Marikana Mine Massacre: 34 Miners Killed in South Africa Strike
Lonmin Marikana Mine: South African Police Kill 34 Striking Miners (Graphic Video)
The ongoing strike at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa has turned even bloodier, as police have shot and killed 34 miners on August 16, 2012. 78 more have been injured, and 256 arrested so far. The overall death toll in the weeklong strike is 44.
Some of the striking miners are armed, and there is little recognized leadership among them. Police Chief Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, responsible for the armed response to the mine strike, said that this was "no time for pointing fingers". Many South Africans would disagree: the miners were penned in by barbed wire and police vehicles when they were shot.
You can see video footage of the Lonmin Marikana mine massacre below: it is graphic.
Steven Friedman, director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Rhodes University and the University of Johannesburg, said that the police were at fault, mainly because they don't know what they're doing: "It is not a question of being tougher. [The police] are not adequately trained. If you put guns and bullets in the hands of these people, who are not trained properly, you have a problem."
This has been the bloodiest police action since the days of Apartheid. President Jacob Zuma's own ANC party is rebelling on the issue, with the ANC Youth Wing calling for mines to be nationalized. The rationale is that all South Africans should share in the nation's mineral wealth. As it stands, a large segment of the white population and a small segment of the black population are thriving, while the rest live in poverty.
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is blaming management for ignoring its demands, and also rivals National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) for the escalation of the strike.
For its part, Lonmin, which owns the Marikana mine, issued a "statement of regret" (pdf) that mainly served to frame the massacre as a public-order issue rather than a labor-management issue. Lonmin is so very sorry, but doesn't want to accept any responsibility.
That's what Marikana means. It has raised this unmitigated crudeness as if to awaken us to the reality of the time bomb that has stopped ticking - it has exploded!