First it kills one nation and then what?


Barys Platrovich remembers Chernobyl @ Eurozine.
The dust has gone already...There's no dust – it's been blown away... Great gusts of wind pick up tiny grains of sand and slash you with them, in your face, on your legs and chest: it hurts like you're pushing your way through thorny bushes of raspberries or blackberries. And meanwhile there I am, walking round the town, Homel, amazed by the wind: where has it come from today, this wind – biting, strong, insistent, nasty... Why has it suddenly got up, blowing the sand from Ukraine into Belarus and from Belarus towards Moscow?I didn't know anything yet, didn't have the slightest idea of what had happened, but I well remember that day and that evening in Homel, 26 April 1986, I remember that I was unable to do anything because of the silent scream that, as it seemed to me, filled all the space around me. The silent scream uttered by all things animate and inanimate, even dust and sand, as they try desperately to escape from disaster. This is how elk and wild boar, wolves and deer, hares and squirrels flee from the merciless forest fire, in silence with their eyes wide open in panic. With the same terrifying scream adders and grass snakes, beetles and caterpillars try to crawl away from the fire, and with the same silent scream they die in more