Bomb blast in Bali Indonesia
October 12, 2002 9:40 PM   Subscribe

Bomb blast in Bali Indonesia In what is believed to be a terrorist attack, a destroyed two crowded clubs in Bali. 150 people are confirmed dead, including an unknown number of Australians, Britons, French and Canadians, and authorities say the death toll is likely to rise.
posted by Tarrama (118 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The biggest majority of these people would have been holiday makers.
posted by Tarrama at 9:46 PM on October 12, 2002

First link may have a problem, Tarrama. Here are two other breaking stories in CNN and Sunday Mirror
posted by madamjujujive at 9:47 PM on October 12, 2002

thanks madamjujujive, apologies for the error, I'm not thinking too clearly as I know Bali very well.
posted by Tarrama at 9:49 PM on October 12, 2002

Here's a link that points at a news story.

A bomb went off near the U.S. consulate in Bali at nearly the same time as the club bombings. This happened, probably not coincidentally unfortunately, within days of indications that the El Quaida were going to make attacks off of the U.S. mainland.

Part of me hopes that it is determined to be other unrest that lies at the heart of the bombing, though in reality that doesn't change the fact that people have died.
posted by substrate at 9:49 PM on October 12, 2002

Shit, one of my oldest and dearest friends is in Bali at the moment, and is definitely a club-going type. I hope he's OK.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:50 PM on October 12, 2002

The attack destroyed 27 buildings

Fuckin' A, man. No more to say.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:58 PM on October 12, 2002

That's worrisome for you, Stavrosthewonderchicken - I hope your friend is safe and for what it's worth, I send positive thoughts to you and to him.

And for you too Tarrama. And for us all in these difficult times.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:03 PM on October 12, 2002

I hope he is ok too Stavros, I have a friend that came back from there last week, who will be counting herself very lucky. This whole thing is so sad. There will be repercussions for the Balinese people as well. Most of the locals are very poor and rely totally on whatever they can sell to tourists to support themselves and their families. There are some images here of Bali, such a gentle place for a savage act.
posted by Tarrama at 10:07 PM on October 12, 2002

Apparantly there was more than one bomb, the second close to the US consulate. Much love to stavros, tarrama, and those that have kindred spirits around there.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:10 PM on October 12, 2002

There was also a bomb blast at a shopping mall in Helsinki Finland. The bomber, a teenager, died in the blast. The police don't know what the motive was but don't think it was associated with a terrorist movement.
posted by homunculus at 11:00 PM on October 12, 2002

The apologists will be with you shortly. Please stand by....
posted by shoos at 11:01 PM on October 12, 2002

No doubt about it, Allahu Akbar
posted by BentPenguin at 11:03 PM on October 12, 2002

I'm an Australian and I had been planning to go to Bali in December with my partner; Bali is (was...?) considered to be a pretty safe, friendly part of Indonesia, and it's probably the major overseas holiday destination for young Aussies. However, we had to change our plans and cancel the trip a few weeks back because of health concerns. We heard the news of this on the radio this morning and just stopped and looked at each other...What the FUCK?! I almost consider this an attack on Australia; Bali feels like a little extension of Australia at times (there are so many Aussies over there). We're certainly living in worrying times.

It's a particularly common destination for Australian sporting teams to go at their end of season trip; the footy season finished a couple of weeks ago and I understand a number of Australians who have been injured / killed in these attacks were on their end of season trips with their footy teams.
posted by Jimbob at 11:04 PM on October 12, 2002

Sigh...break out the candles again.
Hope everyone is alright, stavros, Tarrama, and anyone else with loved ones in Bali right now.
posted by hippugeek at 11:18 PM on October 12, 2002

This was an extremely deadly bombing. It surpassed most Palestinian attacks and approaches the Oklahoma City or WTC in pure numbers about %20 the casualty rate (killed and injured) of WTC. Amazing to think when comparing the size of the buildings. It had to have been a highly skilled and financed group not your typical bomb-belt type although someone with local knowledge on where and when to strike. All signs point to you-know-who although no official announcement yet.
posted by stbalbach at 11:36 PM on October 12, 2002

Australian information numbers & website:
THE foreign affairs department has established two numbers for people to ring if they are concerned about relatives in Bali.
The numbers are 1800-002-214 and 1300-555-135.
The department is also providing information and advice on its website

More information at Australian
posted by madamjujujive at 11:43 PM on October 12, 2002

The apologists will be with you shortly. Please stand by....

Take a good hard look at yourself mate. Trying to hijack this tragedy for your own personal cause. I'm Australian and also had/have friends in Bali. I'm worried and can only look in disbelief at this sickening attempt to start making hay before the bodies are cold.

In retrosepect, I think, Fuck off you stomach churning vulture, will suffice.
posted by The Great Satan at 12:15 AM on October 13, 2002 [2 favorites]

My cause. Yes. What was that again?
posted by shoos at 12:41 AM on October 13, 2002

This is terrible. My heart goes out to the families of the victims.

I very much doubt that this was the work of the Balinese.

I went to Bali a few years ago, and I have to say that they were amongst the kindest and most beautiful people that I had ever met. They had a very distinct and interesting culture. Out in the country the people seemed happy and peaceful; when we walked through the village all of the children would smile and say hello, and the locals would invite us into their houses. The countryside was beautiful.

Obviously the tourist market will dry up, and many of these people will be cast into poverty. My sympathy goes out to them as well.
posted by phatboy at 12:43 AM on October 13, 2002

i am also deeply saddened by this horrible impact to a place that I love.
posted by mikojava at 9:54 AM on October 13, 2002

The apologists will be with you shortly. Please stand by....

Are yoy trying to infer that some of the pro-Palestinian voices on MeFi are going to somehow defend this act? Please clarify which "apologists" you're talking about.
posted by laz-e-boy at 9:56 AM on October 13, 2002

This is a tragedy. Australia and Bali, you have my sympathy.
posted by swerdloff at 10:21 AM on October 13, 2002

Some more links:
The Bali Travel forum seems to have some people giving details from Bali altho' the sub-Fark discourse from some posters ain't pretty. [Go easy on theis link as the page has been down once already today.]
For some background to Indonesia from a ex-pat Seattlite try the excellent 'So Many Islands...'
The main RI daily is The Jakarta Post which has a lot of stories & Australia's The Age has a whole section devoted to the tragedy.

