"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method". Herman Melville

"I know nothing but miracles." Walt Whitman

quarta-feira, 13 de outubro de 2010

Notes on the Chilean miners rescue

I suffer from claustrophobia, and so, from the beginning I was very impressed with the news from thirty three Chilean miners trapped so deep underground. I even got nightmares. On October,13 I was up till 4.30 in the morning to watch the first miner come out of the capsule. These events were so impressive, caused such an impact on the consciousness of billions of people, because they can be seen as symbols.
First, the whole rescue effort, the money spent and all the engineering skills involved to save 33 workers, were a display of good old western humanist values, in part inherited from the best in Christianity. Man as the measure of all things. Watching CNN, It was revealing to read the comments that Chinese citizens put on the Internet condemning their government for the poor record of mine disasters in China. One noticed a small but revealing detail: in China, contrary to what he was watching from Chile, when the rescued miners arrived at the surface, they first had to thank the authorities in front of the cameras, before being allowed to meet their family. One summoned it by saying that the images of each one of the 33 miners arriving at the surface was a slap in the face of the Chinese authorities. Humans first... Of course, mining safety regulations in Chile are not perfect, but that fact does not diminish the impact of this extraordinary rescue.
The televised images of the rescue were also a slap in the face of the Islamic radicals that spend huge amount of money to plot the murder of "infidels", humans they do not consider worth living, for some crazy religious reasons. The Chile authorities spent more than 20 million dollars to save 33 ordinary humans, regardless of their religious or political opinions, their virtues or sins. Jacques Brel sang: "Toi, tu n`est pas le bon Dieux, Toi t`est beaucoup plus mieux, Tu es an homme." (You are not the good God, you are much better, you are a man)
The rescue as a rich symbol of rebirth. Downwards, the capsule as a phallic object that penetrates mother Earth. The shelter, 700 meters below, as a womb teaming with life desperate to come out (to be born). Upwards, the capsule as an egg that, in the surface, bursts open to reveal yet another life. The fear of troubles in the delivery always there, a miscarriage, a stillborn... The engineers and workers as the medical team.
Us, hundreds of millions of spectators watching this powerful, emotional metaphor of death and rebirth unfold life in the screen.

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