"Sie greifen weiterhin Dörfer an"
"They are continuing to attack villages"
Die indonesische Regierung nutzt die Situation zur fortgesetzten Unterdrückung politischer Aktivisten in Aceh
The Indonesian Government will exploit the situation to further repress Acehnese political activists
Die schreckliche Flutkatastrophe im indischen Ozean Ende Dezember 2004 hat die indonesische Provinz Aceh am schlimmsten in Mitleidenschaft gezogen. Die folgenden Beiträge (auf deutsch und auf englisch) befassen sich mit den verheerenden Zerstörungen in Aceh sowie mit den politischen Reaktionen der indonesischen Regierung, des indonesischen Militärs und der US-Regierung, die mit einer massiven Militärpräsenz vor den Küsten Acehs aufwartet.
Wir dokumentieren folgende Artikel:
Killing Field Banda Aceh
Von Rainer Werning*
"Wahrscheinlich sind hier mehr als 80.000 Menschen ums Leben gekommen", sagt Michael Elmquist, Chef des UN-Büros zur Koordinierung der humanitären Hilfe für Indonesien, als er eine Woche nach dem Inferno in der Provinz Aceh die Küstenstadt Meulaboh im äußersten Norden von Sumatra besucht. "Das Epizentrum des Seebebens lag nur 150 Kilometer von Meulaboh entfernt. Deshalb wurde dieses Gebiet in zweifacher Weise heimgesucht, durch schwere Erdstöße und die nachfolgende Flutwelle. Folglich bieten sich uns hier überall Bilder des Grauens und Entsetzens." Selbst die normalerweise höchst geschäftige Metropole Banda Aceh gleicht acht Tage nach der Flut einer Geisterstadt. Stellenweise kaum mehr ein Schatten ihrer selbst.
Internationale Hilfe erreicht Aceh erstmals am 29. Dezember, als die Behörden in Jakarta den Tod von über 45.000 Menschen bekannt geben. Keine 72 Stunden zuvor hat die Regierung des erst Mitte September gewählten Präsidenten Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono noch voller Zuversicht zu verstehen gegeben, man werde "die Krise allein und mit eigenen Mitteln" bewältigen. Erst als die killing fields von Aceh, über die Trupps erschöpfter Leichenträger irren, immer gigantischere Ausmaße annehmen, lenkt Jakarta ein - die Provinz wird wenigstens einen Spalt breit für ausländische Hilfsteams geöffnet. Doch darf nur eingreifen, wer sich der strikten Kontrolle der Armee unterwirft. Der Gouverneur von Aceh entscheidet, wo Hilfssendungen entladen und deponiert, wie und an wen Nahrungsmittel oder Medikamente verteilt werden. Ein in jeder Hinsicht überflüssiger Anschauungsunterricht, wie der nach Jahren des Kriegsrechts verhängte "zivile Notstand" in einer akuten Notlage funktioniert.
Flüchtlinge, die in den Außenbezirken der Hauptstadt lagern, klagen darüber, dass sie Reissäcke - sofern ihnen überhaupt welche zugeteilt werden - aufschneiden und zweiteilen müssen. Trinkwasser sei derzeit ebenso wenig vorhanden wie medizinische Hilfe. Derartige Mängel - glaubt Michael Elmquist - müsse man vorzugsweise auf die zerstörte Infrastruktur zurückführen. Straßen seien unpassierbar, Brücken weggeschwemmt.
Gewiss, daran kann es keinen Zweifel geben, allerdings lässt sich der Eindruck nicht verhehlen, dass den indonesischen Behörden das Engagement der ausländischen Hilfsteams in Aceh nicht sonderlich willkommen ist. Hauptmann John Oddie, der die australische Luftbrücke nach Sumatra koordiniert, resümiert unverhohlen: "Ich kann Gabelstapler bringen und den Leuten zeigen, wie man sie bedient. Ich kann alles herbei schaffen und einfliegen lassen, was hier und jetzt benötigt wird." Doch lässt General Bambang Darmono, einer der Kriegsveteranen, die Aceh zu bieten hat, schnörkellos mitteilen, Hauptmann Oddie solle "morgen wieder kommen", wenn er gültigen Papiere vorweisen könne.
Eine solche Brüskierung offenbart das Dilemma. Wenn in einer seit langem, aus Sicht der Zentralregierung "unruhigen", doch weltweiter Aufmerksamkeit entzogenen Region Verheerungen dieses Ausmaßes geschehen, haben die Mächtigen allen Grund, jene "Katastrophen" zu verschweigen und zu vertuschen, die von Menschenhand verursacht wurden und der "Befriedung" Acehs dienen sollten.
Knapp 1.800 Kilometer von Jakarta entfernt und an der seit Jahrhunderten strategisch wertvollen Straße von Malakka gelegen, war die mehrheitlich muslimische Provinz einst einer der potentesten Handelsplätze Südostasiens. Die Sultane Acehs lehnten sich mit ihrem Anhang gegen die holländische Kolonialherrschaft auf und erwarteten als Gegenleistung, in dem seit 1945 unabhängigen Indonesien als autonome Region anerkannt zu werden. Den damaligen Präsidenten Ahmed Sukarno kümmerte dieses Begehren wenig, im Gegenteil: Der Zentralstaat wollte unbedingt der Patron bleiben und die mit Rohstoffen (Öl und Erdgas sowie Edelhölzer) gesegnete Region auf keinen Fall aufgeben. Gegen dieses Diktat formierte sich nach Jahrzehnten des passiven Protestes schließlich bewaffneter Widerstand, als 1976 der heute im schwedischen Exil lebende Hasan di Tiro die Bewegung Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM/ Freies Aceh) gründete, die inzwischen nach eigenen Angaben 6.000 Mann unter Waffen hält und einen unabhängigen Staat durchsetzen will (der ökonomisch gute Überlebenschancen hätte). Immerhin verdankt der Zentralstaat etwa 20 Prozent seiner jährlichen Einnahmen den Ressourcen Nordsumatras, während in all den Jahren nur ein Bruchteil dessen in infrastrukturelle Vorhaben, in das Gesundheits- oder Bildungswesen zurückfloss.
Das Rückgrat brechen
Während der Suharto-Ära (1966-1998) wurde Aceh gar zur Military Operational Zone und später zum Exerzierfeld für diverse Formen von "counterinsurgency" (Aufstandsbekämpfung) erklärt. "Mindestens 100.000 Menschen wurden bisher durch den Konflikt entwurzelt. Menschenrechtsgruppen in der Region schätzen indes die Zahl der Flüchtlinge auf das Doppelte", schrieb bereits am 16. August 1999 die Washington Post.
Mehr als 12.000 Menschenleben sind seit 1976 als Opfer dieses schwelenden Bürgerkrieges zu beklagen. Human Rights Watch und Amnesty International berichten über Folter, "außergerichtliche Hinrichtungen", Vergewaltigungen und das Niederbrennen von Gemeinden, die verdächtigt werden, mit Aufständischen zu sympathisieren.
Bisher fiel es der Regierung unter dem Suharto-Zögling und Ex-Sicherheitsminister Yudhoyono leicht, im Schlepptau des von den USA geführten "Feldzuges gegen den Terror" ohne nennenswerte Kritik aus dem Ausland gegen die GAM vorzugehen. Es war Yudhoyono, der noch Ende 2003 die Fortdauer des Kriegsrechts in der Provinz für sechs weitere Monate als notwendig begründete und jeden Hinweis darauf vermied, ob und wann jemals wieder Verhandlungen mit der GAM aufgenommen werden könnten. Die hatten im Dezember 2002 in Genf begonnen, waren jedoch schon fünf Monate später an unüberbrückbaren Differenzen gescheitert.
Was folgte, war die nach der völkerrechtswidrigen Annexion der ehemaligen portugiesischen Kolonie Osttimor (1975/76) größte Militäroperation in der Geschichte Indonesiens, an der sich seit Mai 2003 über 40.000 Soldaten beteiligten. Der GAM sollte endgültig das Rückgrat gebrochen werden. Der damalige Chef der Kriegsrechtsverwaltung und Oberkommandierende des Militärkorps in Aceh, Generalmajor Endang Suwaryo, meinte, man werde "stets und unverzüglich" von der Schusswaffe Gebrauch machen, eine solche "Schocktherapie" gegen Mitglieder der GAM sei unumgänglich. Wer derartige "Therapien" hofiert, dem ist zuzutrauen, Naturkatastrophen kaltblütig in ein Kalkül zur "Eliminierung" des Gegners einzubeziehen.
* Aus: Freitag 01, 7. Januar 2005
Allan Nairn interviewed by Derrick O'Keefe*
Derrick O'Keefe: Could you tell us the latest with
respect to the devastation caused by last month's
earthquake and tsunami, specifically in Aceh?
Allan Nairn: Well, the coastal areas of Aceh have been
crushed by the earthquake and the tsunami. Large parts
of Banda Aceh are under water; they've become part of
the sea. The west coast is hardest hit and whole
villages are leveled. But this is not the first
catastrophe to hit Aceh. Previously, it was devastated
by unnecessary and preventable poverty. Aceh is rich in
resources; it's one of the world's main natural gas
producers. It supplies much of the natural gas for
South Korea and Japan, and yet the revenues have gone
to Exxon Mobil and the central government in Jakarta,
with almost nothing left for the poor of Aceh. And as a
result, we've seen malnutrition and undernourishment
levels among the children of Aceh running as high as 40
O'Keefe: A number of activist groups in the United
States have concerns that the Indonesian government
will hamper disaster relief efforts, and also that they
will exploit the situation to further repress Acehnese
political activists. Do you know of, or see evidence of
this taking place in Aceh?
Nairn: Well, the Indonesian military is doing that as
we speak. They are continuing to attack villages, more
than a dozen villages in East Aceh and North Aceh away
from the coast, even though General Susilo, the
president of Indonesia, announced that they would be
lifting the state of siege. He hasn't actually done it.
And an Indonesian military spokesman came out and said,
'we will keep attacking until the President tells us to
The military is also impeding the flow of aid. They've
commandeered a hanger at the Banda Aceh airport, where
they are taking control of internationally shipped in
supplies. We just got a report this afternoon that the
distribution of supplies is being done in some towns
and villages only to people who hold the 'red and
white,' which is a special ID card issued to Acehnese
by the Indonesian police. You have to go to a police
station to get one of these ID cards, and it is only
issued to people who the police certify as not being
opponents of the army, not being critics of the
government. Of course many people are afraid to go and
apply for such a card.
There's been a tremendous outpouring from the public;
all over the world people are giving donations. But
most of these donations are being channeled through the
UN agencies or through the big mainstream charities.
There's a major problem. Those agencies and charities
all have contracts with the Indonesian government,
contracts which oblige them to either channel funds
through the government or work in concert with the
government, which means that government officials and
army officers can steal the aid, and there are already
indications that this is happening. And even that aid
which is not stolen may be used in a way to consolidate
military control over the population.
O'Keefe: What is the background to the political
conflict in Aceh?
Nairn: Really the second wave of devastation to hit
Aceh was the Indonesian military. Aceh is one of the
most repressive places in the world. They have been
under de facto Martial Law for years. Now,
international relief workers and foreign journalists
are pouring in, but, until the tsunami, they were
banned by the Indonesian military. The reason is that
the Acehnese want a free vote; they want a referendum
which would give them the option of choosing
independence from the central government and Indonesia.
In 1999, there was a demonstration in front of the
Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh which drew anywhere from 400
000 to a million people. That's anywhere from 10
percent to a quarter of the entire Acehnese population
of 4 million. In proportional terms, that makes it one
of the largest political demonstrations in recent world
history. The military responded to this demonstration
by crushing the civilian political movement that was
calling for referendum - assassinating, disappearing,
raping activists, and continuing with the massacres
that had already dotted Aceh with mass graves before
the tsunami created new mass graves.
The Indonesian military actually encourages the armed
conflict that is going on between them and the GAM
(Aceh Freedom Movement), which is an armed rebel pro-
independence group. The Indonesian military
occasionally sells weapons to the GAM. The military
likes this war because, one, they can't be defeated
militarily, and two, because it gives them a rationale
for their political existence. The Indonesian military
is one of the most repressive and corrupt in the world
and, after the fall of Suharto, it became extremely
unpopular in Indonesia - there was a strong popular
movement against it. But by prolonging the war in Aceh,
the Indonesian armed forces are able to say to the
public, 'see, we're facing an armed rebellion, you need
us to protect you.' And then third, the war in Aceh is
a rich source of corruption for the Indonesian military
officers. They do systematic extortion of business,
small business and the poor, so they want to stay
there. And they crush the civilian movement to avoid a
political contest that they might well lose, and they
encourage a military fight which they can only win.
O'Keefe: It sounds very much as if conditions for the
people of Aceh are as bad today as they were under the
Suharto dictatorship. When did the conflict between the
independence movement of Aceh and the government of
Jakarta begin, and what are its origins?
Nairn: Well, Aceh as a nation predates Indonesia. It
was actually an ancient kingdom that ruled the area
that is now Aceh as well as a lot of what is now
Malaysia. When Indonesia came into being after World
War II, with the uprising against the Dutch
colonialists, Aceh played a leading role in fighting
off the Dutch. And the Acehnese made a bargain with the
other islands that came to form Indonesia that they
would join the new country of Indonesia in exchange for
substantial internal autonomy, and freedom to go their
own way. But very quickly the central government in
Jakarta reneged on that deal, and the Acehnese became
quite unhappy. And then when Suharto and his army
seized power in the 1965-67 period, and staged
massacres all across Indonesia to consolidate their
power, it began a period of military repression of the
pro-independence movement in Aceh. The Acehnese tried
for years the political route, and it didn't work. Then
in the 1970s the GAM, the armed rebel movement, was
formed. But even before they existed the Indonesian
military and police were killing Acehnese civilians.
O'Keefe: What are some of the connections between U.S.
corporate interests and the Indonesian military
repression in Aceh?
Nairn: There's one main connection, and that's Exxon
Mobil. Their natural gas facility dominates the
Acehnese economy, by way of extraction. They also have
Indonesian troops garrisoned on their property. The
Exxon Mobil company pays protection money to the
Indonesian military and the military buries bodies of
its victims on Exxon Mobil lands. The revenues from
Exxon Mobil are a mainstay of the Jakarta central
government. Not much of it finds its way back to Aceh.
O'Keefe: As someone who operates in the United States,
what did you think of the spectacle over the past
couple of days of U.S. military helicopters delivering
aid, in sharp contrast to U.S. military operations over
the past couple of years in Iraq, for instance?
Nairn: It's bitterly ironic. You don't even have to go
as far a field as Iraq to get an illustration of the
role the U.S. has played. The Indonesian military is a
long-time client of the U.S. The U.S. supported the
military as they were bringing Suharto to power, as
they were carrying out a massacre of anywhere from 400
000 to a million Indonesians during 1965-67. The U.S.
gave the green light to the invasion of East Timor by
the Indonesian military, which wiped out a third of the
Timorese population, 200 000 people.
It's only as a result of grassroots lobbying in the
U.S. after the '91 Dili massacre that the U.S. Congress
stepped in and cut off much of the U.S. military aid to
Indonesia. But this was done over the objection of the
U.S. executive, over the objection of the first
President Bush, and then President Clinton, and now the
current President Bush. And there will be a major
battle coming up in the U.S. Congress as Bush tries to
restore the military aid now. But hopefully the public
will bring enough pressure to bear on Congress that
Congress will resist.
But the U.S. has deep complicity in the massacres over
the years in Indonesia, in occupied Timor, currently in
Papua and very recently and currently in Aceh. So it's
bitterly ironic to see U.S. helicopters coming ashore
in the role of deliverers of relief.
O'Keefe: You've mentioned some problems with the
established NGOs working in Indonesia and Aceh. Is
there a way that people can contribute to the relief
effort, and to efforts to raise awareness about the
situation in Aceh more generally?
Nairn: Yes, fortunately there is a way around the
problem of Indonesian military cooptation of the UN and
big mainstream relief channels. And that is to give
directly to the grassroots Acehnese groups, which have
been working for years with people in the refugee camps
and which - even though their people are at risk - can
deliver aid directly to the public because they do not
have these contractual relationships with the
Indonesian government and military. One such group is
the People's Crisis Center (PCC) of Aceh, which for
years has been going into the 're-education camps,'
which are set up by the Indonesian military - farmers
are driven off their land, put into these camps to have
their thoughts cleansed by military propagandists. And
the children in these camps were often going hungry,
not getting clean water, not getting schooling, and
people from the PCC would come in and try to aid the
children and give some education and some subsistence.
And now they're working on disaster relief. Over the
years their organizers were often targeted by the
military, but they've persisted, they've been very
* Seven Oaks Magazine
January 04, 2005
US support for Indonesia's army is compromising its relief effort
By Sidney Blumenthal
Two days after the tsunami struck, President Bush, who had made no public statement, was vacationing at his ranch in Texas, and a junior spokesman was trotted out. The offer of US aid was $15m - $2m less than the star pitcher of the Boston Red Sox was paid that year.
