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
Grease-devil proves a slippery customer
Cities on edge fear semi-mythical naked attackersTense situation at Navatkuda in Katankudy in the east of Sri Lanka
- ucanews.com, reporter, Mannar
- Sri Lanka
- August 26, 2011
At least five people have been killed in recent days and many more injured, as vigilante mobs of frightened citizens set upon people they suspect of being grease-devils. The dead include a police officer who was lynched for trying to save a suspect and a chronic epileptic who had escaped from hospital and was running away semi-naked. He was mistaken for a grease-devil and beaten to death in the street.
So what is a grease-devil, or grease-yaka as it is locally called? Originally, the term referred to a night-time prowler who would steal from properties or molest women. He would strip to his underwear and cover himself in grease to make it easier to evade pursuit. But in the recent epidemic, the grease-devils' activities have been focused only on attacking women. Around 30 such incidents have been reported since late July.
The scare started in rural parts of the north and east but has now spread to relatively sophisticated centers such as Colombo. In some areas it has put the public on a collision course with law enforcement authorities.
Rayappu Joseph, the bishop of Mannar, urged Catholics in the fishing town of Pessalai to stay calm. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt take the law into your hands and punish a stranger, just hand him over to the police,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThey will take proper action.‚ÄĚ
His appeal followed an extraordinary incident where it was claimed that a stranger had been seen trying to enter a house on the beach. Once he was spotted, local people used the Catholic church‚Äôs bells to sound the alarm and the suspect ran into a navy camp. The naval forces then started firing¬† into the air and tried to quell the uproar by attacking the villagers with sticks and guns. Several villagers were wounded.
The atmosphere in Pessalai remains tense, as it does in many other places. ‚ÄúPeople are afraid to go out in the dark,‚ÄĚ said one villager.¬† ‚ÄúThe ones who would usually come out to help, if neighbors were in trouble, now prefer to lock their doors if any strange noises are heard.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThis is Ramadan season,‚ÄĚ another villager said. ‚ÄúMuslims need to go to the mosque at night for their religious service but due to the grease-devil they‚Äôre afraid to go out after six.‚ÄĚ
Concern has now reached parliamentary level with special security forces ordered onto the streets in some cities to defuse the tension. On August 23,¬† 100 people were arrested and sticks and rocks were thrown at police in a night of clashes in Colombo.
Unsurprisingly, the phenomenon has given rise to a number of different interpretations, conspiracy theories and accusations of political motives. The opposition has described it as a government ruse to frighten the public and make a case for retaining the state of emergency, which has been in force almost continually since 1983.
This theory was sunk when the government announced on August 25 that the state of emergency will be lifted in the first week of September.
Catholics and Caritas change quality of life
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