An Iowa native who had a medical practice in Cedar Falls is back fromviolence-ridden East Timor (tee’-more), urging Americans to pay attention tothe plight of residents there. 54-year-old Dan Murphy grew up in Alton(all-tun) — that’s in northwest Iowa — then attended the University ofIowa. For 17 years, Dr. Murphy had a Cedar Falls medical practice. For thelast nine months, he worked at a medical clinic in East Timor, until he wasexpelled by the Indonesian government shortly after residents voted fortheir independence. Murphy, who speaks Portugese — the native language,says East Timor was given its independence in 1974, but was immediatelyinvaded by Indonesia, which is the 4th-largest nation on Earth. Since thenthe country lost hundreds of thousands of people under military occupation.The United Nations finally recommended the people get a vote in theirfuture, and they did, voting for freedom by 78 percent.In the 1970s, Murphy worked in Mozambique, which was a former Portugesecolony. That’s where he learned Portugese. Murphy is a family practioner with a few surgical skills. He says theclinic was located in the capitol city. Militias were ordered to shootpeople, causing an overflow of cases in his clinic. He had to learn to helpthese people with his limited skills.Murphy says the outside world should know about East Timor, and that’s whyhe let international journalists into the clinic.Murphy hopes the United Nations sends in troops and ends the strife. Murphy spoke with Radio Iowa by phone from the “East Timor Action Network”office in New York City. Murphy will return to Iowa this weekend, withplans to speak to groups in Des Moines, Grinnell, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids,Cedar Falls, Waterloo, then on to Chicago, Minneapolis and Madison,Wisconsin to tell the story of the Timorese people.
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