanks, Madonna of Roma!). On the issue of names and naming practices, however, see also Stephen Wilson, The Means of Naming. A Social and Cultural History of Personal Naming in Western Europe (London: UCL Press, 1998); Ian Winchester, "On Referring to Ordinary Historical Persons', in E.A. Wrigley, ed., Identifying People in the Past (London: Arnold, 1973) and Francoise Zonabend, "Prenom et identite', in Dupaquier et al., eds., Le Prenom. Mode et Histoire (Paris: EHESS, 1984), 23-28. Francoise Zonabend, "Le nom de personne', LHomme 20 (4) 1980: 7-23, and Francoise Zonabend, "Pourquoi nommer?', in Claude Levi-Strauss, ed., Eldentite (Paris: PUF, 1977), 257-279.

(23) Philippe Besnard, 'A Durkheimian Approach to the Study of Fashion: The Sociology of Christian First Names', in W. S. F. Pickering and H. G. Martins, eds., Debating Durkheim (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), 159-173. Quotations from pp. 160 and 166. See also Besnard's Un prenom pour toujours (Paris: Balland, 1986).

(24) Georges Steiner, Gramaticas da Criacao (Lisboa: Relogio d'Agua, 2006), 17.

(25) Allow me another word of gratitude to Robert Rowland who guided my first steps in that task, and who is ultimately responsible for my decision to move to England to pursue my formation, which--for the better and the worse--is mirrored in this essay.

(26) Jeremy Black, What If? Conterfactualism and the Problem of History (London: Social Affairs Unit, 2006); Robert Cowley, What If? (New York: Putnam, 1999); Robert Crowley (ed.), More What If? (New York: Putnam, 2001); Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (London: Jonathan Cape, 2001).

(27) See also Niall Ferguson, ed., Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (London: Picador, 1997); Philip Tetlock, Richard Ned Lebow and Geoffrey Parker, eds., Unmaking the West: "What if?" Scenarios that Rewrite World History (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006); and Herminio Martins, "Tempo e Explicacao', in Rui G. Feijo et al., eds., Portugal: uma Democracia em Construcao--Ensaios em Homenagem a David B. Qoldey (Lisbon: Imprensa de Ciencias Sociais, 2009), 55-119.

(28) For a most interesting analysis of the memory of this revolt in contemporary Timor-Leste, with a quite thoroughly researched history of those events, see Janet Gunter, Violence and "Being in History" in East Timor: Local Articulations of Colonial Rebellion, MA Dissertation in Anthropology: Multiculturalism and Identities, Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa (Lisbon, 2008).

(29) Interview with Eng Filipe Themudo Barata by Jaime Guedes and Maciel Morais Santos in Encontros de Divulgacao e Debate em Estudos Sociais. Timor Leste (Vila Nova de Gaia: Sociedade de Estudos e Intervencao Patrimonial, 1995), 55-61.

(30) The notion of "configuration" in sociology is closely associated with the works of Norbert Elias (1897-1990) who has inspired the use of the expression in this instance.

(31) The first reference in the work of Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) is present in his Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de I'echange dans les societes archa'iques (1925), Intr. by Florence Weber (Paris: Quadrige/Presses universitaires de France, 2007).

RUI GRACA FEIJO (Braga 1954) graduated in History (Coimbra, 1978) and took his D.Phil from Oxford (1984). His academic interest with Timor started when he was Visiting Professor at Universidade Nacional de Timor-Leste (2004 and 2005). He was also UN advisor to the President of the Republic (2005-2006), and member of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries electoral monitoring team (2007). He has written on Timorese identity and democratic process in journals and edited volumes and published Timor Leste: Paisagem tropical com gente dentro (Lisbon, 2006). Currently, he is attached to the Centro de Estudos Sociais (Coimbra).
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Author:Feijo, Rui Graca
Publication:Portuguese Studies Review
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Date:Jul 1, 2010
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