In front of the monument to the dead of the attacks of 2002. (Kuta, Bali)
In front of the monument to the dead of the attacks of 2002. (Kuta, Bali)

Odd souvenir picture

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

In Bali, just walk up Legian Street, Kuta, to find the monument to the dead of the attacks of October 12, 2002. The two bombs that exploded that night at the bar Paddy's and at the disco Sari Club killed 202 people. Today, we see people having their picture taken in front of the list of victims. What a strange idea...

All those I saw posing at the foot of the monument were Asians. Tourists, no doubt.

In front of the monument to the dead of the attacks of 2002. (Kuta, Bali)
In front of the monument to the dead of the attacks of 2002. (Kuta, Bali)

In Paris, we are familiar with groups of Japanese or Chinese tourists, with their cameras around their necks. It sounds cliché, but it's a bit true: Asian tourists love to take pictures.

Usually, this mania of always wanting to photograph everything amuses me a lot. As a Westerner, I am often asked to take a souvenir photo in tourist places in Asia: I am asked to pose with someone or with a group, because I am so "exotic" in these countries. The funniest thing is the young people, boys and girls, who come to ask permission to take pictures of me with their cell phones...

But there, in front of the war memorial, I was a little surprised by the ritual of the remembrance photo. How to say... even six years later, it's almost macabre.

The perpetrator of the 2002 attacks is a commando of the Jemaah Islamiyahan Asian Islamist group. Australia paid the highest price, with 88 victims. Among the dead, whose names are engraved in gold letters on the black marble, 38 Indonesians, 22 British, 7 Americans and 4 French. On October 1, 2005, new attacks hit tourist spots in Bali, killing 22 people in Kuta and Jimbaran.

Thirty-three people were tried and sentenced for the Bali bombings of 2002. Three Indonesian Islamists, sentenced to death in 2003, are due to be executed soon. Maybe before Ramadan, in September.

The association Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) reminds us, in a press release dated July 18, 2008, of the appeal launched by the father of a young Australian killed in these attacks: he asks that the death sentence of the three men be commuted to life imprisonment.

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

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  1. It's true that it's weird to take a picture in front of a war memorial... maybe they don't know what it is.
    But for Asians they have the decency not to make a V of the hand in front of this monument!

  2. @ Marie-Net:

    Thankfully, yes, no V's with the fingers like we see so often... That would have been totally inappropriate. I think all those people I saw there knew what it was about, though. Especially since it's written on it.

    But if they did pose in front of the war memorial, it's mostly out of habit, I guess. Because they do it in front of all the memorable places they visit. To remember, and to show that they came there. No harm intended.

    It's a place with a sinister memory, anyway. I did not linger...

  3. Once I saw a Japanese man taking the sign for the departure of trains at the St Lazare station, nothing surprises me anymore.

  4. @ Denis: Well, it's super-exotic, the departure board of the Saint-Lazare station... for a Japanese!!!

    In Bali, I must have intrigued and made a lot of people laugh, too, photographing for example the baskets of offerings on the ground, some stalls at the market or the piles of seaweed in close-up.

    But I'm not yet at the point of having my picture taken in front of a war memorial...