Thursday, September 09, 2004

Ground Zero, Square One

Ground Zero, Square One

Another suicide bombing struck Jakarta again and like the Marriot bombing, the victims of this senseless act are again the innocent bystanders--security guards and probably petty traders or pedestrians in the streets.

It doesn't look like such acts can be prevented as long as terrorists are capable of getting their hands on explosives. Since the Marriott incident life has been very inconvenient for all Jakartans: cars have to be inspected thoroughly before they enter into the compound of any commercial building and everyone gets scanned at the entrance by security guards. It has become so routinely dull that I think many security guards were just going through the motions.

Jalan Rasuna Said--where the targetted Australian Embassy is located--is one of the three borders of the Golden Triangle business district. It is an eight-lane wide highway and many embassies (including the Malaysian one) and multi-nationals, such as Price Waterhouse and American Express are located there. No security measure could prevent a car bomb from exploding at the gates of a building, unless the authorities inspect every car before they even enter the street.

Terrorists acts could strike anywhere in Jakarta. The last bombing incident was a heart-wrenching one to go through--grim images of body bags, bloodied victims and wailing families filled the TV airwaves for a whole week. Normal life halted for a while and the entire city felt like Ground Zero. Now it looks like we are back to square one.

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