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The Art of Resistance

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 3.0 license

Aceh, which is located at the northernmosttip of the island of Sumatra, is one of thirty-four provinces that comprise Indonesia. In the sixteenth century, Aceh was known as a center of trade for Indian, Chinese, and Arab merchants and as a center of Islamic learning. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, however, Aceh gained a reputation for violence and disaster. From 1976 to 2005, rebel fighters known as GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or, the “Free Aceh Movement”) fought for independence from the Indonesian nation-state. This protracted political conflict came to a halt with the arrival of another tragedy; in 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated much of Aceh, leaving 170,000 peopledead and 500,000 homeless.

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