A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Mision Cumplida Chile (Mission Accomplished, Chile)


I have just finished watching the rescue of the last miner in Chile. It was extremely moving. (Thank goodness they found a good translator.)

More hugs were exchanged during 24 hours between men than I have witnessed in my whole life.  More rah-rah-rahs than I led at my high school. And, yes, there was a lot of singing. And a lot of tears. Chile celebrated its bicentennial last month and the celebration was postponed because of this mine accident. Now, the citizens can breathe again and I am sure, the partying will start in full force.

I was so proud of the part that America played in this rescue. It has also moved me to see that Americans were there, sleeves rolled up, ready to  provide the technology to dig these men out. No matter how much I gripe about my native land, there is nothing like the generosity of the United States to countries when they are desperate or in need. And most of it comes from private enterprises, not the government. There aren't a lot of countries who would do that. America has a lot, but it also gives a lot back. Even in the economic recession, for example, Americans gave millions and millions to Haiti. Americans are ready always to do something when needed.

It was a small technology company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that heard about the tragedy and as soon as they found out that they might be alive, they decided to contact the Chilean government and offered their machinery. "We heard that they might not get out till Christmas, if at all, " said one of the officials, "And that was not acceptable."  So, they went to Chile with their drills and were able to finally bore a hole to rescue the 33 men.

This is the sort of unity that we need in this world...where private companies and regular people decide to help each other...outside of a governmental imposition. The truth is, that human beings truly have a good heart and do care for each other. It is usually governments and religions and the patriarchal overlords who stand often in the way of the true giving nature of the human heart.

The last miner, Luis Urzua was the driving force behind making sure that his workers survived. He rationed the food immediately (even when they were not even sure they would be found). He held out hope that indeed, they would make it. And through his sheer determination to hold the force of faith for everyone else, they all made it out safely. Luis Urzua has led a difficult life. His father and stepfather were assasinated by the brutal Pinochet regime and he was left as a child to care for his five siblings. No doubt, this deep sense of responsibility and what he had already lost coloured the way he quietly and calmly took charge of a situation that undoubtedly could have been a chaotic mess. He is a gentle hero in this story. Seeing Luis Urzua,  the last miner out of the tunnel...was witnessing the triumph of the human spirit and witnessing the best of who we are as human beings.  It gives me hope for all of us, it really does.

Chile is still reeling from an earthquake...now this possible tragedy has become an unmitigated triumph. Chile needed this rescue....and perhaps we needed a handful of Chilean miners to remind us that hope and grit and teamwork can overcome the greatest challenge.

The Chilean National Anthem

Pure, Chile, is your blue sky;
Pure breezes cross you as well.
And your flower-embroidered field
Is the happy copy of Eden.
Majestic is the white mountain
That was given to you as a bastion by the Lord
That was given to you as a bastion by the Lord
And that sea that calmly washes your shores
Promises you a future splendor
And that sea that calmly washes your shores
Promises you a splendid future.
Chorus
Sweet fatherland, accept the vows
With which Chile swore at your altars:
Either the tomb of the free will you be
Or the refuge against oppression
Either the tomb of the free will you be
Or the refuge against oppression
Either the tomb of the free will you be
Or the refuge against oppression
Or the refuge against oppression
Or the refuge against oppression.