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After a nuclear catastrophe, radiation victims become “unpersons”

highly-recommendedWhen life becomes a shadow – after nuclear catastrophe, Ecologist Robert Jacobs 8th April 2014 Those caught up in nuclear disasters suffer many times over, writes Robert Jacobs. Ill-health and early death aside, they are also cut off from their former communities, identities and family life, and the victims of social and medical discrimination. Radiation makes people invisible. We know that exposure to radiation can be deleterious to one’s health; can cause sickness or even death when received in high doses.

But it does more. People who have been exposed to radiation, or even those who suspect that they have been exposed to radiation that never experience radiation related illnesses may find that their lives are forever changed – that they have assumed a kind of second class citizenship.

They may find that their relationship to their families, to their communities, to their hometowns, to their traditional diets and even traditional knowledge systems have become broken. They often spend the remainder of their lives wishing that they could go back, that things would become normal.

Unpersons

They slowly realize that they have become expendable and that their government and even their society is no longer invested in their wellbeing.

As a historian of the social and cultural aspects of nuclear technologies I have spent years working in radiation-affected communities around the world.

Many of these people have experienced exposure to radiation from nuclear weapon testing, from nuclear weapon production, from nuclear power plant accidents, from nuclear power production or storage, or, like the people in the community that I live, in Hiroshima, from being subjected to direct nuclear attack.

HibakushaFor the last five years I have been working with Dr. Mick Broderick of Murdoch University in Perth, Australia on the Global Hibakusha Project. We have been working in radiation-affected communities all around the world. In our research we have found a powerful continuity to the experience of radiation exposure across a broad range of cultures, geographies, and populations.

Fukushima – the victims’ future is all too predictable

About half way between beginning this study and this present moment the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi happened here in Japan.

One of the most distressing things (among so many) since this crisis began is to hear so many people, often people in positions of political power and influence say that the future for those affected by the nuclear disaster is uncertain.

I wish that it were so, but there is actually a deep historical precedence that suggests that the future for the people of Tohoku is predictable.

In this short article I will outline some continuities to the experiences of radiation-affected people. Most of the following is also true for people who merely suspect that they have been exposed to radiation, even if they never suffer any health effects.

Many have already become a part of the experiences of those affected by the Fukushima disaster. There are, of course, many differences and specificities to each community, but there is also much continuity…….. http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/Blogs/2351503/when_life_becomes_a_shadow_after_nuclear_catastrophe.html

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April 9, 2014 - Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, radiation, Reference, social effects

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on jkmhoffman.

    Comment by jkmhoffman2014 | April 10, 2014 | Reply


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