My girlfriend & I have been glued to TV & 'net news all day in utter shock. We have a lot of friends who live there and this year we've been setting up a business that will be supplied by two companies run by old friends who've lived over there for years & have kids at school there. God only knows what the future holds for them. My heart goes out to anyone who knows someone caught up in this. The consulates are advising westerners to leave.

This is an obvious strike at a 'Western' target. The Sari club is in an area that is jam full of young, mainly Australian tourists just our for a fun night out. It was the first bar I ever went to in Bali & would have been a total nightmare to be in with a fire as it was a warren of bars & dancefloors with a lot of the structure made of bamboo with coconut leaf roofs. THe area around it is a series of tiny roads & lane jam packed most nights of the week and full of traffic. Getting a carbomb there would have been slow but easy to do. The area makes downtown Manhattan look like Montana.

Bali has been struggling since the SE Asia currency crashes at the end of the 90's. It looked as if things were getting back on track until Sept 11 hit the tourist market hard altho' there was hope that things would slowly improve over the next few years but now I can only fear the worst.

One thing is for sure is that the Balinese people will do their utmost to turn this situation around. As a Hindu island in a mainly Muslim country they have prided themselves on the safety & peacefulness of their island. There are internal conflicts all over the archipelago fuelled by religion &/or immigration (between islands) and now Bali has been dragged into the mess. The people will be devastated. They are such a peaceful & happy bunch and just don't deserve this...but then nobody does.

BTW, phone lines into RI/Bali have been engaged for the past 5 hours...they don't have the greatest phone system in the world so I'm guessing it's been overrun by calls from overseas.

Apoligies for the badly constructed nature of this post but I'm not in the most level-headed frame of mind at the moment.

One final thing...any chance that those folks trying to start a fight in this thread lay off or go somewhere else & do it? Thanks.
posted by i_cola at 10:27 AM on October 13, 2002

Syndey Morning Herald index. I saw the first wire reports at around 11 dead -- horrible, but a shrug nonetheless amid apparently "larger" stories. Now they say 187, which is catastrophic, and they're saying easily half of the casualties (including hundreds more injured) could be Australian.

This was so deadly because of the fire the bombs started, the buildings' construction, and the additional explosion of gas (propane?) canisters.

As more time passes without a claim of responsibility -- though the Howard government has tentatively fingered a group IIRC Jamaah Islamiya -- it fits the al Qaeda playbook more. Most of the religious violence and anti-government warfare has taken place "in the provinces", places like Sulawesi, that got their share of tourists but weren't the fully modern world-class resort areas like Bali -- which up till now had been considered insulated.
posted by dhartung at 10:40 AM on October 13, 2002

Translation: RI = 'Republic of Indonesia'
posted by i_cola at 10:41 AM on October 13, 2002

laz e boy: I don't think I've ever mentioned a single thing about Palestinians/Palestine on metafilter.

I just know that some here will be suggesting that all of these people died because, in significant part, someone somewhere, other than the perpetrators, did something they shouldn't have.
posted by shoos at 11:28 AM on October 13, 2002

In what is believed to be a terrorist attack

What exactly does it take before this sort of immoral, diseased attack can just be called terrorism outright without hedging?

Atrocity is a more apropriate term than tragedy. Nothing about this was an accident. As for agendas, I am well past fed up with renewed grieving. Something has to be done to stop this.
posted by joemaller at 11:44 AM on October 13, 2002

much as this is a sad event, anyone here see any groups of americans holding candlelight vigils? or does something american have to blow up first?
posted by jcterminal at 12:22 PM on October 13, 2002

As someone who got their images of Bali from Bob Hope.... and whose sense of that whole region of the world comes from books..... It is simply very sad..... All this boogles my mind and truly hurts my spirit.... My condolences to all the people here and there..... It is truly an atrocity of the greatest magnitude....
posted by divisible at 12:27 PM on October 13, 2002

jcterminal, the time for candlelight vigils is past, too ... my best friend last night advocated genocide for all Muslims living on this planet. He doesn't see any other way to stop this kind of atrocity. And if that genocide brings on Armageddon, well, better to fight on your feet than die on your knees. Over the past year I have seen this intelligent man slowly grow more and more fascistic, and myself slowly grow less strident in my own conservative leanings. He and I are now apparently polarized to the point where we can't even discuss issues like this without one side screaming "kill 'em all!" and the other screaming "monster!"

Genocide, to say nothing of Armageddon, is a solution that I won't ever accept, and now I'm faced with the fact that I must choose to fight for what I believe in, and sacrifice my best friend of many years, or keep quiet, keep my head down, and let it happen.

If you think all Americans are just sitting in their Laz-e-boys, stuffing themselves while watching the game, you're sorely mistaken, and hopefully just knee-jerking a stereotypical response. Yes, I grieve for those who lost their lives and for those who had loved ones die in this attack. Americans don't have to die to recognize evil and suffering. But I'm not going to blind myself with that grief and let it cripple me into tolerating the response it provokes in my nearest and dearest just because we live under the same flag. This country is not united in its feelings on how to deal with the problem, and I'm afraid the division in my own household is just the beginning.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:41 PM on October 13, 2002

What exactly does it take before this sort of immoral, diseased attack can just be called terrorism outright without hedging?

Facts? The bombing isn't even a day old yet.

A few reviews of the Sari Club from travelogues on the Web say that locals were not allowed in the club. So it sounds like the casualties will be a lot of Westerners, and terrorism is certainly the most likely motivation.
posted by rcade at 12:47 PM on October 13, 2002

What exactly does it take before this sort of immoral, diseased attack can just be called terrorism outright without hedging?

An investigation, perhaps? Flying a plane into a building makes it pretty easy to tell the cause. In this case, early reports from eyewitnesses suggested that a LPG bottle had ruptured and ignited, setting off a chain reaction in an area where most houses have bottled gas. Sure, that might be an early attempt to rationalise what increasingly looks like a targetted bombing, but as rcade says, it's quite something to have people on the other side of the fucking world getting on their high horses.
posted by riviera at 12:54 PM on October 13, 2002

I think it's unavoidable to conclude that it was in fact terrorism.

I happened on the second anniversary of the Cole attack, to the day, at a nightclub full of westerners, off limits to Indonesians, in a the largest muslim country on the planet, simultaneous to a bombing at the US consulate. That and how often do accidental explosions that kill upwards of 200 people happen anywhere on the planet?

I remember people like riviera on slashdot on 9-11. Even after the second plane had hit the wtc people there were saying, "how do you really know it was a terrorist attack?"
posted by shoos at 1:38 PM on October 13, 2002

Here is a more detailed map of Kuta Beach, the area where the bombings occurred, according to the SMH (thanks for the link, dhartung).

