Mon, 12 May 2003

Aceh peace possible

A poor peace is better than a great war, so the old adage goes.

Recently, life in Aceh has been peaceful as a result of negotiations, not a military victory. This peace must be maintained and improved. A military operation must not be too hastily considered.

Ordinary people will become victims in any military operation. In the case of Aceh, the victims will be ordinary Acehnese and Indonesian soldiers. Some of the Indonesian soldiers may be Acehnese, while some members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) may be non-Acehnese Indonesians.

It is wrong to believe that only those demanding a military operation in Aceh, regardless of the potential victims, love the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. People trying patiently and indefatigably to prevent bloodshed in Aceh also want to see the integrity of the Republic of Indonesia intact.

The Aceh question is a domestic problem and must be solved in the way a father solves his family problems. Both conflicting parties keep their heads cool and ensure that a rational solution will prevail: A father fosters, not kills, his son.

If the Henry Dunant Center is deemed ineffective as a mediator, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) may take its place. The OIC successfully ended the war between Iran and Iraq and brought peace to the Islamic fighters in Moro and the Philippines government.

In the context of Aceh, it may be necessary to have an OIC- supervised, all-inclusive negotiation that will involve many parties, such as ulemas, non-governmental organizations, students, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, farmers and so forth, apart from the Indonesian government and GAM.

In this way, GAM will eventually realize the need to help maintain the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, as in the past it also helped fight for it. GAM will no longer mean "Free Aceh Movement" but "Independent Aceh Movement", with a special wide-ranging autonomy within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.