Tony Maniaty's vivid account of his twin journeys to East Timor - in 1975, as an ABC News television journalist, and in 2008 as a consultant to the feature film Balibo - brings to life the excitement, anxiety and tragedy of young reporters encountering the dangers and brutality of warfare for the first time.
In the Portuguese colony north of Australia, Maniaty's crew went looking for a war to film, and found it at a dusty outpost called Balibo. They were shelled, and five other TV newsmen who followed were murdered by Indonesian-led troops. Maniaty fled before Indonesian forces invaded. The only foreign journalist left in the territory was executed in cold blood. The generation-long nightmare of the East Timorese had begun.
They say we've only got one war in us, and my days in Timor in 1975 were enough to teach me many things, not least that experience in the house of conflict is expanded, and that the exhilaration of war, once felt, can never be replicated in everyday life; that risk goes hand in hand with raw beauty; that life is never so intense as it is, or was, in that compression of life called war...
Shooting Balibo has already been hailed as 'a real coup' (Helen Garner), 'a brave and complex achievement' (David Malouf), 'gripping' (Lucy Clark, Sunday-Mail), 'brilliant, a recommended read' (ArtsHub), 'compelling' (Peter Rodgers, Weekend Australian) and 'the best book yet on East Timor' (John Birmingham).
Explore the Shooting Balibo website for video clips and multimedia interviews, news of upcoming events, and links to Tony Maniaty's Twitter postings (maniatymedia) and the Balibo movie.
Shooting Balibo is published by Penguin Australia, IBSN 978174335018. Buy online at:
- Amazon.com (Kindle edition), click here.