What more is to be said about the Chilean mine rescue, given the acres of print about the seamy side of whatever story there is. Why do we, in the developed nations, do this? Why are we so intent on turning everything into a sleazy soap opera? Is there a real problem with how right-wing is the president and whether or not the mining minister, having gone to Stanford and by definition is a member of the comprador bourgeoisie and whether or not miner 18 was separated and was living with someone else – does it matter?
It was the most amazing saga I can remember since the invasion of Iraq, which I also watched in 24 hrs a day coverage on BBC World. I remember thinking when the US had reached Baghdad airport, 'holy crow, that is the same distance away from where I live as if a hostile army had reached Calgary airport, a 20-minute dash up the Deerfoot'.
With the miners, yes the Mapuche hunger strike was concurrent, yes, the other miners thrown out of work by the same company that was mining the San José mine are protesting, but the world is now watching. The attention on Chile is acute. Canny politicians moving their underdeveloped country into first world status are not able to sweep anything under any sort of rug now.
The oldest miner, Omar Reygadas, says of course he will go back to the mines. He is a miner. It is a reminder of when being a miner was a source of immense pride in the developed nations. The miner's strike, broken by Margaret Thatcher, put paid to mining in the UK. The Cape Breton miners, the men of the deeps, went to the wall along with the cod fishery. However, Canada is still a mining country; we are a primary resource nation. Would Christian Paradis have spent 50 of the last 70 days at, say, the tar sands, or a potash mine if there was a crisis involving the workers? Somehow I doubt it.