TEARS flowed freely from the victims of the Bali bombings, their families and supporters during a moving and prayerful anniversary service on the holiday island yesterday.
The ceremony, at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali, may be the last for the October 2002 tragedy in which 202 people died, including 88 Australians.
But among speeches from leaders past and present, Australian and Indonesian, the piping voice of a 12-year-old Balinese boy, reading a poem he had written to his dead father, provided the most moving moment. ''I only have one hope, that daddy will come home with a good toy for me,'' said Made Bagus Arya Dana in Indonesian, his mother by his side translating into English.
''I stare at the picture of your face. I listen to mum's stories about you … how daddy really loved me. How I miss your hugs.''
Made was 18 months old when his father, Gede Badrawan, the head waiter at the Sari Club, died in the bomb blasts.
''I am almost 12 years old now, I have started to understand what happened. I can feel mum's sadness. I realise daddy will never be home,'' Made said.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former prime minister John Howard and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa all emphasised how the terrorist atrocity had failed to achieve its objectives. It had not divided Australia from Indonesia, or religions from one another, or undermined Indonesian democracy, then only four years old. Each had only grown stronger.
''Our two countries drew closer than they had ever been before,'' Ms Gillard said.
The Australian government had arranged and
paid for about 600 survivors and family members to come to the commemoration, and Ms Gillard praised their courage for facing, once again, their demons.
''This is a day of contesting emotions … but nothing can replace the empty seat at your family table, the graduations and the christenings you will never know, and the fault line that will always divide into two halves - before Bali and after Bali.''
Ms Gillard said after the service that she had been in Bali until the day before the bombing and was still unpacking at home when news of the tragedy came through. In her speech, she said that, like Gallipoli and London, Bali was a place ''where something of the Australian spirit dwells upon another shore''. She praised Mr Howard, for his ''steadfast, reassuring voice for Australians in those dramatic days''.
Mr Howard gave a powerful speech, saying the bombing had tested Australia, but that the country had passed ''with flying colours'', showing its ''two great qualities - strength and also tenderness''.
He, too, addressed the families, saying that 10 years later: ''You are not forgotten, your loss is not forgotten, and the great memorial for those who lost is to be found in the determination of young Australia to keep coming to Bali.''
Later, Mr Howard said the most moving aspect of the day was seeing relatives of victims he spent time with nine and 10 years ago. He said he was full of admiration at the way they had ''just kept going in very sad circumstances'' and carried no bitterness towards Indonesia.
''I was reminded again of just how splendidly all of our military and medical and consular services worked together with such gentle efficiency to look after those who needed looking after,'' he told The Saturday Age.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not attend, but was represented by Foreign Minister Natalegawa, who said the plotters from terror group Jemaah Islamiah had ''utterly failed'' in their objectives and Indonesian democracy had ''emerged stronger than ever''.
Dan Hanley lost two daughters, Renee and Simone, to the Sari Club blast. The younger, Simone, was the last of the Australians to die, after 58 days in hospital in Perth.
''When I hear of the 88 Australians who died, I always shed a tear, because my beautiful daughter Simone was number 88,'' Mr Hanley said.
The ceremony was attended by perhaps 1000 of up to 4000 expected. Ms Gillard said victims of the second Bali bombing in 2005 would receive the same help to come to a commemoration of their 10th anniversary but future events would depend on ''discussions with the survivors''.
Going into the service, Adrian Morton, of the Coogee Dolphins Rugby League Club, said he was there to pay tribute to the six men from the club who lost their lives.
''I lost two of my best mates,'' said Mr Morton. His friends Clint Thompson and Josh Iliffe died in the blast. About a dozen members of the Dolphins are in Bali.
Indonesian Chusnul Chotima was buying rice when the bomb struck, badly burning her face and much of her body. She said she was happy to ''be here, despite the violence, to tell my
After the ceremony, as music chosen by the families played in the park, families streamed out, some weeping loudly. Others embraced one another.
With Michael Gordon