Alarm bell of memories
Seven nuclear power station research officials — led by Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, returned from Rome
Chernobyl handbell from Belarus is donated to the Pope of Rome by liquidator Mikhail Obrazov
Back in 1986, a team of four inspected the whole country on a Ka-26 helicopter. The specialists spent most of the time (around six months) in Chernobyl’s affected zones and, mostly owing to Mr. Obrazov and his colleagues, people received accurate information about the state of the country. Residents of the regions over which a radioactive cloud released poisonous rain were forced to accept that the land where they used to plant grain and build houses was contaminated.
“Sadly, two members of that team died,” says Mikhail. “I informed the Pope of this while presenting a souvenir — the information map for which my friends paid with their lives and health. I also brought a clay bell — featuring a human shadow: these silhouettes (that remain on the surface at the epicentre of a nuclear explosion) are called ‘Hiroshima shadows’. The Pope showed much interest in the present which embodied a tragedy that killed hundreds of people and left thousands without their homes. I hope the bell will give the impetus for the Catholic church’s own bell to ring the alarm and increase awareness of such catastrophes. The Pope reminded us that there are plenty of acute problems all over the globe but we should not forget about past issues like Chernobyl. We are thankful that we are alive and able to tell our story. We are supported by the state but we also need the support of the world community. We put all of our efforts into tackling the spread of radiation, which was our duty and necessity. We now need to remember the spiritual aspects of Chernobyl.”
By Inna Kabysheva