In the second chapter, Adriana Petryna talks about “a foreign burden”. That foreign burden refers to the internal radiation that workers and citizens had after Chernobyl. Dmytro was a miner from the coal-mining region of Donbas in Ukraine. He was one of the workers that was brought in to do clean up work shortly after the disaster. Although he received five times the amount of salary for this work, the life risks were immeasurable. Dmytro says that he “knew he was healthy before going there”, but during the work he “lacked a special protective mask during his month-long work, which involved digging tunnels under the reactor. Minors injected these tunnels with liquid nitrogen and other gases in attempts to cool the reactor core” (34). He gathered documents in order to become categorized as a disabled person level three. “This meant he was officially recognized as having lost 50% of his labor capacity” (34). In order to get these documents he had to go in for examinations at the Radiation Research Center. He had cerebral, cardiac, and pulmonary disorders. His story really affected me because he has a daughter who was born five years before the disaster and would no longer have children because he said “a healthy child cannot come from a sick father” (34). What I thought was most interesting about his story was that when he was categorized with 50% disability he tried to get 80% in order to qualify for higher disability status which would allow him to pay for his medical treatments. This makes it so hard because it really defines everything personal as also political. I am not sure what is right or wrong in these types of circumstances and how can anyone really determine how much work capacity one has lost?
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Remember that final presentations are due Dec. 6 in class! Final presentations / Anthropology of Socialism and Postsocialism by Andrew Asher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
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