Fukushima Syndrome, the metaphor of our times

Fukushima Syndrome, the metaphor of our times

By Elizabeth Peredo

Fukushima is one of those events that has shaken us for several reasons: First, because it has called into question the principle that sustains the capitalist neoliberal and developmental logic: "Everything can be repaired with money, science and technology", everything can be had "under control". Fukushima has shown in a dramatic way how neither all the technology, nor the little money that has been invested (because the principle of "savings" and the least investment always prevails) nor the heroic efforts of technicians and workers have been enough to stop the tragedy.

Second, because it has confirmed the innumerable alerts that activists from Japan and around the world expressed with anguish in their fight against nuclear power plants and nuclear energy more than thirty years ago, denouncing large corporations and developed countries that promote nuclear energy. as clean and sustainable alternative energy and that have promoted models of export and dependence on these energy sources. It has also brought to mind the dozens of nuclear accidents, some as serious as ThreeMile Island, in Pennsylvania (USA) in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, a true tragedy. Greenpeace warns that the release of cesium-137 in Fukushima could affect the food chain for three hundred years. It is becoming increasingly clear that these are false solutions that only increase the danger for humanity on a planet that lives in a context of global changes where vulnerability has increased a hundredfold.

Third, because the issue of energy in a broader sense has been brought to the table of debate again - and with great pain - and everything that should and should not be done to ensure, not only access to energy, but also energy demand. In other words, fundamentally change the models towards more sustainable matrices and less harmful to nature and to humanity. This can even refer to those postulates that are still very timidly and on a more ideological and rhetorical plane, such as "living well" and caring for "Mother Earth", which suggests that production and consumption systems They should be governed by a principle of balance with nature, reciprocity and redistribution of goods among human beings in a sustainable and modest democratic way.

Fourth, because it has revealed a very generalized pattern of neoliberal dominance –or we would say any economic power- which is to hide the truth, make it up and sell the product for easy consumption and with a “closed eye. And this is perhaps one of the most important issues because it has to do precisely with that kind of fortress built around the neoliberal model: which is the subjectivity and culture of everyday life.

The Japanese people have been subjected to contradictory, timeless, false information. It gives the impression that they have been in a tangle of truths and lies as two mixed textures, resembling precisely nuclear contamination that works in the same way: experts say that in the core of a nuclear reactor there are more than fifty radioactive pollutants produced by starting from the fusion of uranium (some of very short life but others of extraordinarily long life, of hundreds of years). These can accumulate in the human being because their structure is very similar to our biological constitution, to the elements that our body uses such as iodine or calcium that resembles strontium, the nuclear elements are assimilated in our body and in organisms. alive because they "look alike" but are deeply harmful. Then, the body assimilates them "believing" that they are part of us.

This is an example that synthesizes the way in which we “believe” that what they sell us as development and well-being is the right thing to do and we get used to living it without looking at what is behind it, without knowing the origins, the mechanisms, the injustices and the damages that are committed with it. As in the Fukushima tragedy, the corporations, the great powers and the powerful know what they are causing and that does not apply only to nuclear energy, but also to greenhouse gas emissions, to the production of agrofuels, the indiscriminate use of pesticides, is what they provoke with the promotion of free trade or the promotion of the green economy in its different expressions, with the alteration of life through genetically modified organisms. They know the damage they generate in the global South and their own people, they know the data and its consequences but they do not tell the truth to their peoples.

In that sense, the Fukushima tragedy is a true metaphor for the climate and environmental crisis. All humanity is experiencing a kind of Fukushima syndrome that marks how far we can go by forgetting the value of life. The powerful know what it is about, but they prefer to take care of business and alliances to stay in power; they know of the danger, but condemn their workers to die; They know that death lurks, but they make up reality and change the control regulations. They do not respect the right to life.

Following once again Mahatma Gandhi who said that the most important struggle is between Truth and Nonviolence, the dilemmas of contemporary society oppose violence and truth. To these principles of search for Truth and Nonviolence, we should add the need to recover and maintain Memory as those necessary foundations to face the dangers of the system that overwhelms us and build the future. Trust in capital, in technology and in power over nature and over the "weakest" are not the keys to continuing to inhabit this planet. Apparently Memory –therefore the fight against impunity-, Truth and Nonviolence are the signs of the battle for a transition towards a society that restores disaster, which is struggling to be born and whose managers are tired of being victims of power, lies and shame.

These principles should be indispensable sustenance of our day to day for the transformation because they tell us that despite the pain, despite the death sown by greed, despite the desperate attempts to sell us everything (including the truth), it is Hope may express itself as a wisp of green peeking out of the rubble.

Solón Foundation

Video: ABANDONED RADIATION CITY Fukushima, Japan 8 Years Later (June 2021).