Friday, November 20, 2015

"May the odds be ever in your favor!" ("Live in fear . . . . ")

I'm here in Hiroshima for the World Nuclear Victims Forum.

In the weeks leading up to this trip, one of the things I was doing was reading and writing about the Hunger Games trilogy.

Anyone who has read The Hunger Games recognizes the phrase, "May the odds be ever in your favor!" It refers to the lousy odds that young people face in that dystopian story: the odds that they will avoid being selected in the "reaping" to be one of the combatants in the games, and the odds that they will be the last of the 24 combatants to survive.

"May the odds be ever in your favor!" is the slogan of a power structure that has done everything it can to make the odds stink.

"May the odds be ever in your favor!" really translates as "Live in fear . . . . "

I thought of this expression yesterday as I walked back from the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum.

I was thinking about what I had seen, and particularly about the victims of radiation.

There is a section of the museum that tries to explain what radiation is, what it does, and what it means for people exposed to it. It became clear to me that it is much more difficult to explain than the effects of the immediate heat and blast of an atomic explosion.

Later I looked through a book from the museum, and on a page about the girl Sadako who died of leukemia, I saw something that helped me understand.

Sadako's diary of her weekly blood test results.

It is a record kept secretly by Sadako of the results of her weekly blood tests.

For each week from March through July, you can see the month and day, followed by the count for "white," "red," and "blood." If you follow closely, as I did, you see the counts rise and fall. You wonder, "What did Sadako think as she read each new set of numbers? Is this week's result good? Or bad?"

Sadako died on October 25.

How many Sadakos are there?

Perhaps the most important point about radiation sickness is not any one discrete symptom -- which can include anemia ... nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain ... dizziness, headache, or decreased level of consciousness ... cancer ... death (Wikipedia) -- but the fact that it's invisible and you never know what is going to develop after exposure.

All anyone can say is, "May the odds be ever in your favor!"

"Live in fear . . . . "

Related posts

We must recognize the harm that nuclear radiation does to people, and to lift up the newly-proposed "Charter of World Nuclear Victims' Rights."

(See The Alpha and Omega of Nuclear Radiation Injury: the Human Nexus)

There is a monument to mothers and children killed by the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. I felt that if there was just one image to sum up my visit here, it would be this one.

(See Nagasaki: Impressions )

"To see the atom bomb museum," I said. And again I wondered, what can a child in Nagasaki think when they see a person from the US who has come here to see the atom bomb museum?

(See Encounter in Nagasaki )

Two themes -- hunting vs. healing and the socio-economic underpinnings of war culture -- are just a few of the many that have leapt out at me as I've ready Book I of The Hunger Games.

(See Hunger Games: Hunting vs. Healing)

I'm preparing to attend the World Nuclear Victims Forum in Hiroshima in November. Here are my thoughts as the event approaches, plus a list of my blog posts on this topic.

(See Nov 21-23, 2015 in Hiroshima: World Nuclear Victims Forum -- I'll Be There )

The recurring theme of the The Hurt Locker is "We're done here." The tension of each encounter with a bomb is followed by the moment when the hero successfully defuses the bomb, and then announces "We're done here." The deeper theme of the movie is psychological: the solder is addicted to the excitement. He is unable to go on with a normal life. He keeps going back, again and again, to Iraq, to defuse more bombs. (HE is NEVER "done".)

(See DU: Will we ever be able to say "We're done here" ? )

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