Aberfan Disaster & Engels & One Composition

(Original illustration by Mr. Fish)

On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made mountain of coal waste collapsed on a primary school and nearby houses, killing 116 children and 28 adults. A Tribunal investigating the 1966 events found that the National Coal Board was entirely responsible for failing to act to prevent the disaster, though they were never prosecuted.

“When one individual inflicts bodily injury upon another such that death results, we call the deed manslaughter; when the assailant knew in advance that the injury would be fatal, we call his deed murder. But when society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live — forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence — knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual; disguised, malicious murder, murder against which none can defend himself, which does not seem what it is, because no man sees the murderer, because the death of the victim seems a natural one, since the offence is more one of omission than of commission. But murder it remains. 

— Friedrich Engels, “The Condition of the Working-Class in England”, 1845

(quote excerpted from “The Age of Social Murder” by Chris Hedges, posted today on Scheerpost)

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.

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