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Change of Shifts

 

GERMAN BLACKCOAL INDUSTRY AND WORKING MAN´S CULTURE IN TIMES OF ENERGYPOLITICAL CHANGES

 

 

The lights will soon be going out in a place which was pitch dark to begin with. In about ten years´ time, maybe sooner, they will be going out for good on Germany´s mining industry, according to a recent ruling by the German Bundestag in Berlin.

 

As the lights turn off on an underground industry, they will also darken on an underground culture, which has greatly moulded the work ethic and leisure time of down-to-earth regions of Germany such as the Rhineland. Layer by layer, with its own particular vocabulary and traditions, both rough and hearty, toil and sweat bring men together. They work in the pits, then sing in the miners´ choir, organize funeral marches for fallen mates and breed pigeons, known as the “little man´s race horse”. Soon miners will only evoke nostalgic memories of a time when hard work was warmer than any jacket. The past may be dark, but, for these miners, the future shows no light at the end of the tunnel. 

Daniel Pilar, September 2006

 

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