Fukushima Mon Amour!

Fade in: the montage of a man and woman’s bodies embracing, covered with a silicate that glimmers like the radiation it contains. Beyond the memory of the silver screen, stark black and white, it’s 1960. I’m 22, holding my girlfriend’s hand in a Greenwich Village movie theater. The memory fades in, out, the pieces of story, the French actress, the Japanese architect, both married, the fleeting affair, the film titled Hiroshima Mon Amour, the seeming voyage into memory returning to these bodies, faces, two people, trying to climb from a sandy memory hole, looking for love in self-forgiveness, connecting through trust and flesh. But is it too late?

I find myself remembering August 6 and 9, 1945: Hiroshima, 140,000 dead; Nagasaki, 80,000 dead; some 300,000 dead from the effects of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man’s” radiation, such benign names, such awful pain, such joy that Americans ran from their homes to declare victory in WW II, and toss me, an eight year old boy into the uncorrupted air of a Staten Island suburb, somewhere in the paradise of Christian America. In nomine fili et spiritus sancti, amen.

It is a film whose pieces of story try to be a story, but in the end come apart like memory, broken by an earthquake, a tsunami, two mushroom blasts that shattered the sky with fire back then. Perhaps it is about too much history of oppression by the US colonial culture discovering the tiny agrarian island culture of a pre-industrial Japan and more, to the US driving Japan to become an Asian colonizer itself. Now, in April 2011, the scenes on the television screen, the broken reactor, melted rods, generators that won’t cool, the hydrogen that causes explosions, the devilish return of one then another quake, the officials who deny then assert the rising levels of radiation, the countries it has reached . . . the whole scene is unbelievable but there.

The technicians are already dead on their feet, frantically trying to repair things, the futility of man’s efforts to triumph over technology, the end-end result of opening the Pandora’s Box of nuclear energy in the name of fighting for Democracy, raising the “primitives” of the East to be like us. And now, the story reverses itself as the information from a French research body advises women and children of the rising levels of radiation in fresh milk and vegetables, especially those with large leaves and to stay away from them. And now we know Japan’s Nuclear Volcano has Erupted. The cycle of apocalypse has come full circle.

Mike Whitney’s Information Clearing House article tells us, “The group’s warning underlines the dangers posed by the out-of-control facility which is causing unprecedented damage to earth, sea and sky. Fukushima is the nuclear death machine of which advocates of green technologies have warned for decades. But while the magnitude of the disaster grows larger by the day, the government’s only response has been to expand the evacuation zone and try to shape news to avert a panic.

“Emergency crews have braved high levels of radiation to bring the plant back under control, but with little success. A number of violent tremors and a second smaller tsunami have made their jobs nearly impossible. Thousands of gallons of radioactive water that [were] used as coolant [have] been flushed into the sea threatening marine life and sensitive habitat. The toxic release of radiation now poses an incalculable risk to a battered fishing industry and to fish-stocks around the world. These costs were never factored in when industry executives and politicians decided to exploit an energy source that can cause cancer, pollute the environment for millennia, and bring the world’s third largest economy to its knees.”

These costs were never factored into the once mild-mannered farming country bowing to its American colonizers in the 19th Century, who were told to dress like us in suits and top hats, shirts and ties, not their native robes, and to speak our language, and to believe our missionaries who were talking about their exclusionary god, and who would teach the uncivilized to be civilized as we were.

But flashing black to now, we have long passed the Three-Mile Island dangers and have Approached Chernobyl’s Category 7 nuclear explosion, and probably will surpass it into a new surreal wasteland. Reuters writes “The Bank of Japan governor said the economy was in a ‘severe state, while central bankers were uncertain when efforts to rebuild the tsunami-ravaged northeast would boost growth . . . ’”

They’re worried about “growth” as their country is paralyzed in fear. They’re having meetings. And “Foreign investors have yet to grasp the full impact of the crisis on Japan’s economy. The Bank of Japan has increased its bond purchasing program and launched an ultra-cheap loan scheme for banks in the area devastated by the quake, but monetary policy alone will not lead to a recovery.”

A recovery, my friend! How about a cessation to the disaster? How about somebody, some force, some thing, a benign Godzilla gnashing his teeth, closing the lid on this Pandora’s Box? How about the world wakes up and puts its best nuclear scientific minds together in a room to figure this thing out. Are we all frozen in fear, so frozen we can’t act, only scribble more words. Are we fading in and out of reality like the glimmering silicate of human flesh, the carnal urge to reproduce and survive? Are we aware we’ve been bested by nature and our own cleverness and must respond respectfully with the best efforts of the human species?

As to financial recovery, author Ellen Brown writes in Intrepid Report, Why the Japanese government can afford to rebuild: it owns the largest depository bank in the world. But mustn’t the hemorrhaging of radiation be stopped first? The triage of money is there to rebuild.

What’s more, this is not just a Tokyo Electric Power Co. problem. This is a mutual Japanese and American piece of corruption; profit-pinching that got Japan, the US and the world, into this. This is another broken story in search of an ending, including the larger history of erasing Japan’s rural history, making it a colonial power to buttress the United States ambitions in the Far East under Teddy Roosevelt.

It is described in great detail by James Bradley in his book, The Imperial Cruise—A Secret History of Empire and War. As Publishers Weekly writes, “Theodore Roosevelt steers America onto the shoals of imperialism in this stridently disapproving study of early 20th-century U.S. policy in Asia. Bestselling author Bradley traces a 1905 voyage to Asia by Roosevelt’s emissary, William Howard Taft, who negotiated a secret agreement in which America and Japan recognized each other’s conquests of the Philippines and Korea. (Roosevelt’s flamboyant, pistol-packing daughter Alice went along to generate publicity and Bradley highlights her antics.)

“Each port of call prompts a case study of American misdeeds: the brutal counterinsurgency in the Philippines; the takeover of Hawaii by American sugar barons; Roosevelt’s betrayal of promises to protect Korea, which green-lighted Japanese expansionism and thus makes him responsible for Pearl Harbor. Bradley explores the racist underpinnings of Roosevelt’s policies and paradoxical embrace of the Japanese as Honorary Aryans. . . .”

This is a plot that moves towards a calculated end of dismembering Japanese and Asian peoples under the thumb of Aryan, Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic, imperialism.

The Fukushima plant is the new end-game. Can it be demolished (without explosives)? Buried in concrete? Can the nuclear payload be fired into outer space? These may be lousy ideas. So where are the great ideas, the Dutch boy who puts his finger in the dike and saves the flatlands from inundation? I don’t hear that. I hear statisticians running numbers. I see micro-thinking not macro-planning, a sustained global effort to close this ring of fire and blow it out. I hear the raw-boned American adventurers of the 19th Century plotting to “follow the sun” and expand the Western border of America over the Pacific Ocean, finding an Asian analogue to be “just like us” and colonize China, Korea or Vietnam. Yet the Japanese will always be, in victory or defeat, thought to be our puppets.

But the thousands, hundreds of thousands of human beings will lose their hair, their skin, their flesh crisp on brittle bones. Cancer will be everywhere. The holocaust has come to roost again. This is Hiroshima/Nagasaki ping-ponged back by fate. Where is the love He (the architect) feels for She (the actress)? Why can’t they climb out of the abstractions of race, nationality, the womb-like hole of apartness, and pull themselves and the world out of the nightmare? Because we are human?

Of course doing little or nothing is a solution, a choice as well. But fade to black then. Roll the titles of history. The movie’s over. Whoever is still standing can write the review. And 10, 20, 30 years from now we’ll count up the losses on our fingers, and sigh, what a shame, what history will we ever remember? And the unborn will be calling for entry into the flesh. For life! For love! They will be stamping their feet for the movie to be racked up in 3-D on the giant screen. And what will we show the future staring from the dark? Fukushima Mon Amour?

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of theintrepidreport.com(formerly Online Journal). Reach him at gvmaz@verizon.net.

6 Responses to Fukushima Mon Amour!

  1. “But flashing black to now, we have long passed the Three-Mile Island dangers and have Approached Chernobyl’s Category 7 nuclear explosion, and probably will surpass it into a new surreal wasteland.”

    Sure wish I could rightly dismiss this statement as fear mongering, but I can’t — not by a long shot. Especially after viewing this nearly two hour video with Leuren Moret, a nuclear power whistleblower, speaking about the fallout from Japan here in the US:


  2. Well, Kurt, in the process of researching this piece I came upon that prediction from another source, though Leuren Moret is quite a lady, great advocate for anti-proliferation of all nuclear weapons, including the “under the radar” depleted uranium. Yet, I still don’t see enough scientists from the world community jumping into this thing to do what they can. It still seems to many to be happening elsewhere, not on our planet, which will affect many people in the future.

  3. In 1947 my sister six, and I, just four, accompanied our mother on the USS Constitution for a 21 day sail from Seattle to Tokyo to meet my father, then a lieutenant with the occupation forces in Kobe, Japan.

    We traveled extensively throughout Japan. We spent almost two years there before returning to the States.

    My sister developed breast cancer in 1973. She called me and asked advice for her medical predicament. I told her I would rather have a sister with one breast than no sister at all. She had the surgery and a few years later, had her other breast removed. Fifteen years later she passed from cancer which had metastasized throughout her entire body.

    My father passed from prostate cancer in 1994.

    My brother, who was envitro with a stamp on his butt reading made in Japan has prostate cancer, neck cancer and jaw cancer. He was born in late 48.

    Not once was there a family discussion about radiation poisoning.

    So far I am cancer free but I was a real brat back then.

  4. My god John, my condolences. Apparently, the severity and long-lingering effects of radiation are not widely published or even known. To lose your family like that is tragic. But it seems we’re faced with something really terrible at Fukushima and the Japanese government, and I imagine other governments, are trying to keep a lid on it all. Someone has written, “Never believe anything until it’s been officially denied.”

  5. Gabi Charren

    …and today we remember Chernobyl in quiet ceremonies around the world.
    A desaster that cost my family the horrible death of my father at 70, my sister at 50, my 2 cousins at 56 and 58, a nephew at 32 and 7 friends our age and no one speaks about Chernobyl. I lived in California when it happenend and have always tried to break that barrier of silence when illness became aparent. Why is it such a secret? Is the fact such monstrosity that we dare not face it? Are we aware that we are dealing with powers not managable nor controlable? Pandora´s Box can never be closed again !

  6. My condolences to you, Gabi, for the loss of your family members. Certainly, no one speaks about Chernobyl as much as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I think, particularly at this time, people are remembering the dread effects of Chernobyl on the equally brave and long-suffering Russian people. It was a unique apocalypse in that more or less Chernobyl is still standing in the memory for the most part, an eerie reminder to the whole world of the terrible effects of nuclear radiation. Unfortunately, too, is that the enemy here was human negligence, and god knows what else, like Fukushima. Yet, having a political enemy to blame might offer some solace, but won’t bring back the loss in any case. Again, my condolences, my wish for your continued well-being and friendship. It means a lot to me.
    Best Regards,
    Jerry Mazza.