Thursday, January 10, 2008


I have just read a book about Shackleton. He and 27 more men tried to walk across the South Pole from one sea to the other. When they were getting to the South Pole in 1915 on their ship "Endurance", the freezing sea caught the "Endurance" in the ice until it was broken up by the enourmous pressure of the ice on the ship. Shackleton and his men lived for almost two years adrift hopping from one iceberg to another, feeding on seals and penguins. Finally, Shackleton and two more men sailed a small boat for more than 3000 miles until they got to an island from where all his men were rescued.

It is an amazing story, they all came back!. Shackleton died a few years later, but most of his men lived long lives, and many spent a lot of their time speaking about their ordeal.

Shackelton people chose to go on that trip, and they knew it was going to be dangerous and demanding, they even knew they would be talking about it since most of their adventure was well depicted by a photographer who was part of the expedition. Shackleton always led the group with handfist, he was a strong and dedicated leader.

We were not prepared for our ordeal, we didn´t have a strong formal leadership structure, we didn´t know where we were, we didn´t have any mountain experience, but as Shackleton´s people, we are very happy to have survived our ordeal, and we enjoy talking about it.

But I am sure that for every Shackleton and for every "Alive" experiences, there are plenty of other human ordeals of which their survivors don´t want to talk about it. Just think about war, on concentration camps, famine situations in Africa, or the most recent Colombian kidnaps, how many extreme episodes still do occur!! And those who survive them, do not talk about them, they just can´t open their heart and memories to others and simply look ahead.

Why is that? What makes our story so unique?

1 comment:

Maria Susana Azzi said...

Leí LA SOCIEDAD DE LA NIEVE en menos de 24 horas. Pensaba en Uds, en vuestra ordeal, y pensaba en Sir Ernest Shackleton allá en 1914.... Visité la Antártida en un barco chico, éramos un grupo reducido, muy especial, con seis expertos increíbles. Leí cuanto pude a mi regreso, con gran pasión. Un año más tarde, con la misma pasión, leo éste vuestro libro. Dos historias DESCOMUNALMENTE HUMANAS. Gracias por compartir.
Cordiales saludos,
María Susana Azzi
Antropóloga Cultural
Buenos Aires, Argentina