Aberfan Disaster / “…the greed of man”

144 people — including 116 children — were killed when 150,000 tons of coal waste catastrophically collapsed on a school and houses in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales on October 21, 1966.

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.

Sophie-Ann Williams of North Wales provided the photo below of her Grandfather, the late Reverend Colin Peter Bessant. He was helping to dig out after the Aberfan Disaster.  Paula Bessant Williams, Sophie’s mother, said, “My Dad never spoke about it without getting really upset. Just said it was the greed of man…”

“…and yet…the innocent are those who get punished most zealously of all. And what would one then have to say about our so evident torturers: Why does not fate punish them? Why do they prosper?

And the only solution to this would be that the meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but …in the development of the soul. From that point of view our torturers have been punished most horribly of all: they are turning into swine, they are departing downward from humanity…”

“The Ascent” from The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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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