Those Who Are Forgotten

Now there was an absense again, this time due to me spending time in Ukraine. In Kiev to be more precise. This time I could for known reasons not visit the Zone as it's currently close to impossible to get a permission to enter. It's funny, because the moment I return to Sweden I am greeted by a message concerning that the Zone seems to be open again and there's a tourist trip areanged for January 2012. I do not know what to believe anymore. Right now it seems  that all business regarding the zone can be labeled a travesty. 

In Kiev, there are a for me still unknown number of Chernobyl memorial monuments situated in different areas of the city. I must admit that I only know of one of them, which seems to be the most recent one created but before my journey I was determined that I would pay it a visit. 

This statue of a worn out firefighter is situated at the Kruglouniversistetska no. 22. This street is a fairly anonymous stroll from the main street of Khreshatik in the centre of Kiev and a place you can be sure to find empty if you go there after 17:00 in the afternoon. As I find it in the early evening on the 15th of December, after a short walk up a long slope it's already dark as night and the street is empty. Further down this hill, stand policemen watching over the traffic, but the firefighter sits all alone. In the darkness, the sense of solitude is enhanced and I cannot stop the feeling of sadness almost overwhelming me, but still I do not go very close. Instead I keep my distance, just watching. Thinking. 

In April, previously this year, the firefighter was surrounded by flowers left there by visitors and the time was appropriate - 25 years after the disaster various acts of memorial were held in Kiev, but now the piece of rock on which he sits is clean and empty. That in itself, to me is a reminder of how easy people forget. However I did not forget that I six months ago decided to find this place and bring flowers to pay my respect for those who saved the world. This evening I have no flowers but I return in the morning, having bought one single white rose from a lady at the metro station "Universitet". In the wind and stinging rain I extract the carefully wrapped flower and place it with the firefighter. It takes a long time. Water is dripping from his ears and from my eyes and I find it difficult to leave.

Four days later I am back in Gothenburg, reading my messages. The same author stating that the Zone seems to be open again, informs me that of the last firefighter helmet, there has been a find. The heavily contaminated inlet of this helmet has been removed and left it on a bucket outside the very entrance to the Pripyat hospital. On a personal note I do not know whether to find this to be irony or just a downright mockery and disrespect. 


On Hold

Then there's been a few days of silence again. 
This time it has to do with the information I am trying to receive, as I continue trying to follow up the situation concerning the closed Chernobyl Zone and get answer to questions like:

Why the fickleness and sliding doors-inconsistency? Is the fact that some people are let into the Zone and some are not, just a matter or chance or a sign of that there simply are no solid regulations behind the decision of closing up?

What is the purpose of firing experienced guides and replace them with young people who know nothing about the exclusion zone?

And concerning a matter as important as the rest: In the official statement when closing the Zone, the begun construction of the New Safe Confinement was listed amongst the reasons of the decision, and I am also trying to find out the amount of truth behind that. 

Having previously had contact with Anton Usov, Ukrainian Principal Advicer of the EBRD concerning the Shelter matters, I have attempted to contact him again to find out what the current status is. Is the project coming along according to plans?

Mr. Usov will be out of his office for another week, but after that, I hope to be able to tell you more about this.