CAMSTL to be public institute for preserving memories of East Timor

CAMSTL to be public institute for preserving memories of East Timor

(Image Tatoli/Anito Soares)

DILI, 17 december 2021 (TATOLI) – Max Stahl Audiovisual Archive Center (CAMSTL) will be transformed into a Public Institute to preserve the memories of East Timor (now Timor-Leste).

“It’s East-Timor’s institution. It’s not private and it was never a private institution and even remotely to do with the family. It is always Timorese institution,” Max Stahl’s spouse, Ingrid Bucens, told TATOLI at Timor-Leste’s Archives and Museum of East Timorese Resistance, in Dili, thursday.

Max had numerous dialogues with the government and historical leaders about transforming (CAMSTL) to be a public institute to preserve East Timor memories and histories for the future generation.

“Max as you know, all his work or his ambition for the last 20 years has been about establishing an archive, So that it can be available for the generation or the people in the future,” said Bucens.

“Max has had a lot of dialogues with the government about his ideas about how he believes this would work best and this was today as a public institution.”

Bunces expressed her commitment to continuing working with CAMSTL and Timor-Leste to keep the legacy of Timor-Leste’s true hero alive.

“We will remain very involved with CAMSTL (…), you know of course we will be willing to support Max’s legacy in Timor.  Our family has lived here for almost 20 years, and I am sure when our children are older they too will want to continue to contribute in some way,” she said.

“We received messages from so many people, as well as Max, received from the President, the Prime Minister, Ramos Horta, Maun Xanana, all expressing their commitment to support CAMSTL to continue beyond Max’s living existence in East Timor according to what max had wished.”

Asking about building a statue to honor the true Hero who uncovered the sufferings of the Timorese people to the world, Bucens said that: “It’s not up to me. But we will support what people want to do to remember Max’s legacy.”

“But I think that the legacy and the memory that Max wants to leave behind is the institution that he developed with the Timorese and that is CAMSTL,” she said.

She said it was an honor for Max’s family to be recognized as Timorese citizens as it was an honor for Max.

Max Stahl was granted Timorese citizenship in 2009, in honor of his significant contribution to the nation’s independence.

In 1991 Max Stahl arrived in East Timor (now Timor-Leste) where he lived and documented one of the most dramatic moments of the country: the massacre in the Santa Cruz cemetery, in Dili. The images of the massacre were spread around the world and changed forever the history of the nation. In 2019 he received the Necklace of the Order of Timor-Leste, the highest national decoration.

Max Stahl was born on 6 December 1954 in the United Kingdom. He was a journalist and war correspondent, who spent most of his life in Timor-Leste, following the Santa Cruz massacre, in 1991.

Max Stahl, a father of four, died on wednesday (28/10) in Brisbane surrounded by his wife, Ingrid Busens, and family after battling cancer since 2012.

The ashes of ‘Max Stahl’ arrived in Timor-Leste, accompanied by his wife Ingrid Bucens and children from Australia, on a Qantas flight, at Nicolau Lobato International Airport, on wednesday (15/12) at around 11:45 am local time.

The internment of ashes of Max Stahl would take place on Friday (17/12) at Santa Cruz cemetery where the journalist collected the tragic images and footage of the massacre that shift international attention to the Timorese struggle against the Indonesian occupation.


Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges Rosario


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