If people knew about Chernobyl, they would think twice about bombing nuclear facilities. Extreme danger of nuclear contamination is present regardless if nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons production is the target. Our world has grown too small for bombing atomic reactors. Bombing nuclear facilities in Iran to make the world “safer” is insane – an oxymoron similar to “Holy war” or “fighting for peace”
Let’s cast a retrospective look at half life of some nuclear elements as if we lived in a past. We can see, in what relation nuclear elements stand to the history of progress. The half-life of Americium is 458 years, and to spread this kind of contamination around the planet will send our civilization back to the age of Shakespeare. Plutonium contamination will poison our earth for 24,400 years, which sends us back to the age of mammoths. Neptunium-237 has an extraordinarily long half-life of two million years, and we are back to being monkeys again
In contrast the half-life of useful service for a politician can be measured in mere months, and most can not see any problem that exists beyond the length of this period. Let me drive home one more example to explain how small and miserable are the ambitions of our politicians: If the Romans had invented nuclear power and later someone would bomb their reactors, this land would still contain traces of radioactivity and we would still, 2000 years later, have armed militias guarding their dumps of high-level nuclear waste.
On an optimistic note
This days, I work on translating materials from my websites in European languages. Translation work began in December 2006, and by April 2007 more than 800 pages had been translated. This is important, because Chernobyl is never healed wound, real “Achilles’ heel” of nuclear monster. I am sure, our efforts won’t be wasted.
In regards to nuclear accidents, whenever any grievous error appears, gains notoriety and receives applause at the hands of officials, we should not despair but rather simply realize that they make a living out of the Nuclear Industry. Why would they ever want the full truth known? Public knowledge and acceptance of the truth would mean no jobs for them. They and their nuclear military complex have strong connections with politicians, they own the media, and they have all money in the world, because it is taxpayers money that the politicians pour into nuclear industry. With such depth of means they can withstand the likes of two or even three “Chernobyl like” events in a present, but they can not annihilate the past. It’s just impossible. They will lose and we will win, because on our side is the unfailing tendency of time to correct knowledge and judgment. The past has reason on its side. If that reason is not admitted, it will return to demand it. The past is of its essence a revenant. If put out, it comes back and haunts, inevitably and the only way to separate from it is not to put it out, but to accept its existence and to live with it.
Reaching right judgement can be a long lasting process. It usually takes several generations for the general population to recognize of its own accord truths which those with clear vision detected at the first glance. How long this will take with Chernobyl, depends on us – people who already know the real state of things and are ready to inform the others. The length of this period is also depends upon the difficulty of the subject and all around radiation is deliberately made confusing, but in Chernobyl facts themselves are eloquent of a truth. No one can keep accidents of such magnitude concealed from public forever, not even almighty nuclear industry. Government officials will always cover up idustrial accidents, but it is not officials, neither industries who correct knowledge, it is we- regular people who form a correct judgement and make history right.
We are at the point that discovery is inevitable. The rules of sham and deception – emboldened by success and powered by the blind confidence of the blockheads who promote them will come to an end. The absurdity of all official reports about Chernobyl reached such a pitch that at last truth is obvious even to the dullest eye. We may thus let them go ahead. At this time, the wilder their statements, the better… and the easier for us to push them around and push them away…..
During the cold war, this dangerous period that could have made Cherny look like a child’s sparkler, academic Andrei Sakharov dared to critisize the Soviet nuclear programme. The outcome was following- arrests, interrogations, public disgrace… Sakharov believed reactors can be safe, when they were built underground.
Academic Legasov, who dreamt of an “Instutute of Safe Technologies” was made a scapegoat. He was diagnosed with cancer, which he received in Chernobyl, but the system forced him to leave his life even sooner, he commited suicide on the day of second annivesary of Chernobyl.
The press branded Dr Gordon Mac Lead a scaremonger after he proved that the accident at Three-Mile Island brought an increase in infant mortality.
Take any country, any time, and you will see that the story is the same ; whether we talk about Didier Anger arrested in France for organizing nuclear protest actions, in the 60-ties, or Youri Bandazhevsky, from Belorus, who studied genetic mutations in Chernobyl and was sentenced for 5 years in prison, after his foundings were published in 1996. Whether we have the murder of Karen Silkwood in USA or the murder of Hilda Murrell, an expert of nuclear waste in UK… the story is always the same. Only the time and place are different.
