Today’s post is going to be a bit different from the usual formula, and includes photos that aren’t mine, but first a confession and due apology:
Apology 1: Since my DT Newsletter gets a lot of fictitious subscriptions (from bots, presumably) I have to clear out some of those from time to time. So a couple of days ago I set about removing all those “ghost subscribers” older than a month, but in the process I seem to have accidentally deleted two genuine confirmed subscribers too. And I then found out (the hard way) that the newsletter back-end editor doesn’t have an ‘undelete’ function or bin, so they’re properly lost and I can’t even tell who those subscribers were. So if those affected read this (hopefully) and wonder why they did not get the newsletter yesterday, you now know why. Please accept my apology and do re-subscribe! Sorry for the inconvenience.
Apology 2: Since I am going travelling again (Brno tomorrow, Venice next week) I have less time for proper blog posts with lots of photos and original text, so this week will only see this post, and the week after none. BUT: once I’m back from those trips I can make posts with brand new photo material! And we can have another theme poll soon too maybe …
Recommendation: There’s an interesting film out about the so-called “stalkers” of Chernobyl, i.e. those people going there not by the usual tourist route, with a guide and a permit, but who enter the Exclusion Zone independently and illegally. The above photo was taken by one of them (Thierry Vanhuysse) and is part of a press package of the film company, which is where I took it from. And this is a small version of the film poster:
Apparently there’s quite a large scene of Chernobyl stalkers. I know one personally, who also told me that this film is a bit unrepresentative in so far as it only features a certain subtype of stalkers. The majority of stalkers, so I was told, follow an ethos of not banging on about their stalking exploits on blogs or social media, whereas some of the stalkers featured in this film evidently do not have such restraints. In fact a few seem to have little restraint full stop and go about their explorations in ways that can only be called irresponsible (camping in the Red Forest, relinquishing even Geiger counters). More interesting, however, are the views of local Ukrainians who have family connections to the Zone, e.g. one person whose father was one of the liquidators of Chernobyl and died prematurely, or the engineer who was himself one of the liquidators.
I must admit I do have a bit of a problem with some of the stalkers and their behaviour, including those who used the Duga radar for base-jumping off its top. I found it felt a bit like a trivialization of the site. Also problematic I find those nutters who balance on the steel supports of the Duga radar elements – ca. 120 metres above the ground, i.e. seriously risking their lives, as evidenced in the above film poster or in this photo:
Anyway, although it is in part controversial and slightly skewed as far as the portrayal of stalkers is concerned, it’s definitely worth watching the film. And the good news is, you can do so for free on YouTube or Vimeo … for the time being, that is. I have been informed that this may change in September when the film company may have found a distributor. So if you’re interested don’t delay, watch it soon!