Jardine-Oxford doctoral scholar at Oxford University
One of my most cherished gifts, received on the eve of my wedding last December, was a beautiful carving of five seated women dancing the Acehneserateb meuseukat. This remarkable form of female music, dance and body percussion is surely not only a quintessential part of West Acehnese identity but also a living symbol that sets us thinking of how tradition, courage and a pioneering spirit can be woven together to take women forward as active agents in a rapidly changing world.
The verses sung throughout this dance are not only beautiful but more importantly, call for strength and hope, reminding the community of the power of Allah whenever devastation strikes. The song reminds one of our national heroine from Aceh, Cut Nyak Dien, who dedicated her life to resistance during the Dutch occupation. This International Women’s Day, we thank the Acehnese leader and oth...
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