Bali bombing landowners ‘not lacking humanity’
THE owners of the former Sari Club site, where building will start soon on a controversial five-storey restaurant complex in Bali, have hit out at claims they lack humanity.
The family called a press conference late yesterday to defend themselves after being stung by days of criticism of their plans to build on the site 17 years after terrorists detonated a massive car bomb there, killing 200 innocent people.
Families of those killed and injured in the 2002 Bali bombings, along with the Bali Peace Park Association - established to raise money to build a peace park and lasting memorial to those who lost their lives their in October 2002 - have criticised the plans as insensitive.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also described their plans as "deeply distressing".
A special Hindu cleansing ceremony was held on Sunday to cleanse the area ahead of approved construction, planned to begin this week.
The family who own the land said it was wrong to assume they have no humanity as that had also lost a relative in the bombing.
"After the 2002 bombing, we also become the victim," Lila Tania said.
"One of our family members also died. So, we as the owner, we are the legal owner of that land - they assume that we have no humanity. It's a big mistake. Instead, for reasons of humanity, we are here to correct all the news."
She denied the land will be turned into a nightclub.
A family spokeswoman, Rini Sekartianijaya, said it was wrong to suggest that the family was uncaring about those who lost their lives.
"It doesn't mean that the family doesn't care, or never recall the tragedy," she said.
"We don't want any rumours to exist, saying that the family is never thinking about the victims.
Before the press conference Rini initiated a prayer for the dead.
She said the family who owned the land were a "common"family who were upset at the Bali
The plans, approved by the local Government controlling the area, the Badung regency, are for a five-storey restaurant complex with a memorial or museum on the top level to honour the victims.
The Bali Government erected a separate monument with the names of all the victims on the first anniversary of the attack and remains on a plot of public land directly opposite the former Sari Club.
That site is at the centre wrangling over its future and attempts by the Bali Peace Park Association to keep it as a lasting place of reflection.
A separate site, located across the road from where Paddy's Bar - also destroyed by the bombers - has been redeveloped by a separate owner.
Peace Park's bid to publicise the case through the media to raise money for its purchase.
"This is purely our plan to build something that give advantage to the community and could be enjoyed for national, international and region," Ms Sekartianijaya said.
"So, we will use the land with all the memories, for better things. Not as an empty land that is not used for anything. I think all of them who die will feel better.
"It seemed that we don't care about them. Because they are still here around us, see all of us. They know how we remember them."
Lila Tania said the family was willing to sell the private land but only for a market value as she reiterated it was not Government owned.
She said negotiations between the family and Australia were ongoing and they had met with diplomats five times to discuss the case.