Thirty-three is their number. Sixty-nine days their nightmare.
Compressed into an unexpected unity, the world gasped. Then waited. Hoped. Anticipated. Celebrated! The 33 are men – miners, more specifically. Now they are heroes. Survivors. Conquerors. Celebrities. Each one transported 2,041 feet from their rock-walled cocoon to be surface dwellers again. No expense was spared to bring them back – more than $22 million at this point. They received a special diet, vaccinations, sweat wicking clothing and socks to prevent athlete’s foot. Indeed, great value was placed on preserving the lives of these men.
October 13 was the day of rescue as all 33 miners experienced a unique “rebirthing” over 22 hours and 37 minutes. More than 1500 journalists were on site, pens and cameras ready. Children stayed home from school to watch the historic deliveries. Live video streamed across the globe as daily routines were interrupted for 33 special moments of celebration. The significance of the rescue operation was summed by Sebastian Pinera, President of Chile. Greeting the 15th miner upon exiting the rescue capsule, President Pinera said, “Welcome to life!”
42 million is their number. They lived a nightmare.
Captive to a place of darkness, these 42 million also waited for delivery. They waited quietly. Patiently. Trustingly. Expectantly. Some waited in secret. Others were known. Some were unexpected. Perhaps a nuisance. An accident. A liability. An embarrassment. An inconvenience. A risk. The product of selfish carelessness. These captives were tagged “unworthy” of extraordinary effort or expense.
Who are these captives, this 42 million? They are daughters and sons. They are doctors and musicians. Plumbers and pastors. They are store managers, snow plow drivers, farmers, teachers, machinists…and miners. But these miners are not like the 33. These were not rescued. They were left in darkness, undelivered to safety. They were not afforded the chance to hear, “Welcome to life!”
This group of 42 million are last year’s worldwide counting of aborted, pre-born children. A group which leaves a gaping wound on the landscape of humanity.
Now please hear me. I applaud and cheer and smile at the rescue in Chile. Marvelous. Fantastic. Inspiring. Bravo! But as I cheer I can’t stop thinking about 42 million humans who were never valued the same as the 33 miners. 42 million people who were never celebrated this side of eternity.
Placed on the scales of reason or justice, there is no balancing the 33 miners and the 42 million. It’s irreconcilable by all measures. Do we cling to the hope that our cheers for the 33 will drown the 42 million voices screaming for justice? Can we continue to tolerate our own duplicity? Consider this: what would be our response if someone suggested the 33 miners were not worth saving? Outrage? An absurd proposition? 42 million times each year this proposition is offered – and we take it! Outrageous? What do you think?