Since yesterday when I stayed up for much of the night following the news of the rescue of mining workers who have been trapped 2230ft underground for 68 days, I’ve been wondering what lessons there might be to learn from the episode. 2230ft is almost as deep as the tallest building in the world. Surely there has to be more to pick out of the diligence and nationalism that overwhelmed the miners, their family, the country and the world in general while the capsule went down into the hole and picked them out one after the other to a jubilant, ecstactic audience. In some way, it exemplified for me the triumph of courage, determination and persistence in the face of odds.
On another level, it shows what humans can do when they put their minds together as one forgetting all differences. As a citizen of a developing country where grumbling is one of the most ubiquitous pastime, I began to wonder whether I would have enough patience to withstand the inevitable comparisons of scenarios that was bound to start as soon as the first miner was rescued. If this were Nigeria, what would have happened? Or, how would it have turned out in the end. I refuse to engage in such whatifs because they inevitably seek to relegate human courage, cooperation and resilience to a pessimistic viewpoint conditioned by circumstances and cynicism. Fact: human resilience will always thrive in the face of odds wherever it is tested, whether in Apartheid South Africa, ‘impoverished’ Zimbabwe, ‘repressed’ China, ‘developing’ Chile, ‘failing’ Nigeria or ‘advanced’ America.
It’s simply a triumph of human will everywhere. Cynicism and apathy, like bad governments and other evils of the world, never brought anyone out of a hole.