As I am watching current news and unraveling tragedy caused by a powerful earthquake in Japan I am transferred back in time to when we all witnessed the Chernobyl catastrophe. Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded nearly 25 years ago. Chernobyl is a town in Ukraine that, as a matter of fact, once was a part of Polish Kingdom. The name Chernobyl comes from the plant known as Artremisia vulgaris or mugwort which has a bitter taste and contains thujone, a toxic substance if taken in larger doses. Chernobyl has carried an apocalyptic prophecy in its name…
Back to my memories of year 1986. It was the end of April and we knew nothing of the disaster. It was a beautiful sunny day with occasional showers. That’s why I decided to take a walk instead of a bus ride to my friend’s house. As a little spring shower was raining on me little did I know it was pouring on me radioactive elements from a far away nuclear power plant that had exploded a couple days before. Russia did attempt to keep the tragedy a secret for as long as possible but Sweden detected enormous clouds of radioactive material brought by wind over their territory. Sweden officials confronted Russian government and the news was spilled all over the media.
How I wish now that I had known then about the magnitude of that catastrophe. But at that time we didn’t even know all the details of the moment. The news reached us after half Europe had been already contaminated by a radioactive fallout. Potassium iodide was administered at once to all children in Poland, apparently Russian government waited an entire month to do so which means they got it too late.
Had I stayed inside on that particular day, would I be able to avoid 3 surgeries to remove my malignant skin cancer and undergo an Interferon treatment for melanoma? Maybe… I don’t really know.
But these memories bring no pain when I am faced with images of what’s going on in Japan now. I can only imagine what is going through the people’s heads there, people who live there with their children and have no alternative but to wait and hope for the best. I read the news and hope, too.
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