13 October 2010


The BBC News 24 channel has rolled all day with the amazing real life tale of the rescue of thirty three miners from the San Jose copper and gold mine near Copiapo in Chile. It is a wonderful, uplifting tale filled with smiles and it reminds us all that we human beings are capable of extraordinary things, extraordinary determination, ingenuity and love for our fellow men.

The miners have been arriving back on the planet's surface like returned astronauts or like floodlit musical heroes in their Easy Rider shades. In contradiction to that image is a heart-rending appreciation that these are all of course just ordinary, previously anonymous working men with calloused hands and hard wrought lives.

The whole world has been watching. "The Boston Globe" said of Mario Sepulveda, the second miner to emerge from the rescue capsule, "he bounded out and thrust a fist upward like a prizefighter". Others have come back more shyly but for every rescued man there have been loving reunion embraces that will have brought tears to the eyes of onlookers far and wide. Instantly, The President of Chile articulated his nation's pride quite brilliantly, already viewing these events as a turning point in his country's history.

If only the same levels of ingenuity, determination and sheer goodwill were currently being applied to other trapped minors. A year ago, UNICEF reported that approximately 3.5 million children - mostly in The Third World - die each year from diarrhoea - largely because their families lack easy access to clean water. Think of that. Today most of the world shares Chile's euphoria that the thirty three have been rescued while conveniently forgetting that on the very same day thousands of small children have died more mundane, more easily preventable, less televisual deaths from Bangladesh to Mozambique and from South Africa to Borneo. Time for a bigger rescue capsule? Or 3.5 million smaller ones?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It's been a great, uplifting story - but, as you say, there are millions of human stories which don't have such a happy ending.

  3. Yes...I agree with you, YP. It's super that they got out OK. We need to redouble our efforts with everything else around the world. Who knows maybe this can inspire us all to try to go that extra mile?


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