THE LOST VOICE
I was introduced to a girl in a northern city.
She had her head covered with a yellow cloth.
At first, she glared at me with hatred, but then started to cry when she saw my camera.
"Can you guess what the TNI has done to her?" asked the woman who guided me.
"The soldiers cut off her hair."
Perhaps the fear still remains deep in her soul.
She has not been able to say a word since that day.
A girl weeping, without any words, represented the Acehnese who have been under oppression for the past several decades.
THE UNTOLD STORY: Massacre of Bumi Flora
On August 9th, 2001, people working for Bumi Flora rubber plantation were gathered by the government troop (TNI) in the morning. "I only want Acehnese to remain here." Said a soldier.
Dozen of people including women and children were ordered to line up. There were about 50 soldiers in camouflage uniform and none of them wore a smile.
A man who looked like a commander asked us "Where is GAM?"
We were all frightened and remained quiet. After a while, he said
"I'm sorry, but I have to take revenge." Explained one of the survivors.
Pro-independent guerrilla had killed more than 20 government soldiers when they attacked a military base located nearby. The "revenge" signified the incident.
"There was a soldier in front of me lying on the ground with a machine-gun. The incident happened right after the commander shouted something. I knew that they were going to kill us, but it was too late."
People ran about in confusion. She fell down from being shot in the stomach, and decided to stay still, pretending to be dead, until the troop had left. She had to cope with the horrible pain while blood poured from the fresh wound. When she felt the consciousness loosing, she read a verse from the Koran in her head and prayed to Allah.
Not knowing how much time had passed, she slightly opened her eyes since it was quiet.
The troop had already gone away. When she stood up and looked around there were dead bodies lying on top of an one another.
"It was like an inferno."
There were three more survivors at that moment, but one of them died two days later due to
a gunshot wound.
Three days after the massacre, the local Red Cross evacuated the dead bodies.
One of the volunteering staff said,
"We found 31 dead bodies. When we asked the TNI for permission to pass through, the officials told us that it was done by the GAM."
More than 20,000 soldiers and police officers were sent to Aceh under the name of "maintenance of public order", The Military operation, so-called "guerrilla hunting",
is often put into effect in the rural districts and villages under suspicion of housing
pro-independent advocates are completely burned down. Men are tortured and women are raped after they are taken away. TNI's anti-pro-independent operation, which inaugurated from May 2001, has caused more than 1,500 victims in the last six months, most of whom were non-armed civilians.
The number of victims increase when considering disappeared persons.