Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change


Within the first few weeks in Bedulu, I read an ISP written in 1990 concerning mental health facilities in Bali. It was by far one of the most engaging and provocative ISPs I was introduced to; however, giving today’s security precautions and my lack of background in psychology, I easily dismissed it as a possible project. Yet, as ISP time lurched closer, I still had not found an idea that equally excited me. I talked with Bu Ari, and she encouraged me to talk to Ibu Luh Ketut Suryani, the leading psychologist in Indonesia and founder of the Suryani Institute for Mental Health. I, then, mentioned the idea and Suryani to Pak Garret, and he didn’t seem quite as enthused about Suryani or the prospects of studying mental facilities without any prior academic knowledge, but he made a comment about the care after the Bali Bomb and organizations associated with that. I was immediately intrigued and looked into organizations and non-profits started after the terrorist attack that took place on October 12, 2002. As an American, I was eleven years old when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by Islamic extremists. I can remember watching the towers effortlessly collapse on the television while sitting in Mrs. Guthrie’s sixth grade class, and I can recall the anguish and worry on the surrounding adults’ faces. I never, though, felt quite attached to the tragedy. It seemed far away from my life and my eleven year-old worries, and no one I knew was immediately affected. As the years progressed and the War on Terror reigned, my history became much more tied to the effects of terrorism and war. I began to see the attack as something that led to greater destruction and to much graver heartache around the world than that single event. Maybe that’s a naive reaction to war and national security, but I didn’t see enough progress nationally or internationally as we attempted to annihilate terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and their leaders to balance out the global devastation we were causing. The idea of doing an ISP related to the Bali attacks, resurfaced my own disassociation with events tied to global terrorism, and I became interested in studying terrorism in the context of the 3 Balinese culture. I picked up a copy of Jeremy Allan’s Bali Blues, an account of the immediate aftermath according to a Canadian living in Bali since the 1980s, and started uncovering the events that played out. I told Bu Ari my interest in pursuing the topic, and she connected me to Yayasan Kemanusiaan Ibu Pertiwi (YKIP), a non-profit set up after the Bali attack. For the ISP period, I would work with this organization and its founding organization, Inpirasia, translating letters from current benefactors and volunteering at their outreach programs in Denpasar. Throughout my experience with YKIP, I have met wives of victims who were personally affected by relief efforts after the Bali bomb. Their stories give honest examples of what is is truly needed by families after such depredation and what was lacking as they try to survive without their husbands. I met and played with children who were only a few years old when their parents were taking away by the tragedy. I spoke with non-profit organizers and heard their stories of involvement, how they approached the incident, and how they planned to transform and sustain their operations. Over the past month, I’ve seen a complete community that grew out of the terrorist attack. While it’s terribly sad that this community is the result of such destruction, it is promising to humanity that people can organize and work together to create such a community that is stronger than the previous. It has been ten years since the attack, but people within Bali are still working together to create a better environment for its people and future generations. I came in observing Inspirasia and YKIP at an interesting transitioning point for the organizations. The ten year anniversary of the Bali Bombing had just taken place, and Inspirasia had just undergone a name change and moving to a new facility. It was a lucrative time to see the progression of the organizations, and hopefully, through my digression, people can begin to understand the context of the attack as well as see the power in social responsibility and how benevolence can encourage and strengthen a weakened society.


Community Health | Mental and Social Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


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