BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 23:05 GMT 00:05 UK
'Don't let bombs become the norm'
By Jacqueline Head
BBC News

Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold does not want bombings to become the norm

On the third anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombings, the BBC News website talks to Matthew Arnold, who lost his 43-year-old brother Timothy in the blasts on October 12.

Matthew, 44, a chartered surveyor from Birmingham, has been back to Bali each year for the anniversary of the bombings. Originally he planned to return this year, but in light of this month's attack, he decided against the trip.

The latest bombing in Bali and the 7 July attacks in London have had a strong impact on him.

While he accepts that "there will always be evil in the world" he is worried the increasing number of terrorist attacks, at home and abroad, will eventually lead people to see bombings as part of everyday life.

"I hate to think of it becoming accepted as being normal," he said. "I hope these people [the bombers] realise that this isn't the way to do things.

"It's extremely sad to lose a relative at any time. To have a relative murdered does leave you feeling very confused.

"Decent people don't understand how they [the bombers] can take innocent lives. They were just people out having a good time. It was a soft target."

Shock and grief

Matthew's brother Timothy, a 43-year-old solicitor for Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, went over to Bali on a tour with Singapore Cricket Club's rugby team.

"When we first saw the news of the bombing we didn't know he was out there [in Bali]," Matthew said.

"Then his fiancee phoned us and said she couldn't get in contact with him."

In the aftermath [of the bombing] there was this pungent smell in the air of death. It was indescribably sad and everyone was in shock.
Matthew Arnold

Matthew eventually flew out to Bali and spent two weeks searching for his brother. It was not until he arrived back in Britain that Timothy was identified through DNA tests.

"His body was flown back to Birmingham. We were both choristers at the cathedral, so we had the funeral there.

"There was shock and grief, yes. My parents dealt with it in an extremely dignified way. Speaking as a parent, I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child.

"In effect I feel that my brother was murdered by common criminals."


Matthew's subsequent visits to the island have given him a strong sense of admiration for the Balinese.

"In the aftermath [of the bombing] there was this pungent smell in the air of death. It was indescribably sad and everyone was in shock.

"But when I went back for the first anniversary, tourism had started to pick up and the locals had started to recover their lifestyles.

"The following year it was more relaxed. Things had gone back to normal, whereas before the island had this terrible sense of foreboding.

"I finally got to see Bali for the paradise it was. I could understand why my brother had gone out there."

Sketch of the memorial
The memorial sculpture will be covered in individually carved doves

But he said the latest attacks have taken Bali back to how it was after the first bombings.

"My reaction was sadness. Sadness that now there will be other families affected. We have no control over it."

Matthew is part of the UK Bali Bombing Victims Group, who are working with the Foreign Office to erect a memorial, opposite St James Park in London, to the 28 Britons killed in the attack.

The memorial consists of a 5ft globe, engraved with 202 doves to represent all those who died in the 12 October attacks.

It is expected to open around April or May.

For him, the memorial will be a fitting tribute to those who were killed.

"I think it's something appropriate for people who lost their lives. They were just British citizens who lost their lives in the most horrible way.

"I feel this is something I can do for my brother, that I feel proud of."

Bali 'mastermind' evades police
07 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
'They thought it couldn't happen again'
02 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific