Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan and the Nuclear Godzilla

When I see this nuclear nightmare.

I think how cruel and unfair that this should be happening to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And then I am reminded that many Japanese alive today also had to endure another nuclear nightmare.

And out of it came Godzilla.

The film was inspired by events that were very real and very controversial. In March 1954, a massive thermonuclear weapon tested by the United States near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, codenamed “Bravo,” detonated with about 2.5 times greater force than anticipated. The unexpectedly vast fallout from the bomb enveloped a distant Japanese tuna trawler named the Lucky Dragon No. 5 in a blizzard of radioactive ash. Crewmembers returned to their home port of Yaizu bearing blackened and blistered skin, acute radiation sickness and a cargo of irradiated tuna.

Audiences who flocked to “Gojira” were clearly watching more than just a monster movie. The film’s opening scenes evoked the nuclear explosion in the Pacific and the damaged Japanese bodies so poignant to domestic viewers. Godzilla — relentless, vengeful, sinister — looms as an overt symbol of science run amok.

The tragic irony is that this latest nuclear Godzilla is self inflicted.

Japan now has 54 nuclear reactors, ranking third in terms of energy output behind the United States and France. Japan also has an unusually shoddy record for nuclear safety.

But the destruction so familiar....

When I was a boy I carried a teddy bear under one arm, and a Godzilla doll under the other one. When I was a teenager I used to collect the movies. Now I'll never be able to watch another one without thinking of this terrible tragedy.

The good news? The Japanese are an amazingly resilient people. La Presse's Patrick LagacĂ© quotes Jean Dorion, a well known Montrealer who is married to a Japanese woman.

I don't believe in the "soul of peoples"; the culture of a nation doesn't come from any genetic code; it's the product of the conditions in which a people must live, and has lived.

Almost all the Japanese archipelago is nothing more than a long mountainous mass sprung from the ocean, covered with thick forest, with steep slopes that cannot be cultivated or inhabited. On its narrow coastal plains are crammed 125 million people, whose life would not be livable without civic discipline, good manners, and a desperate passion for work. Work and ingenuity are key to the prodigious success of a country devoid of resources.

When you put US before ME it's amazing what you can do eh?

The Japanese people will endure and overcome.

But who will vanquish that nuclear Godzilla?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers. 

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