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
Presidential hopeful washes hands of 1998 crimes
Indonesian general was 'following orders' in abduction of activists
Indonesian presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto has angered families of disappeared activists (AFP photo/Adek Berry)
- Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
- November 8, 2013
The head of Indonesia’s feared Kopassus special forces, and a presidential hopeful, has angered families of activists who were disappeared in the 1997-98 protests by claiming he was only following orders.
Prabowo Subianto, former commander of the Army Special Forces Command, known as Kopassus, said in an interview with Tempo magazine that he had done the right thing.
“I was just a military official at that time. Sometimes in a state structure we become government tools to execute a good mission,” he told the magazine, which has a reputation for exposing injustices.
The comments are seen as controversial for someone hoping to take the top seat in Indonesia next year, and are unlikely to win him greater support. As head of the group, Prabowo is considered responsible for the abduction and forced disappearance of 22 activists during protests to topple former President Suharto. Nine were freed but 13 remain missing.
In a statement, the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) group said that the result of an investigation conducted by the pro-justice team of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) showed Prabowo’s involvement in abductions and enforced disappearances.
“Prabowo’s statements really hurt me. He washes his hands of this human tragedy so that he can run for president [in the next year’s presidential election],” said Paian Siahaan, the father of missing activist Ucok Munandar Siahaan, at a press conference on Thursday in Jakarta.
He recalled that his son, who was studying at Jakarta’s Perbanas Economic Science Institute, told him days before went missing in May 1998 that someone had been monitoring his activities.
Ruyati Darwin, the mother of Eten Karyana, a student at the Jakarta-based University of Indonesia who was also kidnapped during the May 1998 riots, also believed that Prabowo ordered the abductions.
“[Prabowo] is the mastermind,” she said. “His statements hurt me.”
Besides abduction and enforced disappearances, the riots also resulted in the killing of 293 people and widespread damage to property.