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
Several dead in new violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, say activists
Women and a teenager thought to be among the dead as US embassy expresses alarm
- AFP, Yangon
- January 17, 2014
Several people including women and a child have been killed in an attack on Rohingya Muslims in strife-torn western Myanmar, a rights group said Friday, as the US embassy voiced alarm.
Myanmar's Rakhine state remains extremely tense after several outbreaks of communal bloodshed between Buddhist and Muslim communities since 2012 that have killed scores and displaced some 140,000 people, mainly from the Rohingya minority.
Details of the latest unrest were unclear, but Rohingya activists said at least two women and a child were stabbed to death in an attack on a village near the border with Bangladesh earlier this week, with possibly several dozen casualties.
Myanmar authorities denied any civilian deaths but confirmed a clash took place in which a police officer was presumed to have been killed.
Chris Lewa, the Bangkok-based director of The Arakan Project, which lobbies for Rohingya rights, said the attack on the village of Du Chee Yar Tan on Monday happened sometime after the initial clash with police.
"There were people killed, mostly women and children," she told AFP, but added that reports from sources in the area on the number of people killed varied widely, from around 10 to several dozen.
The US embassy in Yangon said on Twitter that it was "deeply concerned" about the violence "especially reports of excessive use of force by security officials".
"We urge (the) government to thoroughly investigate, bring perpetrators to justice, and ensure equal protection and security under the law in Rakhine," it added.
Lewa said one villager, who has worked with The Arakan Project, reported seeing the bodies of two women and a 14-year-old boy with stab wounds after returning to the village days after the unrest.
She said the use of knives suggested the involvement of local Rakhine Buddhists, who have repeatedly clashed with the Rohingya, rather than the police.
Local police denied any villagers had died, but said authorities had come under attack on Monday without giving any reason why.
"A police sergeant is still missing along with his weapon. We are looking for him," a senior police official in nearby Maungdaw town said on condition of anonymity.
Another police officer in the state capital Sittwe said dozens of people had been rounded up after the unrest, with 10 still in custody.
The Maungdaw area is populated mainly by stateless Rohingya, whose movements are strictly controlled by a heavy security presence.
Myanmar's government considers the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in the country to be foreigners while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and view them with hostility. AFP