In the past days, two different tragedies have shaken our continent with too little impact on the news in many of the EU countries, which are focused into their national problems, the European Parliament elections, and in some superficial events such as the end of the football championships.
In Turkey, 300 people died trapped in a mine in Soma, in the worst accident in a mine in the region in the last decades. The mourning for the victims has been mixed with outrage for the feeling that this accident could have been prevented. (1)
In the Balkan peninsula, a great area – comprising most of Bosnia Herzegovina, and parts of Serbia and Croatia- was hit by the worst floods since the records started 120 years ago. The catastrophe has affected more than 100.000 people and caused more than 25 deaths.
In both cases, the AEGEE-Europe locals in the area reacted swiftly and activated the AEGEE Network, proving that a Europe without borders can be reality if you make it happen. In Turkey, our members broke the news and spread the information about what was really happening, explaining to their fellow Europeans the reasons behind the tragedy; this helped to raise fast awareness on the critical situation of labour rights in one of the candidate countries to access the EU. As a result, the Human Rights Working Group has started to look for ways how to help. In the Balkan case, the reaction of our local groups consists in raising awareness and launching a call for financial support among other local groups, and also getting in contact with their alumni for raising funds. At the same time, their members have joined the volunteer teams and are working in the field to alleviate the situation of those that were most affected by the floods.
We as AEGEE-Europe would like to express our support to the citizens affected by these two tragedies, and to share our pride for the exemplary reaction of our members in both cases. Their acts are an inspiration to other young Europeans!
(1) The privatisation of the mining industry in Turkey has led to a decrease in the prevention and safety investments, in a situation which has been denounced by trade unions in the past months in several occasions, but been ignored by the government. The reaction of the Turkish government after the tragedy has aggravated the violent protests, since they tried to ignore the real focus of the discontent of the people. The recent detention of several executives of the mining sector is a belated attempt to move in the right direction, and it is still perceived as insufficient.
(2) you can read more about the reaction of our local groups here, and find ways how to collaborate.