Blood Moon over Aceh

Reviewed by Jacqueline Siapno

Alue Rambe, a rural village in Aceh, situated at the epicenter of one of the world’s richest oil and gas fields, is the setting of Blood Moon over Aceh. This elegant, nuanced translation of a beautifully written, insightful, powerful novel on a bone-chilling topic forces the reader to reflect on the lives of Acehnese who have been silenced.

Nur writes about the sense of loneliness, isolation, and grief. His work gives voice to the untold stories of kidnappings, normalized terror, and military atrocities designed to shock civilians into silenced fear. Breaking through an historical amnesia, Nur’s work joins a growing chorus of poets, historians, film-makers, scholars, and global environmental rights lawyers producing new knowledge about the same phenomena from different angles, and calling for justice.

Blood Moon over Aceh shows the reader what happens when private greed and multinational corporations such as Exxon Mobil go unchecked and work with public institutions in the Indonesian state and military to create public policies that destroy the environment and the lives of ordinary citizens.

Aside from recounting the woes of war, Nur’s work also serves as a window into the rich Acehnese culture in scenes that allow the reader to participate in a peusijeukmeughang and kenduri.

—Jacqueline Siapno, Author of Gender, Islam, Nationalism and the State in AcehThe Paradox of Power, Co-optation, and Resistance (Routledge Curzon 2002). Co-founder of International Forum for Aceh.

For more on the English-language version, visit the book’s page on Dalang Publishing.