Have you ever thought about the word "ignorance"? Like, really thought about it? Like, how close it is to the verb, "ignore". Ignorance is not something that happens to you, it is a choice. Ignorance is the act of ignoring what is around you. There is no excuse for it. To shield yourself from the world is the worst thing you can do. I've got a little quote I try to live by; "For the living and the dead, we must bear witness." It was said by Elie Wiesel. I'm sure you had to read his book and high school. You probably try hated having to think about something so terrible too. Tried to ignore it, tried to put it out of your mind. Well, I don't, I think about it. I seek out the things people try to forget.
Today is April 25th, 2006. The simple fact that I'm aware of the date should imply that today has a rather special meaning to me. Twenty years ago today, at 1:23 am, Chernobyl powerplant reactor number 4 in Pripyat, Ukraine suffered a massive steam explosion, resulting in fire, and a nuclear meltdown. The explosion was so strong that it threw the 1000ton (200,000lbs) slab of concrete forming the Upper Biological Sheild spinning into the air like a quarter. A cloud of radioactive dust and gas circled the globe. The effects were felt everywhere. The radiation could be detected anywhere on the globe.
I want you to know about what happened. At the very least, learn a little. This wasn't some little explosion, this was big. Wikipedia has a good article, as always, and this SomethingAful thread is filled with excellent pictures and information. Please, go learn something. Bear witness, don't just ignore it. It's right in front of you, all you have to do is read a little.
It has been twenty years since the accident, but the effects have not diminished at all. Pripyat is still uninhabitable, and it will probably be at least a millenium before it can be resettled. The world doesn't talk about it, but everyone in the region will tell you if you're born in Belarus, you'll probably die there of cancer. No statistics can accurately show the damage that has been done. There are no before figures. Nobody kept track of the average number of limbs on farm animals before hand. These are not things the can be measured easily.
Pictures do the job better than numbers ever could. Vehicles too radioactive to ever use again, an entire town that once held 50,000 people abandoned to this day because the very ground it stands on holds enough radiation to kill anyone who settles there. An entire powerplant in shambles. And worst of all, the effects on the people.
I'm not some anti nuclear power activist, I'm not Spike Lee, there's no underlying message. All I want is for people to think. I jsut want people to be aware. I'm just trying to pound this into your head, so you can't ignore it. So weeks from now, you think about what you've seen here. So twenty years from now, you'll remember. It may have been twenty years ago, but people are still dying. Sheep as far away as England are routinely culled when the Geiger counter reads too high, fish can't be eaten, rivers can't be swan in, ground can't be farmed. The very planet we live on has been poisened. I'm not telling you what to think, I'm just telling you to think.
"Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil."