Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tsunami Changes Hearts: Rebels & Gov.'t, Indonesia

The long-standing military arm of the Free Aceh Movement has decided to lay down their arms and join the civil society and political part of Indonesia.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) -- A year after the tsunami destroyed their battlefield, Indonesia's Aceh rebels formally disbanded their armed wing on Tuesday, effectively ending their 30-year separatist insurgency. [continue reading]
After the tsunami on December 26, 2004, both the rebels and the Indonesian government decided to talk to one another so as not to add to the peoples suffering.
The tidal waves swept away more than 200,000 people in 12 countries, with Indonesia's Aceh province bearing the brunt: more than 156,000 killed. A year to the day after the disaster, survivors wept and prayed in ceremonies at mass graves and beachside memorials across the Indian Ocean region on Monday.

"After the dimension of the disaster became clear, we ordered our units to stop fighting and to help save lives," said Bachtiar Abdullah, an exiled leader of the Aceh separatist movement. He spoke Saturday as he returned home after 25 years in Sweden.
Both sides made concessions so as to keep the peace talks fruitful, and they were. The government conceded 70% of the mineral rights profit and a limited amount of self government. The rebels conceded their long held fight for independence.

So far, it appears the peace is holding. It is a hopeful sign indeed for these two warring parties. Let us hope this good thing that comes on the heels of this tragedy holds.


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