Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bali, the morning after

The blogsphere is alive with expressions of shock and sympathy for the bombings. There are not too many Bali bloggers giving on-the-spot reports. The couple I located were amazingly ho hum about the whole catastrophe. This resident, an expat with a Bali Blog describes the way in which people flocked to the scene to have a look - and then he went off to find a bar in which to watch football. Another blogger, a holidaymaker, writes that the restaurant in which they were dining stopped service and they found themselves in crowded streets finding no taxi. Seeing people crying they thought they must be "having a tough night".
Meanwhile many analyses are emerging. Islamic extremists were not responsible, says one. There are images posted here and there. Conservative Weasle (what an awful nick) has video. And, this blogger has one, very desolate image.

Much is becoming clear. Restaurants were fairly uniformly the target. Not a clothing store. That was just collateral damage. Morning pundits are theorising that the "Bali lifestyle" is the real target. I would suspect it was more Bali economy, for the Balinese lifestyle is village-based, deeply spiritual and anything but decadent. There could be no more innocent people in the world - albeit that Bali has had some fairly fiesty phases of history. But the focus of the people is on religion and afterlife - an extraordinary amount of energy being devoted to the making and presentation of offerings and the mounting of rituals. Large parts of family earnings are dedicated to bigger and better ceremonies, particularly funerals.

I am worried about my friends in Bali, for I know this new blow will make their lives harder and leaner. Tourists are cancelling their planned trips en masse right now. And that welcoming, magical island will be struggling on its own resources for the forseeable future. Even I, who was hoping to hop up for a week in the New Year, now will not take the risk. I am so sorry, sweet Bali, so very sorry.

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