50 years in Indonesia | Inspired Bali

The 1965 massacre

In 1965, a massacre estimated to have killed between 500,000 and 2 million people occurred throughout Indonesia.

The victims were suspected communists, farmers, feminists and trade unionists.

When the killing was over, the memory of it was buried along with the dead; the perpetrators had taken power, stigmatized the victims and their families and suppressed historical memory.

It is a painful wound from which this country has never healed. In Bali, the violence was especially severe, where an estimated 5% of the population was killed.

The village of Petulu, just north of Ubud, has a particularly dark history.

Stories of villagers brutally killing one another and the rumored existence of a mass grave has clouded the area’s history for many years.

To rebalance, a cleansing ceremony was performed in late October 1965.

Within days, the town was flooded with egrets that many believe arrived to protect the village from further tragic events.

To this day, just before sunset, the birds can be seen flocking into the village and nesting in the trees of Petulu next to the grave site.

For further reading check out:

“The Dark Side of Paradise” by Adrian Vickers or “Pretext for Mass Murder” by John Roosa.

For more general information:

National Commission of Human Rights: www.stopimpunity.org and a woman’s support ground that formed after the massacre: www.institutungu.com “The Act of Killing”, an extraordinary documentary by Canadian filmmaker, Joshua Oppenheimer, is opening up conversations about this sensitive issue.

The 2002-2005 Bombings

On October 12, 2002, 202 people at two nightclubs (Sari Club and Paddy’s) were the victims of a violent terrorist attack by the Islamist group, Jemaah Islamiyah.

Said to be in retaliation to the US “War on Terror”, and Australia’s role in the liberation of East Timor, two bombs targeted the nightclub district in Kuta, and a third the U.S Consulate in Denpasar.

The island’s tourist economy was decimated overnight, and took years to rebuild. Then on October 1st, 2005, terrorists detonated bombs at Jimbaran Beach and once again in Kuta, claiming the lives of 20 people.

One of the most inspiring initiatives that came out of the two Bali bombings is the Annika Linden Foundation, now called Inspirasia.

Named after a young British woman killed in the 2002 tragedy, and set up by her British boyfriend, Mark Weingard, the foundation’s mission is to help the disadvantaged in Indonesia lead fulfilling lives and have better access to health care, education and new opportunities.

The Annika Linden Center in Tohpati was built in her honour, and serves as a hub for charities that help people with disabilities.

For more information visit: www.inspirasia.org

For more information on this subject:


“The Healings of Bali” by John Darling, “Fool me Twice” by Glen Clancy

“Long Road to Heaven” by Enison Sinaro.


“In the Arms of the Angel” by Kim A. Patra

“After Bali” by Jason McCartney.


Bali Bombing/Jason’s Accident by Bruce Rowland.
Compiled by Janet Nicol

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