Once upon a time in Brooklyn, New York, on the eve of a war about human rights that soon tore the United States apart, America’s most famous abolitionist and preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, wrote this :
“Our people are vain, and much given to boasting; and because they love flatteries, those deriving from them honor and trust are too fond of feeding their appetite for praise. Thus it comes to pass that we hear the favorable side of our doings and character, and become used to a flattering portrait. Men grow popular who have flowing phrases of eulogy. Men who speak unpalatable truths are disliked; and if they have power to make the public conscience uncomfortable, they are said to abuse the liberty of free speech—for it is the liberty of fanning men to sleep that is supposed to be legitimate: the liberty of waking men out of sleep is supposed to be license! And yet we shall certainly die by the sweetness of flattery; and if we are healed, it must be by the bitterness of faithful speech. There is tonic in the things that men do not love to hear; and there is damnation in the things that wicked men love to hear. Free speech is to a great people what winds are to oceans and malarial regions, which waft away the elements of disease, and bring new elements of health. And where free speech is stopped miasma is bred, and death comes fast.”
From Peace, Be Still, a sermon delivered at Plymouth Church, on Orange Street, Brooklyn, January 4, 1861.
It is time to bring renewed urgency to the question of our children’s safety and future prospects in the unfolding of the radiation crisis in Fukushima, around Japan, and throughout the world as a result of the disastrous destruction of the nuclear power facilities at the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear power plant that began in March, 2011 . The disaster may have fallen from most American newspapers’ front pages and television screens for now, but the event is far from over. If anything, it is worse than ever, and we owe it to ourselves to sit up, pay attention and demand that our governments act to save lives. The crisis is not contained in Japan, nor by the borders of that nation or the oceans that lie between us; it is now affecting daily life here as well in ways that are still emerging. But we must not allow this crisis to remain invisible to people nor to be denied by governments. What is at stake is incalculably important. Consider this.
Note: I am fortunate to count among my friends people who are expending tremendous personal energies pursuing fact and truth in defense of the protection of human dignity and rights. Because of the proximity of such people to me in the course of Rui’s tragedy, I have come to feel that I have friends and allies who share my cares on every shore, on every continent. There are Japanese, French, American, Canadian parents, and numerous more, whose love for their children keeps them on the trail of justice.
Most of what appears below this Japanese news clipping was written by one of those friends. Every child who has lost a parent has a friend in him. So I’m printing his research and words here with gratitude (and permission). I’ve added some lines for clarity, knowing that not everyone is keeping as close a watch on this. Feel free to copy it to a Congressperson, Senator, Secretary of State, or President.
We need to refocus on the radiation crisis and urge our governments to do something about it for the safety of our children before it’s too late. Some extremely alarming developments have occurred recently. The situation is becoming worse.
In brief, the crisis at the reactors is extremely bad and not at all under control.
We already know that the fuel rods in reactors #1–#3 have melted down and melted through their containment vessels. The effort of trying to bring them to a cold shutdown is not going well. A system to process radioactive water had to be shut down after only five hours because of the excess of radioactive material that appeared in its filters. The system had simply overloaded.
When the doors of reactor #2 were opened, 1.6 billion becquerels of radiation were released; a massive, deadly amount.
There are high measurements of radiation across Japan. In Tokyo, 100 airborne radiation monitoring stations are being set up. A shipment of green tea leaves from Shizuoka (southwest, downwind across Tokyo from Fukushima) was impounded at an airport in Roissy, (near Paris) France. Shizuoka produces 40% of Japan’s green tea leaves. The radiation from the cesium in the tea leaves was twice the legally safe limit. There was a report in the press of one tea retailer who instructed his sellers in Tokyo to proceed with selling the tea without revealing the danger from radiation, in order to reduce the risk of panic. Parents send their pre-school children to school with dosimeters strapped onto their chests.
As time passes, more radiation is being released into the air, soil, and water.
This recent article in the local Japanese press indicates that children in Koriyama are exhibiting symptoms of radiation sickness. Koriyama is a town in Fukushima prefecture. It is the first report that we have seen of radiation sickness. Infants and children are most susceptible. This English page shows the Japanese news article.
In an article published by Al Jazeera, another extremely troubling finding is reported. The infant mortality rate in eight cities on the west coast of the US has increased by 35% since the earthquake and release of radiation. This is from a US study taking weekly morbidity and mortality data from the Center for Disease Control. The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise. Speculation on how to interpret this increase will continue, and we will keep watching.
“Hot spots” and “hot particles” are being found all over Japan. In Seattle, air filters are found to have “hot particles” that emit radiation. Fallout is being dispersed throughout the environment. This is a multinational radiation problem.
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A group of researchers have created a computer simulation of how radioactive substances from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant spread across the globe. It is a shocking and effective graphic display, so take a look!
Organizers are planning to stage a rally against nuclear power near Meiji shrine in Tokyo on September 19 (Monday national holiday). They hope that 50,000 people will attend.
A widely-quoted and highly respected professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, City College of New York, Michio Kaku discussed some recent revelations about the disaster’s impact on CNN on June 22, 2011. He noted that Japanese officials still don’t have control at the site. “In the last two weeks, everything we knew about that accident has been turned upside down,” Kaku says. “Now we know it was 100 percent core melt in all three reactors…now we know it was comparable to the radiation at Chernobyl.”
Among Kaku’s other distressing notes: Fukushima workers are exposed to a year’s dose of radiation within minutes of entering the site, and cleanup will take between 50 to 100 years.