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<nettime> FROM SMS TEXT: Tonight my uncle died in Aceh...
s|a|m on Sat, 26 Jul 2003 19:30:05 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> FROM SMS TEXT: Tonight my uncle died in Aceh...


Saturday, 26 July 2003 (by sam)

This morning I received another TEXT from an Acehnese who is living in Java.

"Tonight my uncle died in Aceh. But didn't get detail information how it was 
gonna be. Unfortunately can't go to see Aceh at this bad time. Hope my 
parents safe."

I met him almost 2 years ago in Jakarta. He worked for a group calling for a 
referendum to resolve the conflict in Aceh. He is not part of GAM - the armed 
resistance movement fighting for an independent Aceh. But he is in hiding, 
afraid the Indonesian military will take him away.

I received another TEXT a few minutes later:

"My litle brother called last night told me about it. TNI starts enter campus 
to find students who're pro democracy. Many people died almost everyday."

It's difficult for me to know how to respond. He and his colleages want the 
world to take notice of what is happening in Aceh - what the Indonesian 
military is doing to the Acehnese. But there doesn't seem to be much 
attention given. 

Australians should be taking notice of Aceh. After all, we enjoyed being 
heroes when East Timor's indepedence was secured. Though the Timorese did 
have to suffer at the hands of the Indonesian regime for 24 years.

West Papua is another place that doesn't get noticed. Papuans are being killed 
almost daily simply because they want to govern their own affairs rather than 
be controlled by a Jakarta administration. Earlier this month a Papuan was 
shot dead during a flag raising ceremony. A person shouldn't have to pay with 
his life for being part of a ceremony that celebrates his culture.

It is almost impossible for journalists to access West Papua or Aceh. No visas 
are being issued. Aceh has been completely closed off to any foreigners. The 
TNI (the Indonesian military) has ordered Indonesian media outlets not to 
report the GAM version of events. Only the official government version is 
allowed to be published or broadcast. 

I don't understand why the international media needs real-time photographs and 
video footage in order to cover a story. There are plenty of people 
international journalists can access who can tell what they have seen or 
heard. Journalists can write up stories about Acehnese living outside of 
Aceh. They can communicate to their audience that ordinary people are 
suffering and being killed - that there is war happening in Indonesia.

I sent a TEXT back to him saying I was sorry to hear about his uncle and that 
I will try and tell a few more people about what is happening in Aceh.

He replied:

"Thanks, I hope everything will be fine in Aceh. Pray for me and family. Have 
a nice day."

I hope we will see Aceh, West Papua and the other conflicts and human 
sufferings on more front-pages of newspapers and lead stories in broadcasts. 
Maybe that will only happen if blood of some 'Anglo' internationals are 
spilt.

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