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Author Ramblings - Chernobyl Diaries

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The Messy Desk

May 31st, 2012


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10:26 am - Chernobyl Diaries
In my previous life as a video game producer, I worked with a company that was located in Kyiv, Ukraine. I have many funny anecdotes about my times there. This isn’t one of them.

Upon arrival my very first time there I was confronted with the loss of a team member. One of the programmers had finally succumbed to the blood cancer he had contracted in the days since the disaster. I was staggered; the rest of the programmers were sad but unsurprised. He was not the first, nor would he be the last.

The head writer on the Ukrainian side of the project turned out to also be an accomplished short-story writer with several published works. He spoke English fluently and the two of us quickly bonded over writing and the fact that he knew enough about western culture to put a brave girl traveling solo at ease.

On one of my visits I brought him a small bottle of whiskey.

“Enough with your vodka,” I said. “This is what American writers drink.”

He was so touched by the gesture he immediately gave me his key chain, a little carved wooden head at the end of a golden chain.

“It’s my good luck charm,” he told me. “And now it’s yours.”

This good luck charm, he believed, is what kept him safe over the years. Safe when he and other Ukrainians in the Russian army were sent in to clean up Chernobyl two days after the disaster. With no special protection. No armor, no helmet, no radiation-proof gear at all—-not even a second set of clothes.

Moved by his gift and horrified by his story, I asked if he was really all right.

He shrugged. “I eat very healthy. Who knows?”

This is what I think of every time I have to take the subway stairs past posters for the Chernobyl Diaries.

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Comments:


From:Kathi Reuchsel
Date:May 31st, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Dear Liz,

thank you for sharing that personal story! So it is not just me who finds this movie highly inappropriate! When I watched the trailer a couple of weeks ago, I was simply stunned by this insensitivity. I absolutely doubt that there is any artistic or moral value of the movie to justify its making.

All the best from Germany,
Kathi

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