Heroes Hero
Kerry Kennedy is the seventh child of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy's eleven children. She is 47 years old and is a graduate of Brown and Boston College Law School. She was married to Andrew Cuomo, son of Mario Cuomo, and has three daughters from that union. She currently lives in New York State. She feels no burden being the daughter of a Kennedy in her human rights work. She lists Arch Bishop Tutu, Elie Wiesel, The Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela as heroes and feels that there are heroes in all of us, but has answered with the name of Jose Ramos-Horta as her personal hero in January, 2007.

Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta

by Richard Kent

Photo of Jose Horta
Photo of Jose Horta

Kennedy feels that Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta's relentless campaign to raise the profile of his beloved country Indonesia brought the plight of the people of East Timor to the corridors of power throughout the world.

Throughout that lonely, personally costly battle, Horta spoke of bloodshed, torture, starvation and the savagery of an occupying army which brought death to 200,000 people. Perhaps one-third of the population perished, while the best in the world stood idly by at the sidelines.

Kennedy feels that bravery is most commonly associated with a single act of daring at a precise moment in time. But she feels that battlefield bravery pales in comparison to the quality of courage exemplified by Horta who, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 24 years, made it his mission to speak the truth to those in power about the plight of his people in a land from which he was effectively banned from visiting, but with which he never lost contact.

Jose Horta, winner of Nobel Peace Prize
Jose Horta, winner of Nobel Peace Prize

Horta's love for the people of East Timor was so affecting, and his political savvy so sophisticated, that he turned the tide of history itself and renewed our faith that good ultimately triumphs over evil.

Kennedy was deeply honored to join Jose when he returned to his sacred soil in December, 2000. Through his work and efforts with world decision makers, he had assisted his people from afar and now returned to see the fruits of his labor. He had assisted in bringing Doctors Without Borders to the country. He told Kennedy that he would never forget the savagery of the Indonesian troops in the local militias.

East Timor is now the newest country to join the United Nations and Kennedy feels that the United Nations has much to gain from the profound example of great wisdom and bravery demonstrated by Horta and his people throughout their darkest hours in East Timor.

Horta was able to speak truth to those in power throughout the world about the plight of his people in a land from which he was effectively banned from visiting, but one which he never lost contact through his incredible efforts. He would not be dismissed and now East Timor will never be dismissed by the world.

Page created on 2/7/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 8/28/2018 1:10:37 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Nobel Peace Prize 1996 - for work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.
BBC's Profile of Jose Ramos-Horta - Key figure in East Timor's struggle for independence and stability
BBC's Profile of East Timor - "The people of the first new nation of the century suffered some of the worst atrocities of modern times."

Related Books