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Interview with Dallas Finn – founder of the Bali Peace Park

The following is an interview I did with Dallas Finn, founder of the Bali Peace Park. It seems a real shame that nothing has been done with the site since the initial plans were created for the park. Whatever feelings you might have about the park and what should be done with the bomb site, I really admire Dallas’ dedication and perseverance with the project.

Can you please tell me how you first got involved in the project?

I came to Bali in the lead up to the 1st anniversary,whilst waiting for friends at the Sari club site I was approached and told the land was up for sale, I raised the idea of purchasing the site to build garden.

What is the current status of the project?

Currently the Association are supposedly in negotiations, the information is very patchy at the moment they seem to be hiding something the Association or trying to cover there asses.

I read that the land was leased to a Balinese bar operator, can you confirm if that ever went through?

Bapak Kadek has a 30 year lease on the land and believe he has every right to build the night club he came up with the money, the Australians have had nearly 7 years to get there act together, I will be seeking to meet with him on my return to Bali.
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Have you ever been able to get in direct contact with the owner of the land? Is he willing to sell the land?

Not direct contact I met with his brother inlaw in 2005 in Jakarta and in Bali, then made an offer of approx 1.2 million AUD to sound them out and we also gave them an option of a land swap this was with the help of the Desa-Adat Kuta.

Some people say that there is already the memorial across the road and say that is enough. The Quicksilver surf store has also been built on the site. What purpose do you think the park will serve?

This was never to be a memorial its a peace park…but it would provide a place for people to reflect, regarding the former paddys site we could have also purchased this site as well this came up first in mid 2004 the heads of the village of Kuta and myself met with the owner.

Do you think people will really be able to sit and relax in a park knowing that it was a bomb site?

Yes …if you look at the peace park in Hiroshima in Japan and people go to the bar above the quicksilver shop.

What do you say to people who think that the funds the association is raising could be better used elsewhere in Bali, like hospitals and schools?

If the rumour of 3 million USD for the site is correct yes it could be better spent especially toward education and upgrading schools especially around East Bali.

I know the governor of Bali is behind the project, but do you think this what Balinese really want done with the land?

I approached the now Governor of Bali in 2004 to become the Indonesian patron, which he agreed…I know through my work over the last 7 years the Kuta community believed in what I was doing and am greatly appreciated by all there support.

If the park is built, whose responsibility is it going to be to maintaining it?

This is currently up in the air…I have Yayasan Gelombang Udara Segar an enviromental group with close ties to the village of Kuta on board.

Do you think it would be better to do something with the land right now until the park can be built, even if it is only temporary?

Yes.. it currently is a car park, we planted frangipani trees on the site a number of years ago and organised regular clean ups of the site, the trees were removed when building was about to start on the night club.

How much has money has the association raised already? What would happen to the donations that have been contributed already if the park is never built?

The Association hasn’t raised that much, they wasted most of it on threatening me with legal action a number of months ago.

Has the recent global financial crisis created any problems with raising money for the project?

There’s always been an issue due to not having a confirmed figure and a contract, I personally funded the project for near on 7 years over 100k AUD and am currently in major financial hardship due to the actions of various individuals who over the years have come along to take me down, if you include loss of income the figure is over 300k.

The WA today reported on February 2nd that you were “expelled” from the group? What happened there and are you still directly involved with the project?

Pertaining to my expulsion this was due the direction the Association was going, I stood my ground on cultural and political issues defending the Balinese, the direction they were taking the website and comments made by several board members in the media including the spokesperson whom I must point out has profited through the media by selling there stories in the last 12 months in a magazine here in Australia, they also tried bullying me into signing a power of Attorney in which I had 2 lawyers look over here and was advised not to sign it.

They didn’t even have the respect to tell me to my face of my expulsion they sent me a text message the night before I flew to Bali, that was when I found out the night club was about to be built and through my contacts was able to have the building stopped, this also lead to a meeting between the Australian Consulate and the Governor.

I am still in contact with various stakeholders and Government officials and am will be organising to meet with them in the near future to look at other options.

Is there a point in the future that you will accept that the park may never be built?

Yes now …the park does not have to built there it could be better placed some where else.

Comments

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12 Responses to Interview with Dallas Finn – founder of the Bali Peace Park

  1. Julie August 24, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Dallas your inspiration to humanity …stick to your guns and dont let these people destroy you.