Still, I wish someone would attempt a study of the tragic history of all those who, before and since, have proclaimed to the world the dangers of nuclear power. I should have condemned the shabby way in which these scientists and researchers, who form the proudest possession of the various nations, were being treated. Such a history would tell of the martyrdom of almost all those who didn’t want to adjust themselves to half-truth, but being driven by instinct to the needs of our common self-preservation wanted to find the whole truth, who did an invaluable service to humanity, and who applied all their talents and strength to warning people about nuclear danger they faced.
Such a history would show us how they were tormented to death and jailed, how they worked without recognition, without sympathy, without followers, how they were losing their jobs and lived in poverty, misery and fear, whilst honor, money and security were stolen by the unworthy. We would learn of how they were sneaking through the checkpoints, to bring out photos and reveal reality, using only cheap cameras while millions dollars were wasted on equipement of mainstreem media reporters. We would learn how they investigated what truth really is and not what suits the mighty industrial/military complex. Mostly, how they worked without any chance to get their researches ever published. Their fate was like that of Esau who, while he was hunting and getting venison for his father, was robbed of the blessing by Jacob.. , Those people are lighthouses of humanity; and without them mankind would lose itself in atomic smoke and the boundless sea of monstrous errors. They are the salt of the earth, fruits of that tree, which Jesus said will be cut down and put in fire when it does not give a good fruit.
The work of every such person as it were, a sacred object of his or her life, and their aim in storing it away for unlucky posterity, who after they will inherit the wasted land with piles of radioactive garbage won’t be interested in anything, other than knowing – how did this happen and how it began.
To understand why posterity will be so unlucky as to be forcefully purified of the dross of civilisation, let’s foreshadow a course along which our present movement is taking us. The story of our civilization is a story of swineherd, who has wasted his father’s possessions with pigs of this world, who has adulterated his father’s inheritance with evil beasts and corporative monsters. The future of our civilization is as predictable as the life of an alcoholic, who is not led by free will, but instead is being dragged by the chains of needs and necessity.
Up to 1980s, we may be compared, in respect of the way in which we used resources- our vital energy, to people who lived on the interest of their money: what they spend to-day, they have again to-morrow. But from the 1980s onwards, our position is like that of the investor who begins to entrench upon their capital. We reached 100 per cent of using nature’s yearly output.
At first we hardly notice any difference at all, as the greater part of our expenses are covered by the interest (renewability) of nature’s securities; and if the deficit is only slight, we pay no attention to it. But when the deficit goes on increasing, our natural wealth – like polar ice caps and glaciers – begins to melt away. The pace is picking up exponentially, but the vast majority of people have not awakened to the fact that it is becoming more serious every day.
As the drunken party goes on, our position becomes less and less secure. Already we feel ourselves growing poorer and poorer, while we still can not foresee that this drain upon our resources must soon come to a disastrous end. No one dares to stop the party, live-for-today orgy continues even though our fall from wealth to poverty becomes faster every moment – like the fall of a solid body in space – until at last we have absolutely nothing left. Once this party is over, all that remains is a wasted land and a huge social hangover.
Our unlucky posterity who will inherit such land will most probably de-volve into hunter-gatherers. They will live in separated communities, in cruel hardship. They will have to struggle and adjust to new reality of scarcity. In many ways they will be like the last survivors who still live in Chernobyl. They are unlucky and – as all unlucky people – have only good philosophy as substitute for the good life lost.
This spring the market spawned a Chernobyl-like computer game called S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: (Shadow of Chernobyl) This is a popular game and it received good deal of publicity through debate over the wisdom of turning a scene of misery into a computer game. I myself do not have opinion about the game, but I do have high anxiety about the systematic way in which our science, business and political systems seek to: (1) keep us in this simplified, throughly artificial, suitably constructed and suitably falsified world of video games, and (2) deny all consequences of failure and human misery.
What they like to strive for with all their powers is universal happiness of the herd that can find enjoyment of life only in aspiration for falsifying it’s image, with security, lack of danger, comfort and easier life for everyone. Millions are now chasing Chernobyl monsters, on their computers, without any idea that there is a real monster behind this scenery and this monster may begin to chase everyone, any time, in real life.
