No Nukes NW Action! "Shut Down, Not Meltdown!"
On Friday, June 22, 2012, at 3:00 p.m., I organized the No Nukes NW Action "Shut Down, Not Meltdown" at the Consulate General of Japan in Portland OR at the Wells Fargo Center. A rally and Die-In took place simultaneously on that date and time, with coordinated actions along the west coast, including Los Angeles CA, and San Francisco CA, as well as in Japan and internationally.
No Nukes NW Action! Shut Down, Not Meltdown!
By Beth Rakoncay, No Nukes NW, Occupy Portland
June 24, 2012
No Nukes NW Action! Shut Down, Not Meltdown!
Friday, June 22, 2012 - 3:00 p.m.
Shut Down, Not Meltdown: Keep Japan Nuclear Free! Portland, OR, event.
May 5, 2012 - Japan shut down all 52 nuclear reactors following Fukushima, the worst meltdown in history last year.
June 7, 2012 - About 70 women, including 10 women from Fukushima, did a "die-in" in front of the Prime Minister's Official Residence to protest against the restart of Ooi Nuclear Power Plant. Before the die-in, 10 Fukushima women visited the Cabinet Office and met with officials to submit a letter of requests addressed to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. This video clip shows the words from the Fukushima women and part of the die-in. On the very next day, June 8, 2012, Prime Minister Noda held a press conference and declared he would restart Ooi Nuclear Power Plant.
Women's "Die-In" against the Restart of Ooi Nuke Plant (Jun/07/2012) http://youtu.be/zYQNd2ybiDg
June 8, 2012 - Japanese Prime Minister Noda announced his decision to order the restart of two nuclear reactors in the town of Ohi, in the prefecture of Fukuishima in Western Japan. Prime Minister Noda also claimed that nuclear energy will remain an important source of energy for
Japan in the future, thereby reconfirming Japan's nuclear energy policy. This was the call out to action by the Japanese people that we at No Nukes NW felt was a moral obligation to engage:
"Despite all our efforts, despite the strong resistance in the region of Western Japan surrounding Ohi, and despite the fact that a majority of the Japanese people is against nuclear power, the Japanese government is bowing to pressures of the nuclear lobby in Japan."
"We have tried hard on our own, but now we believe that coordinated international pressure on Japan's government is essential to bring about real and substantial change."
"We believe that the Japanese government and the Japanese public will react very sensitively to international pressure so we wish to ask you for your support to initiate and coordinate international protest against the Japanese government."
This Solidarity Action was called for by Hideyuki BAN, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), Kanna MITSUTA, FoE Japan, Aileen Mioko SMITH, Green Action Daisuke SATO, No Nukes Asia Forum, Akira KAWASAKI, Peace Boat, Kaori IZUMI, Shut Tomari.. No Nukes NW of Portland, OR, coordinated actions in solidarity by Coalition Against Nukes - LA, in San Francisco by No Nukes Action Committee, in NYC, and International solidarity at Japanese embassies worldwide!
Friday, June 22 - Portland OR No Nukes NW, the feisty group from Occupy Portland who brought you A15 Hanford Rally in Richland, WA, April 15, 2012, led this action in solidarity with the Japanese people and with the World on Friday, June 22, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. at the Consulate General of Japan in the Wells Fargo Center in Portland, OR, to help bring volume to the Japanese peoples' voices!
ACTION: A group of about 15 people gathered at 3:00 p.m. on the corner of SW 5th and Columbia, under the shelter of the bike stand and under the windows of the Oregonian. Just prior to the event beginning, my daughter and I went up to the Consulate General of Japan's office and delivered a letter to the Prime Minister's representative. We handed the letter and an accompanying poem from a member of No Nukes NW, not present at the event but wanting to provide her voice and thoughts and feelings, through the glass window to the receptionist.
