Syed Nazakat in Bali, Indonesia 

As terrorism is spreading to new places and the world is struggling how to cope with threat, this small island of Indonesia is bearing a ray of hope how to defeat terrorism by not overwhelmed by fear and hatred created by the series of deadly bomb blasts which brought death to this beautiful island. 

“We stood united, moved on and put that horrible day behind us,” says Wayan, a Bali bombing survivor who runs a provisional shop in Kuta.  “Despite the bombing we don’t have too much security here, the people are vigilant but there is no panic and we are enjoying life”. 

For Wayan the road back is filled with painful memories. He was just 500 meters away from the bombing site on the day of 2002 bombing. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia, killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals (including 88 Australians), and 38 Indonesian citizens.

“When the bomb went off my TV and stereo jumped off the rack.    I saw only the fire at the Sari Club. People were carrying bodies and injured people.  I called a friend on my cell phone but he didn’t answered. I found out days later that my friend had died in hospital,” Wayan remembers. 

Bali is the only Hindu dominated island of Indonesia, a biggest Muslim country in the world. Though the attacks carried out in Bali were aimed particularly at the foreign tourists, but many believe that if both communities – Muslims and Hindus – had not acted carefully after the attack there was a chance of communal flare up. “Hindus and Muslims who live here for centuries made sure that the years old communal harmony didn’t fall pray to the terrorism,” says Adaan, 29, who works in a café in Kuta. 

Just up the street from Adaan’s shop is a small garment shop owned and operated by Nyoman Soladi, 32.  “I still don’t understand why they attacked us, killed so many innocent people. We have done nothing wrong with anybody,” said Soladi. “But we have to defeat the perpetrators by fighting them united”. 

Today while tourists are once again traveling to Bali, the island is abuzz with life and energy. People are piecing their lives back together with broad smiles on their faces. Many are using October 12 as inspiration day to fight enemy, jointly. Across the street, the bombing site has been turned into memorial in Kuta and it attracts tourists who gaze at the list of countries and names of the people killed in the 2002 Bali bombing. 

“Who is their (perpetuators of Bali bombing) enemy,” asks Andy Harrison, 39, a British national who has been travelling to Bali from the last ten years while pointing towards memorial.   “Everybody is there enemy and they are the enemies of everybody”. 

The Bali bombing in 2002 shattered the people and the left massive effect on tourism industry on which the life of most of Balinese is dependent. “The people were just starting to build up confidence again when terrorist attacked Bali last year. It was the nail in the coffin for people coming to this place,” says Rita Widiadana, a Bali based correspondent of The Jakarta Post. “But today if you room around in Bali you really don’t feel that this is the place where terrorists had created such havoc.  The people have just made it sure that they are not going to be overwhelmed by fear”. 

Dr. John Harrison, Manager of terrorism research, Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies Nanyang Technological University Singapore says that there is still a threat of another attack in Indonesia.   “Though most of the top members of Jemaah Islamiyah have been arrested, but I think terrorists still have the capacity to attack Bali,” says John Harrison. He added that there are 46 terrorist outfits active in Indonesia.    

But in the island, as Wayan says, people are strong believers of divine retribution and they believe in Karma. “Who so ever is trying to plug this beautiful place into hell will get punished. But our religion is to live happily with others and be nice to everybody,” says Wayan while putting offerings, made from plants and flowers, on the ground. Before saying adieu he invited me for the birthday party of his friend. “The party is at the beach of Kuta, please do come”. 

(Sahara Time, 2007)


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