12 years on, Bali bombing continues to haunt victims

12 years on, Bali bombing continues to haunt victims
Foreign tourists visit the monument for the 2002 Bali bombing victims three days before a commemoration ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the attack in the Kuta tourist area near Denpasar on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 9, 2012.

INDONESIA - Tears trickled down Nyoman Rencini's cheeks as her daughter, Kadek Wina, read a poem during the Bali bombing commemoration at the Bali Bomb Memorial in Kuta, Badung, Bali, on Sunday.

Titled "My Story", the poem told of her life without her beloved father, who was a victim of the first Bali bombing in 2002.

"Before the commemoration, I told myself to be strong. I had prepared myself to be calm, to hold back my tears, to leave the fear and anger. But, it seems I was unable to do so. When my daughter started reading her poem, I couldn't help but cry," Rencini said after the event.

The Bali bombing in 2002 devastated the lives of the 43-year-old mother and her three children.

Her husband, Ketut Sumarawa, was caught in the explosion as he was driving tourists to Paddy's Pub in Kuta, which was one of the targets of the attack.

Rencini and her children are among the families who have never forgotten the pain that struck their hearts after they lost their loved ones during the terrorist attack that killed 202 victims, including many foreigners from 21 countries.

Ni Luh Erniati, the chairwoman of Paguyuban Isana Dewata, a community for the widows, widowers and children of the local victims, said the sad memories recurred in her head every October.

"I often fail to control my feelings, especially when this month arrives. Sometimes, I can't deny the sadness that suddenly appears," said the mother-of-two, who lost her husband Gede Badrawan in the tragedy.

Erni admitted that even after 12 years, many survivors and the victims' family members remained traumatized. She said some of her friends still became fearful when they saw smoke or crowds.

She said the members of her community were now concerned about the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) organisation.

"We are worried about that [organisation]. That's why we really hope that the government and people can be more vigilant. We don't want to see any more victims," she said.

As an attempt to cope with the trauma, Isana Dewata held support-group therapy sessions for all its members, including survivors and victims' families of the second, 2005, Bali bombing.

Led by psychiatrist Made Nyandra, one of the therapy sessions took place at the White Rose Hotel on Sunday after the commemoration event.

"We used to conduct routine therapy sessions after the tragedy. We stopped them several years ago, believing that the trauma had gone. However, we have decided to restart them again as we realised that some of us still live with the trauma," Erni said.

Nyandra confirmed that a number of survivors suffered from various levels of post-traumatic disorders, which could arise when they were in certain situations that reminded them of the horrible tragedy.

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