These efforts are not necessarily seen by the groups themselves as challenging the RDTL state but rather augmenting its efforts at nation-building.
Several key representatives of the RDTL, including party leaders, parliamentarians, rebels, prime ministers and Presidents, make references to the realm of the spiritual and magical, at times insinuating or openly laying claim to having supernatural powers, such as powers of invisibility, therianthropy (shape-shifting into animals) or communicating with ancestral spirits or God (author's interviews; Hohe 2002; Kammen 2009 and Nygaard-Christensen 2011).
Apart from mirroring each other, these languages of stateness employed both by the RDTL state and various non-state actors, be it through symbols, rituals and acts such as service provision, also lead to a situation of contestation over the prerogative to utilise these languages and define their meaning.
The red-yellow-black-white national flag was adopted following the 1975 declaration of independence, and according to Article 15 of the RDTL Constitution, the colours are described as symbolising the following: 'Yellow--the traces of colonialism in Timor-Leste's history; Black --the obscurationism [sic.
Following the restoration of independence, as the official history would have it, the new RDTL state defined itself largely through the narrative of the 'common' independence struggle, in which the veterans of the struggle play a key role.
The resistance narratives of the RDTL state tend to resonate well with sentiments among the men and few women involved in the MAGs, RAGs and veterans' organisations.
Like the RDTL state, especially RAGs and veterans' organisations draw upon the independence struggle, its dead and living members, both for their legitimacy and for formulating demands in the present.
This was a huge sacrifice for FRETILIN, whose leaders had unilaterally declared the independence of `Republica Democratica de Timor Leste' on 28 November 1975, and had invented the RDTL
flag which used the same symbolism as the FRETILIN flag.