By William Coker
Left East - 17 May 2014
My class yesterday began with something close to an apology from me
for holding the class at all. Times like this can make anyone engaged
in intellectual work feel inadequate. To some it seems vain to make
statements and take up positions when hundreds have died. To this I can
find no Spilling ink may be impious, but saying nothing is worse. We
have the duty to understand what has happened, even when it might seem
more decorous to be silent.
It’s too bad there’s so little to understand this time. On Tuesday a
fire broke out in a mine in Soma, in the district of Manisa in the
Aegean region, trapping as many as 700 miners underground. By Thursday
afternoon 282 have been declared dead, with as many as 150 still
missing. The mine belongs to Soma Holding, which acquired it from the state in one of the AKP governments’ many privatizations.
Its executives maintain close ties to Erdoğan’s party, though the
government would like the public to forget this; one worker who told the
host of a live news program on the privately-owned, pro-government
Habertürk television network about the company’s AKP ties found his
broadcast very quickly cut off.
On April 29, the parliamentary faction of the main opposition party
CHP had requested an inspection of the mine’s safety measures, which the
ruling AKP rejected.