Editor Mat Nott
Editor Mat Nott

The night we lost our innocence...

THERE are characteristics of the Australian character that the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombing brings into sharp relief.

One is that Australians are as tough as tungsten. Another is that they are open, friendly and believe the best before they suspect the worst.

Our resilience is what allows us to recover from tragedy and rebuild. In some ways it might account for our famous love of the underdog.

What a tribute to Australia's willingness to look after its own in times of tragedy the aftermath of the bomb was.

The immediate response highlighted these fine qualities in the sons and daughters of the nation that were swept up in the tragedy.

In the first 37 hours post-bomb there were 66 people airlifted out of Indonesia to Darwin. That is commitment in the midst of chaos.

APN's senior sports writer Richard Harvey, formerly sports editor of the Chronicle, covered the impact the terrorist attack on the Sari Club in Kuta had on local lives when it happened.

In today's edition, he looks back at the incident and the intervening years in an interview with the same man he reported on a decade ago - local businessman and the coach of the Hervey Bay Bombers Troy Ignatenko. Troy was in the vicinity of the bomb and lived to tell the tale.

It was the end of modern day innocence for Australians. For the younger generation, the losses in the wars Australians had been involved in had lost some rawness. The war on terror was more a concept than a conflict.

Travel to Bali had got cheap over the years and it was an exotic holiday destination. It was quicker to get to Bali from Perth than it was to get to Sydney. Bali was also a signpost to our Pacific Rim future. Then ...boom!

In 2008, the three Bali bombers Imam Samudra and brothers Amrozi and Mukhlas were executed by firing squad for the deaths of 202 people, including 88 Australians.

There was an abundance of horrific images made public after the bombing, none more so than that of Samudra.

A grinning gargoyle of a man defiantly facing down the revulsion of just people as he went smirking to his death.



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