Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Just a quick post.

[Via a less than random Aussie guy] I came across a site about Chernobyl after the emergency. It's a strangely haunting, slightly surreal world. One where trees pop up now there is no-one to cut them back, and bison run away. Looking at the pictures it feels like Montserrat. The same abandonment, the same lurking menace. Civilisation fading. Just a few people trying to pretend it is normal.

And in the midst of all this, on the penultimate page (chapter 26), there is a picture. A picture with a detail that suddenly distracts me. It's not the deserted litter of children's shoes, toys and gas masks. It's not the mouldering, crumbling plaster and flaking paint. It's the forgotten photograph of a gymnastics class. Children in a 70s school, on boxes and benches, with wallbars in the background. And they are doing it all on top of a huge old rug. A rug that would have cost a lot of money at any period in time, and which doesn't fit with the rest of the modernist school. Who's was it, where did it come from, and where is it now?

I know it's an odd detail to fixate on, but it just jarred with the rest of the scene.

Back to the rest of the site. And I wonder who thought it was good idea to tinker with the ecology of the area and introduce different species. Hasn't the environment been through enough, or did they not think it could get any more maligned? Or was some opportunistic experiment, one that didn't rely on autonomous diktat to make it happen.

And as for the girl whose journey it she mad? But it's radioactive (or do I mean radiological [which has always sounded like pedantic attempts to change perceptions]). But then if she was around when it happened, and got shunted out to her grandmother's 6 hours later, she's probably already hit the significant zone. So what's a little more going to do. All life is risks. She is just taking a different set to most. And it's not as if cause and effect can be measured and linked on an individual scale. There are only suggestions and recommendations of risk and likelihood.

It's odd to be reminded of it, but it's also odd that it has faded so utterly from prominence. I still remember it happening, and wondering what became of the cameraman.

Well anyway, go and look at the site: It'll be better than my rambling.


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