Alexhia Aprilia Simatupang (Beatriz da Silva)

Alexhia Aprilia Simatupang

Alexhia Aprilia Simatupang

Name of parents: Jose da Silva Soares (father), Sabina Ximenes (mother)
Place of origin: Lore, Los Palos

Alexhia was reunited with her family in November 2010, 18 years after she was taken to Indonesia. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao helped organise her return to East Timor. He also encouraged her to continue her law study in Indonesia. Alexhia only found out earlier in April 1010 that she was East Timorese. A neighbour told her that she had been adopted from a family in Los Palos. Eventually her adoptive mother, although upset, told her the truth. Staff at the East Timorese consulate in Bali helped her trace information about her family in East Timor.

Taken away to punish family

In 1992 Soerjo Winarno, an Indonesian civil servant, and his wife Atika Banowati came to Lore, Los Palos, to adopt baby Alexhia. Alexhia’s mother, Sabina Ximenes, had no choice other than to agree to hand her over. Her brothers were Falintil commanders, Mau Nana and Mau Nani. People with family members fighting the Indonesians were denied many basic rights. Women, children and elderly family members were sent to Atauro Island where they were imprisoned in harsh conditions in an attempt to force their relatives to surrender. Others had their children taken away from them, as happened with Sabina Ximenes. There was a letter of agreement which Alexhia’s mother had to sign. Sabina kept the letter with her during all the years they were separated. It offered her some comfort that she had proof that she was Alexhia’s mother, even though the letter falsely stated that she had not been forced to give up her daughter. She also had a photo of her holding baby Alexhia just before she was taken away.

Xanana meets TL’s Lost Generation and support her return while Alexhia and her mother in tears (Tempo Semanal, 27 October 2010) [includes a short film]