Photo Essay by Paul Fusco

The Chernobyl accident happened in April, 26 1986. It was younger three months than me, I was born in same year, earlier in January. I knew this link because I was checking timeline´s of one person that I follow in Twitter, her name is Vivian Norris. The link is about brilliant photo essay of Chernobyl, over 20 years later by a photographer named Paul Fusco. This year I turn into 25. I guess, so does the Chernobyl.

I admit, when I see the photos from Mr. Fusco, I couldn´t help my self bit crying. The photos are breathtaking. What on earth that “something” can truly damaged the life of an innocent child? Radiation truly did. And it is called the human’s greedy for the thing we called ENERGY.

Energy is truly important in human life. In fact, it is our life. Take a simple case from the time we wake up in the morning. We need our alarm, we have to take warm shower.. having breakfast, making tea, charging our laptop, mobile, and iPod for the day…………………etc. Imagine just 1 day blackout, we will mourning and–don’t have any idea for doing something.

I remember in 2008, when Benno and Ady’s apartment (don’t imagine the luxury one) was having blackout for nearly 15 days. And it was WINTER…! Normally, it’s just 5 degree at most, and it’s around -9 until -19 C at night.

The coldest weather I’ve ever felt is just about -19 C. That’s already enough for me. In winter time, sure we need warm water, gas (cooking), electricity (doing homework, paper, etc for sure) and many things more. I just couldn’t imagine our life minus energy (or electricity and oil in exact term). And that time, Ady’s apartment was total blackout for about two weeks! NO HOT WATER and gas whatsoever! fiuh…………. nice one. And that holandia electrical company was just #%^$^&s#%h^itt**y%… to us, just because they couldn’t speak english..! oh very well. Thank you My Lord..!

Well I am Indonesian–so pardon me–sure that I don’t really enjoy the cold weather here, I am proud and happy enough to have the sun 365 days aka. for the entire year and the beach sands just 2 hours from home. My country is truly heaven, now I admit it when I got here in Enschede.


Over twenty years have passed since the meltdown at Chernobyl, the radiation is still affect people who live around that nuclear plant. Even it was happen in Pripyat, Ukraine, but somehow spread over the city around them; for example the near country bordering Kiev, Belarus. The child that become the victim in the photos from the link, are somewhat affected by the radiation when they’re playing in the rain. They got the radiation because the water is somehow contaminated (it’s the prejudice). Here, I will cited what one people talk about the Chernobyl. From the link above–it was titled: Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich.

Why did that Chernobyl break down? Some people say, it was the scientist’s fault.
They grabbed God by the beard, and now He’s laughing. But we’re the ones who pay for it.

Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There’s nowhere to hide.
Not underground, not underwater, not in the air.

I’m afraid to stay on this land. They gave me the dosimeter, but what am I supposed to do with it? I do my laundry, it’s nice and white, but the dosimeter goes off. I make some food, bake a pie — it goes off. I make the bed — it goes off. What do I need it for? I feed my kids and cry. Why are you crying, Mom?

We got to go to the place. Got our equipment. “Just an accident,” the captain tells us. “Happened a long time ago. Three months. It’s no dangerous anymore”. “It’s fine,” says the sergeant. “Just wash your hands before you eat.”
I got home, I’d go dancing. I’d meet a girl I liked and say, “Let’s get to know each other.”
“What’s for? You’re Chernobylite now. I’d be scared to have your kids.”


After I see the pictures, I felt terribly guilty. My heart breaks.. ps: don’t mute your laptop, hear Mr. Paul voice that will breaks your heart even more.. the radiation cases lung cancer, thyroid cancer & mutations in the genes. Babies are being born with mutations because the mutated genes have been passed down from generation to generation. Mr. Paul said, “…its like another race of human being.. They are monster..”

and then I cry.

Nuclear is somewhat being seen as the new energy resource, for its vast capacity, for the label as the “clean” energy, because its less polluted, or no pollution at all. Just the fusion of its atomic power, we can have millions of mega watt for our daily life, for agriculture, production, education, many things we have and we need for now.

But, what happen if there’s something happen–the impact we couldn’t prevent or even imagine–that such damages and radiation will be affecting the life of those innocent children in the photos. I hope that the Fukushima nuclear plant won’t be like that. Our dependence on energy is so huge, that we’re craving for more and more and more source for the energy supply. I read that 75% France energy is derived from nuclear plant. Wow. I hope that there won’t be any accident forever. (But forever is absurd, isn’t it?)

In fact, I do not know much about these nuclear thing, but I do know that we can respect and be wise about the use of energy, food, water electricity, everything we have now. Use them properly, use them better. Nowadays, living cost dramatically rising, food price, education cost, everything. For sure–it is also a warning for MY SELF.

I guess we can live wisely starting from now. Starting from simple things, like:

– Finish your food, everything. Don’t waste any food you buy or you make yourself. Be grateful.
– Buy things that you really need. Not because the trend, or whatsoever.
– Unplugged the electricity cable when you’re not using them anymore. Don’t leave the cable still plugged to the power source.
– Bring water from home, use less bottled water.

etc. etc…. You can add it yourself. As much as you can. Human being must stop being greedy. Last but not least, I shall rewrite what Vivian Norris said in her twitter timeline,

When all the trees ‘ve been cut down–waters polluted–air is unsafe to breathe–you’ll find you cannot eat money.

Enschede, 31 March 2011.

isn't it beautiful, room surrounded by flower? ps: your room don't have to have fancy things. flowers are beyond fancy-ness

PS: I just found out that–magnumphotos is having correlation with LEICA..! how on earth I didn’t know that.. now I know I want to barter that canon with this amazing classic camera..
oh, and FYI my birthday is on January the 9th..! (are there anyone actually reading my rambling……..?)


1 Comment

  1. Chernobyl will always become a horrible reminder of human folly with disastrous outcome that felt for generations. Child with mutated genes dan cancers are sad reminders of this.

    Anyway, room full of flowers are beautiful indeed!

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