The Thai boys cave rescue and the limits of compassion

Thai cave rescue

Many were riveted to the rescue of the young boys soccer team from Thailand trapped in a cave the last week. Many prayers and well wishes went out from people concerned about the fate of the boys. Now that it has been demonstrated that people have the ability to care it is time to turn our attention to issues that are just pressing that affect the well -being of human kind.

On any day there are a myriad of tragedies occurring or about to occur the fact that the bourgeoisie press all over the developed world put this front and center nearly daily says something. Reports kept alluding to the whole world watching, but that wasn’t remotely true as many people in the developing world and the oppressed in the developed world were navigating their own crises.

It was inspiring to see the international cooperation in the effort to save the boys and just as inspiring to see that no costs were spared in their rescue.

However it would probably be safe to assume that some of the same people cheering on the Thai boys rescue are some of the same folks who are opposed to medical coverage for poor people or are advocates of the impoverished and the elderly  working for their Medicaid. Some of these same people would be uncomfortable with these boys living next to them, especially if they lived in affordable housing. Many ignore all the crises going on around them and are okay with their fellow citizens being locked up for long periods time rather than being dealt with in a real and restorative way. Many  of the same people are likely okay with discrimination against fellow citizens because of their color, sexual affiliation, religion, immigration status but they cynically cheer on the well- being of a few boys from the Third World.

If someone asked them to vote to improve conditions in the Third World they would most likely steadfastly refuse.

It was easy to care about the Thai boys, it didn’t cost us anything. We didn’t have to contribute anything. We didn’t have to get off the couch, we did not have to risk being ostracized for caring about “those” people. We can avoid all the strange looks that one might get while taking a knee to solidarize with others who are trying to bring the problem of police violence to the forefront.

This also exposes the press as underachievers. Just think if they constantly turned their attention to the grave injustices that exist in the world, the Yemeni famine, the foolhardiness of the continual US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the murder recently by Israel of over one hundred unarmed and defenseless Palestinians in Gaza. But the press did not continue to focus on these social disasters, instead they publicized and gave credence to the lies told by this administration, which sought to justify the State murder.

And contrast the reaction of the world to the Thai families who were separated from their children through an accident, with the reaction to the world to the inhumanity occurring on the US border with Mexico, in which children were separated from families, by decree of the State.

If we really want those children returned all we would have to do is refuse to take part in the system that deems this necessary. If we really want police violence and the various “isms” to stop, we need to stop cooperating with the system that deems this social inequality and violence necessary

In order to remove the young people from the cave, lots of technical and scientific expertise was required. In order to address the glaring injustice and inequality that exists between the so-called developed world and the underdeveloped world, all that has to happen is for people to sit down, that is to refuse to cooperate with the system.

A mother told a story about her interaction with a homeless man while accompanied by her four yeaf old. “When a homeless man recently asked me for money to stay in a shelter (there’s no free shelter in our city, which is a justice issue in and of itself), I gave him a dollar. My 4 year old said “and now he’ll have a place to live because you gave him the money?” I explained that no, he was just trying to get enough money for a place to stay tonight. “Oh,” my little guy said. “It’s too bad you didn’t give him enough money to buy a house.”

The kid’s point was that though his mother could not afford to buy a man a house it is what is needed. He did not assume like the rest of us that temporary shelter was the solution, but the man should have a house as he does and as all human beings should have.

If the boys from Thailand are worth our attention, then so should our other brothers and sisters who are struggling, not with accidents brought on by nature, but purposeful policies implemented by human beings, who have purposely constructed these social floods to hinder the advancement of some of human kind.

It is not enough to cheer for the Thai boys. In fact it is hypocritical to cheer for their well- being while participating in a society that we know limits the full human potential of some of our neighbors.


justice then peace




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s