The Atomic Middle Ages
In May 2007 I put up my book “The Atomic Middle Ages”. Title of the book derives from my strong conviction that we are living in a time similar to Middle Ages in Europe. After the barbarians conquered Rome, several centuries just disappeared from the human calendar. The church became the highest authority, creativity was suppressed, and peoples minds were poisoned with drinks and religion.
Being under the iron dictates of corporations as it is today, Europe now is flooded by migrant aliens and the peoples minds are being poisoned by all sorts of new “narcotics”- ideological, religious and biochemical.
I truly believe that in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own- The Atomic Middle Ages and historical significance of Chernobyl is that sarcophagus represents the first tombstone of this epoche. It will remain radioactive for at least 100,000 years and will definitely outlive all other signs of our time.
Of course, most people do not share this idea because they believe themselves to be living in progressive times. But seven hundred years ago no one who lived in what we now call the Middle Ages thought of themselves as living in it. In the Middle Ages, people thought they were living in modern times and believed in a human progress, just as people do today.
Today, more and more countries of the world are beginning to build nuclear reactors, abandoning plans to phase out old nuclear plants or open discussions on construction of new ones. The Atomic Renaissance leaves no doubts that both the western and eastern civilized worlds are entering a new “Dark Age” with “faith-based thinking” depending upon mindless, violent, dark propaganda and unreasonable belief systems.
We appear to be moving away from reason-based critical thinking, hard work, and creative innovation – moving instead toward an ultra-selfish, do-nothing, mindless consumerism with our leaders being controlled by powerful greed-motivated corporatism. We are rapidly moving toward a false kind of democracy that is really corporate-controlled, militaristic fascism. This process is global.
They build nuclear reactors as if by command. Atomic power is invading our planet as easily as Hitler invaded Europe, meeting little resistance now and then. That is a good illustration of what globalization is, in reality. The globalization of cultures, in which different races and nations mix and mingle together is another sign of New Middle Ages. This name is a compliment to our time, for this dictated world-view differes from that of the Middle Ages in that the medieval world-view was something truly integral, organic, grandiose and tranquil while that of to-day is something noisy, hastily tacked together, ill-considered and lacking all depth.
Do not allow the corporate media to lead you astray and make believe that globalization will enrich nations inwardly. Being based only on economic interests, globalization can only bring dividends to corporations, this makes it easier for them to penetrate markets and establish corrupt consortiums; at the start they can elevate some economies, but for the life of societies and their culture, it is diminution and in the long run will be a disaster for economies too.
For cultures, globalization is like “Round Up” for plants, it kills almost everything, leaving only one type – “Round Up” ready, wooden headed consumers, who have no special standing or mark to distinguish them. They are like mass manufactured goods – all alike, deprived of the ability to think and judge – barbarians! The barbarians of the digital age, whose agenda it is, to watch TV, play computers, worship sports players and revere movie stars.
Globalization divides inner poverty in the same degree in which it distributes outer riches. If people are passive, like now, then globalization will bring us down, it will make us mediocre and will lower social and moral values, vulgarity and corruption will be spread all over, for it is easy to be cheap and adopting each other’s shortcomings is much easier than adopting merits.
While Nature sets a very wide difference between races and the nations, globalization disregards and effaces them. As mixed up colors lose their brightness, so is a mutual integration compels us, for the sake of harmony, to shrivel up, or even alter our shape altogether. This demands an act of severe self-denial; it robs us of national identity as each ethnic group or the nation has to forfeit five-sixths of their own selves in order to be like the others.
I will go further and say that globalization necessarily involves as the first condition of its existence, mutual accommodation and restraint upon the part of its members. This means that the larger the conglomerate and the more nations involved, the more insipid will be its tone and the lower its values. In the end nations which have become inwardly poor come to be poor outwardly and the whole lot just collapses, like the former Soviet Union.
I call our time “The Atomic Middle Ages” because many of its portents are reminiscent of the beginning of the first Middle Ages. The process of the collapse of states is transpiring parallel to an universalistic uniting. There have began the processes of drawing back and consolidation, similar to the processes of drawing back and consolidation during the time of the emperor Diocletian, and of those who succeeded him.
