Bomb Blasts in Jakarta, Indonesia, From UK Media Perspective

Yesterday was a quite important day for me. As part of my permanent residency process in the UK, I have to take (and pass) the test called “Life in The UK”. To be able to pass this test I need to answer 75% questions correctly, or 18 out 24. I have spent almost two weeks studying and remembering all the facts, and spent the last 4 days intensely just to practice on the questions & answers simulations.

I went to bed mentally prepared for the test the next day.

But when I woke up, and checked on my iPhone as usual, there were lots of text messages from my friends. All of them informed me the same thing: there were fatal bombs hit two hotels in Jakarta. Lots of rumours going around as well, that there were actually 8 targets, that Senayan City would be the next one, or there was another blast in Muara Angke. My ex-colleagues were all sent home. Some friends were mad because Manchester United cancels their trip to Indonesia.

Of course the news is devastating. The moment Indonesia recovering from from economic and political disasters, this tragedy hit. Again. Sounds too familiar.

The two targeted hotels, JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, are located in the heart of Jakarta, in the area called Mega Kuningan. The area is filled with high profile companies, hotels, embassies, residences of high-rank Indonesian government officers, and lately, nice restaurants and lounges, and considered as one of the most prominent areas in Jakarta. Both hotels are our usual places for Sunday brunch. Both serve excellent, beautiful buffet, from seafood, roast, cheese, Japanese, salad, and dessert, which are professionally presented in gigantic dining rooms.

I was in the area when JW Marriott was hit by a carbomb in 2003, and I lived in the apartment complex behind the Australian embassy when the building was hit by bomb in 2004 (read the timeline here). But since then I could see the security is tightened all around the city (up to the point of becoming annoying) and I couldn’t feel more safer. Mr.mck and I used to live in the apartment across JW Marriott, and once in a bluemoon, when there was a security threat alert, we would have seen our security guards armed with deadly guns outside. Our most favourite bar, Cazbar, is located practically a mere 30 seconds away from Ritz-Carlton. Mega Kuningan is (was?) probably the only area I am willing to walk around without having to worry about pickpockets or catcalling. For the past few years we lived in Mega Kuningan, the “threats” were just threats and nothing happened.

But the bombs yesterday totally wrecked my idea and hopes about safer Indonesia. My condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones and my prayers go out to those who had injured and their families in the tragedy.

When I checked on twitter, hundreds of messages were pouring in, and one struck me the most. In her message, a famous twitterlady was upset because one American TV reported that Friday is a muslim holiday in Indonesia. Of course it isn’t true. Friday is not a holiday; people do go for their Friday prayers at lunch time, which in result makes the lunch time longer than the rest of four days, but the business is open as usual. If this American TV cannot get this easy information right, imagine what kind of news they have broadcast through the entire nation!

But her twit got me curious on what others media say about the tragedy, especially the UK media. And I was glad yet surprised that they gave quite balance reportage so far. You would see that I did not include the blast reportage itself, as you would find it everywhere, but rather positive points the UK media sees about Indonesia. Looks like they’ve got Indonesia quite right.

Here is what I have found:

From The Telegraph

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However, the Indonesian authorities made a series of high profile arrests and there have been no major attacks for three years, leading some analysts to identify the country as a rare success story among Muslim nations confronting a domestic terror threat.


Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world and most Indonesians are generally seen as following a moderate interpretation of their religion. The country recently held peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections in which Islamist candidates did not do well.

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From BBC

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The attacks come just weeks after the peaceful presidential elections.

The country of 240 million people has been praised in recent years for maintaining a pluralist democracy while finding and punishing radical Islamists responsible for a series of bombings more than five years ago.

==============================================================================================Since then, a combination of new laws, anti-terror training, international cooperation and reintegration measures have kept Indonesia peaceful, analysts have said.


Many Indonesians we spoke to this morning told us how shocked and upset they were by what had happened here today and how worried they are about the damage this will do to the reputation of their country.

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Another news from BBC

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Upsetting to many Indonesians is the image now spread around the world of a country in turmoil – when it has just come peacefully through a second democratic election, and has been maintaining economic growth despite the world downturn.

“It is bound to be misinterpreted – this is much more like the Oklahoma City bombing than the events of 9/11,” says Mr James, an American.

Asked if he would advise friends or relatives to still visit the country, he says “of course”.

“If my aunt wanted to come to Bali, I would tell her to come. If she wanted to come to Jakarta, I would tell her to come,” he adds.

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From Sky News

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There is speculation the attacks were carried out by the Southeast Asian terror network, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

However, authorities have not said who they believe are behind the blasts and no group has so far claimed responsibility.

JI has been blamed for numerous attacks in Indonesia, including bombings in Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people.

They are also believed to be responsible for a car bomb blast at the Marriott in 2003. Twelve people were killed in that attack and the hotel was badly damaged.

But since then, Indonesian officials have cracked down on terrorism groups, particularly JI.

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From The Times

But there had been no major incidents since a smaller bombing in Bali in 2005,and the Indonesian Government has been praised for its success in countering terrorism and heading off the rise of extremism among the world’s largest
Islamic population.

About nine out of ten of Indonesia’s 238 million people are Muslim, but the strain of Islam which most of them follow is tolerant and inclusive compared with the more austere faiths of the Middle East.

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From Daily Mail

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As the Foreign Office advised Britons to avoid ‘unnecessary’ travel to Jarkarta, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Britain stood in ‘solidarity and sorrow’ with Indonesia.

He added: ‘These attacks remind us, yet again, of the threat people of all races and religion face from violent extremists. Indonesia is world’s largest Muslim democracy.’

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  1. Oklahoma? Really?
    As in it was a revenge thing against a government?
    Oklahoma bombing was a direct retaliation for Waco, where FBI agents, coupled with ATF agents, surrounded and confronted some religious group in Texas that supposedly had weapons and sexual configurations local authorities weren’t happy with.
    It sounded more that it was rich, well to do businesses at center target.
    I condone neither.
    Business for greedily sucking the world’s resources for their own, selfish reasons or terrorists who strike at ambiguous figureheads, usually taking innocent lives, too.

    On the other hand….did you ever get to take that test? Or, did you say and I missed it?
    Good luck on passing it! Sounds like you’re studied in enough.
    .-= boneman´s last blog .. =-.

  2. Boneman: I’m just quoting, and yes, I have passed the test, thank you :)

  3. There is no war in Indonesia but why such thing happen there?
    Do people get angry because to many foreigner coming in?

  4. Lunaticg: Errr… how did you come up with the idea? To answer your question in short: NO, people don’t get angry because too many foreigners coming into the country. I suggest you to read this to understand more about the blasts, the cause, and the impact.


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