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
Nazi-themed cafe in Bandung to reopen
No more swastikas but Hitler pictures stay
The SoldatenKaffee, a Nazi-themed eatery (AFP photo/Adek Berry)
- AFP, Bandung
- July 24, 2013
A controversial Nazi-themed cafe in Indonesia will be reopened with a broader World War II theme – without the swastika symbols but retaining images of Adolf Hitler, the owner's lawyer said yesterday.
The SoldatenKaffee ("The Soldiers' Cafe") – ornamented with Nazi-related memorabilia – was voluntarily shut down on Friday following death threats to the owner Henry Mulyana, who is accused of inciting racial hatred.
The cafe, which has operated in the western Javanese city of Bandung since 2011, has prompted a groundswell of anger from foreigners as well as Indonesians following recent exposure in the English language media.
Mulyana has met city tourism officials, who said the 35-year-old had done nothing unlawful, his lawyer Rohman Hidayat said.
The cafe will retain its photographs of Adolf Hitler and other Nazi era memorabilia, Hidayat said, adding that Mulyana sought to relocate within Bandung and start a broader World War II cafe. He did not say when the cafe would be reopened.
"So there won't only be photos of Hitler, but Winston Churchill and Indonesian heroes too. There will be Japanese soldiers, not only German soldiers, and no swastikas," he said.
"The authorities said the swastika was striking, easily recognizable and visible, so we've submitted a written statement to authorities agreeing to take them down."
The cafe, which takes its name from a popular hangout in Germany and occupied Paris during World War II, had operated for two years with little opposition and attracted positive reviews in local media.
But once exposed in the English language Jakarta Globe daily and international media, a wider group of critics from various countries emerged.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based Jewish organization, said it wished to express its "outrage and disgust" over the cafe and described Mulyana as a "bigot".
Mulyana, who could not be contacted Tuesday, has maintained that he never wanted to evoke memories of the Holocaust and that the images and paraphernalia were just decorative.
"I've received countless calls and death threats from locals and foreigners," he said on Sunday.
"I feel traumatized and shocked."
Ninety percent of Indonesia's 240 million people identify themselves as Muslim, making the country home to the world's biggest Islamic population.
The Jewish population is comparatively tiny but historians have blamed poor schooling for the lack of awareness of the Holocaust in Indonesia. AFP