International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Tom Bailie
Hanford Downwinder

I am not a peacemaker, just a simple farmer that has become your storyteller.  It is my duty not to invent but simply transmit a simple story that you have in your hands.  Please read it.

The life work of this simple farmer has always been to grant and nurture new life every year.  Simply put, a lifemaker.

My Hanford Hibakusha story shows the making of nukes destroys life.

The Hiroshima Hibakusha story shows the use of nukes destroys life.

This simply, is a shame for life!  This is simply, wrong for life.  Isn't this simple?

Don't make nukes for the sake of life.

Don't use nukes for the sake of life.


Article originally carried on New York Times and reprinted
in the Sacramento Bee Final, July 27, 1990

Hanford's Nuclear Family
"We were the Children on the Front Lines"

Mesa, Washington -- I'm sitting in my tractor and reality is sinking in.  I've just finished taping
several national television shows.  As I step back into my world, the emotions keep rising up in my
chest and I cry, uncontrollably at first.  Then it feels good, so I sob silently to myself.

The worst is finally over for us.  Or has it just begun?  As "downwinders," born and raised
downwind of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington, we learned several years ago that the
government decided ? with cold deliberation ? to use us guinea pigs by releasing radioactivity into our
food, water, milk, and air without our consent.

Now, we've learned that we can expect continuing cancer cases from our exposure in their
"experiment."  Is this what it feels like to be raped?

The exposure began the same day our lives began.  Several years ago, when the government admitted
that releases had been made, we were assured there would be no observable health effects.  Did the
government really look?

Unknowingly, we had been seeing the effects for a long time.  For us, the unusual was the usual.

During my childhood, I remember seeing men dressed in space suits walking in front of uninformed
soldiers carrying shovels and sacks.  They waved to us as they moved past.

Usually they brought us candy and one time, cowboy boots.  What we didn't know at the time was
that these were nuclear cleanup crews.

What we also didn't know was that other kids didn't get "neck massages" from the school nurse
(looking for thyroid swelling) or have Geiger counters passed over them; that men in beards and thick
glasses didn't sample everyone's water and milk weekly: that farm-animal mutations don't happen

We thought everyone had brown and white "pinto" deer and deformed calves, sheep and kittens; that
miscarriages ? human and animal ? were the norm.  Common news was of neighbors and loved ones
getting cancer.  These were the usual things for us in our isolated world.

I was born a year after my stillborn brother.  I struggled to breathe through underdeveloped lungs and
suffered to overcome numerous birth defects.  I underwent multiple surgeries, endured paralysis,
endured thyroid medication, a stint in an iron lung, loss of hair, sores all over my body, fevers,
dizziness, poor hearing, asthma, rotting teeth and, at age 18, a diagnosis of sterility.

The usual was watching the other kids die at St. Mary's pediatric ward.  I finally learned to walk, but
could never play sports.  I stood on the sidelines with the rest of my classmates, watching the healthy
new kids who moved into our area play sports.  We never could.  We grew angry and defensive
from the teasing and abuse.

The movement of the tractor brings my mind back from the world of the 1940s to the harsh realities
of questioning our government.  Our patriotism has been impugned, our credibility questioned.  We
have been redlined by the banking community since 1985: the Farmers Home Administration
Foreclosure notice is sitting on my desk.  We have been put off by politicians -- except for a brave few
-- until we victims become a popular issue.

We have been slandered as the "glow in the dark family" by friends and strangers alike.  We have
been told to shut up and have received numerous death threats.  I survived one attempt on my life.
It's enough to make paranoia override common sense and to make me carry a gun.

Who the hell do these people in the nuclear gang think they are?  In my family we were all taught not
to lie.  How can we citizens defend liars?

The world now knows about Hanford's releases.  We were the children on the front lines of the Cold

We deserve fair and equitable treatment.  Are we just so much nuclear waste?  Will there be
compensatory damages?

Moscow was condemned for its three days of silence after the Chernobyl nuclear accident.  What
about Washington's 40 years of silence?

There is a fine line of morality that none of us can cross and still claim membership in the human race.
The government's nuclear gang deliberately crossed it.

The price we had to pay, you say?  We think we were worth more.