Survivors Want Memorial Not New ClubSeptember 2, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
Survivors of the deadly 2002 terrorist attacks in Bali, Indonesia, are upset over a Bali businessman’s plans to build a new nightclub and restaurant on the land that once housed the Sari Club, the nightclub where the majority of the 202 victims were killed during the attacks. The Western Australia-based Bali Peace Park Foundation has been trying to raise $2 million to turn the land into a memorial garden and place of remembrance, but the group says it is having a tough time specifically because the government will not grant it the non-profit, tax-free status it has requested.
This memorial stands at the former site of Paddy's Pub, but survivors and others want a new peace park and place of remembrance.
One survivor is Phil Britten, a member of an Australian soccer club that had seven of its members perish in the attack. Britten, an outspoken member of the Peace Park Foundation, told local reporters last week: “This is sacred ground. Who would want to drink and dance there? Personally, I would never go there. It would be dancing on my mates' graves.'' Britten isn’t the only Aussie speaking out; many are suggesting the Australian government assist in making the area a true memorial to the victims (more than one-third of the victims were Australian citizens).
One local official insinuated that while local government supports the idea of the Peace Park, the land has now sat empty for seven years in a heavily trafficked tourist section of the city. At the site of Paddy’s Pub, located across from the Sari Club, where the attacks began, a carved memorial pays tribute to the victims of the blast. Paddy’s Reloaded opened down the street from the original location.
The businessman, Kadek Wiranatha, who took over control of a 30-year lease on the land last year, has reportedly refused to meet with Peace Park representatives regarding a sale price for the land and until last week denied even submitting application permits for the land (in a letter from his attorney he notified the Peace Park Foundation of his intentions). Local officials confirmed he had applied for permits and licensing but said the applications have not been reviewed because the paperwork is incomplete.