Friday, 21 October 2016

Cofiwch Aberfan/ Remember Aberfan

Wales will  remember  today the Aberfan tragedy . At 9.15am on Friday, October 21 1966 a coal tip slid down a mountain slide into the mining village of Aberfan in the South Wales valleys. It would engulf a farm, around twenty houses and the local junior school. The disaster claimed the lives of 144 people, 116 of whom were school children This horror was felt around the world and was made even more poignant as news emerged of previous warnings and previous slides that had been brushed aside. The National Coal Board (NCB)  had been repeatedly been warned to move the slag heaps to a safer location, because they were also close to natural underwater springs. Did they have the decency to acknowledge their blame, to bow their head in shame, like hell no. A organisation more concerned with profit than lives.
A report by the government at the time said " Blame for the disaster rests upon the National Coal Board. The legal liabilities of the National Coal Board to pay  compensation for the personal injury ( fatal or otherwise) and damage to property is icontestable and uncontested. " The Government of the day was also extremely insensitive to the victims families, and people would have to wait for years for compensation.
So today we remember the people of Aberfan, their collective loss, a community that is still profoundly affected by this disaster, one in three survivors still suffering from Post traumatic stress. People left feeling guilty that they were left alive, they did not feel like survivors. The sores and wounds of this gross injustice forever stored in the collective feelings of the people of Wales. Lest we forget.

Cofiwch Aberfan/ Remember Aberfan

On October 21 1966

a ticking timebomb of slurry

left a community scarred

angels laughter forever lost

buried deep in the wounds of history

my nation mourns with anger 

bitterness and shame

after the spoils of injustice

drowned a community in coal

left generations in ruin

our tears keep on flowing

never ever  forgiving.