Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chernobyl and Fukushima: Hiding the Truth

Twenty five years ago, Chernobyl, a small town on the edge of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine, became world famous due to a nuclear disaster. It was something the authorities of the secretive regime tried, in vain and totally unrealistically, to hide from the world.

The Utopian Marxist state, the Soviet Union, did not have room for criticism. The Soviet system was the correct system. Capitalism was degrading, despite the fact that the Soviet bloc was facing food and other consumer goods shortages. In such a system, 'accidents', especially of this magnitude can never happen.

Yes, it was true. Accidents of this magnitude may never happen. It happened partly due to negligence. But, in a socialist society, negligence could never happen.

Therefore, the Soviets wanted to hide the big accident from the world. In a world where satellites keep an eye on what happens all over the world, it was never easy. Also, they might have thought that the Geiger counters in the capitalist world were 'degraded' and therefore not working, which was not the case.

Chernobyl once more shattered the utopia of the Soviet system. It made the new and comparatively young General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) think back. Incidentally, Gorbachev himself was reportedly not informed of the magnitude of the whole catastrophe.

Chernobyl was a no confidence motion on the secretive society a few maintained for their betterment. Such a regime could not survive, and it did not.

That was 25 years ago.

Now is the time to turn to the capitalist world. Another disaster, at Fukushima, occurred just over 45 days ago. One should expect the democratic societies to be more open on the matter. Not so it seems.

The Japanese were extremely reluctant to declare the real magnitude of the disaster, which, to their credit, did not happen through negligence. Nature was playing havoc on Japan, but it does not give the Japanese authorities the prerogative of hiding the truth from the world. However, Japan is much more open than the USSR 25 years ago and there was pressure from outside for the Japanese to open up. The IAEA president, himself a Japanese, had to urge the Japanese to be more open.

The Soviet Union had to own up when it was obvious to the outside world that a disaster had occurred. It is more or less the same in the case of the Japanese.

One can wonder, if capitalism and the Soviet style of socialism are the two sides of the same coin! According to George Orwell's The Animal Farm, it is.

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