From the Women and Children of Koodankulam, India
Today, 26th May 2013 marks 650 days since we, the people of Idinthakarai, have made this Samara pandal in the courtyard of the 150 year old Lourde Mother Church our home. We have witnessed many many events and seen so many people from India and other parts of the world by being here.
Today is a special day for us – as if by coincidence 150 women, children and men from all parts of Kerala are with us today. Since the Supreme Court verdict at the beginning of the month which declared that the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is absolutely safe for commissioning, many would have thought our struggle is over. There were many who declared that this is a lost cause. But how can we, the people ever think so when we do not accept the verdict on our lives? When we have never gone to the Court seeking answers to our doubts, concerns, fear and dissent? Do we have to accept the judgment that we never sought?
For us the questions we have raised remain unanswered and we are not convinced. Nor do we believe in the absolute capacity of Nuclear energy to solve the power crisis. The questions we have put forth about safety and waste disposal, the environmental impact on the ecosystem that sustains us, the impact on our bodies and health, the flawlessness of the technology and equipments being used, the geological safety of the site – all remain in doubt. We have not been given any documents substantiating the perfect nature of the Power plant. So how can we give the struggle up?
As each day passes, new and more shocking information about the fallacy of the multi-crore project is coming. Even a small child in our tiny fishing village knows about the corruption and callousness of the project. We know the issues of liability that the Russian Government is still not willing to address. We realize the cruelty of our own Government that states that a Fukushima kind of accident can be handled. Instead why is it that they cannot say it will never happen. Till a few months back the blame for the delay was always on us- on the People’s movement. But since a few months it has shifted to brief mention about safety and making it perfect. It intrigues us to know of all this.
Today many friends from Kerala spoke to us. We know that they have all been working hard to keep the issue alive and transmit our voices all over. They have speaking to the world about us, our life and struggle and the absolute injustice of nuclear power and energy generation. Through films, books, articles and campaigns the people of Kerala have been with us. Because they believe in peace and justice, in health and traditional livelihoods and sustenance. We were particularly touched by the small children from a group called Padashala who campaigned in their own town for us. When they handed over the money they had collected for us, many of us watched their earnest attempt to reach out to us. We listened with tears when they sang the song about how mothers and compassion are one and the same and how the love is the fragrance of the flower
called life. The members from the Kanavu school for tribal children in Wynad known for its innovative work sang about whether the next generation can survive on this Planet Earth so contaminated and destroyed by human greed and violence. We got introduced to women from Anweshi along with many many individuals doing so much for the betterment of life. It was an exciting moment when the veteran anti-nuclear activist Ramachandran Payyannur introduced three generations in his own family who are anti-nuclear. We listened to Subramonium and Sahadevan, Ajitha and Yamini who shared with us their thoughts on the anti-nuclear movement.
We realize more than ever that our struggle is not against nuclear energy alone. Our demand is to be allowed to pursue a life style based on truth, justice and hard work. Our adherence to this has made us raise crucial questions about democracy and governance, about the way decisions are being taken in our country and how the well being of the marginalized are neglected and trampled upon.
How can we not raise our voices loud when Xavieramma sang our dear Porattam song Velkave Velkave, Anuvulai ethirppumakkal Porattam Velkave?
(Win we will win, the People’s struggle against the Nuclear Power Plant will win)
This day will remain etched in our memory for days to come- that we all have to stand together to overcome this huge demon looming over us.
Our struggle is not lost. Nor is it over. We have entered a new phase with renewed vigour and determination. Do join us here again.
27th May 2013
Sisters of Idinthakarai
The Women and Children of Idinthakarai
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai, Thirunelveli Dt
Tamil Nadu, India
Letter prepared by Anitha.S (after returning from Idinthakarai on 26.10.2013).
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 3 Jun 2013.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: From the Women and Children of Koodankulam, India, is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
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