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Chile mine rescue unites a fractured world

Chile mine rescue updates are dominating worldwide headlines and lighting up social media as people share their excitement about the mission.

By Staff Writer / October 13, 2010

Chile mine rescue: A customer stands in front of television screens showing the rescue of trapped miners in a store in London, Oct. 13.

Lennart Preiss/AP



Amid global currency and maritime disputes, terrorist plots and insurgent attacks, rising income inequality and dogged unemployment, the world has turned its attention to a barren piece of land in northern Chile.

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There, 33 men trapped a half-mile underground for the past 69 days are being hauled up one by one to the earth’s surface through an inspiring feat of human will and ingenuity that unified much of the world for at least a few hours on Wednesday.

RELATED: 5 reasons the Chile mine rescue was so successful

Media outlets dropped coverage of disputes, gossip, and politics to focus on the inspiring story unfolding in the Atacama Desert. More than 1,000 reporters are at the San Jose Mine to broadcast the drama to a voracious readership, whose interest was evident in the search engines Google and Yahoo!, where variations on the phrase “Chile mine rescue” were top search items for much of the morning.

IN PICTURES: Chile mine rescue

Left and right unite

In South America, the rescue mission united left-leaning and right-leaning governments more prone to rivalry that comaraderie. Conservative Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and Socialist Bolivian President Evo Morales were together at a site (although Mr. Morales was several hours late to see the rescue of a Bolivian miner). Venezuela’s fiery leftist Hugo Chávez took time to tweet “Estamos con Chile!” (“We are with Chile”).

In the United States, even the rival television news outlets of left-leaning MSNBC and right-leaning Fox News could finally agree. The rescue “takes the whole globe and brings us together,” said Fox News correspondent Adam Housely. “You know what?” said MSNBC correspondent Kerry Sanders, for his part. “I think we need this as a world. I think we do. We need this.”

Sporting events rally the world around games; one side is always a loser. Terrorist plots rally the world around tragedy; they feed on fear. Recent and upcoming elections worldwide – in Sudan, Iran, or home in America – seem to divide rather than unify populations.

But the still-unfolding rescue of the Chilean miners has rallied the world around joy and hope that humanity can take lessons from the event. There is no loser in the rescue.

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