We Need To Learn From The Thailand Cave Incident

We Need To Learn From The Thailand Cave Incident

Do not be reckless, and do not take things for granted.


Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know about the Tham Luang cave rescue by now. On June 23, 2018, 12 boys, members of a junior football (soccer) team were trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand after their coach Ekapol Chantawong led them in to explore it. All 12 of the boys and their coach were rescued, but it came at the expense of rescue worker Saman Kunan's life.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this: never take anything or anyone for granted, and do not engage in overly reckless behavior like exploring a cave with fluctuating water levels.

This football team was reportedly looking to celebrate the 17th birthday of one of the players and they decided to spelunk this cave. Shortly after they entered it, a squall came on. A downpour of heavy rain partially flooded the cave and trapped the boys and Chantawong inside it. They were forced to venture deeper into the cave to avoid rising water levels.

The authorities reported the team and their coach missing after a ranger of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation discovered their gear at the entrance to the cave. Thai Navy SEALs were summoned to the cave to begin a rescue attempt. They were joined by cave diving experts and members of the United States Indo-Pacific Command. They executed the rescue with extreme difficulty due to continuous rain further flooding the cave.

On July 2 at 22:00, the rescue workers discovered all 13 victims alive deep inside the cave. They cleared the area quickly due to the high probability of monsoon rains flooding the cave throughout October. Over the course of several days, a group of divers escorted each of the boys out of the cave, providing them with face masks and using a rope line.

On July 10, all of the boys were rescued along with Chantawong. The remaining rescue workers had difficulty escaping due to the water levels rising after they had previously dropped, but they managed to make it out.

Unfortunately, one rescue worker, 38-year-old Saman Kunan, died of asphyxiation trying to bring the boys supplies on July 6. He ran out of air underwater while swimming through a narrow passageway. His diving partner brought him to the surface, but he was dead on arrival and he could not be resuscitated.

There is a huge lesson to be learned from this. One should never engage in an overly reckless behavior. Exploring a cave that has water flowing into it is an example of this, especially when you have young boys who do not have their parents with them.

Additionally, this incident should be a reminder to everyone that they should not take the people they love for granted. You never know when someone may die. It could be today or tomorrow that you lose a loved one. Situations like the Tham Luang Nang Nonincident are certainly rare, but your friends and family could still be dead before you know it.

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A Brief History Of Language

Just in case you needed a reminder of how we're all connected.

Although the origin of language is hotly debated, many scholars believe the first spoken language appeared in sub-Saharan Africa at about the same time modern humans emerged. From there, humans and their language spread out into Mesopotamia, where agriculture was the main way of life. The new farmers in the modern-day region of Turkey spoke a language which would become the mother tongue of the entire Indo-European language family. As these people spread out through the Mediterranean, Europe and Asia, many new languages were born of this single ancient one. Some well-known members of the Indo-European language family are Greek, Latin, Spanish, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Hindi. How crazy is it to think that all of these languages have that one common ancestor, spoken by semi-nomadic farmers thousands of years ago?

Within Europe, there is a fascinating divide between the Romantic and Germanic languages. The Romantic are those descended from Latin in the family tree, and the Germanic are those descended from local Germanic tribes. This divide reflects the areas conquered by the Roman Empire, (with the exception of England.) On the Romantic side, Europe boasts languages such as Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese. Germanic languages are those of Norse, Dutch, English and, of course, German. Also prominent are the Celtic languages, such as Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Welsh.

Obviously, we have more than one language family in the world, although none are quite as widespread as the Indo-European. The second-largest is the Ural-Altaic family, including Mongolian, Turkish, and Hungarian. The Ural-Altaic family members are found throughout Europe and Asia. (The Sino-Tibetan family fills in the rest of Asia.) Considered important in three of the world's major religions, Semitic languages are believed to have developed from a single tribal group in Arabia around 3000 BC. These languages then spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Out of the 5000 languages spoken in the world today, one-third are found in Africa. This is clearly a very diverse continent in terms of language, and there are in fact six different language groups within Africa! As the widely-accepted birthplace of humanity, and host to so many languages, one would assume a good amount of research exists on the language family trees in Africa, but this is not so. As I wrote this article, I searched for language trees of all the major language families, and the most detailed ones I found were only for the Indo-European family. The continued Eurocentricity of history, science and society in general will never cease to astound me.

