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reach out

Carnival of the Vanities 4 is up, the biggest one yet. Good reading.

reach out

While going through Tim Blair's posts on the Bali attacks, I felt a sense of deja vu wash over me. Of course. I had been in that frame of mind before.

The stories, the photos, the faces put on victims when you recount their personal tales that put them in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The wedding was 10 days ago. Now comes the funerals.

But first, newlywed Maria Elfes, 27, must find the bodies of her four bridesmaids: her twin sister, Dimmy, elder sister, Elizabeth, 33, and friends Christine Betmalik, 29, and Louiza Zervos.

Someone's birthday. Someone's wedding. Someone who will never see their daughter again. People holding photos searching for friends and loved ones.

"This is my brother," she said, in an unwavering voice that was somehow also shot through with grief, and fear. And love. She held up another picture: "This is his friend. Have you seen them? They were together."

The flowers lining the sidewalks, the candles burning as impromptu gatherings of mourners and supporters sprang up everywhere.

Amid the amber glow of candles and scent of incense sticks, about 200 foreigners held a beachside prayer vigil on Monday night for the 183 people killed in the Bali bomb blast.

The crowd, many of them friends and relatives of the victims, began gathering at a beach in front of a Hindu temple before dusk.

After sunset the crowd - men, women and children - formed a circle inside the candles to remember the victims of Saturday night's bombing on the resort island.

I feel that oh so familiar tightening in my throat and I begin to cry. It's so easy to just look at the headline of a newspaper and say oh what a horror, what a tragedy, and then turn to the sports section. But by looking past the headlines, reading every word and feeling the aches and pains of grief, that's how you learn to empathize.

I learned a lot about empathy last year. I learned it through strangers reaching out to help, through letters in the newspapers from people who had never set foot in America but cried for us nonetheless. I felt comforted by scenes of flowers and candles placed at the U.S. Embassies in other countries.

Shared misery makes friends out of strangers. It makes us want to reach out and embrace the crying and the mourning. It makes us want to do something, anything to ease their pain.

Read Tim Blair, Joe Friend, Empty Bottle or Bernard Slattery for personal accounts.

Send a letter of support to the Australian News
Send flowers to the Indonesian Embassy or the Australian Embassy.


One of the twins ,Dimmy is a first cousin to Anastasia's schoolfriends mother.I just spoke with her on the fone and she told me about her link to Bali and now i read this and it feels so much closer to my heart than it ever did.
I think Hitler did horrible things to the wrong race!

you really are a treasure, michele. really made my day to read this, thank you

Thank you for the links and the post. It's heartbreaking that we have to mourn our slain loved ones. It's even more heartbreaking that someone took any amount of pleasure in planning and executing the slaughter.

Thanks for your unwillingness to simply turn to the sports page.

Here's another link to first-person accounts.

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