I have exactly the same feeling of horror and fear for the future right now that I did one year and 33 days ago. My heart goes out to the friends and families of those caught in the lunacy.
posted by skoosh at 2:23 PM on October 13, 2002

Holiday haven became a hell on earth: many young people were among the survivors and victims, some at the nightclub with their now-lost parents. SE Asian neighbors warned Indonesia to crack down, especially on the Qaeda-connected Jemaah Islamiya; a month ago, the US ambassador was ridiculed for a brief closure of the embassy on security concerns. As with some other reluctant allies, such as certain Arab states, Jakarta is unwilling to admit to threats without incontrovertible evidence; in some cases, even smoking holes in ships right at the waterline {the Yemen oil-tanker bombing has been confirmed as terrorism}. President Megawati Sukarnoputri reportedly wept as she toured the site of the bombings and fire; but political instability doesn't give her great latitude for action. Indonesia remains a weak link in ASEAN as regards both terrorism and piracy. This bombing does seem to have opened a door for greater direct cooperation with Australian counter-terrorism elements, though, which is a hopeful sign.

al Qaeda isn't known for their attention to the calendar so much as opportunity, but it's quite chilling to note this was 2 years since the Cole.
Some links via Sweden's Watch: the War on Terror; some obvious conservative editorial bias, but excellent linkage
posted by dhartung at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2002

I remember people like riviera on slashdot on 9-11. Even after the second plane had hit the wtc people there were saying, "how do you really know it was a terrorist attack?"

shoos, don't be such a complete twat. If you'd actually followed the wire reports as they came in from Bali, you'd see how the utter chaos generated all manner of competing stories. Remember the reports flying in on September 11th 2001 of car bombs in central DC?

how often do accidental explosions that kill upwards of 200 people happen anywhere on the planet?

More often than you'd think. Just because you live in Western comfort, doesn't mean everyone else has access to safe fuel supplies.

Am I trying to deny that the evidence now points to terrorism? No, I am not. Am I of the party of immediate snap judgements made from half a world away? No I am not. You'll be accusing me of thinking that it's a fucking Zionist conspiracy next.
posted by riviera at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2002

Off limits to locals? WTF is up with that?
posted by delmoi at 2:59 PM on October 13, 2002

riviera, it was a terrorist attack.
posted by shoos at 3:06 PM on October 13, 2002

Even the Yemenis have come around.
posted by shoos at 3:13 PM on October 13, 2002

Off limits to locals? WTF is up with that?

This happens in many countries that cater to foreign tourists. It cuts down on problems from both sides. In many of these countries, you will also find clubs where foreigners are not allowed.
posted by Plunge at 3:37 PM on October 13, 2002

I love Bali. What a horrible thing to happen in a beautiful place.
posted by culpable at 3:38 PM on October 13, 2002

The 'problem' with Indonesia:

There is absolutely no way that you can draw a line in the sand & point to the other side & say 'They are the bad ones' as seems to be the desire in the world at the moment.

I'd urge anyone who wants to even begin to take part in a debate on this situation to spend a good long while finding out about the history & politics of RI before they even think about venturing an opinion.

You're looking at a 95% muslim country, a democracy - yeah, followers of Islam going to the polling booth, just like you wanted...they've been doing it for the past few years but you probably didn't notice - but it's spread over 17,500 islands, about 3000 of which are inhabited. Bet you'd love to be a coastguard..?

25 years of military dictatorship - 'Suarto was a bastard but he was our bastard' - and now the country is expected to serve up cheap Nikes, defend against terrorism, recover from a good solid rogering from our favourite hedge fund managers & currency speculators and try and deal with a litany of sepratists, religious wars and economic migrants. Oh, and don't forget the endemic corruption leftover from the previous regime.

But 'our' boys are running off to daisycut Ba'athists in that's going to stop attacks like we've seen this weekend.

'Saddam could have WMD's by Xmas if he got the materials'. And? The fucking Shriners could have WMDs if they had access to the materials. The 'War on Terrorism' should be about just that. Chasing off into the desert to save George Bush the Younger's election strategy is just bollocks.

And I take absolutely zero pleasure from flaging this up on MeFi [click the link] two months ago.

Good to see riviera & dhartung talking some sense tho' (as usual).
posted by i_cola at 4:07 PM on October 13, 2002

[credit to Mark Steel for the 'access to the materials' line;-) ]
posted by i_cola at 4:10 PM on October 13, 2002

A pathetic attempt to stir the shit, jcterminal. And really tasteless. Grind your axe elsewhere.
posted by Karl at 4:21 PM on October 13, 2002

What exactly does it take before this sort of immoral, diseased attack can just be called terrorism outright without hedging?

I think 'evidence' is the word you're looking for. Terrorism isn't just about the act it's about the motives. To pick a local (to me) example the 'Whisky Au Go-Go' Nightclub Fire was a crimanal rather than terrorist act.

When TWA 800 crashed in 1996 it was obviously a terrorist attack - with wide spread reports of eye witnesses seeing a missle hit the plane and the Atlanta Olymics starting two days later. But now we know early impressions can be misleading.

In all likelyhood the bombings in Bali are a terrorist act, but to speak in certainties less than 48 hours after the event is fool hardy at best.
posted by adamt at 4:27 PM on October 13, 2002

foolhardy at best? Come on. Have you seen the video? I just watched it on the French evening news. Definitely terrorism, unless a gas main exploded (and I don't think they have those in Bali). Only the authors are unknown, and we know who it probably was: another blemish on Islam.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:30 PM on October 13, 2002 is reporting that this attack was directed by OBL's brother. And given said site's recent talent for saying the obvious before anyone else (or saying what the FBI, CIA, French government denies), I'll take that as the most probable truth.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:33 PM on October 13, 2002

There is absolutely no way that you can draw a line in the sand & point to the other side & say 'They are the bad ones' as seems to be the desire in the world at the moment.

I'd say the ones who made and exploded the bomb are the bad ones. Who else are we talking about here?
posted by shoos at 4:37 PM on October 13, 2002

ParisParamus: if it's on debka, it's probably false.

Secondly, while it probably was a terrorist attack, it could be something else. For example, suppose the club owner blew it up thinking most people would take it for a terrorist attack if the club was losing money or whatever. You know, for insurance or whatever. It's unlikely that someone would kill 180 people over money, but not impossible.

It's also possible it was an accident. There was an explosion, yes, but most of the damage was due to fire.

