USSR flag, Hammer and sickle emblem
· Fade to overlay: (6 seconds)
Belarus, USSR, 1985
· Video during first part of song: (1 minute)
Depictions of life style in Belarus during late 1980’s with various worker scenes.
· Audio track:
1977 version of USSR National Anthem
-- Subtitles while playing anthem:
Unbreakable Union of freeborn Republics,
-- Audio music track: Turn down music.
Fade to photo of Mikhail Gorbachev, … then to Ronald Reagan, … then to Brandenberg Gate, Berlin.
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan was serving his second term as president of the United States. It would be another two years before he would stand at the Brandenberg Gate in West Berlin and proclaim:
· Audio -- Using actual words of Reagan:
Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
Fade to Orthodox Church then inside with lighting of candles.
· Main overlay:
Belarus, USSR, April 25, 1986
For the Orthodox Church, it is only 9 days until Easter. But, … in the dark of this night, an unauthorized test on the #4 nuclear reactor at Chernobyl was under way. The crew had disabled emergency backup equipment and turned off warning alarms.
Main overlay changes to:
Belarus, USSR, April 26, 1986
· Clock starts at:
… The count goes on by the seconds as the narration continues.
-- Narration continues:
This one thousand megawatt nuclear power generator located just south of the Belarus border in Ukraine used highly flammable graphite for the moderator. … Then as these misguided tests continued to drive the nuclear reactor well beyond safety margins …
· Clock at:
· Narration STOPS:
· Clock flashes to:
Loud multiple explosions
Sun coming up then fades to several scenes of the blown up reactor.
By daylight the magnitude of the disaster was clear. The explosions, … the fires, … the steam … ALL sent clouds of radioactive particles into the air. Immediately, crews began an effort to extinguish the fires. … But, … Belarus was not told! … The world was not told!
Fade to worker scenes with life as usual
Start at verse 4 of Anthem
vict'ry of Communism's deathless ideal,
Life style scenes continue as narration starts.
The plumes of radioactive debris drifted over the Western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and eventually around the entire globe. U.S. satellite images taken 3-1/2 days after the explosion showed that the intense graphite-fueled fire was still raging out of control. It was several days before the Kremlin reluctantly disclosed the magnitude of the disaster … a nuclear disaster that sent radioactive dust equivalent to 150 Hiroshima bombs into the atmosphere.
Map of contamination
-- Narration continues:
The prevailing winds carried 70% of the radioactive debris over Eastern Belarus. The residents of 430 villages were evacuated from their homes. 109,000 of the evacuees were resettled and never allowed to return. 116 of the villages were buried because of the contamination. The massive cleanup and containment effort took more than a year and cost billions of dollars and untold lives. More than 200,000 Belarussians participated in the cleanup. Eventually, the reactor was entombed into an enormous concrete and steel sarcophagus. Meanwhile medical teams worked to treat radiation sickness.
Twenty years later helicopters, armored vehicles, water trucks and other equipment rest in open graves. Contaminated by radioactive debris, they must remain to themselves for many years to come. Trees have replaced the grass and the vegetable gardens that were once part of the homes of the abandoned villages. Vines ensnarl the small wood frame structures where a family once lived. Some left in haste leaving behind shoes … never to be worn again. Vandals broke windows and doors as they pillaged the vacant hones.
The roadway has been reduced to little more than a path by the shrubs and trees. Along this seldom-traveled trail is a war memorial. Although difficult to find, it still brings to memory a time when another tragedy befell this land. Nearby, farmers harvest their crops, but guard towers high above are a warning of the danger only a short distance away. The toil of surviving day by day continues as before.
On the edge of a contaminated zone in Southern Belarus … and a mere 15 miles from the meltdown site … is Bragin, a city of 15,000 people. Although located only 75 miles south of the large city of Gomel, the well-kept Bragin Museum is visited by merely a few. People from the United States very rarely come to this place. Inside, the guide explains the range of the fallout and how it affected the people living in the areas. Pieces of the past common to those who lived here are reminders of the many uprooted lives. A visit to the Bragin region recalls a painful time that did not need to occur.
Also in Bragin is one of the best-equipped hospitals of Belarus. It is at this facility that the lingering effects of Chernobyl are treated. Most often it is thyroid cancer. Birth defects and immune system disorders add to the continued misery. There are about 30 doctors on staff at this hospital.
The bitterness over the government’s handling of Chernobyl contributed to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. In that year, Belarus, Ukraine and many other countries declared their independence.
The Berlin Wall is no more and Germany is free, but the people of Belarus remain locked behind a wall. They live under a dictator with a totalitarian Soviet style government. The press is restricted as is the freedom of worship. The Orthodox Church is the state church. Evangelical Believers … including Baptists… are considered to be cults.
For several years, President Reagan and Premier Gorbachev met on a regular basis. Ronald Reagan’s closing words at the Brandenberg Gate explained why the meetings were important.
· Audio from Ronald Reagan – actual words:
The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront. Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.
Won’t you be one of those who help to tear down these walls and share the love of Jesus?
· Closing song in Russian:
(sung by young man playing guitar at Golgotha Church in Minsk)
Who am I?
Chorus: Who am I that You lifted me up so high and chose me to be your son?
How can I thank you for everything You gave me so abundantly?
(Text of first verse also included. Darrel H. is getting this.)
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