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Jakarta Post

15 years since Bali bombings: Never forget!

Thu, October 19, 2017   /   12:57 pm
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    The police patrol around the Ground Zero Monument during the 15th anniversary of the Bali bombings in Kuta, Bali, on Oct. 12, 2017. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    Flowers, letters, photographs and incense are laid at the monument to honor the Bali bombing victims. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    A Japanese family of Bali bombing victims pays respect at Ground Zero. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    Agus Bambang Priyanto throws red rose petals at the Ground Zero Monument during a commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Bali bombings. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    A young girl throws red rose petals into a pond in the middle of the monument. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    Visitors look at Luka Bom Bali (Wounds of the Bali Bombings) book at Ground Zero. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    A woman reads Luka Bom Bali, which was released by the Isana Dewata Foundation on Oct. 12, 2017. The book was co-written by Ni Komang Erviani and Anak Agung Lea and tells the stories of 15 victims of the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    Wina (left) and Dinda (right) read a poem titled Surat Rindu Kami (Our Longing Letters) dedicated to their parents, who were killed in the bomb blasts. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    Gatot Indro Suranto, a Bali bombing survivor, is nicknamed Gatot Kaca because of the fragments of glass that pierced his body during a bomb blast. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    Ngesti Puji Rahayu, one of the 2002 bombing survivors, poses for a photo. She suffered burns on her left arm. JP/Anggara Mahendra

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    Chusnul and his son, Muafa, pose during the 15th anniversary of the Bali bombings at Ground Zero. JP/Anggara Mahendra

In 2002, three deadly bomb blasts took place at Paddy’s Pub and the Sari Club in Kuta that claimed the lives of 202 people – comprising 164 foreigners from 24 countries and 38 Indonesians – and injured 209 others. Another bomb exploded on Jl. Hayam Wuruk, Denpasar, near the US Consulate General, but did not result in fatalities.

Three years later, other explosions took place at Kafe Nyoman and Kafe Menega in Jimbaran and at RAJA’s restaurant in Kuta Square. Twenty-three people died.

Victims of the bombings suffered not only physical injuries but were also traumatized by the evil deeds. Their families suffered too. Many of them have been unable to step foot in Kuta because of the trauma. Others have sought professional help to cure their psychological wounds.

The Isana Dewata Foundation was set up on Sept. 27, 2013, by the first Bali bombing survivors to help the victims and their families as well as spread peace.

They launched a bilingual book titled Janda-janda Korban Terorisme di Bali (The Widows of Bali Terror), which tells the story of how 14 widows suffered because of the tragedy. This year, they launched another book called Luka Bom Bali (Wounds of the Bali Bombings) at Ground Zero in Kuta, on Oct. 12. This book tells the stories of 15 victims of the bombings in English and Indonesian. It was co-written by Ni Komang Erviani and Anak Agung Lea.

“When I related the experience of seeing my child running while crying upon seeing me in bandages, the rehabilitated terrorists sobbed,” said survivor Gatot Indro Suranto, who is nicknamed Gatot Kaca, during a forum that was also attended by rehabilitated terrorists. “Kaca” means glass in Indonesian and Gatot suffered wounds when shattered glass pierced his body.

He was hospitalized for about six weeks to undergo several operations to remove the glass fragments. The doctors also had to make an incision in his left lung to treat damaged caused by chemical substances.

Gatot is one of the 15 victims of the 2002 Bali bombings. He hopes the people, especially the government, will not forget them. He also hopes the government will help them financially, especially by providing scholarships for children whose parents died in the bombings.

Chusnul Chotimah, who suffered burn injuries, said he expected the government to provide jobs for the victims.

In commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Bali bombings, the Isana Dewata Foundation released 1,000 copies of Luka Bom Bali, the proceeds of which will be used to publish another book.

The foundation hopes survivors of terrorism will not be forgotten but instead remembered and that their survival inspires others.[yan]