Alice In Wonderland World.
The presumed victory in the Aceh gubernatorial election of a former 'rebel leader', Irwandi Yusuf, a senior figure in the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), and activist Mohammad Nazar is to be applauded, but not so much because of who they are.
That a free election can be held in a province which just two years ago was in a state of civil war is in itself a matter of high praise. Some would say that this could only have been achieved because of the cataclysmic aftermath of the tsunami of just under two years ago which, in insurance terms, can be labelled an Act of God.Four years ago
, the Aceh or Nanggroe Aceh Darusallam administration officially put the special autonomy law and syariah
(Islamic law) into effect. Presumably it was Allah, rather than Jehovah, who was responsible for the tsunami. I say this with some reluctance and in no way wish to denigrate a faith which, I've always thought, propagated peace rather violence.In Aceh traditional ways - referred to as
'adat' - have in the past been a very important authority for regulating daily life. The role of
adat is recognized in Indonesian law, and was central to the role of Acehnese rulers in pre-colonial Aceh. This
adat or 'custom', being linked to the secular authority of the sultan, was always a balance to the shari'a. The recent introduction of shari'a law in Aceh is part of a centuries-long process of Islamising Acehnese culture, ultimately replacing
Aceh has already caned gamblers in public and now, it has been reported
, there are calls for fuller implementation of sharia law
in that thieves should have their hands amputated
This would, of course render these criminals 'armless and prevent them from carrying out further robberies. One must hope, however, that the sharia
thought police in Aceh don't follow the insane logic of their counterparts in Bulo Burto, a town in Somalia.
The chairman of the town's Islamic court, the aptly named Sheik Hussein Barre Rage, has issued an edict
, which comes into force on Friday, which requires residents to pray five times a day. Those who don't will be beheaded
. That'll learn them .... erm ....
Thankfully, the edict is not binding on courts in other towns. And won't be, one hopes, in Aceh. Wouldn't some routine and systematic torture
be more humanitarian?