Monument of Human Tragedy

Bali's worst terrorist attack

What we say: 3.5 stars

On October 12, 2002, three terrorist bombs were denoted in Bali. Two were detonated in Kuta — one in a backpack carried by a suicide bomber and a second, larger car bomb. Between them, these two bombs killed 202 people and injured another 209. A third bomb was set off outside the US consulate in Denpasar which caused only minor damage.

Those killed included 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians and nationals from over 20 over nations. The perpetrators were Indonesian, members of a violent Islamic Group called Jemaah Islamiyah led by radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, and the supposed reasoning for the attacks was in response to the United States’ “War on Terror” and Australia’s role in Timor Leste’s independence.

The monument dedicated to those who lost their lives.

The monument dedicated to those who lost their lives.

Conducted in tourist high season in the heart of Bali’s tourist centre, the attacks commenced with the backpack bomb which was worn by a suicide bomber who walked into Paddy’s Pub at 11pm and detonated the bomb. Almost immediately afterwards the far larger car bomb exploded outside the Sari Club — a popular bar which was more or less opposite Paddy’s Bar.

The result of the bombings was catastrophic and Bali’s medical facilities were quickly overwhelmed. Many people suffered horrifying burns and some of the worst treated were air-evaced to Darwin and Perth in Australia for further care.

On the second anniversary of the bombings, the Monument of Human Tragedy was dedicated on the site of the original Paddy’s Bar. It bears the names and nationalities of each of the people killed in the attack. Commemoration services are held annually at the site.

Just over six years later on 9 November 2008, three Indonesians who were convicted of directly carrying out the bombings were executed by a firing squad. Others, including Abu Bakar Bashir, remain free or served minor jail terms.

More details
Jalan Legian near Poppies II
Last updated: 9th August, 2015

About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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Jalan Legian near Poppies II
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