BuLENT – Miners’ destiny and ‘usual things’

Miners’ destiny and ‘usual things'”One way to know a country is to know how people die there,” famous French philosopher Albert Camus said. We cannot agree more with this assertion. In the final analysis, hundreds of poor miners are dying in groups like worthless creatures in a coal pit in the Soma district of Manisa province, Turkey, and doesn’t this indicate the standard of living set by the authorities for their citizens? The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “You will die the way you live,” but I know his noble saying does not apply to such cases. However, please think about it for a second. Can you safely say that Turkish people do not die in exactly the way their rulers set out for them? People elect rulers to office so that these rulers can deem a certain standard of living suitable for the ruled. Isn’t this a big, ironic contradiction? Our people live in short, tragic stories, “die the way they live” and lose generations in a vicious circle of causality shown in the Prophet’s saying, “You will be governed the way you are.” Our leaders, who built their political careers on this vicious circle, can pass off, very naturally, this big massacre in the mine as a “usual” incident. Don’t be angry at them… please do not find them odd. This is exactly what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan — who has disrupted the functioning of the entire state apparatus, including the judiciary, in an effort to cover up the graft and bribery allegations that implicate himself and his son — does. He behaved in the way that best suited him in his visit to the local people of Soma, who lost their sons, husbands, fathers and relatives in the greatest tragedy of recent years. He delivered the following speech concerning the miners’ deaths — which reminds us of their lives in the sheer destitution and poverty that was deemed fit for them. “These are usual things. In literature, there is the concept of an ‘occupational accident.’ This is not something that is exclusive to mines. It happens in other jobs as well. A work accident. It has happened here as well. It is in the very nature of this job. We cannot say there should not be any accidents in mines,” he said. You may be surprised to hear me say it, but Prime Minister ErdoIan is right. Such tragedies are extremely “usual” in this country, where the prime minister continues to act as the prime minister though he has failed to find those responsible for the Uludere tragedy — in which 34 civilians were mistaken for terrorists and killed by military airstrikes in IIrnak’s Uludere district, due to false intelligence — for many subsequent years. Prime Minister ErdoIan is quite right: Such tragedies are extremely “usual” in this country, where the prime minister continues to act as the prime minister although not a single member of the government has resigned from office in connection with the 25 young soldiers who died in an explosion at an arms depot in Afyonkarahisar, where the soldiers were carrying ammunition with no prior training. The prime minister is quite right: Such tragedies are extremely “usual” in this country, where the prime minister continues to act as the prime minister though not a single official has resigned from office in connection with the killing of 55 people in the ReyhanlI district of Hatay in terror attacks that have not been explained so far.The prime minister is quite right: Such tragedies are extremely “usual” in this country, where the prime minister continues to act as the prime minister although not a single Cabinet member resigned from office over the killing of about 10 people during the protests against the government’s plan to build a lucrative shopping center in place of Istanbul’s Gezi Park, a local issue that could easily have been handled by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The central government’s insistence, however, on going on with the project caused social unrest.The prime minister is quite right: Such tragedies are extremely “usual” in this country, where the prime minister continues to act as the prime minister although one-fourth of the Cabinet had to resign from office in connection with the greatest-ever graft and bribery scandal in Turkish history, which became public on Dec. 17.The prime minister is quite right: Such tragedies are extremely “usual” in this country where the prime minister continues to act as the prime minister although it has been exposed to the public that on the morning of Dec. 17, 2013, he discussed how to “dispose of” hundreds of millions of dollars and admitted that he had meddled in a number of the high judiciary’s decisions, the media and public tenders.Really, what do you take this country for? Do you take it for Greek Cyprus, where a significant portion of the Cabinet members resigned from office in the wake of a fatal explosion in an arsenal? Or do you take it for Germany, where the president immediately resigned from office in the face of allegations of corruption involving 720 euros (by the way, he was cleared as a result of a two-year investigation)? Or is it that you wrongly take it for Latvia, where the prime minister quickly resigned from office, holding himself responsible for the collapse of a shopping center? Please do not falsely assume that you are living in South Korea, the land of that dignified prime minister who, blaming himself for the deaths of passengers aboard ship that sunk, resigned from office!Here is Turkey, where hundreds of deaths are considered as a natural part of life. Here is Turkey, where those who have responsibilities, including the prime minister, do not see accountability and, if necessary, resignation as part of their dignities and honors. Here is Turkey, where it is quite normal that you find those who are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people delivering “heroic” speeches or hurling threats and insults. Here is Turkey, where scandals are normalized by comparing them to mistakes other nations made hundreds of years ago. Here is Turkey, where the medieval witch hunt is revived to destroy a specific social segment.For this reason, hundreds of miners dying at a time is quite normal. Death is the fate of miners. They live — if this is to be called “life”– in poverty and destitution, with their hard-earned wages amounting to $600-700 a month, working the hardest job in the world, their lives taken from their hands by the way they live. As if these sorrows were not enough, they have to listen to reams of nonsense and babbling from ministers and the prime minister. A relative of a dead miner was even dragged on the ground and kicked by the aides of the prime minister. Moreover, the prime minister himself beats miner relatives. Here is Turkey, where such things are quite usual.For this reason, the number of miners who die per 1 million tons of coal extracted is 1.25 in China and 0.02 in the US — but it is 7.22 in our country. It is “quite usual” for 361 Turkish miners to die for every American miner.It is for this reason that death is the fate of Turkish miners. They live underground, kilometers below the surface, without knowing which act of negligence will cost their lives and when. They die underground. And finally, they are buried underground in cold and lonely graves.In this country, people, especially miners, die the way they live, with nothing more or less.

SOURCE: Today Zaman

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