Interview with Dallas Finn, founder of Bali Peace Park


This evening I interviewed Dallas Finn, founder of Bali Peace Park, in Legian. Bali Peace Park was set up after the Kuta Bombings in 2002, to develop the Sari Club and Paddy’s sites as a memorial.


Baliblog:
What is the goal of your organisation?
Dallas:
To develop the Sari Club & Paddy’s site. Paddy’s is still a part of the plan.

Baliblog:
How long have you been trying for this?
Dallas:
We’ve been at this for 3 years.

Baliblog:
Since we last talked, what has been going on?
Dallas:
We’re now in the process of implementing all the letters of support from Indonesia and Australia, to approach the Badung regency government. We need them to take the land from the land owners.

Baliblog:
Do you still think there is a good chance that the Sari Club will become a permanent memorial?
Dallas:
Yes. The land owners are not allowed to build anything on Sari Club site. Badung regency government, won’t allow anything to be built on it.

Baliblog:
What hurdles are you still facing?
Dallas:
One is the money that is required and another is the red tape. Indonesia has a lot of red tape, but we’re getting through it.

Baliblog:
Are the governments of Australia and Indonesia helping your project?
Dallas:
Both sides are sitting on the fence.

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Baliblog:
How are you raising funds?
Dallas:
At this stage we’re not. We want to get everything in place, so we know how much money needs to be raised. We’ll go through corporate sponsorship, and some government help. Badung regency has some funds to put towards it.

Baliblog:
How much money will it cost to acquire the land at the Sari Club and Paddy’s?
Dallas:
To buy and develop both sites will be roughly $US3m

Baliblog:
Are you intending to set up memorials for the 2005 bombings?
Dallas:
No. The Peace Park will represent all victims and survivors of terrorism around the world.

Baliblog:
What has the reception your project has gotten back in Australia?
Dallas:
Positive feedback. I had a meeting with senator Ellison, he supports the idea.

Baliblog:
What about here among the Balinese?
Dallas:
Very supportive.

Baliblog:
How much longer do you think it will take to get the Sari Club memorial?
Dallas:
Hard to say becasue its Indonesia. Maybe if everything goes to plan, it should be in place by 2008.

Baliblog:
Where were you when Bali Bomb II hit?
Dallas:
I was in Perth at the time, and my phone started beeping like mad. Truly an awful moment.

Baliblog:
Where will you be tommorrow?
Dallas:
I’ll be at the nightime ceremony.

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Dallas told me that here in Bali, things move a lot slower than in the west. You can’t just fire off an email and expect to get an answer. People expect a letter requesting a meeting. As in many parts of Asia, saving face is important and an outsider cannot come charging in telling everyone what is going to happen. People all the way up the ladder need to be satified. Lastly, Dallas talked about how he is the ‘meat in the sandwich’ trying to get the Australian side and the Indonesian side to edge closer together, neither willing to commit 100% until concrete things happen. I think he has incredible patience.

Dallas will be at the evening ceremony at ground zero on Oct 11th.