After barely surviving the 2009 J.W. Marriott bomb attack in Jakarta, in which he lost both his legs, Max Boon decided he had to do something to prevent youths – much like the eighteen-year-old who walked into his hotel meeting room with bombs strapped to his body – from going down the route towards terrorism and hurting people in indiscriminate violent attacks. 

Max found that sharing victims’ stories in constructive and meaningful ways could have great impact in (i) preventing impressionable youths from being lured into engaging in violence for political gains, and (ii) helping the successful rehabilitation of convicted terrorists for their reintegration back into society. Furthermore, (iii) the telling of such stories would not only ensure that the voices of victims are heard, but that victims themselves are ultimately contributing to preventing more political violence. 

With the help of experts and specialists from varied backgrounds who are authorities in their respective fields, Max explored the viability of setting up a community-of-interest in Indonesia keen to harness the yet-untapped potential of victims. By early 2013, an informal community of invested stakeholders – all Indonesian nationals – took shape, and through a workshop and several socialization events, a victims’ network was built. The network has been further buttressed by the inclusion of former terrorist actors who are willing to share their own personal stories of disengaging from violence.


This all culminated in the establishment of a foundation named Aliansi Indonesia Damai (AIDA, or the Alliance for a Peaceful Indonesia) in late 2013. AIDA seeks to empower victims of terrorist attacks in Indonesia through their personal stories of survival, forgiveness and triumph over adversity, in order to convince youths and other at-risk communities to steer clear of violent tactics to achieve political goals. Empowering victims of terrorism means having to train and prepare them to visit different communities across the country as well as to provide them with modest medical, material and mental support through their recovery process. AIDA aims to prevent future political violence from taking more victims in Indonesia and abroad by reinserting the human dimension behind terrorist violence. 

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© 2014 Victims Voices