Misperception About Aceh

This paper does not intend to reopen Aceh’s old wounds but only to rectify the existing history.

Misperception about Aceh

Why Aceh?

My search for Aceh’s history begins with my friend’s misunderstanding in Cairo with an Acehnese student who is also a friend of mine in Cairo, that the Acehnese students there are exclusive, closed, and proud of their own tribes (eg, the Acehnese referring to the people of Aceh). Instantly the question arises in my mind: Why with Acehnese? What’s wrong with them? Why is my friend saying that ?. Then, when I asked for a direct clarification from one of my friends who became Aceh students there via Facebook, I came to the conclusion that “Acehnese have had bad experiences in the past with Javanese people”. And at that moment I just remembered that my misunderstood friend was a Javanese.

At first, I was a bit affected also by the words of my friend because honestly, I do not like the people of the tribe (pride own tribes better than other tribes) but I also can not judge from one point of view, I have to find what caused it.

My mind was immediately drawn to the story of my friend who is a student of Aceh that, “Those who are buried in the graves of the Dutch Kherkof in Aceh are mostly Indigenous people, it can be said the Javanese who died in Aceh due to the divide et impera tactics of the Army The Dutch also took part in the grave there “. Not only that, I was immediately reminded by Pramudya Ananta Toer’s commentary on Novel Bidadari Hitam written by T.I Thamrin-a native Acehnese, “Whenever anyone comes from the Aceh tribe, I always apologize as a Javanese. It’s been more than 100 years of Javanese fighting Aceh, I joined the guilty”.

The dialogues in the novel also made me even more curious about what happened to Aceh in the past.

“No, Our names are Aceh. Therefore we are nothing and nobody in the eyes of the people of Jakarta. Aceh who had once helped and fed them, bought them two airplanes, financed NKRI which again pinched its tail. But, when they have dared to take themselves in our barn, they harass, hunt and kill us like cockroaches. We say, please take it but do not steal and do not get mad, then they are furious, accuse us of rebels, because it must be killed. Our fighting women are also hunted down and raped, just as embarrassed to her mother and sister. Just like her mothers and sisters, not just girls. ”

There are many questions I never thought before, “What’s wrong with Aceh in the past? Why Aceh ever really want to separate from NKRI? How did it happen? What reasons caused Aceh to join the NII and set up DI / TII or GAM? Why did the Government in the past (the era of President Sukarno to President Megawati) must act brutally, cruel and sadistic just because they want to maintain Aceh to remain in the territory of NKRI? Why should they be done by the Government? ” And from there I realized that there is another piece of history that I have not known from Aceh.

Aceh’s past is a Country

It is unethical if I do not tell when Aceh is still a self-contained country.

The historian Said Alawi Thahir al-Haddad in his book “Al-Madkhal ilaa Taarikh al-Islam fi al-Syarq al-Aqsa” mentions an ancient document of Yang Dynasty in China, which tells in 518M has come to the Chinese king of messengers from Puli kingdom located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra (Puli kingdom is the kingdom of Puli or Indra Puri that had existed in Aceh before Islam came.But, due to the difficulty of saying the letter R in the Chinese dialect, it changed to L so written “Puli” in the document The remains of this kingdom can still be found in the Indra Puri area, Aceh Besar).

The document also recounts that the Puli kingdom is divided into 136 regions with an area of 50 days traveling from north to south and 20 days on foot from west to east. This document proves that since the 6th century AD, people who inhabited the coastal areas of Aceh have recognized a civilized way of life that is advanced rather than other parts of the archipelago, except for the outskirts of the Mahakam river in East Kalimantan, where the Hindu Kutai has been established since the 5th century AD, as well as the area of West Java with the kingdom of Taruma Negara.

The northern coast of Aceh began to visit Muslim traders from Malabar in India or directly from the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century AD (1 H), as L. Van Rijck Vorsel noted in his book “The History of the East Indies archipelago”. He also mentioned that the Arabs had first arrived in Sumatra 750 years before the Dutch arrival there.

The kingdom of Aceh Darussalam by Sultan Iskandar Muda
The kingdom of Aceh Darussalam

However, the new Islamic empire emerged in the early 9th century. Among the first Islamic kingdoms in Aceh were the Peureulak empire on the east coast of Aceh which stood in 804th century, the Lamuri and Samudra Pasai empires on the north coast of Aceh.

At the beginning of the 16th century AD, the standing of the Aceh Darussalam Islamic empire in the shape of the Sultanate of Aceh with its first king Sultan Ali Mughayat Syah (1513-1530) son of the Syamsu Syah sultan and grandson of the sultan Inayat Shah of the Lamuri kingdom. The kingdom of Aceh Darussalam which was born on 12 Dzulqa’idah 916 Hijriah (1513 century) is an empire of the Federation consisting of the Peureulak Islamic empire, the Samudra Pasai Islamic empire, the Lamuri kingdom, the Lamno Jaya Islamic empire, the Lingge Islamic empire, the Islamic kingdom of Pedir and the Islamic empire Teuming. The fusion of the Islamic kingdoms of Aceh in one container was then given the name of the kingdom of Aceh Raya Darussalam, or better known as the proclamation of Samudra Pasai kingdom.

