Aceh's former resistance leader, Hassan Di Tiro, prayed briefly
by the grave of Aceh hero Sultan Iskandar Muda on Sunday morning
and is scheduled to visit the grave of another hero, respected
ulema Syech Abdul Rauf, at Syiah Kuala cemetery.
Organizers say, after paying his respects, Tiro will visit Ule
Lhee, the coastal area of Banda Aceh that was devastated in the
"It's the tsunami which preceded the Helsinki memorandum of
understanding (MoU)," said Muzakir A Hamid, an assistant of Tiro,
referring to a peace agreement between the Free Aceh Movement
(which Tiro had chaired) and the Indonesian government.
Later, in the tentative Sunday schedule was a visit to the grave
of Tiro's ancestor Tengku Cik Di Tiro, a national hero in
Indrapuri district, some 25 kilometers east of Banda Aceh.
Tiro arrived in his homeland Aceh on Saturday, after 29 years of
living in exile, mainly in Sweden. Now, he is a Swedish citizen.
"The freedom and peace across Aceh today is a precious gift from Allah. Never before in Aceh's history of colonialism and
occupation by foreign nations, have the people gained freedom and
peace in general, as they have today," Tiro said in a statement
read by his assistant, Malik Mahmud, in front of thousands of
people at Baiturrahman Mosque in Banda Aceh on Saturday.
A former female combatant, Fatimah, was among the speakers who
addressed the crowd on Saturday.
Fatimah said she and her group of female combatants (inong bale)
were still trying to meet Tiro, who is considered by many
Acehnese as wali nangroe (inheritor of Aceh).
"I am satisfied. I saw him up-close yesterday, but my friends
said maybe our eyes were not yet blessed."
Fatimah conveyed her gratitude to Tiro who had "opened the eyes
of the Acehenese," enabling them to understand "our history".