Not writing about Japan

By Ruth Limkin

It’s hard to write about Japan. The tragedy is overwhelming. The sheer scale of what we are seeing, and the complexity of the multi-layered crisis, makes it difficult to wrap words around.

Sometimes it’s best not to write at times like these, but to reflect, to consider, to watch and wait. The immediacy of publication in a wired world can sometimes be a bane.

And yet, in the midst of reluctance to write too soon, I cannot help but honour one group of people – the technicians working at the nuclear powerplants in Fukushima.

They have stayed behind, having volunteered for what may be their last job.

Working in total darkness, with no electricity, they are battling to bring order and safety to a place of chaos and danger.

No-one would blame them for running, yet we are all deeply grateful for their sacrifice.

Perhaps the extent of their sacrifice will be noticed soon, if immediate tragedy sadly befalls them. Perhaps the sacrifice will only be truly discovered later, uncovered by medical tests which show long-term effects of the danger they are willingly confronting.

The reason they are using older technicians is chilling, for according to reports, it is in the hope that tumours won’t develop in the years they have left to live. Such a strategy tells us much about the conditions in which they work. (You can read more about that here.)

Now is not the time to argue about nuclear power. Now is the time to pray.

Our heart goes to Japan, and to her nuclear technicians.

May she rise again, gracious in strength, and imbued with a hope greater than the tragedy which has visited her.