Bali. A lesson to be learned
Bali. Indonesia. I wonder what the world’s view of Bali is today.
Once, before October 11th, 2001 it was safe to bet that it was thought by many to be in the south pacific somewhere, courtesy of Mr. Rogers and Mr. Hammerstein from the musical South Pacific. After that date it was perhaps seen as a Muslim militant stronghold following the horrendous night of bombing that destroyed the lives of so any when the clubs Sari and Padi’s were targeted. This was strengthened by the bombs of October 1 2005, when once again, tourists became the victims as two more sites were bombed.
As a long time visitor to Bali I have to say that both views are wrong.
For one thing, Bali is in the Indian Ocean, part of the Indonesian archipelago. Its people are predominantly Hindu although there is a small percentage of Muslims living seamlessly together.
Those of us who have chosen to make this island our home, are bewildered by the events of the last years. Most foreigners here, are engaged in some kind of business (although it is more a life choice decision to settle here rather than a commercial one), and all business here are ultimately affected by tourism. It has been hardest on the 3 million Balinese, many of course lost their jobs as businesses went to the wall. Even those of us who managed to keep going have been under pressure to keep jobs open.
The people of Bali are not militants. They have been the victims of the out rage as much as the innocent holiday makers who have been killed and maimed by a few extremists. Still they harbor no grudge against their Muslim brothers. It is refreshing to see in today’s world that often is so intolerant of others different from ones self or others of a different faith than ones own, an easy acceptance that not all are evil. A lesson perhaps, many could benefit from learning.
I hope the problems will abate for Bali. I hope reason triumphs over fanaticism. I hope more people will come and see for them selves what this charming island has to offer.
I hope to see you here one day.
About the Author: Ed Brownlie is a 7 year resident of Bali. He currently works for Concord Bali Villas