On Saturday, February 21, 2009, Bali Update's Editor, John Daniels, was honored to be invited to address a large group of India's tourism leaders on the subject of "Revival and Recovery of a Destination." Daniels' comments, drawing on Bali's experience and practical lessons drawn over the course of two terrorist attacks on Bali in 2002 and 2005, were delivered at Mumbai's historic Taj Mahal Palace & Tower - the target of a vicious attack less than three months before on November 26, 2008.
From Bali to Bombay with Love
A highlight of Daniels' one-hour presentation was the reading of a letter from Bali's governor, Made Mangku Pastika, addressed to the people of Mumbai via their Secretary of Tourism, Sujit Banerjee.
Governor Pastika, prior to his election as Bali's Chief Executive, played a pivotal role in capturing the perpetrators of the Bali bombing attacks and bringing them to justice. His decisive leadership and exemplary role in these events also earned him the selection of TIME Magazine (Asia's) "Man of the Year in 2003.
Here is the text of Governor Pastika's letter carried to the people of Mumbai:
I have asked John Daniels, a member of Bali's tourism industry, to carry this letter with him to Mumbai in connection with his presentation on "Revival and Recovery of a Destination" before the Pacific Asia Travel Association, India Chapter.
The cultural and historical connections shared by the people of Bali and India are both extensive and intensive. We cook with many of the same spices. Familiar words and concepts can be found in our languages. The rich textile traditions of Bali Ė from batik to grinsing- find their roots in ancient India. Our folk tales and dance are based on epic Indian tales drawn from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. And, most basically, the deeply held Hindu religious beliefs of my fellow Balinese demonstrate that our people share a closely connected view of the world and the universe.
Because of these many connections between our two great peoples, the tragic events that unfolded on November 26, 2008, in Mumbai caused profound concern among the people of Bali. The core teaching of Bali Hinduism is the scripture is Tat Tvam Asi - "Thou art that," "That thou art" or "You are that." The terrible loss and pain experienced by the people of Mumbai last November struck at the very heart of your brothers and sisters who live on our Indonesian island.
Our empathy for your situation was made all the more poignant by the shared experience of terrorism. In October of 2002 and 2005, Bali suffered two separate terror attacks.
Those who foment acts of terror seek, at the most basic level, to sow seeds of dissent; driving wedges between different segments of society. Those differences, if allowed to develop and mature, will turn people against each other and deliver a final victory sought by the evil perpetrators of terror. We, as the victims of terrorism, must decide whether we will allow ourselves to fall prey to those who seek to divide and conquer us or if we emerge from the experience strengthened in our commitment to brotherhood and peace.
Please accept my humble prayers for peace and your continued strength and prosperity which I extend on behalf of the People of Bali to the people of Mumbai. Your grief is our grief; your joys are our joys.
Like Bali, the richness of Mumbai's history and culture are indestructible and guarantee a speedy return as a leading world tourism destination.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
Made Mangku Pastika
Governor Ė Province of Bali, Indonesia
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