Johan Duka has much to forgive the Bali bombers. For killing his beloved older brother, Tata Ruslianto, a security guard at the Sari Club. For hospitalizing Duka himself for two months. For ending his promising boxing career. And for forcing him to reveal in the witness box during the trial of the terrorist Amrozi that the injuries he sustained that night have left him impotentan admission that brought howls of laughter from the gallery and tears of shame to Duka's face. But forgive he doeseven the grinning Amrozi, whose hand he offered to shake at the conclusion of his emotional testimony. Perched on a plastic stool on the front porch of his tiny apartment in a sweltering suburb of Denpasar, the 25-year-old credits the Christian faith he was born into for enabling him to face his suffering with a smile instead of his fist. "I just left it to God," he says. "I let go of my hate."
It wasn't easy. Tata, four years Duka's senior, had been more than a brother to him. He'd been Duka's best friend, his mentor, the one person who always looked out for him. It was Tata who encouraged Duka to leave his home in Alor, an island near East Timor, and move to Bali, where his talent in the ring could be honed. "My brother told me there were people here who could train me to be a champion," Duka recalls. Tata found his brother a local trainer and then arranged a job for him in the surf shop next door to the Sari, where Tata had worked since arriving in Bali in the mid-'90s. The two were inseparable. They watched TV together, cooked together, worked side by side on Kuta's nightclub strip and dreamed of the day Duka would challenge for the national title. A month before the blast, in a fight in East Java, Duka knocked out the province's champion in the first round. The next stop would be Jakarta. Tata hung a photocopied picture of his younger brother holding aloft the trophy in the one-room house they shared.
Their dream was shattered last year on the night of Oct. 12. Duka was sitting on the front step of the surf shop chatting to a friend when he saw the first bomb go off across the road in Paddy's Irish Pub. "It was like fireworks," he says. His friend fled to safety down a street to the right; instinct dragged Duka to the left, running toward his brother at the Sari Club 50 meters away. He didn't make it. The second bomb, the payload, exploded in a car outside the Sari, where Tata was working at the gate. Duka was knocked to the ground by the force of the blast. When he came to, blood was spurting from a head injury and a live cable was sparking around his leg. He unraveled the cable and tried to stand. His leg was smashed to pieces. The groin of his pants was soaked in blood.
In December, two months after the blast and while still on crutches, Duka went to the morgue to collect his brother's remains. The morgue attendant handed him an envelope. Inside were 16 slivers of bone that Australian forensic scientists had determined came from Tata's buttocks. "My brother was a big man, and here he was in an envelope," says Duka. "I couldn't believe it."
Tata has since been buried back in Alor, but there are still days when Duka is sure he has spotted him or has to catch himself from driving over to see him at the Sari. "It's like he's still with me," he says. In the meantime, Duka has quit the life they built together. He left his job at the surf shop, and he does not plan to return to boxing, even though his leg has now almost healed. "I have better things to spend my time on," he says. When he first moved to Bali, Duka abandoned his religion, but now he is picking up the pieces of his faith. A local priest gave him a Bible after the attack, and it has been his constant companion since he left the hospital. "Whenever I am overcome with sadness I read the Bible," he says. "It comforts me."
Duka's days are now filled with prayers for the victims of Bali, their families and their friends. But sometimes not even his faith can still his demons. "There are days," he says, shifting on his stool like the hungry prizefighter he once was, "when all I want to do is cut the bombers into little pieces."