Slideshow: Taken from the depths

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Reporting by Jerome Sherman
Photos and audio by Annie O'Neill
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As the United States confronted mine disasters in West Virginia and Kentucky this year, Mexico's only coal mining region dealt with its own, one that killed 65 men and earned the distinction of being that country's worst coal mining accident in a generation.

The lives of many were changed forever by that one day. Yet they still wait for their loved ones to come home to them.

Ruben Martinez, a coal miner for 15 years, wrote of his experiences in a song called "Carbon y mas carbon," which translated into English, means "Coal and more coal." Here are the words to that song, which can be heard in this audio slideshow:

Coal and more coal

Coal and more coal
Taken from the depths
Of the legendary mines
Here, throughout the region

Transported by conveyor belt
To the surface it rises
The powerful machines
Thunder like a drum

All the miners
Together they go
Into the tunnels
They go to work

And in their homes
Their families hope
They will emerge safely
From the belly of the earth

Greetings to all the miners!
And the (people of the) coal-mining region!!
And to [name of friend]!

When they descend
Into the depths
And they submit themselves
With the blessing of God

Thus the hours pass
In this dark place
Only their lanterns
Make it possible to see

And the engineers
The educated men
They check the mine
With absolute care

So there never is
A single accident
Where is there more danger
Than on the front line?

Coal and more coal
Coal and more coal

!I sing for all the miners!

-- Translated by Gabrielle Banks

Related story

Mexico's Mine Crisis: 'We want our loved ones'

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You must have Flash player to view this feature. The slideshow may take several minutes to download over a dial-up connection. Reporting by Jerome Sherman. Photos, audio and production by Annie O'Neill. Jerome Sherman can be reached at . Annie O'Neill can be reached at .


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