A Karmelion

Balinese and others living on this splendid island talk fervently of karma, that universal force that, like in the physical world, aligns cause with effect. The Balinese live their lives according to it, and it is one of the prime reasons why Bali, in terms of the Balinese themselves and not external elements, is peaceful and relatively crime-free.

Put simply, according to karma, if you do something bad, something bad will happen to you, whether in this lifetime of subsequent ones. In the Western world there’s a parallel axiom: What goes around come around.

Consequently, in Bali, most of the population – chiefly the devout Hindu Balinese – go out of their way to remain good their entire lives so that bad fortune will not befall them.

We are therefore taken aback by zealous plans by one Balinese businessman to construct a restaurant on the site of the horrific 2002 bombing of the Sari Club in Legian.

It is a place where 202 people from around the world died, and our view remains that it must be preserved as a place of sanctity. The thought that people could be making merry at this scene of human destruction is a sickening and tremendously distressing one. Such a detestable scenario – one based on the generation of money – would do nothing to honour the sanctity of human life, on an island that reveres God’s creations and abounds in spirituality.

In short, it would be anathema to all the best values of Bali.

Kadek Wiranatha owns many restaurants and bars around the Legian and Seminyak area, and has paid for 30 years’ use of the plot of land where one of the world’s worst terrorist attacks took place. I Pedanda Gede Tarukan Manuaba, a high priest of Dalung, told this newspaper this week that such a plan would be extremely bad karma indeed, that tragedy would follow the businessman it he went ahead with his plan.

Given that Mr Wiranatha makes the bulk of his revenue from Australian tourists who dine in his restaurants and party in his bars and clubs, it is peculiar that he would want to dishonour the lives of the 88 Australians who perished in the 2002 Kuta bombings – most of them at the Sari Club – and his venture has rightly drawn ire from the Australian public.

The only correct, karmic choice, as Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has said, is for the owner of the land to donate it to the Australian-based Bali Peace Park Association, so that a memorial space can be built and last for generations to come, and that the horrors that befell Bali on that cataclysmic night may never be forgotten.

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