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Toward a radical middle

a time for fear
Sunday, June 29, 2003  
The Indonesian army have more than just British weaponry to use in their offensive against Aceh rebels, they've also got OV-10 Bronco counterinsurgency planes and F-16 Fighter jets from America, German warships and French and Russian-made armoured vehicles (oh, plus American-trained soldiers, not the best money can buy, but enough, especially against dead Libyan-trained geurillas). Certainly a sweet cache, but is it really necessary? Are they trying to keep rust at bay or something? Meanwhile, on Thursday two mass graves containing 20 bodies were discovered in south Aceh by soldiers. Local authorities are now searching for more graves containing 280 more alleged victims of extra-judiciary killings in the area, for which both the rebels and the military are responsible. The local population has, for its part, been coerced into rallying against the rebels (they can recognise a foregone conclusion when they see one, as well as a shit-load of deadly hardware heading their way. Having said that many complained of being forced to attend by 'community leaders', as well as the local civilian militia, Wanra, whose activities have resumed recently in response to renewed GAM actions. Young guys are virtually blackmailed into joining, says one: "If I did not join the organisation I was afraid i would be accused of sympathsing with GAM"). Crowds gathered in a football field on Thursday, among them farmers, civil servants, youth activists and militia groups, to pledge allegiance to the state, because centralist oppression seems a better deal right now than imminent, indiscriminate massacre. This tiny regency is now caught in an intensely depressing quagmire, and committed to a pointless, pathetic show-war.

1:46 PM

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