Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sago Mine

For the last few days, I was not comfortable in talking about the Sago Mine Disaster which killed 12 coal miners and maimed 1 miner in Tallmansville, West Virginia. There was an explosion that ended up trapped 13 miners in the Appalachian mountains, the prospects of them surviving was slim because the levels of carbon monoxide was three times high, good enough to put people to sleep and die.

Then two days ago, my father told me that all miners were alive. I was surprised. Then the next morning, I woke up to learn that no, all miners except for one is dead. Why? Don't be so surprised, my friends.

This is the way of life for coal miners. In fact, the corporations that employs these miners enjoyed one huge advantage: good pay and subjugation. I know because I am part of that culture, whether you like it or not.

You see, my great grandfather was crushed to death in a coal mine not far from Norton, Virginia -- then few weeks later, my great grandmother killed herself because the property that my great-grandfather worked hard to provide a shelter for his family was merely owned by the company. The heartless company evicted my great-grandmother since the house is owned by the company. She had nowhere to go. It was pretty hard life. Totally unnecessary but that is what the corporations enjoyed the most: subjugate the lower class in the Appalachian mountains in the last 100 years.

Not only that, my father's father was also a coal miner and became the victim of Black Lung. He succumbed to that man-made disease at 67. One guy spoke on ABC's PrimeTime that it is sort of a culture for coal miners to stick together when bad things happen. He is right. Even I do not work in coal mines, a part of me cringed and groaned when I heard of people being trapped under the tons of Appalachian mountains. It is not right but that is part of coal miners' lifestyle, really.

It was disgusting to learn that the owner of Sage Mine has homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach and the Hamptons. And that he just issued his company to provide only $2 million to the victims and is hoping that people will donate money to help the families. Never mind that the owner of International Coal Group, billionaire Wilbur Ross, has not donated a cent to the families devastated by the disaster in West Virginia. But I was not surprised at all. That is what capitalism is all about. Subjugate others to enrich yourelf.

Not only that, the Bush Administration is responsible for what happened to coal miners in West Virginia, since the Bush Administration forbade the inspectors to be assertive and close the mines if needed. The Bush Administration has been cozy with the mine industry to relax the rules. And the result is what? We have this disaster that can be prevented in the first place.

Jack Spadaro, a retired employee of the Mining Health and Safety Administration, complained about the Bush Administration's negligence, "The inspectors have been forbidden from being as aggressive as they need to be, they can't go ahead and close the mine and use the authority that they have to do the job that they've been charged to do."

Was I ever surprised? No, not at all. When I heard that GW Bush expressed his sorrow about the deaths of 12 miners, I chuckled. That man is lying through his teeth. I'm curious to know whether if GW Bush is going to donate $ to the Sago Mine Disaster. Or will Wilbur Ross?

Or just ignore the coal miners in the next few weeks, like they always do for the last 100 years?

These men worked hard than Wilbur Ross or GW Bush did in their lifetime -- GW Bush spent 2 hours of his lunch breaks running up and down the park in Maryland. These men in coal mines are not allowed to work out for two hours during their lunch breaks.

Goes on to say how much wonderful this country can be.

Of course, it disgusted me to my core. And you should be.


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