  2. Jaya August 24, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    Dallas, I love the fact that you are able to adjust your vision. A Peace Park away from the site would achieve your dream, create an oasis for reflection regardless of spiritual beliefs. In this day and age of sustainability it is immoral of individuals to even consider using millions of dollars (six plus?)to purchase a piece of land when that money could achieve so much in developing projects in memorium. And by the way… where are those millions coming from?

  3. Jenny August 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    So what did you do to make the others in the group want you out? Isn’t there a memorial site already dedicated to the bomb victims? what did you spend the $100k on for funding when nothing moved forward for the park?

    • Jaya August 27, 2010 at 11:03 am #

      Jenny I think Dallas’s interview is pretty self explanatory. He self funded the establishment of the venture.Pretty niaive of him, but you can’t hang a man for having a belief and a passion.Seems to me that he wanted a Peace Park for all and that the differences may have occurred because others had personal agendas that they wanted addressed. How about we all stop the futile dialogue and get on board to create a Peace Park away from that poisoned piece of land.
      Perhaps all those who can envisage a beautiful park for reflection and peace regardless of spiritual beliefs ( away from Kuta) could contact Dallas and get things rolling. A Yayasan in Bali needs to be formed to give the movement a legal identity in Indonesia.Lets make this a transparent and accountable foundation that achieves positive outcomes. Dallas I will help you if I can find where you are now.

  4. Cerri August 26, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    To Jenny I have known Dallas for over 9 years pertaining to what he spent the monies on establishing the park first, airfares, website visas, day to day living expenses, phone calls, transport, banners, t-shirts,lawyers and the list goes on clearly you have your head in the sand also Dallas funded many clean ups of the site over the last seven years whilst the rest of them sat on there collective asses and stab in the back…the answer to your question – Pertaining to my expulsion this was due the direction the Association was going, I stood my ground on cultural and political issues defending the Balinese, the direction they were taking the website and comments made by several board members in the media including the spokesperson whom I must point out has profited through the media by selling there stories in the last 12 months in a magazine here in Australia, they also tried bullying me into signing a power of Attorney in which I had 2 lawyers look over here and was advised not to sign it.

    They didn’t even have the respect to tell me to my face of my expulsion they sent me a text message the night before I flew to Bali, that was when I found out the night club was about to be built and through my contacts was able to have the building stopped, this also lead to a meeting between the Australian Consulate and the Governor.

    I am still in contact with various stakeholders and Government officials and am will be organising to meet with them in the near future to look at other options.

  5. Sri September 12, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    **Jaya, you have hit the nail on the head** A yayasan should have been established from the start.

    Dallas although slightly naive has had good intentions from the start. I like the fact that he has thought to move the park to a different location, this shows that he is dedicated 100% to the concept – that is a PEACE PARK. We really should as a community rally behind this idea as a Universal Peace Park. The arguing and bickering has gone on for too long, its about time someone i.e. government issue a directive to all parties involved and publicly in relation to the status of the land and what will be done with it in the future.

  6. Bintang Tom October 9, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    As an Australian who lost friends in this tradgey, I feel this would better placed away from the current site and without the politics.

  7. Laura November 12, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    Like the idea of moving it away from that horrible part of Kuta…
    My question is to the Australian Government how can you endorse a peace park when our country is at war ?

  8. bims December 14, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    Lets make this a transparent and accountable foundation that achieves positive outcomes

  9. Sharron Clemons December 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Dallas, I love the fact that you are able to adjust your vision. A Peace Park away from the site would achieve your dream, create an oasis for reflection regardless of spiritual beliefs. In this day and age of sustainability it is immoral of individuals to even consider using millions of dollars (six plus?)to purchase a piece of land when that money could achieve so much in developing projects in memorium. And by the way… where are those millions coming from?

  10. Nona Mills December 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Dallas, I love the fact that you are able to adjust your vision. A Peace Park away from the site would achieve your dream, create an oasis for reflection regardless of spiritual beliefs. In this day and age of sustainability it is immoral of individuals to even consider using millions of dollars (six plus?)to purchase a piece of land when that money could achieve so much in developing projects in memorium. And by the way… where are those millions coming from?

  11. shazza October 8, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    hey Dall every time I read an interview you have done or a letter or comment you have written you make my heart swell with love and a great feeling of pride that I can call you my other little brother keep you head high and keep your fight strong love you

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