Voices from Chernobyl Quotes

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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
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Voices from Chernobyl Quotes Showing 1-30 of 329
“Death is the fairest thing in the world. No one's ever gotten out of it. The earth takes everyone - the kind, the cruel, the sinners. Aside from that, there's no fairness on earth.”
Svetlana Aleksievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Is there anything more frightening than people?”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“I'm not afraid of God. I'm afraid of man.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Come get your apples! Chernobyl apples!’ Someone told her not to advertise that, no one will buy them. ‘Don’t worry!’ she says. ‘They buy them anyway. Some need them for their mother-in-law, some for their boss.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Yo tengo miedo. Tengo miedo de una cosa, de que en nuestra vida el miedo ocupe el lugar del amor.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Reality has always attracted me like a magnet, tortured and hypnotized me, and I wanted to capture it on paper. So I immediately appropriated this genre of actual human voices and confessions, witness evidences and documents. This is how I hear and see the world—as a chorus of individual voices and a collage of everyday details. In this way all my mental and emotional potential is realized to the full. In this way I can be simultaneously a writer, reporter, sociologist, psychologist and preacher.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“We're often silent. We don't yell and we don't complain. We're patient, as always. Because we don't have the words yet. We're afraid to talk about it. We don't know how. It's not an ordinary experience, and the questions it raises are not ordinary. The world has been split in two: there's us, the Chernobylites, and then there's you, the others. Have you noticed? No one here points out that they're Russian or Belarussian or Ukrainian. We all call ourselves Chernobylites. "We're from Chernobyl." "I'm a Chernobylite." As if this is a separate people. A new nation.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Show me a fantasy novel about Chernobyl--there isn't one! Because reality is more fantastic.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There’s nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“En la vida las cosas más terribles ocurren en silencio y de manera natural.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“It's certainly true that Chernobyl, while an accident in the sense that no one intentionally set it off, was also the deliberate product of a culture of cronyism, laziness, and a deep-seated indifference toward the general population. The literature on the subject is pretty unanimous in its opinion that the Soviet system had taken a poorly designed reactor and then staffed it with a group of incompetents. It then proceeded, as the interviews in this book attest, to lie about the disaster in the most criminal way. In the crucial first ten days, when the reactor core was burning and releasing a steady stream of highly radioactive material into the surrounding areas, the authorities repeatedly claimed that the situation was under control. . . In the week after the accident, while refusing to admit to the world that anything really serious had gone wrong, the Soviets poured thousands of men into the breach. . . The machines they brought broke down because of the radiation. The humans wouldn't break down until weeks or months later, at which point they'd die horribly.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Man lives with death, but he doesn’t understand what it is.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Death is the fairest thing in the world. No one's ever gotten out of it. The earth takes everyone- the kind, the cruel, the sinners. Aside from that, there's no fairness on earth.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Everyone found a justification for themselves, an explanation. I experimented on myself. And basically I found out that the frightening things in life happen quietly and naturally. Zoya”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“I told you. There’s nothing heroic here, nothing for the writer’s pen. I had thoughts like, It’s not wartime, why should I have to risk myself while someone else is sleeping with my wife? Why me again, and not him? To be honest, I didn’t see any heroes there. I saw nutcases, who didn’t care about their own lives, and I had enough craziness myself, but it wasn’t necessary. I also have medals and awards—but that’s because I wasn’t afraid of dying. I didn’t care! It was even something of an out. They’d have buried me with honors. And the government would have paid for it.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“There are many of us here. A whole street. That's what it's called--Chernobylskaya. These people worked at the station their whole lives. A lot of them still go there to work on a provisional basis, that's how they work there now, no one lives there anymore. They have bad diseases, they're invalids, but they don't leave their jobs, they're scared to even think of the reactor closing down. Who needs them now anywhere else? Often they die. In an instant. They just drop--someone will be walking, he falls down, goes to sleep, never wakes up. He was carrying flowers for his nurse and his heart stopped. They die, but no one's really asked us. No one's asked what we've been through. What we saw. No one wants to hear about death. About what scares them.

But I was telling you about love. About my love...

-- Lyudmila, Ignatenko,
wife of deceased fireman, Vasily Ignatenko”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“The only righteous thing on the face of the earth is death. No one has ever bribed their way out of that. The earth takes us all: the good, the evil and the sinners. And that's all the justice you'll find in this world.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“At that time my notions of nuclear power were utterly idyllic. At school and at the university we'd been taught that this was a magical factory that made "energy out of nothing," where people in white robes sat and pushed buttons. Chernobyl blew up when we weren't prepared.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“I often thought that the simples fact, the mechanical fact, is no closer to the truth than a vague feeling, rumor, vision. Why repeat the facts - they cover up our feelings. The development of these feelings, the spilling of these feelings past the facts, is what fascinantes me. I try to find them, collect them, protect them.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“People ask me: “Why don’t you take photos in color? In color!” But Chernobyl: literally it means black event. There are no other colors there.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Así es como vivo. Vivo a la vez en un mundo real y en otro irreal. Y no sé dónde estoy mejor.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“We all live through it by ourselves, we don't know what else to do. I can't understand it with my mind. My mother especially has felt confused. She teaches Russian literature, and she always taught me to live with books. But there are no books about this. She became confused. She doesn't know how to do without books. Without Chekhov and Tolstoy.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“Morirse no es difícil, solo da miedo.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“There’s a fragment of some conversation, I’m remembering it. Someone is saying: “You have to understand: this is not your husband anymore, not a beloved person, but a radioactive object with a strong density of poisoning. You’re not suicidal. Get ahold of yourself.” And I’m like someone who’s lost her mind: “But I love him! I love him!” He’s sleeping, and I’m whispering: “I love you!” Walking in the hospital courtyard, “I love you.” Carrying his sanitary tray, “I love you.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“قالوا لنا يجب أن ننتصر، على من؟
على الذرة، الفيزياء، الفضاء!!!!
النصر عندنا ليس حدث، بل عملية مستمرة”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“¿Cómo elegir entre el amor y la muerte? ¿Entre el pasado y el ignorado presente? ¿Y quién se creerá con derecho a echar en cara a otras esposas y madres que no se quedaran junto a sus maridos e hijos? Junto a esos elementos radiactivos. En su mundo se vio alterado incluso el amor. Hasta la muerte.
Ha cambiado todo. Todo menos nosotros.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“He’s going to die.” I understood later on that you can’t think that way. I cried in the bathroom. None of the mothers cry in the hospital rooms. They cry in the toilets, the baths. I come back cheerful: “Your cheeks are red. You’re getting better.” “Mom, take me out of the hospital. I’m going to die here. Everyone here dies.” Now where am I going to cry? In the bathroom? There’s a line for the bathroom—everyone like me is in that line.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“I'm a product of my time. I'm not a criminal.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“That’s how it was in the beginning. We didn’t just lose a town, we lost our whole lives.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
“We were told that we had to win. Against whom? The atom? Physics? The universe? Victory is not an event for us, but a process.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

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