Fukushima Daiichi

Voices From Chornobyl – suddenly way too relevant

Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster. And here we are days after the terrifying earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku, Japan that has resulted in an unstable situation at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

It’s true that the two incidents do not have a direct 1:1 correlation. The nuclear power plant industry learned from that previous horrible incident but there’s still so much that we don’t know about this method of powering electricity. And there are still a lot of disturbing parallels between April 26, 1986, and the days and weeks that followed, and what is happening now.

“This is for thousands of years.”

I’ve seen some people dismiss the warnings and concerns with figures of low death counts from nuclear incidents. But our attention should not be determined by loss of life. The quality of life in Chernobyl was irreversibly changed, just as it is being changed forever in Japan.

In 2008, I served as associate producer for the above short demo of a dramatization by Cindy Marie Jenkins of a book of interviews of Chernobyl survivors. It’s called Voices from Chornobyl. If this video captures 1/10th of the heartbreak the people of Chernobyl went through then, or that the people of Japan are going through now, and gets you or someone you forward this on to, to consider helping the people of either region in the ongoing aftermath, I’ll feel like maybe I did something right.

Smiles for Japan: $25 art commissions by manga artist Nina Matsumoto will send 100% to Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund (click image for more info)

To fit in the comics side of me, manga artists in Japan have been expressing their support and encouragement through a wonderful series of art with a “Smiles for Japan” theme. Robot 6 has links to work by popular creators like Takehiko Inoue (Vagabond), Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), Naoki Urasawa (20th Century Boys), Kanata Konami (Chi’s Sweet Home), Arina Tanemura (The Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross), Nina Matsumoto (Yokaiden) and more. (If only I could read Japanese.)

Also, Meltdown Comics (7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046) is holding an art auction called We Heart Japan this Thursday, March 17, 8 PM – 11 PM, with 100% of proceeds going to the Japan NGO Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund. The event was organized by anime voice actor Stephanie Sheh (Naruto) and comic book artist/graphic designer Pinguino Kolb.

To learn more about the ongoing Voices From Chornobyl project, please visit their website.

To donate to the Red Cross and their efforts to help the Japanese Red Cross respond to the earthquake/tsunami disaster, please visit their website.

And to get activisty for a moment: To learn more about the risks of nuclear power, visit NukeFree.org.

(For detail freaks like myself, the alternate spelling of Chernobyl in the title is a more accurate English spelling of the original Ukrainian name of the city.)