Soma tragedy: Time to reform mining sector
It is of course difficult to monitor the events, graves dug one by one and people desperately waiting for their sons, fathers or husbands. It is grueling test and a challenge for the Turkish people and the government.
In the wake of such disasters, the question of “official negligence” usually arises to make things even worse. Reacting with anger further complicates the situation and hampers government’s efforts. Keeping calm in such situations is more helpful to the victims of disasters.
Keeping cool helps in coming up with rational solutions that can help heal the wounds easily. Individuals involved in such a situation should consider it as a test and should reject anger and act in a calm manner.
It would be appropriate to quote a Hadith here: “Anyone who dies while trappeda under ruins is a martyr.”
This Hadith should bring comfort to the hearts of those who lost their loved ones in the mine disaster. Those who lost their lives are martyrs. We know very well the special status martyrs enjoy.
Having said that we cannot ignore the importance of safety measures in the industrial sector. This is the worst-ever industrial accident in the history of the Turkish Republic. It would be pertinent to mention here that in terms of industrial accidents, Turkey ranks No.2 in the world and No.1 in the Europe.
Keeping in view the magnitude of the disaster, it is difficult to accept the claims made by company officials regarding “satisfactory safety precautions.” Official negligence cannot be ruled out. The accident indicates that something was wrong somewhere.
There are two questions confronting the coal industry in Turkey. Should mine workers be sent down with full protection or they should not be exposed to danger at all? Of course it is the latter. Sending people 400-700 meters below the ground means exposing them to danger and forcing them to work in an unhealthy environment. It is not only a matter of taking safety precautions. A human life can never be worth less than a lump of coal. The main issue is the practice of sending people down among combustible substances.
Sending workers below ground is a practice that has been stopped in many countries. Germany, for instance, produces many times more coal than Turkey; however, it uses entirely remote-controlled robotic systems and special machinery underground. These measures need to be put into practice by developing countries such as China and Turkey both of which have strong mining sectors. Since every person’s life all over the world is valuable, this urgent investment in the mining sector must be made compulsory in national laws. Stadiums, hotels and the tourist sector can wait; this is a far greater priority. Human life is far more important.
Once the automated system is implemented, the government must ensure that those losing jobs as a result of this automation are absorbed in other sectors on a permanent basis.
This incident should serve as a wake-up call and the government should introduce necessary reforms to avoid such accidents in future. At this moment, the government must make suitable financial arrangements for the relatives of the victims of the Soma mine accident.
Turkey has declared three days of national mourning in the wake of this great tragedy, and certain other countries joined in as a mark of respect. But the idea of mourning needs to be properly understood here. Death is at the discretion of God, Who creates us and this life. Death is the end of the test in this world and the start of an eternal life of the Hereafter. The tests of our miner brothers who lived such harsh lives here are therefore over, and they have moved on to the life of paradise, with its eternal delights, as “martyrs.” Mourning, therefore, must not take the form of feeling pain and sorrow.
It must not be forgotten that nothing is more important than human life. All commercial sectors that severely endanger human life must therefore be mechanized. Of course, nobody can escape death but our religion teaches us to take all possible precautions and then leave the outcome to God.
- The writer has authored more than 300 books translated into 73 languages on politics, religion and science.
He tweets @harun_yahya
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