12 January 2008

Aceh March 26, More Than a Hundred Years Ago

Saturday, 26-March-2005, 22:17:59
Jakarta, Indonesia-Relief March 26 marked the third month of tsunami disaster in Aceh. But for Acehnese, March 26 have more special meaning and historic value. They remember it as the day Dutch Kingdom declare war against Aceh Kingdom, 136 years ago.

On that day, March 26, 1873, Dutch colonial soldiers also deployed in Ulee Lheue, as ordered by Nieuwenhuyzen, the governor of Hindia Belanda (Dutch Indie), wrote Taufik Al Mubarak, executive director of Indonesian Center for Conflict and Resolution Studies wrote in AcehKita.

War against Aceh declared because Acehnese keep fighting against the colonial government and didnt want to surrender their control on Malaka straits. The Dutch frequently accused Acehnese pirate and sabotage their trade ship. The colonial government also angry with diplomatic relation the local kingdom made with France, Italia, and US.

Local folklore said that Acehnese gave hard response to the war declaration. Aceh State Assembly stated that Bek lei takheun nanggroe, manok nyang tan gigoe bek ka teumeung raba (Dont ever think about conquering our countries. Even you cant catch a chicken that has no teeth).

And the war began, with Acehnese fighting for their land. 70,000 Acehnese and 35,000 Dutch soldiers died. Dutch general Kohler, well known warrior, also killed in a battle in Baiturahman Great Mosque area, as proved by a monument currently located there. Folklore said that Acehnese craftsmen made a picture of snake bite his own tail on the monument, as a symbol for the Dutch to not make same mistake in the future.

Who win the war? Aceh Kingdom of course, and the Dutch totally get out of Indonesia in 1942. But for some Acehnese, the war didnt finisher over yet. Especially, for some activist who support secession movement of Aceh from Indonesia. They said the war has not ended yet because of colonial Dutch never recall their war declaration. In some demonstration in front of Dutch Embassy in Jakarta between 1999-2000, they asked the Dutch to recall the war declaration.

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