On December 27, UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland had criticised wealthy nations for "stinginess". The next day Bill Clinton described the tsunami as a "horror movie", and explained that international leadership was required for a sustained effort once the "emotional tug" waned.
Now the White House spokesman reassured the country that Bush was "clearing some brush this morning; I think he has some friends coming in ... that he enjoys hosting; he's doing some biking and exercising ... taking walks with the first lady..." The spokesman said US aid would be increased to $35m, and added a jibe at Clinton: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'we feel your pain'. "
For Bush, the war on terrorism is the alpha and omega of foreign policy, and it did not occur to him or to his national security team that the tsunami disaster, devastating Muslim regions, provided an opportunity for the US to demonstrate humanitarian motives. In this crisis, his advisers acted in character: Vice-president Cheney was duck-hunting on the plantation of a Republican donor; Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, suggested nothing to disturb her boss; and Colin Powell, the secretary of state, defended Bush as "not stingy".
Eight days after the tsunami, Bush appeared in the White House flanked by his father and Clinton, who, he announced, would lead a private aid effort, and moreover that US aid would be increased tenfold to $350m. Attacking Clinton hadn't worked; so Bush recruited him to deflect criticism.
The coastline of south Asia has been radically altered, but the political landscape in Washington remains familiar. Behind the stentorian rhetoric about the battle between good and evil lies the neoconservative struggle to remove human rights sanctions against the Indonesian military, which is waging a vicious war against the popular separatist movement on Banda Aceh, the province hardest hit by the tsunami.
The war between the Indonesian military and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has raged for more than two decades. A ceasefire negotiated in 2002, with the involvement of former general Anthony Zinni as US representative, was brutally broken by the military in May 2003. The Indonesian military is a virtual state within a state and is unaccountable for its human rights violations and criminal activities. After its war of ethnic cleansing against East Timor concluded with independence following diplomatic intervention, the military was determined not to lose Banda Aceh.
In its war there, the military has mimicked the language of the war on terrorism and the Iraq war, calling its operation "shock and awe", targeting the population as terrorist supporters, and expelling all international observers, including the UN, from the region. Human Rights Watch documented extensive torture and abuse.
Bush administration policy has been conflicted, confused and negligent. The leading neoconservative at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence, has tried to overthrow US restrictions on aid to, and relations with, the Indonesian military. The neoconservative thrust is undeterred by the military's obstruction of the FBI investigation into the murder of two US businessmen in 2002, killings that appear to implicate the military. When the state department issued a human rights report on Indonesia's abysmal record, its spokesman replied: "The US government does not have the moral authority to assess or act as a judge of other countries, including Indonesia, on human rights, especially after the abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."
On his tour of Banda Aceh, Powell made no determined effort to restore the cease-fire. Meanwhile, GAM reports that the Indonesia military is using the catastrophe to launch a new offensive. "The Indonesians get the message when you have no high-level condemnation of what they're doing," Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch told me. A renewed effort by Wolfowitz against sanctions is expected soon.
In the name of the war on terrorism, neoconservatives attempt to bolster the repressive military, which flings the Bush administration's sins back in its face. In the "march of freedom", human rights are cast aside. The absence of moral clarity is matched by the absence of strategic clarity.
Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of salon.com
* The Guardian
Thursday January 6, 2005
By Sylvia Tiwon and Ben Terrall
Thousands missing, refugee camps lacking food and water,
mass graves: in the aftermath of the 9.0 magnitude
earthquake and tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean basin
on December 26, 2004, these images have come to identify
Aceh in the world's eyes. As of this writing, more than
80,000 Acehnese are reported killed by the disaster;
hundreds of thousands are displaced, facing disease and
starvation. Data from Aceh's southwestern coast, nearest
the epicenter, is only beginning to emerge due to
destruction of already poor infrastructure in those
As the area suffering the most direct hit from the great
quake and the colossal waves, Aceh was strangely missing
from early reports of the catastrophe, although we
quickly learned that Exxon's liquefied natural gas (LNG)
plants were safe. Only part of this can be blamed on the
international media penchant to zoom in on English-
speaking tourists and celebrities at exclusive resorts,
for the province has been virtually closed to
international press and humanitarian agencies since the
Indonesian military occupation of the region began.