http://nonukesnw.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/dscn7667.jpg Photo: Beth Rakoncay, No Nukes NW
http://nonukesnw.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/dscn7671.jpg Photo: Beth Rakoncay, No Nukes NW
After delivering the letter, we returned outside. We made and hung origami cranes with messages to End Nuclear Death, until the security guard came out and asked us not to because then they would make him tell us to take them down. He said they had issues with Occupy Portland recently. I'm not sure if I laughed out loud or if it was chortle under my breath, but I gave him a flyer for the event and explained that we were here because we were protesting Prime Minister Noda pushing for the restarting of two nuclear reactors despite the 7.5 MILLION people in Japan demanding that Japan graduate from nuclear power. He took the flyer and I asked him to let the other security guards know what we were there for and to maybe take it up to the Consulate General of Japan and explain to them what we were doing out there, too. He did circle around a few times during our preparations for the Die-In; the sign making and face/head painting.
A very wonderful woman, Sarah Hobbs, had shaved her head, as is habit in the summer for her, and I painted a Japanese phrase on her scalp stating "Absolutely against restarting Oi Nuke". It's one thing to paint in a foreign language, it's another thing to paint in a foreign language on someone's scalp. I hope I did it justice. This is the same phrase seen in signs in Japan with the women in the video above and their visit and Die In Action in Fukushima Prefecture.
http://nonukesnw.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/sarahs-head.jpg Photo: Willow Rakoncay, No Nukes NW
We made signs to hang on our bodies as we got ready for our Die-In action. At 4:45 we walked from the corner of SW 5th and Columbia to the front of the Wells Fargo Tower and the Japanese Consulate to re-enact what it is like to suffer from deadly radiation exposure. We painted tears of blood and bleeding from the mouth and other orifices, as seen in radiation poisoning. My daughters were both at this event and they had gas masks on to bring the visual forward. We had signs such as "Exposed to radiation from Japan...Died of cancer in Oregon" and "There is no Honor in Suicide" to bring out the fact that restarting and continuing this path of destruction was folly and deadly! "History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man...Godzilla!"
I read the letter to the Prime Minister Noda and the poem that was delivered earlier in a loud and strong voice to the people all around us at our staging area under the windows of the Oregonian, and the Die-In began. As we walked out to the front of the Wells Fargo Tower, I'm told they locked their doors. Issues with Occupy, you know. Simultaneously, an Occupy the Banks action was going on across the river at Chase Bank on Hawthorne and they, too, locked the doors of a bank. We, as Occupy, got two that day. I get a kick out of that. There were two security guards standing at the top of the steps watching. There were windows of the Oregonian watching. There were people traveling home from work on a busy Friday afternoon via bus, street car, and after we all fell "dead", the clickity steps of people walking the sidewalk past and among us. We laid out on the sidewalk on SW 5th Ave. in downtown Portland as if dead in the rain to illustrate the results of continuing down this path of destruction.
As we fell to the ground, the girls in the gas masks dropped origami cranes, for hope and inspiration, upon our bodies. And then they dropped dead. As our bodies were on the ground, steam from the rain rose from us and the raindrops outlined the forms of our bodies, so that after the 11 minutes and 11 seconds that we spent dead you could see the lingering, lengthy image of death traced on the ground. A woman from the Consulate General office came out, spoke to the security guards on the steps, and then came down the steps giving us a nod, smile, and a thumbs up. She was not the only one. After the Die-In was completed, my daughter who delivered the letter, now in her gas mask having just "died from radiation exposure", went up the steps and offered the two security guards an origami crane. They stood with their arms folded across their chest (we all know the stance) and she left the cranes on the steps next to them and we all left. The cranes had messages on them, "End Nuclear Death" and "No Nukes! No More!", and were taken by participants of the Die-In and deposited in various places on their way home to illustrate how this contaminant and killer moves subtly.
Photo Gallery of Die-In event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/79168981@N07/sets/72157630246947820/
Click for video footage of Die-In in front of Consulate General of Japan office, downtown Portland, OR...
Click for Livestream footage of Die-In in front of Consulate General of Japan office, downtown Portland, OR...
