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October 3, 2005
Balinese Wonder: Why Us?

After having now been the target of al-Qaeda terrorist attacks at least four times over the last three years, the people of Bali openly wonder why Islamist terrorists have focused so much of their efforts on them. The French press service AFP reports that anger has risen among the Balinese as they survey the damage from this latest atrocity:

Anger is mounting over the latest bomb attacks by Islamic extremists in Indonesia, where yet again most of the dead have been locals and most of the damage has hit local businesses. ...

"Why is it only us? Why is Bali again the target of bombs?" asked I Gede Wiratha, the head of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Wiratha said strong rumors were circulating in predominantly Hindu Bali that witnesses heard one of the suicide bombers shouting "Allahu Akbar" or "God is great" before blowing himself to smithereens.

Made Mangku Sudita, 36, who owns a beach restaurant just next door to the cafe where the first blast occurred in Jimbaran, expressed the public mood when he called for vengeance against those responsible.

"We have to kill those terrorists", he told AFP.

Similar sentiments were aired by many others, including taxi driver Wayan Rampa who lost his job in the silver industry after the October 2002 bombings devastated Bali's tourism sector.

"There is no need to take them to prisons... they should be taken to Bali to be turned into skewered meat or be grilled," he said of the culprits.

The Balinese have, up to now, exhibited a kind of phlegmatic resignation in the face of the violence similar to that of the British in World War II during the Blitz. That now appears to have given way to some anger, and a questioning of motives that will sound oddly familiar to Americans. After the one devastating attack on the US that left thousands dead, many asked the same question: why us? The American Left had many answers ready for that question. Perhaps we can see whether they apply to the Balinese.

* A policy of support for Israel? Well, Bali remains part of Indonesia, which can hardly be accused of being an Israeli ally. Like all Muslim nations, it opposes Israel's occupation of the West Bank and does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

* Supporting Middle East tyrants in order to steal the oil from the devout Muslims of the Arabian peninsula? Indonesia has plenty of its own oil.

* Occupation of holy lands? The Balinese do not have troops on Saudi soil, or anywhere else other than Bali.

* Occupation of Iraq? Not hardly.

It seems that all the usual answers Americans hear for their responsibility in provoking the Islamists' rage don't apply to Bali or the Balinese. What could keep al-Qaeda coming back to bomb the people and businesses of Bali? Perhaps the fact that Bali, part of mostly Muslim Indonesia, has a majority Hindu population could have something to do with Jemaah Islamiyah's obsession with bombing the Balinese. It provides the only consistent thread for AQ's attacks around the world: an all-out holy war against all non-believers, simply on the basis of their non-belief.

This should dispense with all of the blather about how our foreign policy of global engagement creates terrorism. Let's quit blaming the victims and start really fighting the war that the terrorists have declared on us.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 3, 2005 5:02 AM

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» BALI TERROR ROUNDUP from Publius Pundit
The weekend's terror attack on the Indonesian island of Bali was a monstrous atrocity. Does it have revolutionary implications? I think it does, because it's closely aligned with Indonesia's brave self-transformation into an authentic democracy in 1999... [Read More]

Tracked on October 3, 2005 11:41 PM

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