The sad towns of labor and death
One side of me is from İzmir, the other side is actually from Akhisar…
If you are from Akhisar, then one side of you is from Kırkağaç, and the other is from Soma.
As a turn of fate, this neighboring town of my childhood has now turned into a lake of fire where all of Turkey’s hearts are burning. The other one, which we all knew for its famous melon, has now turned into Turkey’s biggest morgue.
Our hearts are there. Our minds, conscience, souls are there.
What would a mine worker feel?
When you arrive in Soma, the meaning of everything else disappears. You are no longer a journalist here. Everybody is rendered equal before helplessness.
You are left with no strength to write what you see, or vice versa, to see what you have written.
However, there is one thing that clings to you deeply. That is that damned truth.
What is it like to be a mine worker? For 1,600 Turkish Liras, what kind of feeling is it to be left alone in empty galleries every day and every night, with your own shadow reflected by those dim lights?
This is such a profession in which each shift is like Russian roulette.
Like a dragon’s mouth
That bloody “mine gas” is there waiting for you like a ghost, like the angel of death at the door at every shift. It is such a ghost that it has taken the lives of 3,000 of your friends in the past 40 years. You know very well that if not today, then tomorrow – one day it will knock on your door.
The only bullet in the revolver will not ask for an address.
The blind luck that struck you friend yesterday will maybe come for you tomorrow or any time soon, hit you, bounce from your body and make holes in your wife, your children, your parents – many holes…
I stopped and viewed the door of the mine. It looks like the mouth of a merciless dragon. Thoughts come to my mind involuntarily. I wonder how that mouth of the dragon looks to a miner.
Not possible to empathize with the miner
No. Not even the empathy of this sentiment exists. How can a job that is serving death, at its disposal, have empathy?
And of course, there is that death, trapped in a tunnel. On one side there is fire, on the other side there is no air. On the other hand again are the diminishing hopes.
What would a person want first? Would he want to die instantly? Or would he want to keep his hope until the last second?
Working in a mine is such a profession that while the time of death has arrived at your door, there is no chance left for you. You cannot choose which death.
Remembering the word ‘labor’ in a town turned into a coffin
I understand that unless a person is a mine worker, unless you have transformed your life into a dance with fate that challenges that dragon every day; you cannot put yourself into the shoes of a mine worker; you cannot understand that person.
Because one cannot understand, there is only one thing that one can do here: Observe a minute of silence for these people who have completed their last shift at the cold storage facility of Kırkağaç.
And also, to remember the word “labor” that we have forgotten for a long time, which we have neglected for a long time.
Even though its cost will be huge in our consciences, even though we will not be able to carry its burden.
To learn that it does not consist merely of the sacrifices of certain people, that it does not consist of the sufferings of certain people...
And to feel it right here in your heart...
And that this grudge, this hatred inside all of us...
And this damned forgetfulness...
That it is high time to abandon this disgraceful egotism that regards everything only as “from us,” those who voted for us, and to return to the factory settings of humanity.
At least here, in this sad town, which has turned into a coffin from one end to the other, if we are only able to learn this humane truth...
Oh, I wish we could learn this....