I'm not saying that it wasn't terrorism, but just that it's entirely resonable to call it apperant terrorism untill we know all the facts.

And no, nothing on debka is a 'fact'.
posted by delmoi at 4:46 PM on October 13, 2002

Listen to yourself ParisParamus...

Definitely terrorism, unless a gas main exploded
I don't think they have those in Bali
we know who it probably was:

See? No hard facts. No certainties.
posted by adamt at 4:53 PM on October 13, 2002

There are plenty of hard facts and they are sufficient to allow us to draw a conclusion.
posted by shoos at 5:17 PM on October 13, 2002

There was a report on the news here (Australia) that the Indonesian Authorities were warned up to a month ago that an attack was being planned, but who would have suspected that Bali would be the site of an attack like this (assuming it was an attack)? Bali has always been a peaceful haven even when Indonesia was being torn by protests a few years ago and travel warnings for the country always excluded Bali. In fact, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lists Bali separately from Indonesia in the travel advice section of their Web site.

There was also a report that an attempt to bomb the Australian Embassy in Singapore was foiled in the last week (although official sources later denied it) and there is a lot of speculation that this attack is a result of Australia's support of the US in the "war on terror".

delmoi, there are places in many countries that are unofficially "off-limits" to locals, in that they are not welcome there, for various reasons and these places are considered exclusively foreign hangouts. Generally, the locals have no desire to be in these places anyway and they hang out in places where foreigners are not welcome.

ParisParamus, early reports were that a gas explosion was at fault, but it was apparently a large gas cylinder exploding after a fire and setting off a chain reaction to other gas cylinders around. Looking at the vision, though, this is unlikely unless the gas cylinders were under or in cars on the street.

A car bomb in that street would be devastating at night, as it is absolutely packed with people.
posted by dg at 5:22 PM on October 13, 2002

It just seems people here are too eager not to blame the usual suspects. Or, suspect. While we shouldn't go too far in speculating, nor should be go too far in denying the events of the recent past.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:31 PM on October 13, 2002

It just seems people here are too eager not to blame the usual suspects. Or, suspect.

Again, proving adamt's point perfectly. You turn your assumption into a conclusion. Great cop you'd make. Evidence points towards a car bomb. There are obvious suspects. Can we talk about the poor fuckers who got blown to bits and burnt to death, and the bastards who apparently did it, without trying to pontificate and cast around accusations here? Or are you just going to go back and wank yourself blind to the latest DEBKA exclusive?
posted by riviera at 6:05 PM on October 13, 2002

riviera: the point is that islamists did this. You can wank over whatever additional evidence you are looking for when it comes in.
posted by shoos at 6:13 PM on October 13, 2002

Riviera: actually, I'll do something completely different: express my disappointment on how poor the coverage of this event has been on American television, compared to what I just saw on Le Journal of France2. I'm really sick of the quick cut, super-superficial coverage I see on CNN and the other American networks. The locals are rarely, if ever interviewed, and the coverage seems to be more on the channels' personalities than the story. And actually, the same goes for covering Iraq. The French report included interviews with people, and a snippet of a football game; actual Iraqis are shown as human beings. Even if Americans can't get into Iraq the way the French can, they could at least use foreign reports.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:23 PM on October 13, 2002

There are lists of the wounded and dead here, which are being updated as new information comes in.

Unfortunately, the surrounding text is in Bahasa Indonesia, but the important part is the names. At this point, I haven't heard from my dear friend (in case any of you sad political axe-grinders actually care about the people involved), and one of the names on the injured list is 'Richard (Kanada)', which may well be him. A mutual friend sent word that our buddy was out clubbing in Kuta on Friday night, the night before the blast. I'm here on MeFi because I just don't really know what else to do except keep scanning Google news for official word of more Canadian casualties.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:53 PM on October 13, 2002

Stavros: Hang in there, and let us know what you find out when you have the chance and spirit.

Paris, shoos, et al: I really can't believe you people. Save it for the I/P threads, willya? Do you hang out at funerals waving political banners? "Almost 200 dead in Bali -- goodie, another chance to bash the Arabs!" Jesus.
posted by languagehat at 7:28 PM on October 13, 2002

Hoping and praying for your friend here, Stavros.

My sympathy to all the dead and their loved ones, the world over.
posted by yhbc at 7:39 PM on October 13, 2002

Hope your friend is OK, stavrosthewonderchicken and, if he is injured, I hope he can get on one of the flights to Darwin, where better medical care is available. The RAAF has been flying a number of the injured out, particularly those with burns, as the hospitals in Bali simply cannot cope.
posted by dg at 7:40 PM on October 13, 2002

Also, what languagehat said - take your crap elsewhere or just STFU.
posted by dg at 7:43 PM on October 13, 2002

Yhbc: no offense or insensitivity intended.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:45 PM on October 13, 2002

stavros. my thoughts are with you, wishing your friend well. I wish that could be enough...
posted by airgirl at 8:12 PM on October 13, 2002

Many members of the singapore rugby and cricket clunwere there on a tour. I just checked the list of the dead, sofar it's a very short list and one of my friends is on it. 4 are critically ill, 7 are missing from the clubs, pretty much all expats. That's from my friends in Singapore where i used to work.

I'm from Perth where a large portion of the holiday makers were from (largely football teams having fun at the end of the season). On this end we're just waiting. This city is so small and the numbers unnaccounted for and probably dead are so large, there really won't be anyone from here who won't be affected by this. All we can do is wait. I'm so numb, I can barely take it in.
posted by Jubey at 8:12 PM on October 13, 2002

Our Prime Minister, John Howard, will make an address in about one hour, so I will update any fresh news then. The radio news just said that mounting evidence points to the Jemaah Islamiya organisation at this stage.
posted by dg at 8:15 PM on October 13, 2002

Just a heads up to the excellent trackback to the islamic blog (below).

I have really never seen much use for the trackback feature until now. It was heartening to see this written:

Whoever has done this has committed a terrible sin and crime. The Quran says "Whoever kills a single human being unjustly is as though he had killed all of humankind" (Surah al-Ma'ida ayah 32). Deliberate murder of another person will put you in Hell forever. Imagine the punishment for those who have killed hundreds or thousands. Whoever has committed this atrocity will have God's wrath upon him.
posted by phatboy at 8:34 PM on October 13, 2002

There are plenty of hard facts and they are sufficient to allow us to draw a conclusion.

