Wednesday, November 24, 2010

in memory of miners everywhere

It's a sad day today, with 29 miners dead in New Zealand.

That's a lot of men gone.

This is perhaps not a politically correct thing to say, and I hope I'm not being insensitive, but did you know that every day in China 250 people never make it home from work (Bennett in 'Where underpants come from')? In 2005 a mine disaster killed at least 210 workers in Sunjiawin mine, Fuxin, China? In 2006, 4,749 miners died in China and in November 2009, at least 104 were killed by an explosion?

I can't get my head around 29 men and all the pain and grief and loss tied up in their deaths, leave alone 4,749 and beyond. These numbers are phenomenal.

I'm sorry, really, really sorry about the men who died in New Zealand.

I'm also sorry about all those men in China dying every day, month and year.

I'm perhaps sorriest that we don't hear about the deaths in China (if we do, they drop off the news cycle in about 12 hours) and yet we've been glued to the television about New Zealand. Yeah, yeah I know. The whole ANZAC thing, brothers, nearest neighbours... but are the men in China any less important than the men in New Zealand?

The media are infuriatingly shallow in their reporting of incidents, more focused on sensational scoops, drama and bumper ratings than giving me an accurate picture of what is really happening. (Think media pack fawning over the Chilean miners) Twenty nine men I have never met died in NZ and I hear about it a lot. 4,749 men I have never met die in China every year, and it barely makes a blip on the media radar and I don't hear about more than 5%.

On top of all that, I can't help thinking we're all a bit culpable. We use the products made from the minerals these men are digging out of the earth... our demand drives them into the dangerous places under the ground.

So yes, it's a sad day. In more ways than one.



At 10:23 pm, November 24, 2010, Anonymous 2paw said...

It often seems to me that one dead Australian is worth far more than thousands dead in other developing countries. I know this is the way the media works, on The Insiders the other week they mentioned how The Mercury always finds a Tasmanian link to make their story relate to the state. It's really not necessary.
It's always sad when someone doesn't come home from work, whomever they are.


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