We Are All “Hibakusha”
“I am surprised by the short-term memory of the Cold War. I was well aware of it growing up . . . I remember a teacher in the fourth grade disciplining us while reading KGB novels and telling us that “The Soviet Union’s got a missile pointed right at your back yard!” I never forgot that, and only recently came to understand the mentality for his comment with the vast relationship between Colorado and the military and weapons development. The protests at Rocky Flats in my high school days seemed like something “those Boulder people” did. It just did not really click what the “hoopla” was all about.
There were many specials in Japan about the one year anniversary of the three-part disaster: the findings, dangers of Fukushima, the people forced to leave the nearby areas, the many lost lives in the earthquake and tsunami, the people who are still without homes, jobs, security, and family. North of Fukushima in Iwate and Miyagi are people who are often on the back pages of the world news. Now, the debate continues as to which cities across the nation will accept the remaining piles of rubbish to burn in municipal incinerators. Much is from the far north, but residents across the nation do not want to burn potentially contaminated rubbish. Of 54 nuclear plants, only 2 remain active but people need to be vigilant that politics do not work in favor of restarting the others. We are all “hibakusha”-victims of radiation; as well as other poisoning and unnatural, unhealthy lifestyles.”
–Amy Uehara, a reader who grew up in an area near Rocky Flats and has lived in Japan for 27 years. She was in high school when she met the Japanese man who would become her husband when he came to Colorado to live with a family whose father worked for Rocky Flats. March 2012.