The 1971 discovery of LNG in Aceh yielded large
revenues, virtually all going to the central government
in Jakarta and multinational corporations. People living
near LNG facilities suffered land expropriations,
serious environmental devastation and atrocities at the
hands of the Indonesian military (TNI).
Resentment over TNI brutality and scanty local
compensation for resource extraction contributed to the
October 1976 formation of the armed Free Aceh Movement
(GAM), known formally as the Aceh/Sumatra National
Liberation Front. GAM, whose platform was predominantly
secular, declared Aceh's independence. From 1989 to
1998, Aceh was declared a Military Operations Area, and
police and military targeted the civilian population as
a means of destroying GAM.
After the pro-democracy movement drove the dictator
Suharto from office in 1998, political space opened
across the archipelago. This allowed a growing
nonviolent political movement to develop in Aceh, and in
1999 more than one million people (almost a quarter of
the province's population) peacefully demonstrated in
Banda Aceh, the capital, to demand a referendum on the
region's political future. The TNI subsequently once
again targeted political activists, human rights
defenders, teachers and other civilians for
imprisonment, kidnappings and murder.
An official 'military emergency' was replaced by a
'state of civil emergency' (darurat sipil) on May 18,
2004. The main change this entailed was an ostensible
shift from military to police authority. Unfortunately
for the people of Aceh, police independence from TNI has
been minimal, with one of the most notorious police
units, the Mobile Brigade (Brimob), remaining highly
militarized. At this point, it remains unclear whether
the 'civil emergency' has been lifted to enable free
movement of aid workers, emergency supplies and funds
into the area.
On December 29, Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law
and Security, Widodo explained that the government would
pursue 'efforts to alleviate the catastrophe without
abandoning the state of alert in order to ensure the
security and order of the society.' Reports from NGOs
and local activists indicate that bureaucratic barriers
continue to hamper aid efforts. Human Rights Watch/Asia
notes that the Indonesian government is only granting
two-week visas for aid workers. While a few national and
international aid workers have been able to enter, most
rescue supplies and volunteers remain stranded in
airports outside Aceh.
For the crucial first two to three days after the
tsunami hit, the Indonesian government did little beyond
making prerequisite television appearances to provide
relief to the hard-hit population. As previously barred,
scrappy grassroots activists travel to Aceh to provide
help in the fight against hunger and disease, well paid
functionaries in Jakarta continue to waste valuable time
in high-profile but less than productive meetings and
telegenic press conferences.
Refugee camps, missing loved ones, and mass graves have
become part of a dreadful yet familiar pattern for many
Acehnese. While nature wreaked almost unimaginable havoc
in a matter of hours, it did so on a terrain already
scarred by acts of violence only the human mind can
concoct and enact in the name of security and order --
and business interests. What Amy Goodman called a 'man-
made catastrophe' on Democracy Now (Dec. 29, 2004) has
involved systematic application of torture, rape, and
abduction on unarmed civilians and human rights workers.
While the earthquake destroyed many buildings, military
and paramilitary violence chose its sites and, in a
particularly warped strategy, singled out schools for
destruction. The impact of such attacks on Aceh's future
cannot be underestimated. Many aid specialists appearing
on television this week spoke of the importance of
efforts to return children to a state of normalcy to
work through trauma. But for innumerable Acehnese
children, the trauma of terror, loss of parents,
dislocation and deprivation has been the 'normal' state
for over two decades.
Nature's immense destructive force has also dismantled
some structural elements of the administration of state
terror, including tracking of special identity cards the
military imposed upon Acehnese in classic counter-
insurgency techniques of discrimination and
intimidation. And the central government in Jakarta has
been forced to take over direct responsibility for Aceh.
Civil society throughout Indonesia has responded with
strong solidarity action, gathering funds and volunteers
for Aceh. It has taken the irresistible power of nature
to finally open this battle-weary region of northern
Sumatra to national and international attention and
assistance. It may well be the opening required to take
the people of Aceh -- and Indonesia -- out of the
clutches of the violent zero-sum game of armed conflict
and military repression.
Sylvia Tiwon is an Associate Professor in the South and
Southeast Asian Studies Department at UC Berkeley.
Ben Terrall is a writer and activist based in San
December 31, 2004
Zurück zur Indonesien-Seite
Zurück zur Homepage