Bali Bombing

Violence will not stop until Western nations heed grievances

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 12:00am


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There has been yet another explosion, this time, in Indonesia.

It was yet another tragedy, with more lives lost. And following what happened in Bali at the weekend, we heard repeated calls to stamp out terrorism. In your editorial of October 14, you described Hong Kong as an ally of the West. You said 'we' must not let our guard down. But who are 'we'?

Here perhaps lies the root of the problem. Whoever planted the bomb, whether it was al-Qaeda or Balinese separatists, did so because they feel excluded, unable, over decades, to get attention or to influence events in any other way. In one of your October 14 reports on the Bali bombings there was a telling piece of information. Indonesians were excluded from one of the targeted clubs. People excluded in their own country to make way for Westerners (including Hong Kong people). Some individuals might have seen this as justification enough to protest so violently.

In today's world an invisible line is drawn between have and have-not countries. Words like 'democracy', 'freedom' and 'capitalism' are used to justify the rich half of the world's right to remain well off at the expense of the other.

The rich half uses the other half as it sees fit: 'Open your markets so we can exploit you, gear your tourism, economy and culture to the West. If you protest we will not listen, we will not try to right injustice and root out causes of violent protest. We will label you terrorists and spend millions on arms to maintain our dominance over you.'

From Palestinian suicide bombers, via the 9/11 perpetrators, to the Bali bombers, there is one common thread. The feeling of being trampled on by the privileged and powerful half of the world (Israel, the US, and other Western countries) of being excluded and of not being listened to.

The more 'we' dictate one set of Western-favouring free-market rules and norms and the more we rain down bombs in a vain effort to 'stamp out' surface symptoms of a much deeper root cause, the more violence we will call forth.


Wan Chai