Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago Chernobyl ignited. The radiation released was 400 times greater than in Hiroshima.
Following the explosion, the communist elites of the Soviet Union secretly removed their families from nearby Kiev and Minsk. Meanwhile, the children of those cities marched in obligatory May Day parades celebrating the grand achievements of communism. In those sun-drenched days as crowds watched and the children marched, within the sun's warm rays hid a terrible fate.
In the years that followed, doctors in Kiev have explained to me that they were instructed not to register stillbirths so as to falsify statistics. I have listened to young women too fearful of bearing new life in this world because their bodies are poisoned. I have held the hands of children, bodies twisted by the radiation.
How many have died? Is it 6,000 or 60,000? Can we quantify the human agony? We cannot, but we can remember and take stock of humanity's failings.