Damaso Reyes, Contributor, The Jakarta Post, Kuta,
A few weeks ago, for the second time in as many years, I found
myself walking through the scene of a terrorist attack. The second
was here in Bali, a place I had always associated with peace and
paradise, someplace I wanted to make home. The first, in New York,
came as much as a surprise to us as it did to the Balinese.
As I walked down Jl. Legian and through the scene, it struck me
how similar the sites were, the twisted metal, the background of
broken facades against charred and mangled cars. Even the smell
brought back memories of that warm day in September last year when I
woke to the destruction of two buildings that had been erected
before my birth and that I was sure would continue to cast shadows
long after I had found my peace. Walking down the street with my
friend Christine, she noted how much the scene reminded her of being
in Latin America. I replied that after the last two years terrorism
had no boundaries, that it no longer could be confined or
As one man I recently interviewed said when speaking of the
effects of the attacks on the Balinese and expatriate communities:
"we have been struck by the same arrows."
What amazed me in New York over a year ago was how quickly and
strongly people came together to help one another. Here in Bali the
response was the same. From offers of blood and money to time and
energy in the form of volunteers. If the terrorists behind Sept.
11th and Oct. 12th wished to divide people, to use fear and anger as
a tool to separate their intended targets, the response of New
Yorkers and Balinese, of Americans and Indonesians, proved how wrong
was their idea.
In New York, somewhere perceived by many as a city without a
soul, churches, synagogues and mosques were filled to capacity. Here
in Bali, a place renowned for its spirituality, one cannot walk down
the street without stepping over an offering left in a doorway, a
gift of atonement, a chance to cleanse the spirit of pain and anger.
Walking down Jl. Legian reminded me of walking down West Broadway
that bright fall morning that had started out with so much promise,
that day when the streets were white with what one could only wish
was snow. We have all been struck by the same arrows.