Synchronized bombings kill at least two eight tourists in Bali (and I’m hearing the actual number is higher). The people there suffered so much misery from the 2002 holocaust. Now it could begin all over again. Find the terrorists and kill them. This cycle of misery has got to stop.

[Updated after I saw this.]

The Discussion: 20 Comments

While these types of attacks are sickening, using the term holocaust to describe them is a bit too much as it cheapens the the real holocaust and what those people went through.

October 1, 2005 @ 8:40 am | Comment

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald refers to the deaths of three people (Gatsby, Wilson and his wife) as “a “holocaust.” If he can do it, I can too. I don’t subscribe to the school that insists this term be reserved for the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews; when it is spelled with a capital H, then that’s clearly a reference to the Jewish holocaust. I’m a Jew who is very sensitive about the Holocaust, but this attempt to copyright the term in all its forms so it can only be used for WWII is silly.

Call the slaughter in Bali a catastrophe, call it a holocausty, call it mayhem. Either way, it’s repellent, and to dwell on semantics is to steer the conversation away from the horror of the event.

The Great Gatsby: “A servant heard shots, but thought nothing of them. Gatsby’s pneumatic mattress lolled in the water trailing a crimson wide-track… it was only later that the gardener noticed Wilson’s body in the grass, and the holocaust was complete.”

October 1, 2005 @ 8:49 am | Comment

ahh…but I didn’t mention anything about Jews. The Nanjing Massacre is also referred to as a (the forgotten) holocaust.

I also do not believe that it is a term reserved for Jews. Although, if you do a google definition search on the term ‘holocaust’, nearly every returned result makes reference to Hitlers massacre of the Jews.

The murder of 3 people is hardly a holocaust. That guy is an idiot.

October 1, 2005 @ 9:16 am | Comment

F. Scott Fitzgrald is an idiot? One of America’s greatest novelists? Oy. Let’s leave it there. Thanks for sharing.

October 1, 2005 @ 9:18 am | Comment

Regardless of his contributions to literature, anyone who would refer to the death of 3 people as a holocaust has a monkey wrench stuck in their thought processes.

Anyway, it would seem that the Indonesian government has failed to provide adequate security for the popular tourist location. I know I won’t be visiting any time soon.

October 1, 2005 @ 9:35 am | Comment

Just like Iraq, except that’s under the control of the US. And bombs are going off like there’s no tomorrow.

How do you stop determined terrorists from setting off bombs? Can it be done? London had two bombings in the past 90 days. Can any government stop invisible criminals from wreaking their destruction? Just wondering… It’s a maddening question. I am very gloomy about the answer.

October 1, 2005 @ 9:44 am | Comment

Richard, I’m doubtful. However, there haven’t been any bombings here in the US as of yet.

October 1, 2005 @ 10:04 am | Comment

Not since Oklahoma City and the WTC’s first attack.

Right now, the Islamofascists have little incentive to strike in the US when they can pick us off so easily right in their backyard.

October 1, 2005 @ 10:09 am | Comment

Gordon, Richard,
From, “Totality of destruction has been central to the meaning of holocaust since it first appeared…”

Numbers have nothing to do with it. It was originally used “in reference to…a male animal…burnt…in the worship of God.”

So two things: totality of destruction and burning. Fitzgerald’s example didn’t involve burning, but I’d say it was an apt description as it was a totality of destruction. However, Richard, since there is no totality in Bali, perhaps holocaust may not be the best term.

October 1, 2005 @ 10:46 am | Comment

Okay, I’ll buy that, boo.

October 1, 2005 @ 10:48 am | Comment

What a shame. I was in Bali last May and had a thoroughly lovely time. And I’d get on a plane tomorrow and go if I didn’t have things to do in Singapore this week. On the plane from Beijing to Singapore yesterday –before the bombings– my wife and I joked that we should bribe the pilot to fly straight to Denpasar.

But I wouldn’t go to Kuta. Not because of the threat of terrorism; but just because Kuta is a nasty tourist trap full of drunk rugby players. I’d go up north to somewhere peaceful and close to nice diving, like Amed.

I’ve been to Indonesia many times. I love Indonesia and I have never been anything other than warmly received, in Lombok, Bali, Jakarta, Surabaya and the Riaus. It’s a shame that they are burdened with the combination of a near unpoliceable country and such evil. But it won’t stop me from going back.

October 1, 2005 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

Oh, and as for holocaust vs. Holocaust: I would accept any bombing of civilians as qualifying for the term. And if Fitzgerald, one of the great masters of English letters, wants to use it to describe the destruction of a household, who am I, a shameless flack, to argue?

October 1, 2005 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

The word “holocaust” was not adapted as a popular term for the Nazis’ mass murder of Jews until Elie Wiesel started it in the 1960s.

October 1, 2005 @ 11:41 pm | Comment

Yes, and The Great Gatsby was first published in 1925. So it’s utterly absurd to accuse Fitzgerald of “cheapening” the Nazi Holocaust — it hadn’t occurred yet.

October 2, 2005 @ 3:53 am | Comment

In Gordon’s defence, I don’t think he ever made that specific accusation!

October 2, 2005 @ 7:14 am | Comment

Not to split hairs about this, but if you’re the one who gets killed, then it’s total destruction, a holocaust, for you.

October 2, 2005 @ 7:49 am | Comment

Ivan, in the original 14th century meaning, “holocaust” could easily be applied to a single burning (just define the framework properly), so you’re not splitting hairs at all.

Back on topic, I note the death toll is 26, mostly locals.

October 2, 2005 @ 9:21 am | Comment

Back to the original point. Yes, find the perps and kill them.

And as to Richard’s maddening question, I’ve had the feeling for a while that only an involved (and nosy) citizenry will make a dent in the bomb-plotters’ effectiveness. I doubt there are enough government security services in the world to find all the jihadists BEFORE they act, but nosy neighbors could make a bigger difference. This, of course, goes up against a tradition of not ratting on your homies, but populations seem to be getting more concerned.

October 2, 2005 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

Awakening this morning to news of the latest bombing in Bali left me with a sense of loss that’s hard to express here. The first bombing occurred several weeks after we were there a few years ago. The immediate reaction was “Why?” and “How?” After observing the people in Kuta, and nearby areas, who exude such an aura of tranquility and graciousness, you must ask “If these people merit murder, what’s there for the rest of us?”

October 2, 2005 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

I share your sense of gloom, richard. What can liberal civilization do to defend itself against those who would use our open society to destroy it?


Reminds me of what Marshall said after a last-ditch US attempt to mediate difference between the KMT and CCP and avoid civil war…they have differences that can only be solved ‘on the battlefield’

October 3, 2005 @ 12:35 am | Comment

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