THE FREE ACHEH MOVEMENT IN EUROPE
P.O. Box 2084, 145 02 Norsborg, Sweden
RE: WHAT IS THE FREE ACEH MOVEMENT?
Dear Mr Klinken,
Your article 'What is the Free Aceh Movement?' (Inside Indonesia, Digest 89, Nov. 25, 1999) was an insult to the intelligence of your readers, especially the Australian public, who expect a more truthful reporting from 'Inside Indonesia' about what is going on in Acheh. As the editor of the said magazine, you have elevated yourself as an 'expert' on the "inner workings of the armed Free Aceh Movement GAM"; and your report based merely on unreliable sources or rather unrecyclable waste material of the Indonesian mass media such as Tempo magazine. By so doing, you have allowed yourself to become a propaganda sheet for the military regime in Jakarta to discredit Achehnese just struggle for self-determination and independence.
The following are my explanations to your baseless report:
1. There is no faction in GAM and Teungku Hasan di Tiro is still the leader and the President of the Free Acheh Movement. Nor is there any group within Aceh Merdeka has ever entered into negotiations with the Jakarta regime. So, throw back that unrecyclable rubbish into the Ciliwung River!
2. MP GAM ( the Government Council of the Free Acheh Movement) was established as a collective leadership to run the organization when its top leader Teungku Hasan di Tiro was no longer able to exercise his job. This Council, composed of 11 senior leaders of the Free Acheh Movement, was set up after having consulted with the leaders and dignitaries in Acheh, Malaysia and Europe. This body is also temporary and liable to be dissolved as soon as Teungku Hasan di Tiro is able to resume his work properly. It so happened that when the Tengku fell ill about two years ago, the 'original' GAM in Stockholm was taken over and run and ruined by a handful (3-4) of his close but illiterate relatives. This is also the reason why the Free Acheh Movement in Europe (MB GAM Eropa), comprised of 80 per cent Achehnese in Sweden, came into being.
3. MP GAM has never had any contacts with Jakarta, and together with MB GAM Eropa, have released dozens of statements and interviews with the media that, on principle, we have and will reject any negotiations with the government in Jakarta, unless it is done in a third country and mediated by an impartial third party. As an 'expert' of the 'inner workings of AGAM, how could you have missed such essential points?
4. There is no religious or political dichotomy in GAM. It is very clear, even for the deaf and the blind, that the Achehnese struggle is for self-determination and will be achieved, if possible, through a free referendum. Islam is the religion of every Achehnese, but the liberation struggle for an independent Acheh has nothing to do with your religious dichotomy.
5. About Arjuna. He was last seen in Malaysia in 1994. He had a problem with the leadership of Aceh Merdeka and went back to Acheh soon afterward. After the fall down of Suharto regime, Arjuna together with his family moved to Jakarta. And ever since he has been interviewed by GAMMA and some other Magazines such as Tempo and Gatra to discredit Aceh Merdeka, particularly its leader Tengku Hasan di Tiro. Your Tempo's based report saying that Dr Husaini and my father Teungku M. Daud Husin had "contacted Arjuna to confront Hasan di Tiro in Sweden", is an outright lie beyond comparison. Do we MP GAM and MB GAM Eropa need an Arjuna if we wanted to confront an ailing Tengku Hasan di Tiro? Where is your (your sources') logic?
6. Regarding facsimiles and other releases "undersigned" by the Teungku to 'expel' Dr Husaini Hasan and other leaders from the movement, and the latest one was to disown Teuku Don Zulfahri as Secretary General of MP GAM, was nothing more than a faked and false document. Almost every Achehnese now knows that in the past two years the Tengku has never appeared publicly or written any statements, press releases or sent video-taped messages to the suffering people of Acheh when the latter needed him most, except those faked pamphlets disseminated by some irresponsible thugs that have created confusion and havoc among the people of Acheh. But mind you, in spite of your adding fuel to the flames, the Achehnese are united and solid as ever. Thanks Mr Klinken.
I sincerely hope that my strong-worded explanations would not hurt you but could partly clarify your wrong assumption of the Free Acheh Movement. If you want to know more about our struggle, The Free Acheh Movement, please feel free to write to us.
Stockholm, 28 November 1999
M. Yusuf Daud