Following the popularity of Craig Mazin’s popular television drama Chernobyl, the number of tourists that visit the site in Ukraine, where the world's worst nuclear disaster happened in 1986, has increased drastically. With the 30-km exclusion zone around Chernobyl becoming a tourism zone, people have started to take selfies in front of the abandoned nuclear plant, which has intrigued the makers of the show to respond. Craig Mazin took to his Twitter account to urge people to be sensitive and asked them to remember “that a terrible tragedy occurred there”. A tourist was even seen posing half naked at the spot. It is not the first time people are asked to stop taking questionable selfies at historical sites. In 2014, an American teenager’s selfie at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp went viral for all the wrong reasons when a website photoshopped the graphic images from the site to selfies. We ask historians, youngsters and professors what is the reason behind people’s insensitivity towards such matters and whether certain places should be open to tourists.
Respect such sites
Tourists can click selfies at places of historical importance as long as they do not hurt the sentiments of people. I haven’t seen people clicking absurd pictures at a historical spot, but I love to see people having fun while taking pictures. However, they should respect the monument and people around. There should also be guides and staff in place at such sites to regulate selfies.
Vivian John, Entrepreneur
Selfies are harmless
People travel to earn new experiences and challenges which let them outside their comfort zone and discover how resourceful they are. A trip allows people get exposed to new places and do something different and exciting away from home. It’s a platform for learning, as each experience gifts you new skills. Every destination has something unique for the visitors. Seeing the world is more educational than reading books. When the government has allowed tourists in, promising that it’s a radiation-safe zone, why wouldn’t people love to experience the Chernobyl experience through selfies?
Shravan Bharati, Telecommunication Analyst
Replace mockery with empathy
The series tries to bring out the reality of Chernobyl disaster. It is not a place for fun; we should rather empathise with the people struck by the disaster. I was disturbed by the public selfies and inconsiderateness; people’s reaction to this grave matter was disturbing. In the online era real interaction is slowly fading away and people have lost their sensitivity, becoming more mechanical and creating memes about this disaster all over the internet. Many are making profits from the disaster. Thus social media should monitor content more responsibly.
Govt is to be blamed
The Chernobyl disaster, which happened due to Russian negligence not only killed many people but severely affected those who lived within a few kilometres of the nuclear plant. Children were born with disabilities and many were maimed. Posing for selfies at these sites is an insult to the lost lives. The government of the day has no business opening it to tourists and making it the most blatant mockery of all those innocent lives lost. People taking selfies would not be aware of how the tragedy unfolded on a sleepy night from which nobody woke up to see the light of the day.
Conrad Young, Corporate GM
Sensitivity brings peace
Every tragedy, small or big, should be taken into account at all times. Let’s always respect and regard such losses. A little sensitivity brings peace. Unfortunately, most issues are taken lightly and such behaviour is the reason why humanity is at a big loss.
Shriya Sachdeva, Student
Negligence is the villan
A vast area around the plant and its inhabitants were affected with genetic mutation issues of which no one would know unless they physically witness it. Clicking a selfie at Chernobyl is not like clicking one at Taj Mahal or similar tourist spots. To understand the intensity of the matter, one must experience how living among the affected feels like. Watching a series or visiting the place doesn’t help people understand the gravity of the problem. It is only because of immense exposure to social media and negligence about the real issue that makes people do such immoral norms.
Sethulekshmi, a post-graduate student