What hard facts, exactly? All you have posted up to this point is conjecture masquerading as a conclusion. It creates the strong impression that you don't really care if Islamists are guilty of this incident or not, as long as they can be blamed for it.

While it certainly appears to be the work of Islamists, most people thought the same thing the day of the Oklahoma City bombing. That's why most people here are smart enough not to call strong suspicion a conclusion.
posted by rcade at 9:24 PM on October 13, 2002

The insidious aspect of this attack is that the terrorists got a two or three-fer: Bali is a Hindu majority island in the largest Islamic country in the world with an economy is centered around tourism. A desultory Google will reveal Bali's part in the the mass murder of '65-'66, to illustrate the potential for political violence there, and it goes without saying that Indonesia is the focus of Australia's--and by extension, New Zealand's--foreign policy and it's greatest military threat. This attack destabilizes Bali and hence Indonesia, and throws a monkey wrench into Australian-Indonesian relations already complex with East Timor and marks another attempt to ignite the jihad of Islam versus all, as in Kashmir, as in Pakistan. The repercussions of this will linger long.
posted by y2karl at 9:27 PM on October 13, 2002

y2karl, that third link is a scary document for those of us relying on the ANZAC defense forces to protect us if things go wrong. It is certainly true that Australians are slightly nervous about Indonesia, although we maintain polite relations with them. The blunt statement that "if Australia goes down New Zealand will surely go with it" may not sit comfortably with many from NZ, but it has a ring of truth.

If Indonesia decided for some reason to invade Australia (and there is no serious indication that they would), I suspect that they could make great inroads into our north before we could properly get our act together to start defense operations. Unlike the rest of the world (and most of our allies), Indonesia would not have to cross great tracts of ocean to get here - small craft are quite capable of making the trip. Australia has a similar land area to defend as the US, twice the coastline and a fraction of the population to support defense, in an environment just as harsh as that faced in the gulf war (if not worse). Being seen by Indonesia as the primary "antagonist" during the East Timor situation has not helped relations between the countries and there was a lot of grass-roots antagonism against Australia at the time.

Bali has always held a special place in the heart of Australians and is a traditional destination for sporting groups and the like to get away and let their hair down. Even right through the political problems in Indonesia in recent years, Bali has held firm as a safe haven for Australians to visit. I hope that this will be true in the future also.

Perhaps it has simply not been reported here, but the US seems to be very quiet about this situation to date. At least, I hope that it is just because it has not been reported here.
posted by dg at 11:10 PM on October 13, 2002 has updates and articles from various news agencies on the tragedy in Bali. here's one that reports that the blast suspect lives openly in Indonesia.
posted by taratan at 12:02 AM on October 14, 2002

dg, do you mean the Bali bombing, or the strategic situation?

There's a newly updated State Dept. travel warning on Indonesia: The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Indonesia.... Americans in Indonesia should evaluate their security posture and consider departing the country. As a result of these concerns, the Department has ordered the departure of U.S. Government personnel in non-emergency positions and all family members in Indonesia. All American citizens in Indonesia are urged to depart the country. Interestingly, they had posted on Thursday a blunt Worldwide Caution for US citizens traveling anywhere in the next six months.

Bush has been on the phone with PM Howard and Pres. Sukarnoputri, according to reports. There was a White House statement issued Sunday, wherein he says we should call this "by its real name, murder", a phrase which has not gone unnoticed in regional media. As it's a weekend, press briefings and such don't normally occur. Our diplomats in Indonesia, however, have been working overtime, and counter-terrorism liaisons already on the ground have been activated. One consular official confirms there are American dead.

taratan: Bashir is not exactly a "suspect"; his relationship to the bombers is probably more like that of Gerry Adams to the IRA, a political and spiritual leader. My thinking, though, is this was an al Qaeda operation, perhaps with Jemaah support or cut-outs.
posted by dhartung at 12:28 AM on October 14, 2002

Sorry, I should note my thoughts on the strategic side. I don't think there's any reason to fear a radicalized, aggressive Indonesia in the near term. If the minority Islamists were to gain power, it would necessarily involve a further weakening of central government control, and many of the regional disputes {flash at bottom} would seize the day and challenge Jakarta, probably with the *cough* assistance of nationalist elements in the armed forces. A/NZ have more to worry about Indonesia as a failed state -- more likely, several side-by-side -- than an invader.

Indeed, Indonesia has used this "devil you know" excuse to resist the hard leans of Australia, the US, and ASEAN with regards to many issues not limited to terrorism.
posted by dhartung at 12:45 AM on October 14, 2002

Thinking of you Jubey.
posted by ginz at 1:14 AM on October 14, 2002

dhartung : reportedly the ‘suspect’ is the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist group led by the 64-year-old Abu Bakar Bashir and his operational chief Riduan Isamuddin or Hambali. JI had been successful in the past in carrying out smaller scale attacks in Malaysia & Philippines. According to the news source from Singapore, “the scale of the [Bali] attack, the planning and its execution reflect an attack masterminded by Hambali”. This same group, through its cell networks and affiliates in south east asia, was responsible for failed attempt to attack the US Embassy and US allies’ interests in Singapore few months back. Several JI’s recruits in S’pore and Malaysia had since been arrested and JI’s leaders are on the wanted lists.

The ulitmate aim of JI is to create islamic states in the south east asian countries, by using violence and inciting hatred against non-muslims. Due to lack of evidence of its involvement in terrorist activities, JI is not outlawed in Indonesia. The leader, Bashir, has in fact given a press conference at which he blamed the US for the attack in Bali.
posted by taratan at 2:16 AM on October 14, 2002

languagehat: is this thread a funeral? The truth of it is that there is a large contingency of radical muslims in the world that has shown that they dont give the least rat's ass about wiping out very large numbers of people for the mere reason that they are western. Of course i find what happened despicable and awful. But am i obligated to state that here? Do my posts need to flow with everybody's feelings? What is also despicable is that all of these people are dead and so many will just keep on with the 'terrorist sometimes means freedom fighter' or the 'they do have their reasons' or 'we really have Bush blame for this.' Is that any way fucking way to react? My purpose? waking shithead up
posted by shoos at 2:46 AM on October 14, 2002

Cara and I walked past there last year.

My family has been going there for years now. We're hope you're ok Jubey.
posted by holloway at 2:47 AM on October 14, 2002

Stav & Jubey...thoughts with you guys.
I managed to get thru to one of my friends after 20 hours of trying (mobile is the best chance as the landlines can't cope at the moment) and she sounded totally drained having spent yesterday at the hospital & then fielding calls at home from all over the world. So far she's lost two friends - one who has left a 3-year-old daughter behind - and seen so many burns victims.

