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
Philippine officials arrest controversial Dutch activist
Thomas van Beersum detained as he was trying to leave the country
Thomas van Beersum was arrested as he was trying to leave the country
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- August 6, 2013
Authorities today arrested a Dutch activist who made headlines in the Philippines after reducing a policeman to tears while shouting at him during a protest rally last month.
Thomas van Beersum was arrested by immigration officials while he was about to leave the country.
Wilson Soloren, head of the Immigration Bureau's intelligence unit, said Beersum would be deported after the National Bureau of Investigation clears the activist of any pending case.
Beersum is the subject of summary deportation proceedings for violating the terms of his stay as a tourist in the country by joining a protest action during President Benigno Aquino’s State of the Nation address on July 22, Soloren said.
The Dutch national made headlines after a photograph showing him shouting at a police officer went viral on social networking sites.
Beersum was in the country to attend a human rights conference.
The activist said he attended the protest rally because he had been "outraged by the human rights violations committed by the corrupt Aquino regime," including the murder last year of William Geertman, a Dutch missionary.
"I am tired of the extrajudicial killings, the illegal arrests, the forced demolitions, the land-grabbings, the puppetry to US-imperialism, tired of all the oppression and exploitation of the workers, farmers, students, women, indigenous, urban poor, LGBTs, and all other oppressed groups," he said in an open letter posted on his Facebook page.
Renato Reyes, secretary-general of the activist group New Patriotic Alliance, denounced the Beersum’s detention, calling it "plain harassment."
The Kilusang Mayo Uno labor center said in a statement that Beersum’s detention has "no legal basis whatsoever and is political harassment pure and simple."
"When the Arroyo government was committing human rights violations with impunity, and Aquino was nowhere in sight to oppose such violations, foreign activists like Beersum spoke up for the rights of the Filipino workers and people," the group said.