Jul 19, 2024 Last Updated 5:22 AM, Jul 16, 2024

Peace building in the wake of terror

Published: Jul 29, 2007


Emma Baulch

This issue of Inside Indonesia is devoted to the political and social aftermath of the Bali bombing. In the mainstream press, the event was largely reported as a series of images depicting flames against a night sky, rows of body bags, charred survivors, and whole buildings laid to waste. The contributions to this edition provide a welcome contrast to this mainstream coverage by highlighting Indonesian people's efforts to resist terror, by pro-actively securing peace.

This hopeful message emerges in the lead article by Mayra Walsh in which she describes how staff and students at Darur Ridwan embraced cross cultural and inter-religious solidarity in their efforts to console each other following the bombing. Ngurah Karyadi's, Christine Foster's and Sherry Kasman Entus' contributions, which focus on Balinese people's recovery efforts, are similarly optimistic. All three stories stress Balinese people's heightened commitment to sustainable tourism development in the context of post-bomb development planning.

Other articles in this edition do not directly relate to the theme of the Bali bombing, yet echo other stories of people's attempts to secure and maintain peace in the wake of the bomb. Kautsar details Acehnese civilians' efforts to play a decisive part in the implementation of the territory's new peace accord. Jake Lynch describes Indonesian journalists' and editors' involvement in a peace journalism training workshop in Manado where they exhibited their eagerness to learn how to constructively report on conflict.

On a more somber note, Greg Fealy's and Jessica Champagne's contributions point to widespread distrust of law enforcement agencies as the root cause of popular conspiracy theories regarding the perpetrators of the bombing. Tim Behrend argues that Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, the Muslim cleric accused of masterminding a series of bombings in Indonesia that preceded the attacks on Bali, does not advocate political violence nor contain terrorist elements. Behrend nonetheless describes Ba'asyir as troublesome, for his naive politics and strongly anti-Semitic views.

These inclusions provide important counterweights to this edition's more upbeat contributions. Yet they do not overshadow them, and most of this edition's stories add considerable grit and flavour to Ed Aspinall's assessment of national politics in the wake of the bombing. He argues that, contrary to expectations, the bombing has not strengthened the hand of the military. Rather, the post-bomb national political scene now accommodates a hybrid, albeit shaky, democratic order.

Emma Baulch is a guest editor of Inside Indonesia

Inside Indonesia 74: Apr - Jul 2003

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