Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mine Rescue, a Capsule here a Capsule there

Everyone and their brother has something to say about the mine rescue, and I'd hate to lose out on the fanfare, so let me say this. Yes, it was incredible.

It was incredible because a country could (and many do) forget very easily about 33 souls heavily entrenched in the bowels of the earth (and yes, the media here called it entrañas de la tierra, which sounds a little more like innards than bowels to me, but I suppose there's really not much difference). Chile has certainly shown its mettle both in human solidarity and in government and private effort to fix what was wrong.

But I would be remiss in not mentioning what was wrong. What was wrong is that a) poor, undereducated people have to work under terrible conditions. If it were not for these miners and many like them, the Chilean economy would be much less productive. They deserve more than a statue to commemorate their work. It's terrible work. And b) the mine had been closed due to safety issues. The company that reopened it should be ashamed. And since companies aren't capable of feeling emotions, the people behind it should be absoultley repentant. One of the most terrible things about law school was learning about US tort law and how it basically pits society's expectations and human value against dolla billz (all the cool kids say it like that, I have it on authority). And so it is with capitalism. I don't know how to fix it, but I'd like to go on record saying I think it takes the focus away from humans, and that's wrong.

My experience here in Santiago re: rescue was much like yours in whereever you are, except maybe I wasn't waiting on a time delay for the translations. It was emotional, exciting, exhausting. When the rescues started speeding up I felt like I could hardly keep up with the excitement. And yes, I cried. I'm like that.

When the final miner was pulled from the mine, Santiago erupted into honking and excitement, like it always does. Today's newspapers are splashed with good news, and the gossipy ones are already talking about dear Yonni Barrios, (whose first name practically spells the female genitalia in Sanskrit) who has both a wife and lover waiting for him outside. Except not, because the wife is singing Beyonce's "Irreplacable" to him (to the left, to the left), except who knows what kind of music she likes, so maybe she's singing something else.

I know three people that are up there right now, Kate, of horseracing fame, who is running herself ragged for Matador and whipping up photo essays at an alarming pace, a guy who used to work for one media outlet and then another, is now up there for Bloomberg, and a very unlikely journalist-musician-arts manager who is working as a fixer for Fox. Don't hate him for working for Fox, think about how much a starving artist could really use the cash, and how smart he is. And also how very tired he must be right now.

But me? I'm just here in Santiago. I've taken a bus past Copiapó, and that's about all I can say about it. The north of Chile is alien and strange to me. I don't hate it, but I'm just not sure I'd invite it over for dinner. And I don't think I could get 33 people in my apartment. And those guys are busy with media stuff and whatnot, so I doubt they'd come anyway.

And if you were wondering what all the chanting and singing was saying at the mines, check out this #NG post on chanting and singing, Chile style.

4 comments:

JoAnna said...

Though you said that being in Santiago would be similar to being anywhere else watching the rescues unfold in real time, I imagine that there's some sort of national pride or energy that is different where you are. I imagine it would be like living in the country where the Olympics are being held or the World Cup is played.

It was quite a day, though, wasn't it? Who knew it could be so emotionally exhausting to watch a cage being pulled up and down inside the earth?

Margaret said...

JoAnna- I think you are right. While people around the world watched this latest bit of future history unfold, those of us here in Chile watched it more intensely, with more feeling, and, I am absolutely sure, with more tears of joy and sheer emotion just because it hits us all (miners or not) so much closer to home. I doubt there was a dry eye in the country when that first miner stepped out of the capsule--especially when his little son let out that piercing "PAPIIIII!!" and ran into his arms for the first time in 2 1/2 months!

Lola said...

The point when I actually cried was when they did a re-cap of the time the miners first posted the note and the video captured a face.

When they were first found.

That moment for me was key. Those 17 days before must have been the most mentally agonizing time of their lives.

God is definitely good!

Kyle said...

I'm glad you mentioned that. For me the most emotional part of this was when the note came up that said they were ok and the handwriting was that scrawl of someone who has had minimal education. That made me cry.