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Open Access M. Isa Sulaiman (1951-2004)

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M. Isa Sulaiman (1951-2004)

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Chapter Summary

Isa Sulaiman was one of Aceh's most important social scientists. Some of Isa's early work was little more than anthropological list-making. To shape a national culture, the government asked social scientists around the country to make exhaustive 'inventories' of traditional rituals such as weddings. Heroism was not something just to write about, but to do. When Reformasi came also to Aceh, Isa did not sit on the fence. He introduced his book on the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM, Free Aceh Movement) (Isa Sulaiman 2000) by saying he hoped it would add a historical dimension to a strident indictment of military human rights abuse written earlier by Al-Chaidar (1998). The book led to an invitation to join the 'Acehnese civil society task force' in Banda Aceh, which hoped to create a democratic space amid the fighting. When the tsunami claimed him, Isa seemed to be going from strength to strength.

Keywords: Acehnese civil society task force; Al-Chaidar; anthropological list-making; Gerakan Aceh Merdeka; M. Isa Sulaiman



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