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Thursday, October 12, 2006

# Posted 6:42 PM by Patrick Porter  

ANNIVERSARY AND BIRTHDAY: Its four years since Islamicists murdered over two hundred people at a Bali nightclub, and injured over two hundred more. Among the dead were 88 Australians.

While its hard to navigate the full landscape of the interior world of the terrorist, we know that they were targeted partly for the provocation of several policies: Australia's belated support for East Timorese Independence from Indonesia, and Australia's role in assisting in the overthrow of the Taleban in Afganistan. I guess it demonstrates that just because your policies incite terrorists to hate you more, doesn't mean they are bad policies.

Speaking personally for a second, a line that was drawn politically for me on 9/11 was reinforced that day. It divided between two different responses, between those who were quick to assign blame and rationalisation to the Australian government and people and even the victims themselves (they had been drinking in a Moslem majority country, you see) and people who were unembarrassed to say this was murder, it was wrong, and the root cause was the ideology and methods of the killers.

Solidarity and commiserations with the families of the victims.

And today is my lovely wife's birthday! Happy birthday Andrea!
(10) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
This is vague, sensational and inaccutate: "Islamicists murdered several hundred people..."

The 2002 Bali bombing killed 202 people and injured 209.

What happened was awful enough. I see no excuse to amp it up.

Please make a factual correction to your post.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
David,

correction made. I misused the word 'several' but wasn't trying to exaggerate the death toll, I simply meant a 'few hundred' dead. I would caution against assuming bad faith on the basis of semantic technicalities.

P
 
This is naive and simplistic. There is no evidence that they were targetting Australians in particular. If this was the case, why not bomb Australia? It would have been very easy to do at the time. JI have been active in Indonesia since the mid-80's and are actively pushing the hard-line Islamic ideology. At least one terrorist claimed that the Westerners deserved to be bombed because they were dancing and being decadent. What has this to do with Australia's foreign policy?

You also ignore the fact that Bali is predominantly Hindu and therefore a target in itself; that there is religious strife between Christians and Muslims; that the entire region (Phillipines, Thailand, Malaysia) is awash with Muslim separatists; that Indonesia is a barely-functioning "democracy", which would fall apart if it wasn't being bankrolled by Australia. Learn some facts before shoehorning Bali in with all the other "they attacked us because of Iraq, Palestine blah blah" crap that we get fed every time. Lose your Eurocentric prejudices, the Southern Hemisphere has its own narrative.
 
Anonymous,

easy to take an aggressive tone behind anonymity, eh?

If you had cared to read my post more carefully, before your courageous contribution to the debate, I said

'While its hard to navigate the full landscape of the interior world of the terrorist, we know that they were targeted partly for the provocation of several policies.'

Partly. Which means not entirely. Which means there were other things going on as well.

It wasn't just a localised cause that motivated the attack. The nightclub in Bali was targeted because it was a confluence of things that the extremists loathed: Australians whose government supports the USA who supported Christian East Timor's independence being decadent, and locals being infidel.

You may have noticed also that radical Islamists are prepared to attack the targets of its enemy all over the world, such as embassies, ships and hotels.

There are plenty of reasons to suggest that this was intended to be PARTLY an attack on Australians for being in Afghanistan and for their general support of American foreign policy, as well as being part of a wider local campaign to create Islamic states in the region. These points aren't mutually exclusive, as your hotly worded comment implies.

One of the Indonesian nationals held as a suspect for the bombing on Bali cited hatred for Americans as his motive for the attack. Consider also the statement of Abu Bakar Bashir, the cleric who was found guilty of conspiracy over the 2002 attacks:

"The second message is for Australia because you suffered the most: please advise your government not to follow the US policy because it will bring tragedy for your country."

And the 'mastermind' of the bombing, Ali Gufron, called the bombing 'an act of vengeance for America's tyranny against Muslims in the Middle East."

Finally, Osama himself has said this about Australia's policy on East Timor: 'The Crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores, and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world.'

In fact, in an AQ audio tape released after the Bali bombing, the following statement was made:

'We warned Australia before not to join in the war in Afghanistan, and against its despicable effort to separate East Timor...It ignored the warning until it woke up to the sounds of explosions in Bali'

And to conclude with your most eccentric point, I can't see how making these points is 'Eurocentric', given Australia's location.

Now try very hard to lose your petulant tone in your reply.
 
Patrick Porter, thank you very much for making that factual correction. That is all that I wanted.

You did misuse the word "several", but I also misspoke in a way that needlessly implied bad faith.

I think everything in in order now, and I hope you think the same.
 
alles in ordnung!

P
 
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