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
Sri Lankans face decision to go to a home they may not know
Tamil refugees hesitate over heading back homeSome are returning to Sri Lanka but many are still in camps in Tamil Nadu
- ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
- Sri Lanka
- October 25, 2012
âIt was a difficult decision in our lives but we left because we did not have any other choice, considering the heavy fighting in the country,â says Krishanthi Anthony. She left Sri Lanka with her family in 1992 when she was a young girl.
Like countless others, her family left in a hurry, ditching many of their possessions as they packed the rest into boxes before setting sail. They were charged 100,000 rupees (US$758) to make the journey, which took several hours across rough seas.
âWe had to start a new life from the beginning. Whatever we earned was spent on eating and surviving in the camps,â she says.
Her mother sold her gold jewelry to pay for things like school fees. Even then they struggled to feed themselves.
Her younger sister and brother were both born in the camps where each family received 600 Indian rupees (US$11.20) per month. It did not cover a family's expenses; most sought work on the outside.
Now 30 years old,Â KrishanthiÂ Anthony has made the long-awaited return. âWith the war ending, relatives called us back and I came, but I still have fear,â she says. She is now back in her native Mannar in northeast Sri Lanka, scene of some of the war's heaviest fighting.
But only around 5,000 more Tamils have joined her.
Even though the journey is fully subsidized by the UN, even though it is now three years sinceÂ the civil war ended, most of the refugees say they would rather wait before returning. They cite economic hardship and concern over human rights violations back home.Â Others say they cannot afford the process of setting up a home again.
There are other problems too. Many of the women who remain in the camps are war widows. Many, such as Krishanthi Anthony's siblings,Â were born in the camps so they know little or nothing about Sri Lanka.
But staying in the camps is not ideal either. S. Roshita Dias, a mother of three, says she is worried about her daughters who somehow have to raise money for their dowries.
âWe live in ten-foot-wide rooms separated between families by sarees in a big hall with no privacy at all. This lifestyle leads to underage marriages and unwanted pregnancies,â she says.
Although it is up to the refugees themselves to decide when they plan to head home, India and Sri Lanka have also been looking for solutions at government level as rights groups have called on both to grant citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils.
Officials in Colombo promise that these issues will be sorted out in due time.Â âThe government plans to talk with the Indian government soon on this issue,â says Minister of Resettlement Gunaratne Weerakoon.
Appeal for UN action on missing persons
Army says displaced people all resettled