x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Mining hope

Rescuing the trapped miners in Chile was truly an international effort – let us hope that the world can find reason for such solidarity in more causes.

'Lads! Live with honour, or die with glory! He who is brave, follow me!"

That was the rallying cry of Bernardo O'Higgins, the half-Basque, half-Irish founding father of Chile who led his countrymen to independence in 1817. Thirty-two Chilean miners and one Bolivian might have followed a similar battle cry as they departed a mine in the Atacama Desert this week in what were some of the most triumphant days in Chile's history.

Their survival was not only a cause for celebration in Chile, but around the world. Indeed, their rescue was an international effort. Nasa scientists and US submarine commanders helped to design the apparatus that lifted them out of the mine. Japan sent the miners suits that their astronauts wear to cope with difficult conditions. Even Chile's Andean neighbours and rivals, Bolivia and Peru, were eager to assist.

There have been other nations too proud to accept help from others during a crisis. But the outpouring of international support buoyed the Chilean people, whose steadfastness was on display not just during the rescue, but throughout the 70-day ordeal. Let us hope that the world can hold on to this spirit of solidarity now that the crisis is over.