Indonesia: Unflagging Resilience and Courage

By Ximena Murillo, MIB

Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world with about 17,000 islands, spreading between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. More than 200 ethnic groups and approximately 300 languages call Indonesia home. My opportunity to meet the beautiful and exceptionally friendly people of Indonesia in the fascinating setting of Banda Aceh was certainly a blessing. The sheer beauty of the city was also inspiring, but I was even more impressed with the resilience, patience, and courage of its people, especially after long devastating internal conflicts and the worst natural disaster in human history, which hit this region in 2004. Along Indonesia’s exposure to the Indian Ocean, a tsunami, caused by an undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1, struck the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. According to multiple sources, the death toll exceeded 300,000 people and destroyed 60% of the infrastructure in Banda Aceh. It was estimated that more than 700,000 survivors were displaced. The disaster has wreaked havoc with many aspects of life in local communities and the regional economy.

Banda Aceh (formerly known as Kuta Raja) is the capital, and largest city, in the province of Aceh. Because of its strategic location, it evolved into the hub city for education, commerce, and government. During my visit, I met extraordinary leaders, activists, and victims of a terrible armed conflict between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the government of Indonesia, which ended with a peace agreement in 2005. One young activist peacemaker was Hermanto Hasan, currently working with the Geutanyoe Foundation, is helping people in disaster-affected communities of Sulawesi after last month’s tsunami. His demonstrated courage and extraordinary experience in the reconstruction of the exceptionally complicated confluence of post-conflict and post-natural disaster circumstances, is assisting the people in Sulawesi and surrounding communities to overcoming shock, dislocation, and loss as they seek to rebuild their lives and communities.

As of today, the death toll in Indonesia earthquake that hit the city of Palu is close to 2,000 and with thousands more missing. Many people remain in a state of shock, trauma, and fear. The reconstruction process has marked a new beginning of government-led programming for disaster risk reduction in Indonesia. The hope is to lessen vulnerability and improve responsiveness with respect to natural disasters.

While visiting Aceh, we heard stories of the long-lasting economic and social effects, as well as the psychological impacts on survivors — , especially children. Although the experience of the death of family and friends compounded by the loss of home, livelihoods, and destruction of entire communities result in unimaginable enduring trauma, fourteen years later, Aceh is emerging as a new city with a Build Back Better approach. It’s so encouraging to see how they were able to rebuild their lives, their communities and most importantly their futures. The level of resilience, courage, and patriotism exhibited by these amazing people is humbling and clearly extraordinary. Our prayers and thoughts for our friends in Indonesia.

You can support by The Geutanyoe Foundation:






Facebook Comments

    Comments are closed

    Houston, TX | Atlanta, GA | Monrovia, LI
    About Us
    iF Magazine’s concept is unique and amazing. With Forbes ranking Houston as the most diverse city in America, Houston is certainly the new mecca for attracting, engaging, and building international business relationships. Add that we have 93 foreign consulates with a presence in the city, and more than 190 foreign languages spoken here, iF Magazine is the only one of its kind targeting this diverse, upscale group.
    Houston Staff
    Val Thompson

    Heidi Powell Prera

    Craig L. Amos

    Heidi Powell
    Atlanta Staff
    Cynthia L.Blandford

    Val Thompson

    Craig L. Amos

    Simeon Nunnally
    Contact Us

    11110 Bellaire Blvd., Ste. Ste.218
    Houston, TX 77072 USA
    Phone: 832-526-3335
    Email: Val@IFMagazine.net

    925B Peachtree Street, NE #392
    Atlanta, GA 30309 USA
    Phone: 678-612-2192
    Email: cblandford@iFmagazine.net

    Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa
    Phone: 0886417994
    WhatsApp: +231886417994

    ©International Focus Magazine, LLC. All rights reserved.

    Web design, hosting & maintenance by: CBA Media Group | www.CBAMediaGroup.com

    I am interested in advertising the following markets:*