Friday, 21 October 2016

Compassion amd Empathy ....Aberfan and the World

It was 9.15 in the morning October 21 1966 in Aberfan. The men in power had long been warned of the threat. Letters had been sent repeatedly from Merthyr Council to the National Coal Board. But the men in the grey suits were not listening. The South Wales Valleys were disfigured by slag heaps and dark coloured streams and rivers. Fifty years on it is different the heaps have gone, the rivers and streams run clear but the men in grey suits are still not listening. They never do, power insulates, hates emotions and empathy.

The brave men digging in the slag tipped covered school understood that, At the inquest one father shouted after the verdict that “my child was buried by the national coal board “ when we see on television the brave people of Aleppo digging amongst the ruins we should see what links us, what emotions we share. The grey men are still not listening. The grey men were the men who left the slag heaps untended, the rivers polluted, the threat to our children ignored. These are the same types of men who sell arms, ignore opposition and forget the vulnerable and weak.

Disasters caused by the Coal Board or the Bombs that rain down on our cities cause the same pain, the same destruction, the same loss and fear. We are all challenged today to look beyond our differences, to understand loss wherever it happens and to think how we would feel if it was our community, our family and our town. The truth is that authority must always be challenged, always made to account for what it has done. Yesterday on that fount of Facebook compassion Port Talbot Deabte and Argue I was called “morally bankrupt”, a cunt, a sad human being and asked why I had raised Aberfan. I give you a simple answer that to the end of my days I will always be critical, challenge authority, believe that common sense is just a statistical average and rebel. Ask then who is morally bankrupt? And always choose to rebel and challenge authority......look within and check the log in your own eyes.......

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