PROFITING FROM PEACE:
By George Junus Aditjondro
POST-tsunami reconstruction in Aceh, after the signing of the peace memorandum beween the representatives of the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (= GAM, Gerakan Aceh Merdeka) in Helsinki on 15 August 2005, has solidified the unholy alliance between foreign and domestic business interests in the territory, which is still strongly guarded by the Indonesian military. One can describe the structure of businesses in the war-torn and tsunami-and-earthquake torn country as a pyramid, with foreign businesses on the top of the pyramid, followed closely by large domestic companies owned or with close links to members of Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jusuf Kalla’s administration; then state-owned companies called BUMN (Badan Usaha Milik Negara) in Indonesian; followed by businesses owned by Acehnese entrepreneurs, especially those pioneered by two entrepreneurs who were on the opposite side of the political fence, Surya Paloh and Muzakir Manaf; then comes the much smaller businesses owned by local Acehnese business people. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid one can find small farmers and fisherfolks, many of whom are facing the danger of being squeezed out from their farms and fishing waters.