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FRETILIN (Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor)

Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente

Last modified: 2006-02-25 by antonio martins
Keywords: east timor | star: 5 points (white) | fretilin | freitilin | error | variant | ojetil | student | pen | hoe |
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image by António Martins, 10 Dec 1997
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According to a political analyst (Adelino Gomes: “A Força da Bandeira e os Desafios da Vitória” Público 2001.09.07: 3), Fretilin «organized the fight against the [indonesian] invasion. Fretilin leaders were the first resistents and the first occupation victims. Fretilin’s members and sympathizers, while others still trusted the invasor’s good will, were the first experiencing war, death, torure, famine. It was Fretilin who endured almost alone the bloody initial fase of the occupation.»

Fretilin got 208 531 votes in the 2001.08.30 elections (57,37%), recieving 55 of 88 seats in the parlament (the second party most voted for, P.D., got only 8,72%).

António Martins, 24 Sep 2001

Description of the Flag

This is the flag of Fretilin (Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente - Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor), one of the revolutionary and anti-Indonesian resistence groups of post-1975 East Timor. Being its main and original proponent, this flag resembles the one of the Democratic Republic of East Timor.
António Martins, 10 Dec 1997

The name of the party also commonly appears on the central stripe in black capitals.
Vincent Morley, 12 Dec 1997

After a lot of flag sightings, seems now clear that the preferred version of the Fretilin flag has indeed a (slightly) narrower yellow stripe and lettering is always present. The stripes seems to be 6+5+6, and not 2+1+2 nor 3+2+3, as reported earlier; the lettering is always in black centered capitals, though face family varies: serif is common, but sans seems to be official. The star points apparently to the upper fly, though it is often shown pointing down.

Variants absolutely missing in photos and footage shot and shown during the 2001.08.30 elections include blue-for-black flags, equal sized stripes, no lettering, and stars pointing up — or at least I saw none.

António Martins, 24 Sep 2001

Variant with identical stripes

image by António Martins, 22 Feb 2000

It seems that flags with equal stripes are more modern.
Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1999

Variant with narrower central stripe

image by António Martins, 22 Feb 2000

I have often seen a variant of this flag with the yellow stripe slightly narrower than the others — approximately 3:2:3, I would say.
Vincent Morley, 12 Dec 1997

I saw some pictures of Xanana Gusmão in the very beginning of his reorganization of the guerilla in the mountains (I think in the beginning of the ’80s). In one of these pictures he had the flag of the FRETILIN behind him, and it had unequal stripes, red-yellow-red with witdhs 2:1:2 (and the rest as we know). It also had no writing (good!). It seems that this design was used in older flags while the one with equal stripes is more modern (unfortunately including somethimes the sigla FRETILIN on the central stripe).
Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1999

Variant in dark blue

image by António Martins, 22 Feb 2000

Like the flag of East Timor itself, I’ve seen this flag also with a dark blue stripe at the hoist, instead of black.
Jorge Candeias, 10 Dec 1997

Other variants

“Freitilin” typo

image by António Martins, 03 Jul 2003

I received my copy of The Flag Bulletin 206 (July-August 2002). Smith’s article [smi02k] (p. 135) shows the Fretilin flag with the (large!) inscription reading "FREITILIN".
Santiago Dotor, 11 Dec 2002

Two stripes

image by António Martins, 22 Feb 2000

I’ve also seen another, similar flag, [with two stripes only on the fly, yellow over red, and] with the star in white.
James Dignan, 03 Oct 1995

OJETIL — student organization of FRETILIN

image by Jorge Candeias, 04 Jan 2000

The flag of a youth organization of the timorese resistance, the OJETIL, the Organization of Youngsters and Students of East Timor (Organização de Jovens e Estudantes de Timor Leste). This was seen in every demonstration that happened in Portugal. It consists of two fields, the first occupying the hoist 1/3 and the second occupying the fly 2/3rds. The first field is divided horizontally in black, yellow and red bands with a white star centered in the black band and a complex device centered on the other two. The second field is divided into 3 horizontal stripes in light blue, white and green and the initials of the organization (OJETIL) are written in black capitals across the white stripe. The symbol in lower hoist consists of two scrolls above and below a hoe and a pen, crossed. The upper scroll has the inscription "SABER PARA SEMPRE" ("knowledge — or to know — for ever") and the lower scroll has the motto of the CNRT/FALINTIL "PATRIA POVO". This flag is obviously a fusion of the flags of the CNRT/FALINTIL and of the FRETILIN/DRET.
Jorge Candeias, 04 Jan 2000