I had some links lined up for a Friday Links post, but then I changed my mind. Instead my post today is dedicated in memory of those who lost their lives in the 2002 Bali bombings, and their families.
Ten years ago today we were living in Darwin, Australia and we were late to church. My father was away in Indonesia for work and four kids are never easy for one parent to get ready on time. We walked in just in time to hear the prayer requests being read.
“And we pray for the victims of the terrible tragedy that has just occurred in Bali.”
All five of us froze. Bali? That’s where Dad was spending the night before travelling onwards to Papua. What had happened? And where exactly in Bali?
Others around us noticed our shock. An Indonesian family that we knew came up to us and we soon found out that the bombs had gone off on Jl. Legian. And that many people had died. And then we realised that my father was staying in a hotel on Jl. Legian, just 100 metres from the bomb sites.
The rest of that church service went by agonisingly slowly as I tried to distract my siblings and my mum tried to make contact with my dad. Finally, she reached him. When the bomb went off he was asleep and awoke thinking a plane had crashed nearby. He went out of his room to see what was going on and the hotel owner (who knew dad) yelled at him to get his stuff. So my dad did, and the hotel owner put him in a car and sent him to the airport. This was the best thing he could have done because in leaving so quickly Dad was able to get on his flight to Papua before the airport shut down.
He said that as he was leaving he looked behind him. He saw bodies and flames and people on fire and he wanted to get out and help. I don’t think there was anything he could have done. My dad said it felt like his hair stood on end for weeks.
202 people died in those bombings. Many others were injured. So many countries were affected. So many families frantically dialed numbers over and over again, hoping to hear that their loved ones were okay. For my family, those numbers were answered with good news. My dad was not hurt. But for so many that was not the case.
My parents are both in Bali for a conference at the moment. They say security is tight today in light of the anniversary of the bombings.
I have never been more afraid than I was that day and today I, along with many others around the world, remember that day and do not let the perpetrators control us through fear.