Apparently the island is very quiet and local fears of rioting have so far not materialised. The airport is overrun with visitors leaving. Our connection got cut so that's all I know so far.

One story of some lucky folks tho'...a friend of a friend has his head office in Kuta and the mainly ex-pat (UK & Oz) staff were at the Sari most nights of the week but for some reason they didn't go on Friday.

Was this a al Qaeda attack?
A car bomb outside a bar seems to be more in the 'style' of the IRA, ETA or Palestinian extremists. (A good spread of diff. religious & ethnic 'conflicts' for those who thought 'the islamists' were having all the fun).

aQ go for more military, diplomatic or strategic targets.

The Sari club is Chinese owned which could have been a factor. The Chinese have never had an easy time in RI.

Australians as prime targets could point to Indonesian nationalists still unhappy with the East Timor independence & Oz's role there.

Backpacker tourists' lifestyles can rub locals up the wrong way at times and the more upmarket travellers bring in more money with less hassle. A lot of backpacker spending doesn't necessarily stay in the area so it doesn't benefit the economy...altho' this didn't seem to be the case as much in Bali.

Add in the many & varied extremist & separatist groups around the region and who knows?

Too many possibilities/reasons - 'hard facts' my arse.

'There is absolutely no way that you can draw a line in the sand & point to the other side & say 'They are the bad ones' as seems to be the desire in the world at the moment.'

I'd say the ones who made and exploded the bomb are the bad ones. Who else are we talking about here?
posted by shoos at 4:37 PM PST on October 13

I was talking about the situation in the region as a whole, not just this incident. e.g One minute the West is arming 'our bastard's' dictatorship for the war in East Timor & next we're helping the independence transition. The many religious & ethnic factions blur the lines even more. On top of all the weekend's trauma, my heart sinks even lower at the thought of western media & politicians trying to explain & simplify the whole situation for easy consumption so we can 'deal with it.' Maybe we'll get lucky and there'll be a direct link to Saddam Hussain and it'll all be over by Xmas...

However, as we have no definite lead as to who did the Bali bombing yet we can't say even say 'they are the bad ones' unless we're pointing at some John Doe silhouettes. If you want to use this tragedy to score political points tho' go ahead. It's a wonderful thing that you do to honour the dead, injured and the thousands of people who's lives are affected by this. [/sarcasm]
posted by i_cola at 3:21 AM on October 14, 2002

A few minutes ago my mind stuck on a single sentence from a conversation with my dad: "Did you know your brother is going to Bali?". Even after checking in on this thread twice, that conversation was forgotten... he never mentioned when. [I now know it was in two weeks] When I made the connection, I was very scared... I opened two browsers, one with the link to the list of the injured, and one for the list of the dead. As they were loading -- an eternity -- I pulled up a google page to try to prove to myself that he wasn't really there. I was thinking, I sent him a link to the multibabel site (he showed me how to do that a few years ago), but he hasn't responded. I found the conference date, the 28th, the reason he was going, before the list of the dead had finished loading. After I calmed down, and started to write this, it struck me -- how many thousands of people are watching that page load?

Jubey, I'm so sorry.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:22 AM on October 14, 2002

shoos, there are a large number of people in the world of every persuasion who 'don't give the least rat's ass' about killing other humans. Too damn many.

Each hour that passes that I don't hear from or about one of my dearest friends in the world, it becomes more likely that he's been dismembered or burned to death.

>My purpose? waking shithead up

And you know what? I blame America and George W Goddamn Bush for the escalating violence in the world as much as I blame anyone. Here's a wakeup call for you, 'shithead'.

Item 1 : An international human rights group files a lawsuit against the ExxonMobil oil company, accusing it of actively abetting human rights abuses in Indonesia, and complicity in the murder, torture and sexual abuse of the local population, including supplying the Indonesian military with equipment to dig mass graves, as well as building interrogation and torture centres.

Item 2 : The US State Department urges the federal court to dismiss the lawsuit and declares that pursuit of the case would hinder Washington's war on terror.

Item 3 : Top industry contributors to Bush/Cheney election campaign :

1. Enron $1.8m
2. Exxon $1.2m

Item 4 : The Financial Times doesn't even attempt embroidery : "Washington says, the lawsuit could discourage foreign investment in Indonesia, particularly in the energy and mining industries. "

Connect the dots, chuckles. I've said it before : I am increasingly of the opinion that it is the responsibility of every ethical person, American or otherwise, to oppose the current American administration to the full extent of their powers, by every legal means at your disposal.

And though I also loathe the sacks of human garbage who bombed the Sari, and I hope that the worthless animals who flew those planes 13 months ago are burning in an eternal hell, I lay don't lay the blame at their feet. That's like hating the mosquito that gives you malaria. And you know what? At least when the fucking planes flew into the WTC, I had the grace and the humanity to bow my goddamn head with the rest, and mourn the dead for a reasonable length of time before I started in pointing fingers and laying blame and getting back on my personal anti-America hobbyhorse.

>is this thread a funeral?

It is for Jubey, and it might be for me. React how you want, friend. But, as others have requested, at least make an attempt to display a modicum of humanity, huh?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:27 AM on October 14, 2002

stavros: please excuse the appearance of inhumanity, but don't think i have any sympathy or any less hatred than you do for the corporate fucks who shaft me and you and anyone else they care to. Why did you imply that?

So my first reaction is fucking resentment and bitterness in response to what happened. I felt the same way on 9-11. I wont' bother to point out my 'good' points. Displaying reasonable lengths of mourning may not be one of them, anyways.
posted by shoos at 3:49 AM on October 14, 2002

Why did you imply that?

Seemed to be where you were coming from. If not, I apologize. I think my point got a bit muddled, anyway. I'm running on pretty low batteries at the moment.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:00 AM on October 14, 2002

I apologize too if I came across an ass here. All this stuff is a lot to deal with.
posted by shoos at 4:08 AM on October 14, 2002

This might be a better help than the Bahasa link you posted earlier - it is the injured list and there is a 'Ricard' from Canada listed.

There is a deceased list that has no Canadians & no Richards.

