Bombings in Indonesia, Iraq

BY

  • On August 5, 2003, a bomb blast rocked the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sixteen people were killed in the blast, and almost 150 were injured.
  • On August 19, 2003, seventeen people were killed when a suicide bomber crashed a cement truck laden with explosives through a side gate at the U.N. compound in Baghdad.
  • On August 29, 2003, a car bomb in Najaf killed 75 Iraqis, including a Shi’ite cleric who had cooperated with US efforts to rebuild Iraq.
  • As of today, the number of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq is 179, thirty-two more than in the first Gulf War. Sixty-five U.S. soldiers have been killed since U.S. President George W. Bush declared an end to formal combat on May 1 of this year.

With the guerilla war in Iraq continuing, and with renewed terrorist incidents around the globe, The Record would like to ask our readers to share any knowledge of HLS students, faculty, or alumni who have been impacted by the war on terror or the war in Iraq. Their stories must be heard.

The following story was forwarded to the Record by a Harvard graduate student studying in Jakarta, Indonesia. The story was written by a man who works next to the Marriott hotel in Jakarta. Only minor edits have been made, in order to preserve the emotions conveyed in the original article.


There was a blast of sound like a thunder, followed right away by thespreading vibration that shake the building. I thought it was anearthquake… but then again it was a vibration, not a rocking movement that we experienced… so perhaps it was either our building was struck by a gigantic lightning, or something has exploded. I stood up from the chair, and Mahar was coming out of his room to check things out too. Charles was still on the phone and working on his notebook.

I was expecting the building’s loudspeakers to told us anything, eitherinstruct us to went down or whatever, but there was no announcement or alarm sound.

Mahar wondered what’s going on, and I told him what I had in mind. He went to the other part of the office, while I went to the meeting room and took a look outside. The air was clear… and the internet was still on, so it could not be a lightning struck. Then I looked down below, there were no fire or smoke coming out from our building… but people do went out of the building and the other building, and they all were looking right at our direction…. uh oh…. something’s wrong.

I saw other people from the neighbouring office were already out too and some had already heading toward the fire exit. That’s when I heard Rose screamed out…

“Marriott di bom !!!”

“Marriott di bom !!!”

Shit…..

Mahar hurried us to went downstairs, while Charles was still on the phone and looked confused when we told him to get off the building a.s.a.p. They all left their notebooks, and I went to prepare myself… now think….think….think…. what to do at such time….?…

I grabbed my backpack, logged off Ragnarok, and wrote that short previous entry. Locked my computer, and went outside where people were already running around. Met pak Poer and mas Parno who already evacuated the southern part of the office, and came to check our part of the office. After assuring there’s no one left, we then went along others walking down the 18 levels of stairs… That was no exercise unlike the last time… but thankfully people were not panic.

Downstair I ran for the bathroom since somehow I felt the urge… perhaps I was a bit stressed too since I can felt my hands and feet were so cold… Walking outside, the securities are running around, there was a pregnant lady went unconcious. Still there were no announcement on the building speakers about what’s going on. Were they forgetting the evacuation standard procedure?

Outside I ran to the Marriott and saw this now-wrecked Eastern wing where the coffee shop was. There wasn’t much smoke yet so I can saw all the happening clearly. I reached for my cellphone to inform several people about the happening but there was no line available. Suddenly the network went down. People were still running around… some were carrying out the burned and injured security guards from the site, stopping the evacuating car, to carry him to the hospital. Some were still walking around with injuries on their bodies. Shatters of glasses and metal everywhere. People were curious and confused. Calls and sms started to came in from worried friends… I stood there telling them what’s going on. Some minutes later the cop and the fire brigade started to arrive, and for the next hour the authorities and the press were still came rushing in… and locals from the neighbour were starting to crowd the place. Cars were evacuated, but curious motorcycle drivers instead storming the street to saw what’s happening.

Fearing of another explosion, and seeing that there was nothing that I could do, I went away from the scene and look for other work mates. It’s still a hard thing to believe such thing could be happening so close… pak Ipung told me that the Southern meeting room and some of the Amaco’s glasses were also shattered by the explosion.

After coordinating with Mahar, who were already away from the site, Chika and I then went to Ambassador Mall for some refreshment and meal. The bread I ate suddenly was not adequate anymore to ease my mind. The road was closed so there were no car passed by but the motorcycles.

We staid there untill Chika’s hubby came to picked her up, and I thencontinued my journey to Citos… still having a faint idea about what to do for the rest of the day…

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