Looking back to the sixtees

In today's editorial Australia's The Age points out to some nearly forgotten facts of the recent past and recalls a far bigger desaster in Bali then the ones of recent years. I by myself have first realised the deep impact of the events of 1965 in Bali, when I first stayed in Ubud in the beginning of the Eightees. I noticed, that nobody wanted to pass by the now world famous Monkey Forest in the night - even as it had already a freshly paved road cutting through.

The co-owner of now equally famous Cafe Wayan, Ketut went every night home to Ubud from his rice field house in Pengosenken (close to today's Agung Rai Museum) via the neighboring village of Pelitan. Going directly via the Monkey Forest would have saved him nearly 10 km!

Bali has survived in history, and even in recent history, far worse desasters than the bombs of yesterday...thats one of the few things, which makes hope today!

...best after being here...
Monkey Forest - Ubud's most popular tourist site has a history
Didi Lotze - Click link for 360 views from the sky to the grave, from heaven to hell
This is no time for Australians to desert Bali - Editorial - Opinion: "BALI has been a bloody paradise far longer than many Australians realise. The verdant landscape of this outwardly peaceful island hides darker secrets in contrast to the open horror of the terrorist bombings of 2002 and last weekend. For 40 years, Indonesia has done its best to cover up — and more recently to forget — the island's worst human and political tragedy. In the months after an alleged communist coup attempt on September 30, 1965, an estimated 100,000 people were massacred in Bali in an orgy of revenge and bloodletting that cost an estimated 500,000 lives across the nation. Communists, suspected communists and ethnic Chinese bore the brunt of this anarchy, perpetrated in large part by the army and Muslim gangs. The fear generated by the bloodshed in Bali and elsewhere laid a foundation for the New Order that kept Soeharto in power unchallenged for the next three decades.

Bali's remarkable recovery from the trauma of 1965 was quietly mirrored in the resilience of its people after the tragedy of October 2002, when 202 people were killed in attacks linked to the militant Islamic terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah. The bombings of three days ago have likewise been attributed to this group. Bali is seen in the eyes of some extremist Muslims as an affront to the sensibilities of their religion. Certainly, the predominantly Hindu Balinese have for decades been accommodating hosts to foreign visitors. The foreigners have often been less than sensitive to the spiritual and cultural values of the Balinese, let alone the predominant Indonesian Muslim mainstream. Despite this potential clash of cultures, many Australians have developed a deep and abiding love of Bali. For hundreds of thousands of Australians, the island is their first foreign port of call. Many revisit Bali again and again. In recent years many Australians have settled there, invested money, gone into business with local partners. It has long been, in both the literal and figurative sense, an important beachhead in building the relationship between Australia and Indonesia at all levels. That relationship has been consolidated in recent years by the tragedies of the Bali bombings and the overwhelming disaster of the Boxing Day tsunami. The speed, calm and skill with which the governments and agencies from both countries have responded to this latest crisis bears testimony to that.

Prime Minister John Howard has warned Australians to 'think very hard' before planning a trip to Bali. Health Minister Tony Abbott, who is in Bali on a family holiday, struck a defiant note. Mr Abbott said he had no plans to curtail his trip, adding that he was not sure leaving was the right message to send the people of Bali. This is precisely the time Australians need to show their continuing solidarity with a people under attack from evil forces. The past resilience of the Balinese shows them to be deserving of such support. Ordinary Australians can demonstrate it by refusing to cower in the face of terrorism, which can strike anywhere in the world. The Australian Government can show it through practical measures that continue to enhance vigilance and intelligence sharing.

UPDATE 9. October: Some more background information on the events of 1965 in a portrait of Dipa Nusantara (D.N.) Aidit, the doomed leader of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI)by M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post.