Friday, September 10, 2004

The Jakarta Bombing

Yesterday, a bomb exploded outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta. That's very unhappy news, especially for the families of the dead. All fatalities are Indonesian - for now:

Australian officials say one of those seriously injured in the blast was the five-year-daughter of an Australian father and an Indonesian mother. The girl had been granted Australian citizenship just days ago. Her mother died in the explosion, which wrecked buildings across parts of Jakarta's business district.

I can only imagine his pain.

One of the nasty ironies about this is that it is happening some weeks before an Australian Election, so people are wondering what the political fallout will be. John Quiggin said it best:

I don't have anything to say about this crime that I haven't already said about others. But it would be easy for partisans on either side of the Australian political debate to try to make political mileage out of it. I'm posting to express my hope that this will not happen.

It is reasonable enough to argue in the abstract as to whether the government's policies have increased or reduced the risk of terror attacks. But we can't know anything about the specifics of this attack except that many innocent people are dead or injured. No-one should seek to make political capital out of their suffering.

Well said.

Can it happen here? Việt Nam, unlike Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, lacks a large Muslim population. The presence of an Al-Qaeda affiliate is also unlikely, but not out of the question. Personally, I feel I am safer here than other Asian cities. But that's my view.