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New book helps 'Angel of Bali' come to terms with bombings, 10 years on

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 27, 2012

  • Hanabeth Luke survived the bombings in Bali, having been caught up in the atrocity with her boyfriend. She says: 'I believe that if you have a burning hatred, in the end it is you that gets burned'

  • Above left, Hanabeth Luke meeting Tony Blair in the aftermath of the Bali disaster, surfing on her Bali holiday, and, above, Marc Gajardo

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In the eyes of the world, Hanabeth Luke was the Angel of Bali.

The Cornish-born woman had been photographed helping a desperately injured teenager stagger clear of the burning rubble of a terrorist bomb outrage.

The atrocity a decade ago claimed 202 lives, including that of her "soul mate," mechanic Marc Gajardo, 30, from Carnon Downs, near Truro.

Under the circumstances, no-one could blame her for feeling hate. But she does not, and what's even more extraordinary is that she has forgiven the Muslim extremists who tore apart so many lives.

Speaking from her home in Australia, she told the Western Morning News how she has found peace, and perhaps a small slice of Heaven.

"There was no period when I did hate," said the 32-year-old. "There is enough hatred in this world and it has done enough harm.

"I feel forgiveness (to the bombers)," she added.

"At the end of the day anger and bitterness are things that eat you.

"I believe that if you have a burning hatred, in the end it is you that gets burned."

Her feelings have not always been easy to reconcile with the atrocity, she readily admits.

"I did want to understand why. I couldn't comprehend how anyone could have that much hate that they would want to destroy human life."

Today in Byron Bay, where she is a university lecturer, Hanabeth will launch her book, Shock Waves, a vivid account of the bombing and her life afterwards.

It was "very cathartic," she said, and certainly it has helped her come to terms with what happened on October 12, 2002, when a bomb ripped through two nightclubs.

Hanabeth and Marc, enjoying a stop-over holiday en-route from Cornwall to Australia, were dancing with friends when Cher's Believe was played.

"Marc said he wasn't dancing to Cher and joked he had some pride and walked off," said Hanabeth.

It was the last time she saw him alive.

Moments later, one bomb detonated, rapidly followed by a second, much larger explosion.

At the moment, it is not something Hanabeth wishes to talk about.

With a ten-hour time difference between the UK and Australia, it is nearly her bedtime, she says, implying poring over the terrible details once more would rob her of a peaceful sleep.

There were some positive effects of the bombing, she said. A fundraiser held in Cornwall afterwards raised more than £4,000 for a burns unit in Bali.

She also remains in close contact with Marc's parents, who will be at the book launch.

"It is something I will never forget. I won't forget Marc and his beautiful family is still a part of my life.

"The experience is like a part of you, but you have to make a decision afterwards and you have to work towards creating a better life."

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