Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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danlmarmot led me to this intense photo essay by "Elena", a woman who likes to ride her motorcycle through the "dead zone" surrounding the Chernobyl disaster site.

It brings back memories, both of the two weeks in 1979 when my parents wouldn't let me drink milk because of Three Mile Island and of the iodine medicine which my second host family in Germany tried to get me to take when I arrived at their place in August, 1986. I'm allergic to iodine, so it's a good thing I declined.

I suspect that we're rapidly approaching another time of nuclear panic, accelerated by the stupidity of the Bush Administration -- who says the nuclear power industry and the petroleum industry can't get along? -- so it's good to be reminded of that particular feeling you get in the stomach when death is an invisible menace.

Elena dissects the hypocrisy and deceit of the late Soviet era with brutal irony. But she also does a nice job of capturing the special power of things abandoned by people:

Things Without People

Elena asks whether the ghost town next to the power plant will one day be regarded as a kind of Pompeii for Soviet Communism. Since it will take hundreds of years for the disaster site to be habitable, the answer is probably "Yes" -- provided, of course, that there are still human beings around with the time and inclination to excavate history.


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