This sweet face and little imploring hands touch me deeply on several levels, not the least of which is the fact that the mask is decorated with cute little bunny rabbits in an attempt to give a playful touch to a ghastly reality, to make the lethal air around the child and her mother, as well as the poison penetrating their bones, organs and glands, seem less terrifying.
Three years after the Fukushima radiation leaks began, children in northern Japan still have to wear protective masks over their mouths and can only play outside for absolutely no more than half an hour a day. Yet I’m not sure this paper mask–or that time restriction–are any more effective at keeping out radiation than the colorful figures imprinted on it.
Since I grew up in Japan, I relate to this little girl with the dark almond eyes. I remember many faces like this one, only they were on children who were free to smile openly. Since I grew up in Hiroshima, I relate to the danger that living near a source of radiation exposed this innocent child to. As an anti-nuke activist since I was 14, I am saddened that this source of death is laying cold, bony fingers on yet another generation. As a lay photographer the composition draws me back to itself again and again. I love the pattern of the cap and the texture of the jacket, both in soft blue, my favorite color.
The fund-raising luncheon we are being invited to will help speed the shutdowns of nuclear reactors so children like this one can grow up safe and healthy. We can’t attend in person; it’s too far. If you can, please do. But we can and will send a donation. I hope you’ll consider doing so, too. http://www.radiation.org/about/donation.htm