Everyone is searching for the Thai cave boys

Mashari Althaydi
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The crisis of the Thai boys who were stuck in a cave besieged with water came to a happy ending. Only one diver died during the rescue operation and he has been praised by the world as a hero.

In brief, the boys, who are part of a young football team, and their coach finished their training and ran towards a cave complex then got stuck in its maze after rainwater besieged them at the entrances. The irony is that some of them could not swim, and I never thought that a boy or a girl in this land which is surrounded by all this water does not know how to swim.

The rescue operation was very complicated. Foreign experienced divers and Thai Navy SEALs participated in it. All this is well-known and reasonable. However what attracted my attention is the international follow-up on the story as it’s became the second most trending news after World Cup.

Speaking of the World Cup, even the head of FIFA voiced the association’s concern about the boys by extending an invitation to them and their coach to attend the World Cup final match. Some doctors, however, warned of travel may threaten their health following all these days of food and sleep deprivation.

EXPLAINER: Revealing the rescue plan which freed seven boys from Thai cave

This news is worthy of attention, but the question is would it have gained all this extensive follow-up if, for example, it happened 20 years ago?

I mean do the social media explosion and the interest of celebrities and those similar to celebrities and who seek to be popular influence the standards of social media?

This violent squeezing of everything in life whether in joy or in grief from those on social media is terrifying.

Mashari Althaydi

Whenever there is a piece of news, story or event that people are following up on, we see an intense race by the heroes of the new media who reproduce everyday as they compete over who rides the high waves of this news.

American billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, published a video on his Instagram account clarifying part of the rescue operation. Musk wrote: “Just returned from the cave.”

EXPLAINER: How the rescue operation aims to save Thai boys trapped inside cave

If this incident touched a famous rich “modern” investor like Elon Musk, then what’s the case of others whose only worth is increasing the number of followers on their social media pages?

This violent squeezing of everything in life whether in joy or in grief from those on social media is terrifying.

This article is also available in Arabic.


Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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