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But for the Grace
Profiles in Peace From a Nation at War
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By Mitchell, James A.
ISBN 1905021119
Paperback  292 pages
 
Published 25 March 2009
UK Price £14.95   Order from amazon.co.uk
US Price $22.95   Order from amazon.com

These are the stories of the orphans and elders at Grace Care Center, a residence for the displaced in Sri Lanka’s impoverished, war-torn northeast. Theirs is the story of Sri Lanka itself: Girls made orphans by a war that sometimes recruits children for battle; the destitute seniors whose aging eyes saw a nation tear itself, and their families, apart.

Established by an American attorney during a lull in the decades-long fighting, Grace Care Center offered shelter from war, support against poverty, and hope against an uncertain future. December 2004 brought yet another challenge – the Indian Ocean tsunami. Brief hope that the resulting devastation would inspire opposing sides to work as a united nation instead witnessed a return to war. More determined than ever, the Grace community and their American friends worked for a simple dream: That ethnic groups victimized and divided by conflict can live together in peace; that destitute seniors deserve to live in dignity; and that children need not grow up in violence.

Grace Care Center is the story of hope in a land of tragedy. It’s a special place; all the more precious considering what life is like, but for the Grace, beyond its walls.

Journalist and editor James A. Mitchell is the author of It Was All Right: Mitch Ryder’s Life in Music and Applegate: Freedom of the Press in a Small Town. Mitchell serves as the information officer for VeAhavta, the non-profit agency that oversees the Grace Care Center.

"The author writes affectionately, and not a little movingly, about the extraordinary work and achievements at the Grace Care Center. The difficulties of working in the area have meant that it has been largely abandoned by the agencies of outside assistance and this book tells a real success story for a change.

It also gives the best account I have read anywhere of the brutality of abduction and life in an LTTE training camp for child soldiers. The best thing about this book is that it is not judgmental. It graphically conveys to us all the horrors of war without feeling the need to point fingers.”

- From the foreword by Paul Harris, war correspondent and author of Delightfully Imperfect: A Year in Sri Lanka at the Galle Face Hotel (Kennedy & Boyd) and Fractured Paradise: Images of Sri Lanka (Frontline)


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