Indeed, the situation of the Acehnese has been most tragic, and they have suffered enormously from Jakarta’s (capital of Indonesia) policy of domination. However, John does serious damage to a tragedy by presenting a one-sided narrative put forth by the independence movement of Aceh.
scholars and historians do not buy into the these claims that the “Acehnese
were never fully subjegated by Dutch” or that the “Acehnese never
fully bought into joining into the creation of Indonesia.” Aceh has a
distinct history that is deeply interwoven with Indonesian and Malaysia. John
has distorted U.S. policy as well.
Indeed, U.S. support for the TNI and Suharto were reprehensible. However, in
recent years, the United States has been the major player behind the scenes
pushing negotiations, and intentionally not declaring GAM as a terrorist organization
as the Indonenesia Government (and Ashcroft) would desire.
The United States has also by far been the biggest funder of civil society and
human rights groups in Aceh. Unfortunately, after May 2003, the United States
threw up its hands in disgust and walked away from the peace process. Now pressures
grow for greater relations between Indonesia and the United States.
We can win arguments against support for the TNI and reforming U.S. policy without
needing to take sides in the conflict and misrepresenting history.