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Aceh independentist movement (Indonesia)

Last modified: 2002-10-19 by sam lockton
Keywords: indonesia | aceh separatist movment | sumatra |
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Aceh independentist movement

[Aceh independentist movement]
by António Martins

See also:

The flag of the main Aceh separatist movement. Aceh is a predominantly Muslim region, as evidenced by the flag, which has similarities to the flag of Turkey.
Dylan Crawfoot, 27 February 1999

The star points into the mouth of the moon on the photo in the paper.
Ole Andersen, 2 August 1999

From an interview in Hallands-Posten, a Swedish newspaper:
The flag of the independentist state of Aceh-Sumatra was officialy hoisted on the renewed proclamation of independence on 4 December 1976 by Head of State Tengku Tjhik di Tiro Muhammad Hasan (Tengku Hasan di Tiro). It was he who added the black stripes with white fimbriation in 1976, to commemorate those who lost their life defending the flag. It is over thousand years old [sic!], and was used in the naval battle against Portugal in 1586, and in the war against the Dutch from 1873 till 1942. (Officially the war ended in 1914, but I think small resistant groups kept fighting. In 1942 the Japanese invaded the Netherlands Indies). From 1949 till 1976 the flag was not hoisted anymore on account of the Javanese suppression.

The crescent and star are symbols of the Islam for submition to Allah, his laws and justice. The red stands for bravery, loyalty, truth and the willingness to make sacrifices for the right path of God. The white fimbriations symbolise the pureness of the objects made. The length of the flag is one-and-a-half times the height, other dimensions are laid down according the standards of the expert designers.
(Free translation, summarised, from an article in "Vlaggen", no. 25, 1983, page 371-372, by Mark Sensen)

There is a draft of a law for special autonomy for the province of Aceh. The law will soon be disscused by the central parliament. Including in the draft are a name change from 'Province of Special Region of Aceh' to 'Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam' (NAD); the authority of the Wali Negeri (Sultan-like rank) to design the coat of arms of NAD; and most interesting is the design and usage of 'Alam Aceh', that is the flags/standards of Aceh. If this draft passed, Aceh would be the first Indonesian region to use its regional flags de facto and guaranteed by law. It seems inevitable that Acehnese will hoist their new flag if this draft passed (become a full-operating law), since the demands for both autonomy and independence are very stong there.
Sammy Kanadi, 18 January 2001

Supposed age of the flag

This flag of the State of Aceh is over one-thousand years old. It has been continously flown all over our country since the time of Sultans Ali Mughayat Shah, Iskandar Muda, Mahmud Shah, Tengku Tjhik di Tiro Muhammad Saman until today. However the two black stripes were added in 1976 by the present Head of State, Tengku Hasan di Tiro, to commemorate all the Acehnese war dead in defending this flag in the past.
Syahbuddin Abdurrauf, 29 September 1999

The claim that the flag is over 1000 years old seems to be a common claim by the Acehnese, although it seems hard to substantiate. The current flag of Aceh may based on a similar design used in past. The design before 1976 was without both the black stripes and the white fimbriation, making it similar to the Ottoman flag, although the precise placement of the crescent and star are unknown.
Abstracted from comments by Santiago Dotor, Zeljko Heimer, António Martins, Mark Sensen, 29-30 September 1999

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