Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chernobyl Is Almost Empty But We All Still Live There

Much has been written on witsendmagazine over the past several weeks about the radioactive state of Scraps the Cat.  You may recall that she was injected with radio-iodine 131 as treatment of two tumors on her thyroid gland which produced a state of hyperthyroidism from which she was falling into ill repair.  You've doubtless also read about our current dilemma of having a blivit, if you will, of cat crap and our need to wait a month for it to turn into normal household garbage so we can send it off to the landfill with the rest of our dare I say crap as opposed to, after following the complicated and portentous directions on the swheat cat litter box, flushing it down the toilet and thus risking billions of dollars in plumbing bills.  That's all going well and according to schedule.
Radioactive iodine.
Funny thing about that stuff and about how we are -- we meaning everything on this planet -- so completely connected.
Joanna Macy, PhD. is an eco-philosopher, a scholar of Buddhism, and a leading voice in movements for peace, justice, and a safe environment.  She has written a lot of books and and a little 12 page almost pamphlet called The Elm Dance.
In The Elm Dance she tells of her work in Russia helping people recover or at least survive the psychological wounds inflicted by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.  She shares a story told her by a Russian psychologist who flew to Chernobyl within hours of the disaster and then for years following helped the survivors cope and recover.  Dr. Macy in her words tells us his story:  "The burning reactor was a volcano of radioactivity when the winds shifted to the Northeast, carrying the clouds of poisoned smoke in the direction of Moscow.  To save the millions in the metropolitan area, a fast decision was taken to seed the clouds and cause them to precipitate.  An unusually heavy late April rain, bearing intense concentrations of radioactive iodine, strontium, cesium, and particles of plutonium, drenched the towns and fields and forests of the Bryansk region, just across the Russian border from Chernobyl. ... The people were not informed of their government's choice -- who wants to tell people they're disposable?  By now it's common knowledge that the clouds were seeded, but is is rarely mentioned.  And that silence, too, is part of the tragedy for the people of Novozybkov."
The forest near Novozybkov remains so radioactive that none can safely enter it.  The area still experiences the exhaustion, the cancers, the miscarriages, the deformed babies and the emotional recoil of the disaster.
Because of Scraps the Cat I know I am connected to the baby in Novozybkov born with severe birth defects.  Because of Joanna Macy I know that I am also connected equally to the rain that fell onto that city and changed the lives of its people and the life of this planet forever.

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