The Great 2010 Chile Miners Rescue
The defining moment of 2010 might very well be Florencio Avalos emerging from the underground shaft where he and 32 colleagues had been trapped for more than two months.
At a time when the world needed something away from sporting arenas to cheer, the desert mining camp in northern Chile is the location for the tear jerking rescue story of how a nation successfully saved the lives of 33 miners by working together.
Surrounded by grateful family members, Avalos and his comrades journey from ordeal to to light, fame, and reunion with family and friends. The first miner to be rescued, he is greeted by the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.
Coming soon after the Hungarian mud lake disaster, and with Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill still fresh in our memory, the world needed this miracle, this lifesaving drama.
No wonder President Pinera was quoted by the BBC as saying:
"The miners are not the same people who got trapped on... 5 August. They have come out stronger, and they taught us a lesson. But Chile is not the same either."
"I think Chile today is more united and stronger than ever, and I think Chile today is more respected and more valued in the whole world.
"What ended up as a real blessing from God started as a possible tragedy. But the unity, the faith, the compromise, the honesty, the solidarity of the Chileans in those 69 days makes us very proud."
Partial Map of South America showing Chile
So 2010 has touched our soul with the poverty and disaster intertwined in the Haitian earthquake, entertained us with South African World Cup, evoked the xenophobe in the Westerner with the Delhi Commonwealth Games, and tested the mettle of the modern parliamentary system with the somewhat amusing Coalition Government in Britain. But the major story of the year has got to be the Chilean rescue.
Soap opera fans will no doubt point to the many sub-plots of the drama, such as relations squabbling over wages and donations while miners were trapped underground. We won't even go into details about the wife who met the sweetheart at the camp.
What I suggest we celebrate is the blessing for Chile and the world. The blessing of a happy ending.
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