At the edge of the horizon

At the edge of the horizon
At the edge of Japan

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Women of Fukushima

Recently, I read something that was in reference to March 11th and the aftermath of nuclear fallout in Fukushima.  It basically said that people needed to back off the nuclear power companies and just blame the Japanese government for the nuclear nightmare in Fukushima.  But I think this type of reasoning doesn't quite understand how intertwined the Japanese government, the media and the nuclear power companies (and really, any of the industries) are with each other.  This also goes for the USA, and many countries around the world.  There really aren't any boundaries between these groups.  They are all basically part of the same mechanism of power and the players move fluidly between these various positions.  If a player disagrees or tries to act against the system, he or she is removed in whatever fashion necessary (by embarrassment, by a sudden decline in popularity,  by force, etc). So blaming only one faction isn't enough.  It's not enough to say that it was the government's fault, or it was the nuclear industry's fault, etc.  They're all at fault and they're all guilty.  It's the corporate structure that has become so pervasive in this globalized world that enables a lack of checks and balances between these factions.  It also enables retched abuse against people who lack power in this world.  All of us are rewarded for keeping our eyes, ears and mouths shut against this hegemonic power system.  And many of us get through life with whatever kickbacks we receive for our ignorance.  But when a disaster happens and many people's lives are ruined and the land is destroyed, that's when we see the curtain pulled back.  That's when people realize that these power structures in place aren't really there to help us live our lives in comfort.  They're there for the sole purpose of greed and power.  Not to sound too depressing here, but it seems to be the case throughout the world.  

When I read this blog article, the author mentioned that money that had been originally sent to help with the cleanup, had been diverted to other prefectures, specifically pointing out Okinawa.  I was a bit dismayed that Okinawa was the only prefecture that was singled out.  Not because I didn't agree that the money was sent elsewhere.  It's known that this happened.  Everyone in Fukushima knows this as well. A friend of mine who teaches in Iwaki told me that everyone there knows that they are being slowly forced out (though not moved because that would cost the govt. too much) and that these regions will never return to normal.  The government could have tried to cleanup these areas with technology, but they didn't.  Most of the towns in and around the areas affected have not been cleaned up and when they have been it's been handled shoddily by construction companies with connections to the nuclear industry.  It's a sad thing, but why point out that the money went to the poorest prefecture?

Okinawa is a prefecture with a forced burden of hosting 14 US military bases, with a new mega-base on the way despite opposition to it.  Why not point out how the money went to places like Osaka and Tokyo, cities that are extremely wealthy.  Okinawa has seen its share of how hegemonic power structures work and in many ways, though the situation isn't the same, a similar abuse is happening here as it happened in Fukushima and any of the cities or towns where nuclear plants are located.

The documentary below is called Women of Fukushima by filmmaker Paul Johannessen.  It's a powerful film that shows how people in this region feel about what happened.  It also is a call for action and for help.  It's a call to open one's eyes, ears, and mouths.

Women of Fukushima - trailer from Paul Johannessen on Vimeo.

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