vendredi 22 juillet 2011

"Unrealistic" dreamers, Discours de réception du prix Catalogne 2011 - Haruki Murakami

The following words appear on the cenotaph of the monument erected for the Hiroshima victims: "Rest in peace, for the error shall not be repeated".

These are wonderful words. At the same time, we are both victims and perpetrators. This is the implied meaning of these words. Faced with a force as destructive as nuclear power, we are all both the victims and the perpetrators. As long as we are under the threat of this force, we are all victims. But, since we have permitted its development and allowed its use, we are also the perpetrators.

Today, 66 years after the atomic bombs were dropped, reactor number one of the Fukushima power plant has been releasing radiation and contaminating the land, sea and air in its surroundings for three months. And still no one knows how to stop it. This is the second largest nuclear disaster that the Japanese have suffered in our history, but this time no one has dropped an atomic bomb on us. We Japanese have brought it upon ourselves. We have committed the error with our own hands. We have damaged our country and destroyed our own lives.

Why has this happened? Where is the rejection of nuclear energy that we had demonstrated since the end of World War II? What has broken down and corrupted the rich and peaceful society that we have tried to build all these years ?

The reason is very clear: "efficiency".

The electricity companies claim that nuclear reactors are the most efficient system for producing electricity. In other words, they are the system that provides the most benefits. In turn, especially since the first oil shock, the Japanese Government doubted the stability of the oil supply and adopted nuclear energy production as a national policy. The electricity companies spent large amounts of money on advertising, bought the media and made the citizens think that nuclear energy production was completely safe.

By the time we finally realised, approximately 30% of Japan's electrical production already depended on nuclear energy production. Without the citizens noticing, the Japanese archipelago, small and with frequent earthquakes, had become the country with the third largest number of nuclear power plants in the world.

Having reached this point, there is no turning back. It is already an accomplished fact.
Those who fear nuclear energy production are threateningly asked whether it bothers them that there will not be enough electricity. And even among the citizens, there is a feeling that there is no other choice but to depend on nuclear energy. In Japan, the heat can get very oppressive. Thus, not being able to turn on the air conditioning during the summer would be almost unbearable. The label of "unrealistic dreamers" is placed on those who cast doubt on nuclear energy.

And that is how we find ourselves where we are today. Nuclear reactors, which in theory are very efficient, have given rise to a dramatic situation, as if someone had opened the door to hell. This is the reality.

The "reality" of those in favour of nuclear energy, who asked those who are against it to take reality into account, was not the actual reality, but rather just a superficial "convenience". What they did was say "reality" instead of "convenience" in order to twist the logic without anyone noticing.

This has resulted not only in the collapse of the myth of "technological" power, of which Japan was so proud for so many years, but has also represented the collapse of the ethics and standards of the Japanese, as we have allowed ourselves to get into this predicament. Now we criticise the electricity company and the Government. Doing this is just and necessary. But at the same time, we must blame ourselves. We are both the victims and the perpetrators. It is a matter that we should seriously reconsider. If not, the error may be repeated somewhere else.

"Rest in peace, for the error shall not be repeated".
We must emblazon these words on our hearts once again.

La traduction anglaise intégrale est ici.