A ceremony to remember the victims of a bomb blast that struck a busy street on a Saturday night in 2002, killing 202 people.
Today’s ceremony carried me back to 10 years ago, where shops were burned and damaged. The bomb had left a big hole in Legian Street. That Sunday morning in 2002 was bright, with good weather and a blue sky as I entered Kuta beach’s Hard Rock Hotel. It was a different atmosphere; the situation wasn’t relaxing on the resort island. It was on high alert with security personnel covering the streets. Police, local security people called “pecalang” always asked for ID. If someone didn’t have ID, they couldn’t enter the hotel area or walk the streets.
I arrived at the bomb blast site shortly after landing from Jakarta but the destroyed area was already closed off by police. Security was very tight and no one could enter the bomb blast area so I went to the hospital, to try to get access to the victims. The hospital was not a comfortable place to be, especially after the violence of the night before. There were many burned bodies lying on the floor covered with white fabric, and the smell was bad. It’s already been 10 years since that day but some of the visuals of the 2002 Bali bombing are still in my mind.
Firstly, I took pictures of an injured woman lying on a hospital bed as her injured friend tried to comfort her. Just one click and go; it was a difficult time to photograph not because of security or limited access to the recovery room. I was already there, standing next to her bed, it was because I didn’t want to take that picture. For a moment I didn’t do anything, I couldn’t do anything. The visual wasn’t great, as the injuries weren’t too visible but how two women communicated by touching each other in the difficult situation; that touched me.
She had an injury on her back but it was covered and she wasn’t crying. Her friend just sat next to her and touched her hand; oh, that is what a friend is for. I was just standing near by. I couldn’t speak or say hello, or even ask for her name. Maybe I was trying to ask for permission through my body language. Finally I took this picture after convincing myself it was not a bad thing. My pictures are dedicated to the two of them and you have both have my respect as you show what a friend is for. Hopefully today, 10 years on, both of you have a wonderful life.