In October of 2002, two bombs exploded in the tourist district of Kuta in Bali, killing 202 people. Now, 20 years later, 10 News First Senior Journalist Ali Donaldson revisits the tragedy and the stories of those whose lives were changed forever.
Speaking to 10 play about the series, Ali said “Shockwaves: The Bali Bombings gives never before heard detail from those who were there the night terror bombs ripped through Bali’s night district, Kuta, and their life and death battles to survive the unthinkable.
“It also reveals how they coped emotionally over the next two decades. From deeply distressing times came equally uplifting stories of hope and humanity,” Ali said. “All have experienced amazing twists in their lives - and what they've learned I think could help many others struggling with life’s challenges.”
As one of the first Australian journalists to fly to the scene 20 years ago, Ali spoke extensively to survivors, investigators and medics for the series.
“I’ve stayed in touch over the years with a few of those I met in those first days after the attack and I was shocked to hear that some now get trolled for speaking about it,” Ali revealed. “To me, they were incredibly brave then – and now – dealing with something very few people have been through.
“When I returned this year to the Balinese hospital where so many grieving relatives came to try to identify their deceased loved ones, I was overwhelmed with sadness again. It really felt like yesterday I had stood there with them – hoping they’d find them, but knowing what grief would come with that.”
Though she has stayed in touch with many who were affected, Ali said there were still a lot of surprises as the series came together. From policing breakthroughs to pioneering medical treatments.
“The widow who wanted to shoot the bombers and their allies herself, who now visits schools with some of them teaching forgiveness… and the strangers who came to help the youngest survivor - just 14 at the time,” she said, adding “they were teenage boys who have become like family to her.”
Ali explained that one of the main reasons she wanted to do the podcast was to shine a light on the goodness in people. “How Australians and Indonesians came together, turning what was meant to be a path towards hate and vengeance into one towards hope and a better future.
“There were many triumphs of the human spirit born out of the pain,” Ali said. “I hope listeners will ultimately find this podcast series uplifting. How simple strategies helped those on the frontlines cope, and what we can achieve when we work together. The values that make Australian's shine.”
Shockwaves: The Bali Bombings is available now with new episodes dropping every Thursday, on 10 Play and LiSTNR, or your favourite podcast app