THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #15

DAVID’S NOTES:

>>>Tomorrow is the 54th anniversary of the day we dropped the first atomic bomb in human history on Hiroshima, Japan. This issue of THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE therefore is dedicated, as Lois Eby puts it in her editorial, “in memory and honor and shame for Hiroshima” and to a couple of the issues the nuclear age has left us.

>>>First a comment from the Editor on two articles sent in by Emailite Rob Faivre, as follow-up to JME #14, about the environmental damage from the bombing of Yugoslavia and how the legacy of nuclear war is with us still in so-called conventional warfare.

>>>Second, Rachel Axelrod, the CEO of our vast research staff down there “inside The Beltway,” sends us a sobering, post-Chernobyl report from her recent visit to Ukraine.

>>>Finally, we send out Vermont Public Radio commentator, Lois Eby’s most recent on-air editorial about nuclear disarmament and the Abolition 2000 movement. Lois’ commentary aired yesterday on WVPR.

>>>If you do not want to receive THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE please simply reply with DELETE.

 


MORE ON ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION RESULTING FROM NATO’s BOMBING OF YUGOSLAVIA

by David Budbill

Emailite Rob Faivre has send in two articles about the bombing in Yugoslavia that I recommend to everyone.

First, an article from THE NEW YORK TIMES (July 28, 1999, p. A6) by Steven Erlanger headlined: “Team Finds NATO Bombing Left Few Environment Woes.” After saying that a United Nations environmental team “found no evidence of a major ecological catastrophe in Yugoslavia” the article goes on to detail one horrific incident after another.

The article mentions especially Pancevo–which you will remember was the subject of a piece in JME #14–as needing “immediate attention to protect the health of ordinary citizens.”

This is an especially interesting article for how radically the content of the article contradicts the headline.

I was able to go to THE NEW YORK TIMES on-line archives and download this article free.

And as a companion piece and contrary view to that article, read an article in THE PEOPLE–(July 1999, Vol. 109, number 4, p. 8), a newspaper published by The Socialist Labor Party–headlined “NATO Bombings Pollute Balkans Environment.”

This article is interesting for its attack on a Rand Corporation report that says the use of depleted uranium in weaponry has minimal effect on human health, also for the news that U. S. veterans organizations are now expressing deep concerns for the health and safety of the American peacekeepers who will have to live in and patrol the environment where depleted uranium bombs have fallen.

This article is available at The Socialist Labor Party’s webpage: www.slp.org.

Rob Faivre also recommends other periodicals such as:

WORKERS’ WORLD = www.workers.org

INT. SOCIALIST = www.internationalsocialist.org

MONTHLY REVIEW = www.igc.apc.org/MonthlyReview

Z MAGAZINE = www.zmag.org

 

 


REPORT FROM UKRAINE
by Rachel Axelrod

My brother Sam is a Peace Corps volunteer in Yaremcha, Ukraine, in the Karpathian National Nature Park. This Park used to be a thriving vacation destination with about 1 million tourists a year, but since the fall of the Soviet Union attendance has dropped to about 50,000 visitors annually. The drop in attendance is attributed primarily to the fact that the price of accommodations is no longer subsidized by the government, [Now that free market Capitalism has taken over. Ed.] so Ukrainians either cannot afford to go there anymore, or they choose to spend their money elsewhere.

Aside from the personal discomfort I had adjusting to the lack of certain services that we Americans take for granted (hot water – or in some homes, any running water at all, reliable phone service, reliable electricity) this region of Ukraine is absolutely beautiful. Young, green, dramatic mountains, with fantastic hiking trails; clean sweet air that was a pleasure to breath compared to the air in my city (Washington, DC) this time of year.

I was therefore upset to learn that, due to the Chernobyl disaster, we could not trust our eyes. We were told not to eat the ripe wild blueberries that grew on the hills, not to drink ANY non-distilled water, even the cold, seemingly clean water that flowed down from the highest mountain around–water that had yet to flow through anything other than a forest.

A Peace Corps staff mandate requires that all vegetables be peeled carefully and thoroughly. When my brother told me this I at first assumed it was because there are few or no regulations on the type and quantity of pesticides used in Ukraine. After all, this is a country that has no regulations on car emissions, and has only leaded fuel at its gas stations.

Although pesticides were indeed a concern, the primary reason for fastidiously discarding all peels and rinds was the on-going and obviously long-term effects of the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster.