We all noted as we peeked from under our signs, sunglasses, or gas masks how people walked by us deliberately not looking, as if they couldn't look. My daughters and I had a conversation about that on the way home, about how even though next door the Oregonian did not come out to investigate. This is important. They learned first-hand that We are the media now.
"Going to the Melt Down was a pretty intense experience, I think. When I went with my mom to deliver the letter to the Prime Minister office, wow, that was scary! 27 floors up I came up and I was just dizzy haha, not sure of what we were expecting, but it all turned out fine. I wore a gas mask later for the die-in and that was really strange! People kept staring like umm... okee then... and it was like YEAH. PAY ATTENTION. STUFF IS HAPPENING HERE! We made all these different cranes that my sister and I dropped on the "dead" people and then finally we died, which was pretty intense. If I had to live in one of those gas masks that would be.... impossible. Not only was it difficult to breath, it was difficult to see and at one point I had to cover up one of the holes in the end of my mask to get enough oxygen. When I went to give the origami birds to the two security guards (who didn't take them, so the cranes were left on the steps) I had the mask on wrong and couldn't breathe at all. Frightening thought. What if we had to really use those and yours was malfunctioning when you were outside? what then? Exactly. We don't need that. But all in all, I believe that the Melt Down was a very powerful event and was extremely fun!!
~Willow Rakoncay, 13
"I am willing to shave my head and have people stare at me to get out the message, that the restart of these reactors is a bad idea. Sacrificing hair is small compared to the sacrifice of human lives! The loss of one life, in the name of so called cheap energy is one too many!"
"This whole thing is a Cluster Fukushima!"
The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan continues. Children and the residents continue to be contaminated and the Fukushima Diaichi No.4 reactor could still collapse in another major earthquake with thousands of used nuclear rods giving off even greater contamination.
"The No. 4 reactor is visibly damaged and in a fragile state, down to the floor that holds the spent fuel pool," said Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute and one of the experts raising concerns. "Any radioactive release could be huge and go directly into the environment."
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon expressed similar concerns during a trip to Japan recently and we are continuing to work on getting the attention and action from OUR representatives to act, to help aid and push forward this campaign for change and objective awareness on a global scale. We must continue to speak out as a World Community to stop the restarting of these plants and demand the closure and decommissioning of nuclear power plants worldwide. Simultaneous Shut Down, Not Meltdown events took place this weekend all along the west coast of the continental U.S. These actions were a part of an International Solidarity Movement led by a coalition of six groups Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), FoE Japan, Green Action, No Nukes Asia Forum, Peace Boat, and Shut Tomari . No Nukes NW of Portland coordinated actions in solidarity with actions in Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, in Los Angeles, CA, with Coalition Against Nukes LA, in San Francisco by No Nukes Action Committee, in NYC, and worldwide!
This is not only an issue for the Japanese people and surrounding environment. It is an issue for the world at large! The Pacific Ocean has now become polluted with cesium and other nuclear materials which are still pouring into the Pacific ocean from the rivers of Fukushima. Tuna caught off the coast of California have been found to contain radiation from Fukushima. The Japanese government, TEPCO, and the MSM have been silent about their responsibility for the nuclear contamination of the entire Pacific region. We must speak up and help give volume to the voices so directly affected today! We have to speak out to help protect ourselves and our children, and our childrens' children... Silence of Complicity is a crime of epic proportions!
As Dr. Helen Caldicott put the call out for Occupy to get involved during her speech at the A15 Hanford Rally , we put out the call, too! We need EVERYONE to get involved and making efforts to make changes in the system at large. TEPCO and the US government and the Obama administration continue to tell the people that the nuclear plants are all safe and that the taxpayers should continue to subsidize the nuclear industry.
Please join us at No Nukes NW! There are 104 nuclear plants in the United States and many others worldwide that demand our attention and voice and action!! Shut Down, Not Meltdown!! We need voices and numbers to fight this insidious destructive path into the future! We need your help to forge a new, safer, and productive road! Occupy is a verb, an action word!!! Let's go, Occupy!
Beth Rakoncay, No Nukes NW and Occupy Portland
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion
view discussion from this article