Bali bombing: 202 victims remembered

A service to mark today's 10th anniversary of the Bali bombing in which three New Zealanders died was a moving reminder of the tragedy, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.

Mr McCully was among the hundreds who gathered in Bali today to pay tribute to the 202 people who were killed when a bomb ripped through a popular nightspot in downtown Kuta in 2002, just over a year after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

New Zealanders Mark Parker and Jared Gane, both 27, and Jamie Wellington, 31, were killed in the blast.

"The service was a moving reminder of the tragedy that affected so many nations,'' Mr McCully said.

"I was grateful for the chance to pay respects to New Zealand victims and their families, and to acknowledge once again the terrible losses suffered especially by Australia and Indonesia.''

Australia had the largest number of foreign casualties, with 88 dead.

Mr Gane's Australian-based relatives attended today's service with the Australian delegation, while at least eight New Zealanders who were injured or suffered lasting trauma were also present.

After the service, Mr McCully hosted a morning tea for some of the New Zealanders injured in the bombing.

The official New Zealand delegation to the commemoration at Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park included the New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia and staff of the New Zealand embassy.

The service was also attended by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott and John Howard - who was the Australian prime minister at the time of the bombing.

Senior Indonesian dignitaries included Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi, and Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika.

Mr McCully said Indonesia had come to grips with the problem of home-grown terrorism in the decade since the bombing.

"All of Indonesia's friends are delighted that such progress has been made in the campaign to end attacks of this kind.''

Mr Pastika welcomed the dignitaries, survivors and loved ones of victims to service, saying it is to honour and remember all 202 who were killed in the bombings at Paddy's Bar and the Sari club in Kuta in 2002.

He said the tragedy still hurt, but had strengthened the fight against terrorism.

"The loss is not just giving us grief, it is also giving us the strength to fight terrorism nad all other extreme activities,'' he told the service.

"We do not condemn a certain religion, we condemn those people who have done brutal violence in the name of religion.''

But he urged people to move on.

"I understand and realise that it is not easy to forget the tragedy, however, it is the time to forget so we can face a brighter life in the future.''

Those killed in the attacks came from 22 countries. Australia lost, Indonesia lost 38 and New Zealand lost three people.

Natalegawa said the 10th anniversary should be used to renew the world's commitment to fighting extremism.

He said the terrorists in 2002 had sought not only to kill and maim, but to destroy the core values of freedom, tolerance and compassion.

"Their attack was nothing less than an assault on humanity,'' he said.

"Yet in all this they have utterly failed.''

He said the attacks prompted nations and different religions to stand united against extremism.

"This remembrance is a valuable opportunity to renew, to reiterate our collective commitment to strengthen the voice of moderation, of tolerance, of mutual understanding among different communities."

Ms Gillard praised the courage of the survivors and the families who made the journey to Bali for the commemoration.

"The physical journey by plane has been easy but the inner journey is wrenchingly hard,'' she said.

"This is a day of contesting emotions, from anger and unamended loss to forgiveness and reconciliation with a bitter past.''

She also commended Mr Howard for his "steadfast, reassuring voice for Australians in those dramatic days''.

Amid the anguish, there were at least some fragments of comfort, the prime minister said.

"There is peace in this island, and the knowledge that millions still come here for the same reasons you and your loved ones did,'' she said.

"And perhaps there is a grim reassurance in knowing that the terrorists did not achieve what they set out to do.''

Mr Howard said the terrible night and the days that followed tested the character of the Australian nation and it passed with flying colours.

"We saw in those days those two great qualities of our nation, strength but also tenderness,'' he said.

The former prime minister said those responsible for "this terrible deed'' may have hoped to drive Indonesia and Australia apart.

"Instead of that, they brought Indonesia and Australia closer together.''

Within minutes of the explosions, the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police was in touch with Indonesian police, launching a cooperative process which eventually brought those responsible to justice.

"If there can be a legacy other than the sadness associated with these events ... it is the belief and the knowledge that as the years have gone by, the cooperation between our intelligence services has reduced, but of course, never eliminated the threat of terrorism,'' Mr Howard said.

- AAP

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