These links are from the Indo travel site which has set up pages (in English).

shoos: On refection we don't need to pile on anyone here...harsh words earlier withdrawn. Like Stav, I'm a little frayed at the moment. We cool.
posted by i_cola at 4:11 AM on October 14, 2002

Thanks for those links, i_cola. My hope is that if that 'Ricard' is my friend, the fact that he's not been evacuated to Darwin might mean his injuries are not serious. And knowing Rick, if it is him, he'd stick around Bali, anyway, to help when he could and to drink when he couldn't.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:19 AM on October 14, 2002

Stavros: The Canadian press is likely to report on that guy pretty quickly. Here's one that says the Canadian evacuated to Darwin has parents on the West Coast. Hope your friend's OK.
posted by rcade at 4:49 AM on October 14, 2002

I know Indonesia well, and I loved Bali. However, I do get a little tired of the generalizations about how much more gentle the average Balinese is compared to the rest of the Indonesians... the ones I know are all gentle, kind people, and it just amazes the hell out of me that any of them could be capable of doing this sort of thing (or East Timor, etc.) Many people over there are impoverished, and I guess quite a few feel they have nothing to lose...

As a muslim, I now realize that only muslims themselves can stop this crap, and it's time for us to act against barbary...
posted by drstrangelove at 7:21 AM on October 14, 2002

drstrangelove: hope you're not alone. Goodluck and courage to you.

P.S.: the "default setting for being impoverished is not feeling like you will improve your lot by blowing up others, (and yourself). There's a really sick ideology at work here which needs to be erased.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:25 AM on October 14, 2002

i have been contacted by someone in texas looking for information about jake young, and american who had been living in hong kong, and was part of the hong kong rugby team that was in bali for the tourney.

jake was a former all-american football player in nebraska and was working in hong kong as an attorney for the law firm of clifford chance rogers & wells.

so far his name has not appeared on any lists, which is encouraging. if anyone finds more information on jake, please let me know.

we're still waiting for updates regarding the other members of the hong kong team.
posted by bwg at 7:36 AM on October 14, 2002

jubey: I'm very sorry. Everyone's thoughts are with you.

Thanks to all for the enlightening links, especially (as usual) y2karl -- I'll definitely be reading that Geoffrey Robinson book.

And thanks to some for pulling back and showing their inner mensch. Much appreciated.
posted by languagehat at 7:46 AM on October 14, 2002

bwg: Try posting on the Indo Travel Portal message board or the Bali Travel Forum.

Good luck.
posted by i_cola at 7:51 AM on October 14, 2002

The Indonesian defense minister has said publicly that he believes al Qaeda is behind the attacks.

Whatever you happen to believe about U.S. policy, The individuals who carried out the bombing (whoever they are) are the last, most important "cause" of the attack. They alone are the ones who decided whether and when to kill -- and they alone could have stopped it from happening. It is quite possible to address the wrongness of their acts without regard to what social/political factors might have "motivated" them. U.S. policy can also be analyzed and criticized without diluting or mitigating the evilness of the bombing itself. Moral relativism does not help solve these problems.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:57 AM on October 14, 2002

ParisParamus: if it's on debka, it's probably false.

What's your source for that? So far, said site was the first to attribute both the Bali obscenity and the French tanker attack to Qaeda.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:03 AM on October 14, 2002

seems like all at once things are coinciding to be al-Qaeda attacks. we'll see if anything hardcore ever pops up evidence-wise... a lot of the pundits in the political and terror-covering world are talking that they think these types of attacks are going to be frequent in the next 2-3 weeks or so.

on a sorta twisted sort of note, i take it as a good thing that snapple had retired their "bali blast" flavor a ways back. ugh.

hope everyone out there has heard from friends and loved ones in the area by now.
posted by djspicerack at 9:32 AM on October 14, 2002

How can we help ?

After the New York incident I made a small online donation to the American red cross.

Any suggestions for helping with the aftermath of this, some local reputable Balinese organisation preferably.
posted by boffer at 11:15 AM on October 14, 2002

stavrosthewonderchicken, I have sent e-mail to a few contacts I have in Indonesia (yesterday) to try and find any way to check on your friend, but have not yet had any reply. Most of them are Chinese Indonesians, so are possibly lying low in fear of more violence at the moment. If I hear anything, I will let you know.

dhartung - our PM was supposed to make a statement re the Bali situation specifically, but he basically said nothing and I forgot to follow-up here. The strategic situation, already muddy, is now even more so and it would be a brave man to stand up in public and say "they did it"

The political situation in Indonesia is incredibly complicated at the best of times and it is not often possible to say for sure who the good guys are. Any speculation about who is directly responsible is difficult without evidence and that is probably why not much is being said in that respect as yet, apart from statements that "evidence points to x". Our Foreign Minister and Justice Minister are on their way over there now to "investigate". The latest here is that there is some evidence that the bombs may have been the work of two suicide bombers in the street outside the club.

Given the likelihood that around 80% of tourists to Bali are Australian, we could have lost a similar proportion of our population as the US lost in the WTC bombings. The voices that bay for blood are going to get louder and more widespread. I can't seen much chance now of avoiding a widespread conflict.

Our Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, was just now on the radio saying that there is now firm evidence linking al-Quaeda with the bombing.
posted by dg at 4:04 PM on October 14, 2002

dhartung, I wasn't suggesting that Indonesia is seen here as a serious invasion threat, but it is a scenario that is often brought forward when people are discussing our defense capabilities (or lack of). You are absolutely correct in that we have more to fear from a group of independent states if Indonesia were to somehow splinter. It would be absolute political suicide for Indonesia to attack a friendly country, but there are plenty of factions within Indonesia's armed forces who can see lots of empty land close to them with little defense and our role in East Timor will be long remembered.
posted by dg at 4:17 PM on October 14, 2002

Thanks, dg - I think I've found him this morning. He's on this list of the injured as 'Richard H. Gluosom' (his surname is Gleason), and I'm 100% sure that it's him. It says he's been transferred from Dharma Usada Hospital to somewhere else, but not whether that somewhere else is Darwin or another hospital in Denpasar. I wish there was some indication of how badly he's hurt.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:41 PM on October 14, 2002

I'm just very glad you found him on the "injured" list, and not the other one. Best hopes and thoughts, stav and Richard.
posted by yhbc at 7:43 PM on October 14, 2002

Thanks for your kind words everyone. 5 of the 7 Singapore rugby team members have been properly identified. Of those, 2 have just had babies. It's totally devastating and I feel more useless because I'm not even in the country at the moment. The club is in shock. Hong Kong Rugby team has been affected worse again, I can only imagine what they're going through.

The US Embassy is now evacuating all staff and trying to get their countrymen out of Indonesia. Apparently they were far more effective in providing assistance in Bali than my own government or the British one. Unfortunately they've also had more practise.

