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The Acehnese Revolt

JudulThe Acehnese Revolt
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSobandi, Khairu Roojiqien

The ethnic war in Aceh territory killed 13.000 to 50.000 of people and it remains problematic, especially in the 1950s, 1970s, and the end of 1990s. This thesis explores whether the symbolic politics theory of ethnic war, which was originally designed to explain conflict in the post-Communist societies of Eastern Europe, is also successful for explaining ethnic war and the subsequent peace in areas like Aceh where traditional social structures continued to exist. Facts support the hypotheses of symbolist theory. On the first two cases, myths justifying hostility were strong on both sides of the Acehnese and the Javanese Indonesian national government, the result of decades of conflict between Javanese national authorities and the Acehnese societies in Aceh territory. Ethnic fears, opportunity reasons, hostile feelings, chauvinist mobilization by ethnic elites, and security dilemma dynamics were also taken into account on the Acehnese ethnic conflict. On the other hand, the symbolist theory is also effective for explaining ethnic subsequent peace in the reform period (1998-recent). Hostile myths and fears did present, but the violence did not emerge because both elites chose not to let the conflict continues. The opportunity to mobilize for both elites did not present and therefore hostile mass conflict did not escalate. Recognizing this unique conflict involves identifying the patterns of their attachment to the traditional social structures, the sultanates and the ulama (the Islamic scholar).

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