Sunday, 18 May 2014

FOCUS: My heart bleeds for Soma – coal mine disaster in Turkey


My heart is bleeding as with many millions in Turkey.
My soul is crying as with many millions in Turkey.
And my mind is numb as with many millions in Turkey.

With any form of logic and reasoning, I try to understand what happened in SOMA, I try to give sense and try to comprehend the coal mine disaster in a rational way and without emotions. But it doesn’t work, as it didn’t work for many millions in Turkey.

Any government has the right to wish for the best economic future for its country.
Any government has the right to wish the most advanced technology for its country.
Any government has the right to wish an improvement in the infrastructure for its country.
Any government has the right to wish to become one of the most powerful nations in the world and has the right to wish to be a leading country in the world.
But this right carries with it one condition: HUMAN LIFE is more precious than profit!

The wellbeing and the safety of citizens in a strong country is the priority of government. People’s education and their economic progress forms an integral part of a government’s constitution.

A government is only strong if it provides welfare for its citizens. A government is only strong if it protects civil rights of its citizens. Therefore, a strong leading country in the world has a vibrant Welfare State. More than Welfare is the existence of a Social State. If a government claims that its economy is improving that means that the welfare of its citizens is also improving.

Welfare and the Social State is the foundation for an economically sound and strong country. It is a ‘must-have’ condition.

On the 13th of May across the world what we witnessed in SOMA sadly did call attention to the fact that Turkey is still not a Welfare State; therefore we cannot speak of an economically strong country.

Turkish PM Erdogan visits the Soma Mine, photo AP
At the dawn of the 21st Century, a leader of a strong country cannot give a speech comparing the tragic mining disaster in SOMA with historical accidents that occurred in the 19th Century. But the leader of Turkey did just that. With his speech he confirmed Turkey is still stuck in the 19th Century mindset, which contradicts all his past speeches about the social and economic growth of Turkey and its relative position in the world.

I cry with many millions of people in Turkey for the 301 miners who died and those injured, in the coal mine disaster in SOMA.

My eyes are burning
My hands are burning
My legs are burning
I wail with pain
The wound of my pain
Is a necklace
Carrying unlived hopes
Engraved on my soul
With 301 black diamonds

Like many millions in Turkey, I am trapped by these feelings like the miners in the dark coal mine shaft in SOMA.

Semra Eren-Nijhar is an author, sociologist, documentary film maker and policy consultant on diversity, migration, Turkish people living in Europe and the Executive Director of SUNCUT.

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