I'm told that bribery at Denpasar airport was at an all time high directly after the attacks, by people desperately trying to get on planes. Airport staff were insisting on cash rather than credit (wonder why). As normal, there will always be people who will try and profit from a tragedy.

Anybody who is in Singapore and is wishing to give blood right now, I've been told they are in dire need of O and A-ve blood type (apparently it is rare amongst Asians and most of the victims are expats who need it) so if you'd like to help and you're in the country, knock yourself out.
posted by Jubey at 8:36 PM on October 14, 2002

stavrosthewonderchicken - the call centre in Australia has no record of your friend, but they are apparently only have information on Australian citizens. They gave me a number in Canada that you can call to check on Canadians - +1613 9968 885, if that is any help.
posted by dg at 9:02 PM on October 14, 2002

Jubey : Sixteen people of 11 different nationalities are now being treated at the Singapore General Hospital Burns Centre(which is the nearest burns centre to Bali), including 7 now fighting for their lives in the intensive care unit.

The description (no names released) of the 7 persons in critical condition are found here (scroll to bottom).

I believe they are in good hands at SGH.
posted by taratan at 9:20 PM on October 14, 2002

dg - you are my freakin angel today. I've called the number (I don't know why I didn't think of it myself) and have details.

Rick's alive, and conscious. He's been evacuated, and is in Royal Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. They can't tell me the extent of his injuries. His family is in transit, apparently.

If any MeFites are in Melbourne and are so inclined, I'd be forever grateful, and I think Rick would too, if you could pay him a visit and pass on my best wishes, and maybe send me an email about how he's doing. That sounds so lame, but you know what I mean.

His name is Richard (Rick) Gleason, mine is Chris Kovacs. I've known the bastard 19 years now, and he's not going to get away from me so easily.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:33 PM on October 14, 2002 [1 favorite]

posted by yhbc at 9:41 PM on October 14, 2002

stavrosthewonderchicken, I am pleased your friend is safe. He will certainly be well looked after at the Royal Alfred Hospital. I have phoned the hospital but, as expected, they cannot give any details to anyone except family. I left a message that you are thinking of him. The phone number of the hospital is +61-3-9276 2000.
posted by dg at 9:59 PM on October 14, 2002

Thanks for the link Taratan. A whole bunch of people have been evacuated to Perth. If anyone has friends or family that are now here that they would like to have a message passed onto, let me know. I think most of them are Australian.
posted by Jubey at 10:09 PM on October 14, 2002

Excellent news Stavros and good onya dg...good thinking for a bananabender ;-)
posted by Tarrama at 1:21 AM on October 15, 2002

Thanks Tarrama - don't get me started on Tasmanians ;-)
posted by dg at 3:45 AM on October 15, 2002

Thank you again dg, and thanks to all for their kind words in this thread.

And god (if he's out there) bless Australia and the Australian people.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:15 AM on October 15, 2002

An article in today's Globe and Mail about Bali's place in overwhelmingly Muslim Indonesia.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:51 AM on October 15, 2002

Just as Sept 11 has its heroes, there are stories of courage and admirable deeds from survivors and locals who were near the blast scene at the material time. as investigation by a global taskforce commence in Bali, the voluntary works of locals and unscathed tourists who choose to stay behind to help are certainly worth our acknowledgment.
posted by taratan at 10:11 AM on October 15, 2002

Hope your friend is doing well, Stavros.

(I don't ever again want to hear that MetaFilter isn't a community.)
posted by languagehat at 10:25 AM on October 15, 2002

No worries, stavrosthewonderchicken. Hope your friend comes through OK.
posted by dg at 3:43 PM on October 15, 2002

Local coverage (from Whitehorse, Yukon) of the situation with Rick Gleason (friend of stavros). Unfortunately, his condition appears to have worsened.

God bless, stavros.
posted by dhartung at 12:27 AM on October 16, 2002

stavros, please e-mail me.
I've at long last reached some friends in the Melbourne suburbs. They're ready and waiting to deliver your messages to Rick if the hospital will let them. If the hospital won't, my gentlefolk will give your messages to whichever member of his family is on the spot so they'll be passed on to Rick when he's best likely to hear them.
I apologize for posting this in the open but I know full well I wouldn't have been watching my throwaway e-mail address at this sort of time either.

jubey: Hold tight to all your friends. That's what counts; that's what helps the world. We'll make it thru all this if we only hold tight.
posted by realjanetkagan at 12:54 AM on October 16, 2002

Thanks, Janet - I've emailed you.

Dan - I've been in touch, and things aren't as bad as the Whitehorse Star paints them, thank God. Although he has had a stroke (the effects of which are unclear at this point), and has burns on 40% of his body, the doctors appear hopeful if confident that there is little brain damage. He was upgraded from critical to serious condition today (my time), and that's encouraging. He is going in for skin graft surgery tomorrow.

If anyone who reads this is following Rick's progress, I'm using my weblog as infocentral for our widely-scattered group of friends and anyone who's pulling for Rick, and am updating it with any new information I can.

And ditto on what languagehat said. Thanks to everyone, again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:29 AM on October 16, 2002

...hopeful if not confident...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:42 AM on October 16, 2002

Don't know if anyone is still following this thread, but there's a moving piece by Seth Mydans in today's NY Times. (I know the Times gives some people the hives, but Mydans is a great reporter who's been covering SE Asia for decades and who writes well enough to make it into Simpson's Contemporary Quotations.) A thought that hadn't occurred to me:
...since many of the victims were young travelers without set itineraries, many of their parents may not yet realize that they are missing or even that they were here in Bali.
Of course, he also perpetuates the idea of Bali's "religious harmony and an almost mystical air of placidity," but I can forgive him that, since I thought the same thing before I read y2karl's comment above.
posted by languagehat at 6:47 AM on October 16, 2002

Good link languagehat, especially concerning the effects on Bali's economy. But it misses the other salient aspect of the bombing: since September Eleventh these are the most violent deaths Australia and other developed nations have suffered at one time (correct me if I'm wrong). The attack on a tawdry tourist destination has struck a double blow, to Indonesia and Australia. I hope shared suffering brings the unlikely neighbours together, helping to heal the rift over East Timor, strengthening one another and thwarting those opposed to a free world.

Some excellent commentary from expats Clive and Germaine (who, like Robert Hughes, love their country better from afar). (links from a deleted thread (MeTa perspective), via Miguel and Summer)
posted by stinglessbee at 4:27 PM on October 16, 2002

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