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Today on openDemocracy: Jan McGirk on Bali's agony, Thailand's turmoil

3 October 2005

Later today, openDemocracy will publish a topical analysis by experienced Independent journalist Jan McGirk of two southeast Asian fracture zones where a combination of ruthless political violence, extreme social problems, cultural and religious tensions, and problematic security policy is posing major problems to Thailand's and Indonesia's democratic development...

"The suicide bombs that ripped through the Bali tourist resorts of Jimbaran Bay and Kuta on 1 October, killing at least twenty-six people and injuring more than a hundred (most of them Indonesians) are the latest in a series of attacks over the past four years that have been attributed to the militant Islamist group, Jemaah Islamiyah.

The most deadly was the October 2002 bombing in Bali which killed 202 people from twenty-four countries (the largest number being Australian), followed over the next two years by two Jakarta attacks: a car-bomb in August 2003 that killed twelve and a suicide car-bomb outside the Australian embassy in September 2004 that killed eleven. The arrest and conviction of fifty-four alleged Jemaah Islamiyah operatives for these three incidents have not, it seems, prevented the group from maintaining its coherence and pursuing its strategy.

The renewed assault on Bali, its tourist industry and employees as well as foreign visitors, comes in the wake of an escalation in the insurgency in three provinces of southern Thailand bordering on Malaysia...."

Jan last wrote for openDemocracy on the Bali Declaration on building interfaith harmony, not four months ago. For more from our archive on the 2002 Bali bombings, read Paul Rogers, Pere Vilanova and Tani Bhargava.

If you believe that democracy and human rights are worth defending in the face of indiscriminate terror, visit the Unite Against Terror petition and add your name to the hundreds of people (including our editor-in-chief, Anthony Barnett) who have signed since 2003. Or, if you prefer to express your civic defiance through photoshop, visit we're not afraid.

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