Joyful reactions to rescue of boys from cave

The rescue of twelve boys and their football coach who were trapped for two and a half weeks in a flooded cave in Thailand has been followed closed by media across the globe. Observers are fascinated by the fact that an international team pulled out all the stops to carry the rescue off - also because the incident exposes the way human empathy works.

Open/close all quotes
Slate (FR) /

The limits of human empathy

Slate explains why the rescue of the Thai boys and their coach attracted so much more attention and support than other humanitarian crises:

“We are also victims of the phenomenon of 'psychic numbing' that results from people's incapacity to incorporate more than a certain number of people into their reflexion. It is extremely difficult for us to think in terms of millions of people. Therefore our ability to help and feel empathy diminishes as the number of victims rises. For this reason people are far more sensitive to the fate of the twelve Thai boys than to that of the millions of migrants that are flowing towards Europe's shores. Also the engagement of famous personalities like Brazilian footballer Ronaldo or Elon Musk and his submarine can be attributed to the impact of 'psychic numbing.”

Eleftheros Typos (GR) /

Globalisation from its best side

The children's rescue must be seen as an answer to nationalists and opponents of globalisation, Eleftheros Typos stresses:

“This rescue action was characterised by extraordinary courage, solidarity and the use of cutting-edge technology. It was globalisation at its best. In addition to the Thai task forces and thousands of volunteers from across the country, special units came to the flooded cave from all over the world. ... At a time when national identities are combatting internationalism and a huge, unedifying debate is underway about globalisation and the dangers of artificial intelligence, an event like this really points the way forward.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Humanity shows its best side

The way the Thai boys were rescued with help from all over the world is a reason to be hopeful, The Guardian writes:

“At a moment of rising division, the rescue has been a model of international collaboration. US military personnel, British rescue experts and specialists from China, Australia and Japan have worked alongside the Thai authorities and people. In an era of greed, many involved are unpaid volunteers. … The rescue is a true inspiration: a powerful reminder of what can be done when humans overcome their fears, pull together and put others first. In short, when they care.”

Vedomosti (RU) /

Boys' lives took precedence over national pride

Thailand's government learned the right lessons from the tsunami disaster of 2004, Vedomosti writes in praise:

“The news of the boys going missing in a cave in Thailand very quickly became a media phenomenon with active support from the social networks, meaning that the state authorities couldn't afford to ignore it. ... The successful rescue operation showed that the Thai government can effectively help tourists - both Thai tourists and foreigners - in critical situations. ... The state leadership has demonstrated that it values human life above all else and is willing to mobilise all the rescue forces at its disposal. It didn't hesitate to accept help from abroad and didn't lose valuable time worrying about whether that would harm its - or the country's - image.”