Daddy, Don’t Go to the Mine


Last fall  as desperation over Rui’s kidnapping was setting in and I was at a loss as to how to connect with my son, I sent emails and phone messages to Machico asking her to show him video clips I made on weekends or at night after work. It was an exercise in the absurd, but I did it earnestly, chattering into a video camera while my boy was being actively alienated from me by his mother thousands of miles away. I uploaded and  saved the clips on Rapidshare where she could easily download them and let him see and hear his Daddy talk and sing to him. I ate dinner in front of the camera, talked to his stuffed animals and photographs of us, made jokes and sang songs that he knew. I tried to be nonchalant, but also tell him  in between how I felt about his being taken away; and when I look at them now, I can see the edginess in my face  from what was eating my insides.

Machico didn’t bother to hide that she was lying any more:  her computer was broken, the internet connections were bad, she promised to download and show Rui his daddy’s messages as soon as she got the chance. Somehow, the chance passed her by.  Keeping Rui from losing confidence in his fundamental psychological bonds wasn’t part of the fictive kidnapper’s profile she was playing out with abduction ringleader and specialist Kensuke Onuki ( Ohnuki) and her  family.

Now with Japan’s cities reeling from the disastrous earthquake in March, the coast wiped out by tsunami, and the people buying prophylactic pills (which don’t work, by the way) and wearing face masks to reduce their exposure to radiation, my ache to soothe Rui’s fear and bring him to safety  and a normal way of life is re-doubled.

Along the coast, they dress men in plastic coverings, goggles and helmets, and send them on a suicide mission inside the reactors to maintain the cooling process  on the plutonium and uranium fuel rods. And every day the men move about the plant at their work beside the plutonium, perhaps the most dangerous substance on earth. The coast is wrecked. Thousands have died. The water has varying levels of radioactive contamination. The fish and foods will contain elevated levels. There is much to be fearful of. I know, because I talk and exchange mail with them that the other parents of abducted children who I’ve met are all in the same angst-ridden unknowing state. We want one thing above all; we want the power to protect our children restored to us.

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