October 13, 2007
Tears, flowers mark 5th anniversary
Teary-eyed relatives and friends of victims of the 2002 Bali bombings
held a moment's silence on Friday to honour the 202 people killed in
the blasts five years ago.
Scores of people, from countries such as Australia which lost 88
people, Japan and New Zealand placed flowers at Kuta's "ground zero" of
the explosions that ripped apart a nightclub strip on the resort
island, sparking a deadly inferno.
"This atrocity is now forever a tragic chapter in our nation's story,"
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said in a statement.
"Yet Australians demonstrated great courage, compassion and charity in
the face of horror and adversity immediately after the bombings."
The attack, blamed on the militant Jemaah Islamiyah network linked to
Al-Qaeda, claimed the lives of people from 22 countries. Australia,
which for years saw Bali as its playground, had the most victims.
Eyes wet with tears, mourners took turns placing bouquets of flowers on the memorial monument at Kuta.
Bali's police chief at the time of the 2002 attacks, I Made Mangku Pastika, was among the mourners.
At the Australian consulate in the Balinese capital Denpasar, around
150 people gathered at a wooden cross memorial built by victims'
families, opened in July to allow a space for reflection far from the
In Sydney, a service of tributes and a minute's silence was held on a beach in the suburbs.
"I feel a sense of emptiness that I can't have my happiness and success
with my parents, they meant the most to me," Candice Buchan said in her
tribute in Sydney.
The fifth anniversary follows a decision by the Indonesian Supreme
Court in August to reject an appeal by three key bombers against their
The men -- who have shown no remorse -- have reportedly decided not to
seek clemency from the president, their last hope of avoiding the
The bombings shocked the world, but were not the last -- a triple
suicide bombing in 2005 in Bali, also blamed on key JI members, killed
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that Indonesia had
been successful in curbing Jemaah Islamiyah since the bombings and he
praised other Asian countries for also improving security in the
"There has been enormous progress made in Southeast Asia," Downer told
the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, saying Jemaah Islamiyah had
been "very much diminished."
Still, survivors and relatives lamented the slow pace of justice for
the victims, whose charred or mangled remains took months to identify.
"I, like most Australians, am disappointed at the ongoing injustice,"
said Australian survivor Patrick Byrne, who branded a reduction in the
sentences of some Bali bombers as "hypocrisy running riot."
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