Thursday, 14 October 2010

Witnessing history

It was just past midnight last night when Concerned Husband summoned me back to the living room to witness the first of the trapped Chilean miners being lifted to safety in the scarily narrow but evidently robust rescue capsule. For a moment there was the usual silence one would associate with that time on a Tuesday night, then suddenly a roar emerged, first low then growing louder, not from the television we were watching but from outside our windows. This was followed by cheering, whooping, whistling, car horn beeping, bell-ringing and more...a nation rejoiced, under the scrutiny of the entire world. Now tonight the last miner has been rescued and the jubilation continues on the streets outside. Not that I've had the chance to join in, though, as of course the children are asleep in their beds, but at least one gets a sense of what is going on by the intermittent cheers.
A month has not passed since our arrival in Chile yet we have already celebrated two singular events: the bicentenary of Chile's independence on 18 September and now the release of the miners who had been trapped for over two months 700m underground and who had previously not been expected to be freed this side of Christmas. Quite a feat by anyone's standards. I did catch sight of a newspaper headline today accusing President PiƱera of creating a reality show of the miners' plight but I think that's a little unkind. The world media has seen to that. I have never seen or experienced such national pride manifested with such just cause. I feel optimistic to be in this country.

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