Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Show me what it's like/To dream in black and white,

...So I can leave this world tonight.

i don't know why the discover magazine is calling out to me.

it has been for a couple weeks now, every time i find myself in this waiting room at the center where nos. 1 and 2 have their therapy.

so today i pick it up.

and behind articles about space and the atom, i find a eight-page article about the world's first "nuclear" refugees and a return trip they are making to their home:

chernobyl. fucking chernobyl.

i remember 20 years ago sitting in a class and watching a recorded news brief on chernobyl so that it would generate a discussion amongst us teenagers.

i remember being horrified by the grainy black and white images of burned workers, the thought of the pain and anguish and ensuing uncertainty that this entailed. (and if you have been reading, and do the math, you will know that chernobyl happened in that period of time when i was sure russia was going to nuke us on a daily basis.) these people were supposed to be my "enemy" and yet all i could see were people like me suffering through something i could not begin to fathom.

the refugees are returning to mark the 20-year anniversary.

at the very beginning, this article gave me a glimmer of hope, as i love stories of displaced refugees returning to their homes (i guess i feel that earth is not really our home, that we are much lighter matter that really belongs somewhere else, and we are merely cosmic refugees displaced to this location to batter through until we can return to the place where we belong, or "home." or "heaven." or whatever you want to call it--and stories of displaced people returning to their homes gives me hope on some spiritual level), but it turns out that this isn't that kind of story.

these refugees aren't returning home, they are visiting a place they once lived for a day to recapture those lost memories and attempt to go away with something real.

because the town is still too chock-full of harmful radiation, and will be, scientists figure, for about another 600 years.

i am not even sure we, as a massive race that thinks it runs the planet, will last 600 years. i am not sure we will last 100. and maybe chernobyl is just one example of why i secretly believe that we won't last that long.

the present-day pictures of pripyat (the town closest to ground zero of chernobyl, and full of the workers and their families--called the city of the future prior to the explosion) aren't much better than the black and whites that were shown on the news in 1986. but rather than burn victims in hospital beds, skin sloughing, it is empty shells of lives that never were, paint peeling like dead skin, dust and debris accumulating like cancerous growths, the most malignant of which is possibly the giant cement sarcophagus built to contain the immense radioactive turmoil.

why was i so impacted by the footage i saw some 20 years ago? and why, today, when i read this article (discover, i seriously cannot find a date on the magazine anywhere, it is driving me crazy, but someone has penned "6/07" on the cover, so i am going to have to go with that, by maryann de leo) is that impact combined with new feelings of sadness and loss and confusion? why am i crying for people i never knew, will never meet, whose lives have been shifted, set aside, ground asunder? why, when i read about the one survivor who took the writer and her translator with him to find his family's apartment, and tapped himself on the chest and said "my home" referring to a shell of an apartment with a moldy pile of his clothes left in front of a window, why did i choke up and fight back tears, lest other people in the waiting room think something is seriously wrong with me?

maybe the real question is: why do we do these things to ourselves? why, when we are capable of so much beauty and passion and love, do we also insist on inflicting such cruelty, pain, and sadness? we are sparks of god, yet we hide down dark alleys to find our devils and spring them free. and why do these catastrophes that we exact upon ourselves seem so easily forgotten? why is this article not the cover article? oh, we can revisit fucking oj motherfucking simpson every year to see what he has been up to since the fucking "trial of the century" but we dare not keep the holocaust, chernobyl, and darfur at the forefront of our collective conciousness.

i pray to every god that will hear my cries that we all find our way home again, and when i say that, i mean the planets of light and happiness where we have all fallen from in the first place, so we might all stand together, barring race religion and creed, and tap ourselves on the chest, and say, "my home."

darth sardonic

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Blogger zirelda said...

I think that since we are not quite gods we only have small capacities. And we must factor in the good versus evil...

I remember Cherynobel. I remember being pretty sure the same would happen here and we would either die with melting flesh or have to go underground and die without ever seeing the sunlight again.

7:04 AM  

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