EDITORIAL THURSDAY 14.10.10.
It has to be the story of the decade, if not the century. Today all 33 of the miners trapped almost 700 metres underground in Chile for almost 70 days have been successfully rescued. Lost after an underground cave-in they were believed to be dead for 17 days before a remote probe was able to reach their location. When it emerged that all 33 were safe and relatively well a feeling of elation and astonishment spread quickly around the world. But with that came the realisation that any rescue would take months, possibly the remainder of the year. Today, the hopes and prayers of the men themselves, their families, their friends, and complete strangers from every part of the world have been answered. It is a wonderful story of endurance, hope, faith, and triumph over disaster.
It has also been a fascinating story of human frailty with miner Yonni Barrios becoming internationally famous when his wife met his girlfriend while keeping vigil at the mine. What must be at the very least a slightly awkward situation became the source of much amusement and constant jokes around the world. When Yonni finally reached the surface today, he was met by his girlfriend. Although he had invited his wife to stay, apparently she declined, saying “I'm not going to go see the rescue. He asked me to, but it turned out he had also asked the other lady and I have decency. One thing is clear: it's her or me”. According to some reports, it turns out that Yonni actually separated from his wife some years ago, so it would seem that the story is not quite as salacious as it first appeared. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good story, especially if it’s good for a laugh.
Now that all 33 men are free they will all have their own opportunities to tell their own stories in their own way and in their own time. No doubt there will be no shortage of offers for paid media appearances, book deals, and I would be prepared to wager, a Hollywood movie deal. I hope that every single one of them profits in some way from what has been after all a supremely difficult period in their lives. They deserve every cent they might potentially earn, and they deserve all of the good wishes and recognition that will come their way. And they also deserve to be left alone to quietly go about rebuilding their lives without further intrusions if that is what they choose. Either way, they have managed to turn tragedy into triumph, as have all of the rescue workers who have made this wonderful outcome possible.
It’s not often that the biggest story in the news is actually good news, and today’s news is as good as it gets.