The kingdom of Aceh Darussalam reached its heyday during the reign of Sultan Iskandar Muda (1607-1636). He was able to place the Islamic kingdom in Aceh in the fifth rank among the largest Islamic empires in the world in the 16th century. The five Islamic kingdoms are the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul, the Moroccan Islamic empire in North Africa, Isfahan Islamic empire in the Middle East, the Islamic empire Akra in India and the kingdom of Aceh Darussalam in Southeast Asia. (Mutiara Fahmi, thesis: Movement of Independence in Aceh in the consideration of Islamic Law, 2006, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, pp. 70-72)

Then why Aceh ever really want to separate from NKRI?

The following are some of the factors why Aceh ever wanted to break away from NKRI:

The attitude of the RI leaders regarded by Tgk. Daud Beureueh has deviated from the right path.

Because at that time President Sukarno had promised to give the right to Aceh to arrange his own household in accordance with Islamic shari’a and the promise never materialized. This is reinforced by the acknowledgment of witness and perpetrators of Tgk history. H. Syech Marhaban Hasan who told, during Soekarno’s visit to Aceh, Soekarno once asked Tgk. Daud Beureueh to assist the armed war between Indonesia and the Netherlands, Daud Beureueh undertakes as long as with two conditions: the waged war is Fisabilillah war and the people of Aceh are given the freedom to run the Shari’ah of Islam within its territory when the war is over. Finally, Soekarno undertakes these two conditions, however, Daud Beureueh doubts Sukarno’s promise and asks Soekarno to write his promise on a piece of paper. Seeing this, Soekarno burst into tears and felt unbelievable. Seeing Soekarno crying, Daud Beureueh became moved and then said, “not we do not believe in the president’s brother. However, it is just a sign that we will show to the people of Aceh we will invite to fight”. Then Soekarno wiped his tears and replied: “Wallahi, Billahi, to the Aceh Region will be given the right to arrange his own household according to Islamic law. And Wallahi, I will use my influence so that the people of Aceh will actually be able to implement the Shari’ah of Islam in their area”. According to Daud Beureueh, because his heart pity to see President sob sobbing, he did not have the heart again ask black guarantee on white over the promises of President Soekarno. (Ibid, pp. 119-121)

Disappointment of the people of Aceh when the status of the province of Aceh which is not even one year old is dissolved by the policy of the Central Government and combines it with North Sumatra Province (which is different from its background and culture from Aceh) with reason which is quite ironic because it is contradictory to the agreement result of Konferensi Meja Bundar (KMB) recognizes 10 provinces within the territory of the Republic Indonesia Serikat (RIS). In fact, the RIS itself was born and gained international recognition because of the existence of Aceh as the only region of Indonesian capital that cannot be re-occupied by the Dutch in the physical struggle. (Ibid, pp. 121)

While Aceh was still a State, Aceh never surrendered its sovereignty to the Netherlands, so legally, Aceh was not the Dutch East Indies and thus when the Dutch East Indies became Indonesia, Aceh was not automatically in it.

According to the theory of the State Science and International Law, the nation, and the state of Aceh has not been melted but problematic. The loss of the status of a nation and state according to Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba, SH (the negotiator of the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Free Aceh Movement)) for one of two reasons:

  • The reason of nature, as if the earth was destroyed or drowned.
  • Socio-political reasons, if the state or nation has merged into or with other nations.

Therefore, according to GAM, the incorporation of Aceh into Indonesia during the proclamation of 17 August 1945 has not been valid and is a gratuitous error. According to him, since the proclamation, Aceh has never stated to join the Unitary Republic of Indonesia as well as Yogyakarta and Duchy of Pakualaman through the decision Kotikokootai (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat) dated August 19, 1945. (Ibid, pp. 141-142)

Because of the unfair treatment of the central government against Aceh. Such as the centralistic attitude of the New Order government to Aceh which has given rise to socio-economic disparities that are quite striking in the special region of Aceh. For example, the APBD revenue of the Special Province of Aceh in 1997/1998 was only about IDR 150 billion from +/- IDR 32 trillion contributed to the country in the same year. This means that what Aceh receives is less than 0.5% of the total donated. (see Said Mudhakar Ahmad, Masalah Aceh: Dilema antara Sikap, Martabat dan Rasa Keadilan, Waspada (Harian), Medan 31 Agustus 1998). (Ibid, pp. 82)

Daerah Operasi Militer
DOM (Military Operation Area)

Instead of wanting to secure the situation from the actions of a movement called the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) government by imposing a Military Operation Area (DOM), many civilian casualties are victims of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the application of DOM status the. Such as murder, torture or ill-treatment both physically and mentally, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, forced disappearance etc. (to learn more about the number of DOM victims, see the book written by Al-Chaidar, (Ibid, pp. 84).

Because of the effects of my friend’s misunderstandings that ultimately made me fall in love with Aceh and its past. Should those who contra on the implementation of Islamic Shari’ah in Aceh with the reason for colliding with the existing laws on it can recall the promise and oath of President Sukarno once against Tgk Daud Beureueh-especially on the people of Aceh.


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