Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Fire factory bosses arrested amid protests
Survivors say they were stopped from fleeing blaze
- Shafiq Alam, Dhaka
- November 28, 2012
Thousands of workers protested for a third day on Wednesday after Bangladesh's worst garment factory fire as police arrested three managers over claims they stopped employees from leaving the burning plant.
At least 5,000 workers left their factories and joined the protests, pelting plants with stones and streaming through the main streets of Ashulia industrial area, just outside Dhaka and home to 500 manufacturing outlets, police said.
"They were demanding justice for the fire victims and arrest of the Tazreen owner," said Faruq Ahmed, a senior Dhaka police official.
Ahmed was referring to the garment factory in Ashulia where a weekend blaze left at least 110 people dead and more than 100 injured.
Police fired a water cannon to disperse the crowd while more than 100 factories declared an impromptu holiday for the day, fearing the protests would spread into larger-scale industrial unrest.
Police have arrested three managers of the factory hit by the weekend fire, following charges that they stopped workers from leaving the plant by insisting that an alarm was just a routine fire drill.
Dhaka police chief Habibur Rahman said the managers allegedly told panicked workers they had nothing to worry about when the fire started on Saturday night.
"All three are mid-level managers of Tazreen. Survivors told us they did not allow the workers to escape the fire, saying it was a routine fire drill. There are also allegations they even padlocked doors," Rahman said.
The latest protests on Wednesday were sparked by a "rumor over a fire alarm," Dhaka police official Ahmed said.
Survivors of the weekend blaze described how workers, most of them women, tried to escape the burning factory, which supplied clothes to a variety of international brands including US giant Walmart.
Two government inquiries have already been set up to try to establish the cause of the worst factory blaze to hit Bangladesh's garment industry, which employs three million and is the mainstay of the economy.
The shocked nation observed a day of national mourning on Tuesday. Green and red Bangladeshi flags flew at half-mast alongside black flags on top of government offices and the nation's 4,500 garment factories.
Rahman said police also questioned Tazreen's owner, Delwar Hossain, about alleged violations of building rules after inspectors found the nine-storey factory only had permission for three floors.
Around 700 garment workers have been killed in dozens of fires since 2006, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign, an Amsterdam-based textile rights group. But none of the owners have been prosecuted over previous blazes.
Campaigners allege that Western firms, whose clothes are made in Bangladesh, hide behind inadequate safety audits to help drive down costs.
After European chain C&A and Hong Kong-based Li & Fung confirmed they had orders at Tazreen, the US retail giant Walmart also acknowledged some of its products were made there and said it had terminated its ties with the supplier. AFP