After spending nearly 30 years in exile, Dr Tengku Hasan di Tiro, the charismatic, if now aged, leader of Aceh’s independence movement returned to the island to a hero's welcome. Hundreds of thousands of joyous supporters had gathered at the airport to welcome him on October 13.
For the third time since Jakarta and the fighters of Aceh signed their first ‘treaty' in May 2000, both sides have again reached a deal, hoping to pave the way to a lasting solution of the conflict in North Sumatra. This time the negotiations were conducted in the wake of the region's worst catastrophe: the tsunami of December 26 last year.
Two months after the Indian Ocean tsunami, people in Aceh and many other areas are living in appalling conditions. DR AUSAF AHSAN, a Crescent reader from Bangalore, India, travelled to Aceh to assist the relief effort there.
No sooner had the tsunami struck more than ten countries in southern Asia than the numbers games began. First it was the giant news media who rushed to report the latest death toll – the bigger the death toll reported, the fresher the news was. Another numbers game is the aid promised by governments to help the victims.
At a time when the Indonesian government is dragging its feet over its promise to make ‘peace’ in Aceh, without even punishing the perpetrators of decades-long violence against civilians, an international labour-group has taken the unprecedented step of further exposing a less-known incident involving an American multinational corporation
At least 10 people in Aceh were wounded by gunfire, and many more injured in other incidents, on December 4, when Indonesian troops and police fired on people celebrating the territory’s ‘national day’.
Indonesian national police chief General Rusmanhadi announced the beginning of a new six-month offensive against Islamic rebels in Aceh Sumatra on August 5. He said that 11,000 security officers, including both police and regular troops, would be involved in the operation.
Displaying characteristic brutality, personnel of the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) shot and injured several students in front of the parliament building in Jakarta on September 7.
Most Muslims would probably have a hard time explaining where exactly Acheh-Sumatra is. This is not entirely their fault.
The idea of secularization led naturally to the idea of an Indonesian 'nationalism'. But how can one inclusive 'nationalism' be created in a multi-national empire, covering an area as large as western and eastern Europe put together?