In my part of the world I clearly see the beginning of a new feudalization. The multitude of break-away republics, for two decades living without any monetary system or any other attributes of a state, are lead by ambitious feudal lords. Each of these aspires to ascend to the position of a nuclear baron.
Today there are enormous transmigrations and displacements of mankind’s masses. There ensues a new chaos among all peoples. As barbarism advances, rapidly gaining ground everywhere, the number of real professionals and conscientious specialists is constantly decreasing. The question I want to ask is ‘Who will guard the high level waste and who will care for atomic facilities when automated systems break down and politics get out of hand?’
If this process continues at the present rate, then soon there will be no specialists, only a swirling mass of near-savages who occupy both civil service positions and high tech installations. What awaits us is a new barbarism, but it won’t be a barbarism amidst forests and fields as in Rome, this will be a barbarism amidst a neo-hell of war machines and nuclear reactors.
Spiritual culture these days, like in the Middle Ages, is experiencing its catacombs period. Today it lives not upon the pages of papers and magazines, nor within the halls of universities or churches. The true spiritual culture of our time has been driven underground and now lives in the virtual caves, passages, and labyrinths of internet sites.
My book sprang from these catacombs where it reflects the color of our gathering social twilight. It is not a downer and neither does it seek to blame. Rather I intend it to be sown as the seeds of a wildflower among the tares of technology.
Officially, the Atomic Middle Ages began on May 7, 1945, with the first USA atomic trial called Trinity. Since then, obtaining nuclear weapons has become a priority of many countries. Because we live in the world where states having as much rights as they have power, civilian nuclear programmes have always been under the special protections of their government military complex. No one cares that each nuclear power station has cost millions of dollars, pounds or rubbles more than was estimated, that they have all taken years longer to build. It is even ignored that, at the end of it all, they have only produced a modest proportion of the total electricity required by their host countries. Naturally the politicians and military would disregard all this. Such technical failures are not at issue, after all, the atomic power industry is not about electricity, it is about power.
From my recent local papers: “Europe is poised to begin a new nuclear age, reversing two decades of policies aimed at abandoning nuclear power as an energy source following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986… Finland is building biggest nuclear plant, it will open in 2010. Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands have either abandoned plans to phase out old nuclear plants or opened discussions on construction of new ones. Switzerland has lifted a moratorium on new plants. Poland agreed in February to help build a plant in Lithuania.. Belarus starts construction next year on a nuclear plant that would begin generating power in 2014. Russia has started rebuilding old nuclear submarines and other nuclear warships as floating atomic plants, etc”
It is clear that the 20-year nuclear lull sparked by the Chernobyl disaster is coming to an end. Driving the turnaround: high oil and natural gas prices plus concern about poor reliability of fossil fuel supplies from Russia.
But most of all is concern about global warming, which is like a global Chernobyl in slow motion – a meltdown where the pace is picking up gradually as the polar ice caps and glaciers melt. The idea to cool off the earth with nuclear reactors is put forward by some who say the atomic reactors could be a good substitute to fossil fuel, because they do make a only minimum contribution to the forces of global warming. Others say, it’s not good idea, because building more reactors can lead only to meltdown in fast forward.
Alternative solutions such as wind and solar power still are not popular because they generate little money and even less political power. Meanwhile we absolutely have precious little time left to objectively look into clean and natural wind and solar options. If in the very near future alternate solution will not be developed, then we’ll only have a choice between increased usage of atomic power and fossil fuels… life will present, in fact, a more or less violent oscillation between those two extremes, as to between two ways, one of which leads to Chernobyl and the other to Atlantis.
To the degree in which we will be fortunate to get away from the one, the closer we’ll approach the other. After nuclear disasters, when terrors of radiation come to outweigh all other terrors – pain becomes only one standard by which we regulate our actions – so we will close the atomic plants; but once the nuclear pain is relieved then once again the hurricanes and floods will look more real threat. Over time we’ll seek to open the nuclear plants anew. If a healthy solution won’t be found, then we’ll move around within this vicious circle until at last we all end up in a radioactive swamp.
