Dark sights in Banda Aceh
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It doesn't make for sunny postcard fodder, but travelling over oceans to mourn the dead is a profound gesture of sympathy. Seeing the place with your own eyes allows for personal and sacred memorials and helps feeble imaginations understand the scale of a disaster.
Many of the most moving images of the tsunami will be erased in the coming years: the freighter ships deposited miles inland will be disassembled, the empty landscape will be rebuilt, the amputated families will form new connections. But what will remain is an ancient human custom: housing the dead so the living can remember.There are four mass graves in and around Banda Aceh where the dead in the province…
Not far from the Gunongan is the Kherkhof, the last resting place of more than 2000 Dutch and Indonesian soldiers who died fighting the Acehnese. The entrance is about 250m from the clock tower on the road to Uleh-leh. Tablets set into the walls by the entrance gate are inscribed with the names of the dead soldiers. The cemetery suffered some flooding from the tsunami.
To reach the Kherkhof take labi labi 9 or 10.