Until recently, it was accepted that some language families developed independently, such as in East Asia, however, some scholars today believe all language families have origins in ancient Africa. It is absolutely mind-blowing to think that so many different languages could be connected by a single common ancestor! From sub-Saharan Africa, to Persia, to India, to Mongolia, to the spread of the Roman Empire, human language has followed us throughout history. All people are connected, and it's time we started pointing out our similarities rather than our differences.

Cover Image Credit: Jay Warrenfells

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China Has Committed An Atrocious Act Of Persecution And It Needs An International Reaction

Putting such a major human acts violation under the rug, under any circumstance, cannot happen.


If you've been following the news lately, China has been popping in and out of daily briefing emails like it's a box office hit's sequel release in a New York movie theater — a lot. Most of this has to do with international politics that directly affect U.S trade relations with China, the unpopular arrest of a Huawei CFO, allegations of responsibility on a major cyber attack on the Marriot Hotel chain, and growing and high-rate accusations of Chinese economic espionage from the American DOJ.

To put it simply, Chinese and U.S relations are wavering in their tension, with the international binds tearing relentlessly on each other end — but not without justification — that being that both the U.S and China have seen their interests grow increasingly in conflicting mannerisms due to political circumstance.

But beyond these conflicts, we've overlooked a major humanitarian crisis going on in China — odious conduction in the propagandic name of "re-education camps." Those re-education" camps reportedly being detention camps that torture those of the Muslim faith — literally.

There are reports of waterboarding — literally. Detainees have been required to eat pork and drink alcohol — both of which are against the teachings of the Muslim Faith. The name isn't designed to fool people either. Muslim minorities have actively been persecuted by the Chinese Government, stating in their own legislation that these camps are now legal.

The main targets of persecution have been Uighur Muslims, which there are tens of millions of people of in the country, been running at a minimum of tens of thousands in such camps, but estimates from confrontations by the U.N Council puts that number at a staggering one.

Not one. Not 100. Not 100,000.

One million. Up to 1 Million People.

Atop torturing, there's serious indoctrination that Muslims go through in these camps – forced praise of Xi Jinping, chanting and studying propaganda. They aren't re-education camps. They are indoctrination camps. The government just doesn't seem to like it being put into explicit context.

China's justification for this? To protect themselves from extremism. The same thing other countries are doing – like the U.S- but rather than detaining and persecuting a minority, such as detecting explosives, investments in the general protection of critical infrastructure and cyber networks from attack, and information-sharing partnerships.

It's evident that detainment is not the only solution.

Let's be clear here- there is room for intent here. One of those intent being an attempt at hiking collectivism and nationalism in a country that depends on both two factors to grow. In a time when they are facing greater strain with the U.S., enhancing those two factors through any means necessary. Including scapegoating and persecution, inclusive protectionism in a nation that relies on it to grow their name can be an appealing option.

There's a common theory that history has the tendency to mirror itself.

In a vile, twisted action of leveled federal McCarthyism, the Chinese Government has Soviet, Cold-War-era regulations written over its actions. Scapegoating. Potential gain from collectivism. Anti-populist carelessness. Dependency on propaganda.

In the mirror's reflection, however, there was clear condemnation. The president, and the U.S, as a nation took to call for change.

There are international lines that need to have been crossed. In a world with a model known as the "United Nations," we have a responsibility to take care of these. All of us in the U.N. to protect those under us. That's what governments do. When they meet, that has to be a priority.

To ensure the safety of millions of people? That's a requirement.

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