It is time for people to wake up and rid of that carefree attitude, time to realise that this serene and unclouded life of 1990s is no longer with us, it is a paradise which we have gambled away; today, the interest of mankind in staying alive overrides the life interest of nature; the conflict is growing and it is really time to understand that if we continue to force nature, then our victory will be just a brief hour, riches of a minute; No more. For nature will return very soon, and will teach us, in a rough and ready way that we really possess nothing at all, but that everything in the world is at its command. It will claim an unassailable right with double and treble force, for new territories, for our houses and businesses, for all we posses or aquire and then, when it will be too late, finally everyone will come to understand that we all have been governed by deception and lived by false standarts and that the only way for humans to survive is to live in harmony with nature, not in confrontation as universally adopted positive philosophy teach us. The failure to recognize this truth – a failure promoted by optimistic ideas – is the source for all our troubles.
Positive philosophy (positivism) is the philosophical doctrine of science, which teaches that it is best to emphasize the positive and not the disappointments which are an occasional part of life; that the world is meant to be conquered; that the only ones who fail to attain are those who are not clever enough to overcome the difficulties that lie in their way… In contrast, the Upanishads (a class of Vedic treatises dealing with broad philosophic problems) and the Bible all teach that grief is the only promise that life keeps and sorrow is the only thing that humans really possess…
Capitalism and socialism entirely alike were infected by this spirit. The main doctrine of communists, called “dialectical materialism,” was a form of positivism, in which a pattern of change in the history of enlightened socialist society consisted of irreversible changes in one direction only and that direction was towards improvement. According this doctrine, accidents similar to Chernobyl couldn’t happen; it was just impossible. But then, when it actually did happen this philosophy collapsed, bringing the Soviet Union down with it. Chernobyl has undermined the very foundation of Soviet ideology. The system couldn’t react, because the positivism was not the same scientifically-minded, reason-based critical positivism as it was at the beginning of 20th century, at that point doctrine had degraded into clumsy and mindless ideology of a party. Even though they never admitted the catastrophe, the system of dialectical materialism couldn’t any longer exist. I hoped that Chernobyl would be the last nail knocked in the coffin of soviet positivism, but it was not the case. Phantoms not dying, so is dialectical materialism this days is being converted in a new form of corporative positivism. Like huricane after it hits peninsula is often dissipated, so is illusion when it meets reality problems for a while is disfigured and deformed, but in a manner of huricane, phantom passes over and after a while it reorganizing, gathers new strengh, regaining new form and so it travel continues.. .]
My interview to “Wirtschaftswetter” online-magazine
Elena – where have you been on April 26, 1986? What happened to you and your family on that day?
This day was not different from the others, we played on the streets, we had south wind, so radiation was not high in Kiev. When levels start picking up my father sent me and my sister away, he put us in a train with no tickets. Panic had already begun, so train was full of children. My father says those days the levels of radiation in Kiev was over 1 milliroentgen per hour on eye level and 20-50 milliroentgen on the ground.
Now days such a high levels can only be found in radioactive burials in Chernobyl.
Most Kievers escaped and stayed at their relatives till the middle of May 1986, then schools, colleges, factories and other facilities started demanding employees and students back, so we had no other choise other than to return to radioactive Kiev.
Where are the people of Tchernobyl today?
People were relocated and now live in the different cities and towns of Ukraine – most in Kiev. Resettling was very painful for them. It’s like transplantation of a limb or replanting of the tree, which often fail to take root at new place, especially if environment is different.
Most Chernobyl evacuees lived in rural areas and here we have very big difference between life in cities and that in villages. Let me drive a few parallels to explain the problems.
Language – in cities people speak Russian, in villages Ukrainian. This is a major barrier.
Tempo – in villages life is static, in cities dynamic.
World view – in villages derives from nature-knowledge, it is organic, while in cities it is determined by engineering, art, tending to be mechanical and pragmatic.
Attitude – In villages attitude is telluric or organic, it derives from and is entwined with a cult of ancestors and is impossible without sacred traditions. Life in the city on the other hand is pro-civilization; it is a will to wield worldwide might, beginning with massive re-ordering of the surface of the earth itself. A city is international by nature, while a village is sub-national.
