Fighting the Elephants

Number of villagers in Aceh Jaya were pushed and hemmed in the conflict between Indonesian military and the GAM guerillas. They had to survive as if living in between two giant elephants fighting.


IN THE NIGHT of August 23, 2008, Hasannuddin (40) and his wife, Marlina, were sleepless. Around 10 o’clock that evening, a male elephant entered their cocoa and banana farmland behind their house. The giant animal broke down the barbwire-fence around the farmland, and devoured some banana stalks. Banana crop is one of its favorite foods. Hasanuddin went to his neighbors seeking for help to chase the wild elephant away from his farmland.

“Go away, please… Go away…,” Hasanuddin and his colleagues implored. Villagers knew that the wild giant animal has sensitive behavior. To chase the elephant away, they did not use any harmful techniques. Otherwise, it will attack back savagely.

“Please, don’t harm our farm …” begged Hasanuddin while waving his hands to chase away the elephant. But it kept devouring the trees. Then Hasanuddin managed to assemble woods to set a bonfire. The fire caused the elephant move away from the farm. But it continued to eat the remains of the banana stalks after breaking another barbwire-fence. Around 2 o’clock pre dawn, after completely finished the stalks, the elephant left the farm. Continue reading “Fighting the Elephants”