Thai rescue and our shared humanity

Yesterday was one of those days where we can all walk just a little taller, feel proud of humanity and realise good news - really good news - does in fact happen.

The last of the Thai schoolboys and their soccer coach were rescued and everyone could breathe with relief.

This story resonated around a globe that lived the drama for more than two weeks - the near-despair of children lost deep in the darkness of claustrophobic caves, the joy of their discovery perched on a mound above floodwaters, the agonising rescue decisions, the looming monsoon rains, the possibility the boys could be trapped for months.

This was not Hollywood but real - vulnerable boys with real mothers and fathers pierced by anxiety. When, sadly, a Thai navy diver died while helping set up the rescue mission, the scale of the challenge was underlined.

If he perished, what chance did weakened boys have? They mostly could not swim, let alone dive.

Modern technology transmitted images from inside the cave, and the boys' discovery by a pair of English volunteer cave divers was riveting viewing. Day by day, step by step, the tension mounted.

International rivalries were put aside as specialist help mobilised from the likes of Britain, China, Japan, Australia and Thailand. So much could go wrong. So little did, apart from the awful death of the Thai diver.

It showed that this planet, riven with violence, greed and power, could unite towards one goal. This cruel world could care. And it mattered not the colour of your skin or to which God, or Gods, you prayed, or if you just hoped for the boys' deliverance.

It is as if humanity needed this focus. Natural disasters, wars, illness, accidents, murder and tragedies all persist. The looming devastation of climate change bears down on us all, authoritarian governments gain ground, and world trade and stability is threatened.

But, at least for two weeks, everyone could co-operate in goodwill for a group of lost and then trapped boys.

It probably helped they came from Thailand, a nation not privileged and not a threat. In any event, though, what person - yet alone parent - could not relate to such peril and the agony.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the floods in Japan yesterday headed upwards of 150, including many children. Such is the nature of news and public interest that it receives much less attention. Off the coast of Thailand itself, a tourist boat full of Chinese tourists went down last Thursday with 44 deaths, also including children. Again, this tragedy was soon overtaken by other events.

That is life and death on planet Earth. We are drawn to news to which we can relate, which affects us or our emotions. Unfortunately, we are often attracted by the macabre, the bad and the disasters. The media, to be successful, more and more believes it needs to oblige.

As social, tribal beings, we also seek and are emboldened by common motives and causes. Many love to come together in the artificiality and enjoyment of sport. How much more it means to ''hold hands'' in fellow feeling across the world on something that actually matters - the lives of vulnerable children.

Part of us, as well, yearns for happy endings to real dramas with uncertain outcomes. That is what the saga of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex in northern Thailand provided.

Often the outcomes will be devastating. For every baby rescued from earthquake rubble, scores of others die. For every successful rescue, others will fail. But, this time, out of the cave's darkness, came light.

We should revel in this. We can work together on a difficult and complex operation. We can overcome the odds.

We can, in our shared humanity, be both proud and grateful at both what was achieved and how it was accomplished.

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