Monday, March 14, 2011


Jaime Semprun writing in 1986 about the nuclear lobby:

The problem addressed by these fanatics has thus absolutely nothing to do with the placing of restraints, however limited, on the appalling capriciousness of their deadly machinery. On this point, at least, they are unshakeable. No, the only thing that disturbs whatever they have for minds is the fact that their hapless victims have the temerity to rebel against their state of ignorance and demand access to precise knowledge of what is being inflicted upon them. Such persistence is liable to compromise the chief advantage enjoyed by nuclear energy as compared with other power sources such as coal. Despite oil's efforts to hold its own, at Maracaibo or elsewhere, radioactivity remains unarguably superior to the side-effects of all other technologies in that its main results become tangible only long after the egregious sets of circumstances that make the front pages of the newspapers. In this sense, too, radiation is marvelously adapted to the needs of the spectacle: we talk about it, forget it, then we suffer its effects, and die from it, in silence. Thus what needs to be concealed -- the essential reality of the phenomenon -- is conveniently relegated to a hypothetical future time, there to dissolve into statistical abstraction in company with the dangers of smoking and the death toll on the roads. This is what makes it possible to compare the Chernobyl catastrophe to a football riot.

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