My argument is that people living in the situation
should have the right to choose what is "good" for them. We should respect their rights to choose what they want, how they want to live. Of course, they may be choosing what turns out to be a rocky road. But that is their wish & their choice. That's what comes with autonomy, if ever it is achieved.
East Timor is one of the poorest countries in the world now. It became a part of Indonesia against the majority of the peoples' wishes after years of Portuguese (sp?) colonial rule. The East Timorese are Catholic in the majority & Indonesia is overwhelmingly Muslim. Years & years of struggle (with a horrendous human toll) meant that East Timor finally became independent from a very reluctant Indonesia. It is now a struggling, independent nation. High unemployment, social instability. A long way to go before it can stand capably on its own. Off-shore oil may proove be the life saver - IF the East Timorese retain control over it. But, I'm certain that if you asked them, you'd find many East Timorese would say the struggle was worth it. They would probably be much better off, financially
as part of Indonesia. They would also most likely lose their identity, too. As is often the way in these situations, many of the "improvements ", the development (roads, business, education, etc) in East Timor were seen as part of the "Javanization" of their culture & country. I don't know how you can accurately measure loss of identity & rights against material improvements provided by what you consider to be an oppressive power. Me, I tend to have sympathy with those who are fighting against oppression. Who are we
to tell them what is "best" for them?