The residents of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, suffered a disaster one year ago that may have killed as many as 170,000 in their province alone. But some have noted that the violence of nature appears to have stemmed a 30-year civil conflict that had made the area one of the most militarized places on earth.
While no one talks about a “benefit” of the year-ago tsunami, residents say that if anything good came from the disaster triggered by a massive earthquake, it was a kind of peace that has, by nearly all accounts, taken root in the region.
“For the love of Aceh, people were willing to put down their guns,” Muhammad Redhammarta, 23, a field worker with the Indonesian relief and development organization Mamamia, said as he accompanied a group of relief workers on a tour of several villages in the province.
Asked to rate the long-term chances for peace on a scale of one to ten (with ten expressing the most optimistic), Redhammarta replied: “An eight.”
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).