Week 10: Mining Massacre

The massacre of mine workers was said to be due to unruly workers, and the need to control a populations, however, after researchers have spoken to locals affected by the massacre it seems that the event was coldly calculated by the government. The massacre of August 16th, 2012 affected the families of the men working in the mines and the workers who are no striking in hopes of positive changes for mine workers.

The researchers writing this text hope to share the voices of local families affected by those who died, and of the mine workers now striking for better pay and safer conditions. Families have shared that they are no longer able to support their children. The government has provided minimal groceries for three months after the deaths but this does not compare to the food which was available when their husbands were working. In addition to support financially, the families are also seeking answers as to what happened to these men. Children were told that their fathers won’t be returning home, but they haven’t been told of the deaths. Women wonder whether these deaths were planned in advance by governments, and why.

The ongoing protesters are much more careful about their actions in hopes of not recreating the events of August 16th. As designated speakers negotiate with officials the crowd kneels. Each protester is visible but they remain calm, less likely to rally while knelt. Their weapons are placed facing down as not to provoke the government officials. Everything is planned to resemble what happened on August 16th, but to ensure that violence is avoided. The researchers not the air of violence and unsafety, there is a feeling on tension between those negotiating. Something which I found to be interesting but also extremely intelligent was the protestors recognizing that not everyone could be heard when speaking. Having designated speakers helped keep the protest concise and ensured important messages were conveyed. Rather than allowing each person to make a speech agreed demands were coming from one voice. This allowed for negotiations to run smoothly and for officials (government, or those opposing the protestors) to have someone to speak directly to.

The researchers focus on this as an uprising and means of the working class coming together to present their demands and to ensure a better future. Chapter 5 focuses on the direct voices of mine workers and the interviews conducted with them. The workers spoke of their positions in the mine, the tools they operate, the conditions they work under, and their thoughts on the protest. One worker specifically spoke about the union which they are represented by. He says that although the union is meant to ensure their well-being in reality it does not focus on the workers, providing no security.

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there a way in which the mine workers could successfully present their case to a government agency and receive the changes they desire? Is it likely they will be recognized by these officials, or will their treatment continue to as it?
  2. How does the presentation of the voices in this text, and others over the past few weeks, change global perception of development projects? Is it important that these voices are heard? In what ways do they create change, and what are the lasting outcomes?
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