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GROUND ZERO PLUS 1204 DAYS,--New York, NY, Wednesday, December 29, 2004--The violent lash of Mother Nature's wrath has forced a cease fire between Sumatra "terrorists" and government forces.

The island of Sumatra was one of the jewels of vacation spots

Sumatra is part of Indonesia, a collection of islands nestled next to Thailand and Southeast Asia renowned for its rich soil, spices, coffee and volcanoes. It is also one of the jewels for vacationers seeking idyllic environments. And, it is a hotbed of alleged terrorism.

In 1950 the new government of Indonesia, formerly called the Dutch West Indies, created ten provinces on the island of Sumatra that stretch 1100 miles long and 270 wide and boasts a population of 40 million. The province at the northern tip of the island is called Aceh, a predominately Islamic group of people with deep Malaysian roots.

When Indonesia's government tried to abolish the provinces and fold them into one national authority, Aceh resisted and sought its independence. In 1959 the government offered Aceh special territorial privileges to assuage the defiance of the people, but then decided to crush the separatists.

A poster of the Free Aceh Movement

Rebels seeking independence engaged Indonesian troops and a war zone was created. In 1976 the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) was officially launched to represent the demands of the rebel forces. Failed attempts to effect peace resulted in major human rights violations and more than 7,000 deaths--some through brutal torture.

In retaliation to GAM's attempts to seek world opinion and sympathy the Indonesian government banned all foreign journalists and aid to the province, virtually cutting it off from global contact. Constant attacks and ambushes by government forces, plus assassinations of top GAM leaders have been fruitless to bring the resistance to its knees.

But the tsunami disaster may have opened a closed door.

Aceh is the closest populated area to the epicenter of the undersea earthquake that brought waves towering some 200 feet to smash civilization on the island. It is estimated that when the final body count has been established, there will be more than 80,000 dead.

Sumatra is a paradise-based island. The equator cuts through its middle and creatures such as tigers, elephants, black gibbons and orangutangs roam the jungles. High mountains march up the island creating a stark contrast between the sea, jungle and towering peaks. The highest mountain in Sumatra is Kerinci jutting up some 12,484 feet.

But spoiling this virtual Eden is the Beast of Terror.

Prior to the tsunami, rebel and government forces were locked in fierce combat, with any aid and supplies to Aceh halted in an attempt to force concessions and surrender.

Mother Nature trumped both sides.

Mother Nature trumped both the Indonesian government and the Aceh rebels

Her devastation has caused both sides to issue a cease fire to allow needed supplies, aid and emergency workers access to the "combat zone."

The battle for Aceh isn't over because of the cease fire. Its website warns that Indonesian troops may divert any aid for Aceh and calls upon the world community to monitor relief work to insure materials are being distributed fairly.

The average observer might see Three Beasts of Terror in this scenario. One is the Indonesian government, alleged to inflict horrible tortures, executions and mass deaths upon non-combatants. A few years ago Indonesian troops were found guilty of such atrocities.

Aceh rebels have been equally accused of such atrocities against the Indonesian troops. Watchdog human rights groups investigating both sides have found violations against the government and GAM.

The third Beast is Mother Nature herself. While government and rebel forces slash and fight at each other, killing with indiscriminate ferocity, Mother Nature assaults Aceh.

Just 90 miles from the epicenter, one might wonder if Nature herself might be sending a message about violence, death and destruction. The sad story of the tourist standing in the water holding his six-month-old when the waves hit and having the child ripped from his arms by the undertow, may stand equal to the horrors of human depravity in the GAM vs. Indonesian government battle.

Some might argue the difference is that Mother Nature has no "will" to injure while human beings premeditate their actions and are morally responsible for what they do while Mother Nature is absolved of any sins.

But then there is the nagging question about the purpose of Mother Nature. Many claim that Mother Nature's primary role is "balance." When the earth becomes too populated, Mother Nature will control that overabundance of human life with pestilence, howling winds, ice ages and other forms of population reducing elements she is historically known to perform.

Those who study the Ice Age know that the earth has its way of erasing everything and beginning anew.

Mother Nature's actions could be construed to effect "balance" on the earth

Could it be that there is some ingrained notion of "will" within Mother Nature to effect "balance" on this earth despite all the attempts by human beings to try and control nature?

It would be easy to discount Mother Nature's actions as an "act of God" and dispel any notion that there was an "intent" on her part to reduce life and bring balance back. But those who refute such an idea must also refute that the universe is on a mission, that it has been specifically designed by certain forces, natural or spiritual, to achieve a goal. Recent studies of the universe note that it is elastic, shifting its shape as it morphs and moves through time and space toward---?????

That which has a destination can be considered to also have a will. How "free" that will is to divert and alter its course is up for grabs. Human beings have a free will to alter their destiny. Instead of achieving peace and harmony, humans can engage in war and violence and deevolve rather than evolve. Humans can be overweight and gluttons in one part of the world while other humans in another sector starve.

Free will allows humans the right to chose what step he or she will take next in life, or, to simply surrender to life and become a non-entity, a twig floating down a sea of conformity.

But then, isn't that what Mother Nature does?

Isn't she unpredictable?

Even Terrorism doesn't mess with Mother Nature's Beast

In the blink of an eye as storm can change directions or appear suddenly out of no where. She can belch her entrails into the sky or open crevices under the sea in undetected ways that leave a man and his six-month-old child standing unaware in the warm surf blind to the fact that Mother Nature's Beast of Terror is about to alter all balance for a moment.

There may be some cosmic reasoning behind the fact that Aceh is the hardest hit of all from the tsunami. Perhaps Mother Nature wanted to tell the world in a very subtle way that when it comes to Terrorism, no one can equal her wrath. Perhaps she wanted the world to know that if Terrorism wants to challenge Mother Nature, she will remove us all, one tsunami at a time.


Go To Yesterday's Story: "Haunting Tsunamis Plus Happy Hello Kitties"



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