While horrified, I could somewhat understand how blueberries, tomatoes, etc. might be hot (radioactive)–but what about potatoes? They grow underground! My brother explained that the dirt itself is still hot and thus, so too are the root vegetables.

As we probably all know, it is impossible yet to gauge the full impact of the Chernobyl disaster. One can only hope that removing the peels and rinds is sufficient–that it is not, in fact, the actual cell walls of the vegetables and fruits that are affected as well.

I do not have an organic garden like David Budbill, our emailite creator, but I do have in Washington, DC, Fresh Fields Whole Food Market, a huge supermarket that carries only organic, natural products.

As I shopped for provisions upon my return to America, I looked with an entirely altered perspective at the aisles filled with pesticide free vegetables, free-range chicken, homemade cheeses, pastas, breads, etc. Not only did the wealth of food choices seem embarrassingly extravagant, I realized that I didn’t have to worry about removing radioactive casings, shells, rinds.

I stood there amongst all that food thinking how some people have to live in an environment where they cannot trust their eyes, where a seemingly plump, red, juicy tomato could actually wind up killing them.

 

 


ABOLITION 2000

by Lois Eby

August 6 is Hiroshima Day, the anniversary of the American bombing of the city of Hiroshima in Japan. That one nuclear bomb devastated a city and its inhabitants. It also ushered in the Nuclear Age. We often forget that we are living in the Nuclear Age. There are so many other things to worry about, so many day to day struggles, so many local and global economic, political and environmental problems. 1945 seems a long time ago. And Hiroshima seems so terrible. Surely it could not happen again.

In memory and honor and shame for Hiroshima, I want to remind you that we ARE still living with the threat of nuclear weapons, a threat that is now worldwide. At least half a dozen countries possess nuclear weapons. These weapons are more than enough to destroy civilization and the earth as we know it.

For Hiroshima Day, I want to tell you about Abolition 2000, the international movement to achieve a firm treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. I first learned about Abolition 2000 last winter when a friend from Norwich, Connecticut, wrote to me that she had given up almost all her usual pastimes outside of work to campaign for it.

She had successfully led a campaign in her town with the result that the Norwich City Council unanimously endorsed the Abolition 2000 Campaign. This friend is the most private, solitary person I know. What had brought her to speak before the Norwich Town Council?

With my attention alerted by my reclusive friend, I learned that Abolition 2000 was already very active in Vermont as The Vermont Campaign to End Nuclear Weapons. Vermonters can be proud that this group, made up of several Vermont organizations and funded in part by several foundations, placed resolutions on over 35 Town Meeting agendas last March calling upon “all nuclear weapons states to secure . . . a nuclear weapons abolition treaty.”

The treaty is to arrange for a time table for the elimination of nuclear weapons “in a manner that is mutual and verifiable among all nations.” Citizens of 33 towns in Vermont passed this resolution. At Town Meeting Day, 2000, The Vermont Campaign hopes to have this resolution on the agenda in 190 additional towns. The Vermont House and Senate have now passed a similar resolution.

Could such a treaty succeed? Humans have rarely given up their weapons of destruction. They want to keep them, if only as a deterrent to other countries who also possess them. These thoughts went through my mind when I first learned about this campaign.

Then I read a speech by retired General Lee Butler. General Butler states, “I have made a long and arduous intellectual journey from staunch advocate of nuclear deterrence to public proponent of nuclear abolition.” He goes on to speak of the terrific cost of nuclear arsenals, the tangled web of systems, oversight policies and strategies, and the dangers of nuclear destruction through conflict or accident that have in fact increased, not decreased, since the end of the Cold War.

The growing number of nuclear powers, the little understood horror of the scale of destruction that would be unleashed with their use, and the realization that the only way to be nuclear safe is to be nuclear free, all constitute part of General Butler’s arguments. We should all be listening.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

Against the nuclear arsenals of many countries, what is one town’s vote, one state’s vote? It may seem insignificant, but it is very important that we speak out. We have seen too often how quickly conflicts can erupt and reason and peace can be left behind.

Let us remember Hiroshima, and find our own way to join Abolition 2000. Together our voices CAN be heard.

 

 

* * * * * * * * * *

For more information about joining Abolition 2000 contact:

PEACE ACTION, Nuclear Disarmament Campaign, 1819 H Street, NW #640, Washington, DC 20006-3603, ph: (202) 862-9740.

Or serach the web with “nuclear disarmament campaign” There may be something in your state.

In Vermont contact Joseph Gainza, American Friends Service Committee, 73 main Street, Box 19, Montpelier, VT 05602, (802) 229-2340,