But what affected the villagers most deeply was the spiritual deprivation after their relocation. Life in villages religious by nature and by this it is distinct from life in cities, which is irreligious. A country soul is one whose gentle ways were influenced by the Christian period of history. It shines through everything with the rays of the Christian sun. In the city these rays have long been quenched by the lurid practices of godless civilisation.
By this reason many of Chernobyl evacuees have died from drinking, homesickness and despair, while others returned to their homes and died from radiation. Those of them who were young and strong settled in different places and now live with us.
What will happen with the reactor in the future? It’s will never be safe, won’t it?
I can not predict what will happen to the reactor. There were few attempts to start building new sarchophagues, but all failed. All I know is that as long as political and economic situation in Ukraine remains unstable no one will invest in this multi billion dollars project.
People say it’s much safer now to travel through the ‘zone’ of Tchernobyl. Is this true? What about radioactivity in the soil? Will people ever be able to live there again?
Travelling is much safer now, but living is still not safe. Nature shall heal the land and I hope some day people will live in some places again.
Elena – on your website you publish lots of photos, information, diary entries and thoughts of yours. What is it you are looking for? What makes you go back again and again?
I am sure there are many people around the world who would do this work, but not all have money to travel here and not all speak language and know how to get permission for visiting Chernobyl or how to bypass checkpoints. I know this, because I am a native. Chernobyl is by my side and carring this work is easier for me than for people who live far away. Chernoby is also a part of my life and I feel like I have a certain obligation to tell about it.
Some day I hope to fix my motorcycle and continue my story.
What do you think when you cross the imaginary border into the Land of the Wolves?
The imaginary border into the Land of the Wolves for me the bridge some 60 kms on west from reactor. There is dead village Bobyor (Beaver) which was located along the bank of the river. This place is very beautuful and standing on this bridge I always feel like I lose some sense of reality, which is really a loss of the presence of Time.
Normally humans feel like time stands still in Chernobyl. It’s because Time is that in which all things pass away yet in Chernobyl nothing changes. In human life some ten or fifteen years is always a significant amount of time, something always goes on, while in Chernobyl nothing passes away for the same period, thus it feels like I stand on some bridge to infinity and I stand there for thousand years seing the same picture, thinking the same thought about vanity of our existance and fleetingness of human age, which is just a brief moment in the decay of isotopes as they slowly, imperceptibly, flare from one element into another.
I feel on this bridge, like I am between two worlds. One that I am leaving behind is ours- the world of civilization, where eternal restlessness, turmoils and the fleeting passing of each present moment is the only mode of human existence; where Chernobyl forgotten because most people are nothing but an embodiment of present impulses, and for them that which has been exists no more.
When I cross the imaginary border I think that the world I am leaving is a purely physical, while one I am about to enter is a metaphysical; where roads without pedestrians, counters without shop keepers and churches with no prists; because it neither heaven of God, nor is it the kingdom of Caesar, it is now realm of a Pluto, where all – past, present and the future flow together and exists in one mode.
I also think about life that once boiled in Chernobyl, – about ordinary human life, where some people build careers, others fight windmills. Life where some dig storm cellars, while others erect air castles. Life where some sow seeds they never see sprout, others reap a harvest they did not sow… Now, all their strivings, achievements and passions are just a pale shadow on the wall.
Do you believe that people will still talk about Tchernobyl in 10 or 20 years?
People can not forget about Chernobyl completely. Because it is such a huge territory, poisoned with radiation, it will always be there and will always remind of itself.
Are you against nuclear technology?
Nuclear technology posits a death sentence for the world; it is very dangerous in human hands.
What would you like to say to the children, born over the last 15 years? And what to their parents?
Do not feel forsaken, the world is grieving for you.
Do not stare over-long into the Abyss of your misfortune for, as Nietzsche said, if you look for long into the Abyss, the Abyss will look into you.
The meaning of this is that you going to limit yourself with thinking about infinite things, such as time, the universe, and human stupidity.
Elena, are you still an optimist?
I am a cheerful pessimist.
Astrid Wehling/Wirtschaftswetter/October 2007
[Friedrich Nietzsche, “Beyond Good and Evil” Epigrams and Interludes, 146: Whoever fight monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also look into you.]