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 The legacy of Chernobyl

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dread6354

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PostSubject: The legacy of Chernobyl   Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:01 pm

http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/chernobyl [PLEASE GO TO THIS SITE AND PLAY THE SMALL MOVIE, IT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING]


http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chapter1.html[center] http://www.belarusguide.com/chernobyl1/chfacts.htm

My media artifact is about the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster that occurred April 1986. I think this relates to our class because the upper government of the Soviet Union hid the truth about what was happening, how bad the contamination was, and how to survive. They hid the truth from the their own people and thereby murdered their own people and did not begin to tell the world about the full consequences until the fall of the Soviet Union.
The government of the Soviet Union sent in the "liquidators" or fire fighters, and did not tell them there was a nuclear disaster; instead they were told there was just a regular fire and to deal with it. People were brought in from all over what is now, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Georgia. These people were knowingly exposed to radiation levels equal or higher to 40 curies per square kilometer. A safe level is 1 - 15 curies per square kilometer. Official death tolls list only 31 people dying from radiation sickness in the first three months and depending on whether you read a Russian/Soviet source or an independent group such as WHO/UN the death toll ranges from four thousand to fifty thousand due to long term exposure to contaminated areas.
I believe that the Soviet Unions actions in knowingly sending people into an unsafe area and assuming no responsibility for their actions is similar to some Holocaust actions. While the government of the Soviet Union did not purposely attempt to murder a certain people, they did not extend help to those of a lower social class and moved their own families out as fast as possible. In her book, Chernobyl: The Forbidden Truth, Alla Yaroshinska provides a first hand account of what happened in the days before the accident and up to her involvement in the Supreme Soviet and as an advisor to Boris Yeltsin.
This man-made disaster has left it's toll on the region and on the people. It did not discriminate on who died and who suffers today, but the lack of responsibility on the part of the government is very similar to what the Nazi government did.
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amelikian

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PostSubject: Re: The legacy of Chernobyl   Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:40 am

It is actually really interesting to draw a parallel between Chernobyl and the Holocaust and it makes so much sense the way you do. I never would have thought to compare the actions of Russia's government with the Nazi government because they seemed like such different situations before you look at them deeper. Especially when you bring attention to the fact that the Soviet government knew the severity of what happened after the meltdown but still hid it from the general public and didn't warn people living near the contaminated area; the pictures of the sick kids from the second site you have posted are heartbreaking. It makes you wonder how, just over forty years after the Holocaust, a government in 1986 was still able to close off its media and deliberately hide vital information from its own people, deny responsibility and result in that much devastation.
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spatterson
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PostSubject: Re: The legacy of Chernobyl   Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:48 am

This brings up many questions (and few, if any answers) - An aspect that I do think that we have to consider is intention ... was the initial intention of the Soviet government to harm their citizens or was their crime in not being honest after the initial explosion ....

There should be a distinction between a "planned" genocide and the actions of a government after the fact ...

This in no way excuses the Soviet government for something that still has an impact on Ukraine, Belarus and much of Europe.

Along the same line of thought ... we need to think also of the responsibility of governments and multinational corporations for environmental issues that cost lives. I'm thinking of toxic waste - not only nuclear waste, but other types that have been proven to cause cancers and life threatening diseases.
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jmoorby



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PostSubject: Re: The legacy of Chernobyl   Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:33 pm

In reading your post I do believe that the Chernobyl disaster within the Soviet Union was horrible for those who experienced and were effected by it. In comparing it to the Holocaust I do believe there was difference in motive. The Soviet Union in its rush to be a superpower gave little thought into the consequences of that nuclear site being so close to a population. What is sad is their willingness to cover up the disaster in order in my mind not to be viewed as a failure to the world. This was obviously cruel to their own people but I don't think it was a calcualating murder of a specific population. There are parallels in the deceit thru government of the Nazis and the Soviet Union.
Jay
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dread6354

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PostSubject: Re: The legacy of Chernobyl   Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:04 am

i actually was comparing the lack of ability to accept responsibility if you read it correctly. thank you for commenting on everything else i didn't write though. reminds me of why i love rhode island college.
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