Tuesday, November 30, 2004

BHOPAL

"Shortly after midnight on Sunday 3rd December, poison gas began leaking from a factory in Bhopal, India, owned by the Union Carbide Corporation. There was no warning, none of the plant's safety systems were working... In the city people were sleeping, many in kuccha houses, which had no proper windows or doors. They woke in darkness to the sound of screams with the gases in their eyes, noses and mouths. It burned terribly, it felt like fire...they began retching and coughing up froth streaked with blood. Then there was panic. Entire communities ran out of their houses in whatever they were wearing, some wore nothing at all. As the gases ravaged their bodies, some went into convulsions and fell dead. People lost control of their bodies and ran with urine and faeces flowing down their legs. Within hours thousands of dead bodies lay in the streets. Even far from the factory, near the lake, at Rani Hira Pati ka Mahal the ground was so thick with dead that you could not avoid treading on them"
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This coming week (December 2/3) is an important anniversary ...It's when the Union carbide factory in Bhopal, India killed 8,000 people in one night...and left a legacy of poison that has killed and maimed tens of thousands of people to this day...that night there was no siren (sound familiar?)...the safety systems were not functioning due to poor design and those that were working were turned off to save costs....20,000 thousand people have died since the disaster...50,000 are too sick to work for a living...500,000 were exposed to the gases...Union Carbide has refused to appear in court for criminal charges along with its chairman at the time Warren Anderson...Dow Chemical, which acquired Union Carbide, has refused to clean up any of the chemicals which continue to leak out of the plant even 20 years later...the water is poisoned, the soil is poisoned and the people continue to suffer...


For a moving and well written book about the tragedy see Five Past Mignight in Bhopal

Union Carbide was acquired by Dow Chemical in 1999, a move that outraged people around the world. It shouldn't have been shocking though, considering Dow's less that spotless past:


"Dow Chemical is responsible for producing some of the most
infamous chemicals, from Agent Orange and napalm for use in
the Vietnam War, to ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs) and the widely used insecticide Dursban. Dow has a
history of unethical behavior, including testing its chemicals on
humans and withholding information from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)...

...Dow was one of the companies that produced DDT, the carcinogenic,
endocrine disrupting pesticide banned in the U.S. in
1972 after it was made famous by Rachel Carson’s Silent
Spring.
"(a book everyone should read)



Fact Sheet on the Bhopal tragedy.
"There were thousands of bodies. There were bodies everywhere. And people were dying all round." Amnesty's site..

New Evidence compiled by New Scientist..

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"We are not against business. We are against business without morality."
Champa Devi, a survivor of the Bhopal disaster

"Those who lived are the unlucky ones--the lucky ones are those who died on that night."
Gas survivor Rashida Bi, who lost five gas-exposed family members to cancers
(Quoted from Students for Bhopal)
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The BHOPAL DISASTER, the world's worst-ever industrial catastrophe, has never ended. Even 20 years later, the people of Bhopal, India, continue to suffer and die because of Dow-Carbide's gas and the poisons it left behind.
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Watch these videos:
This is a good documentary that explains the disaster and is easy to watch online.
A five minute video narrated by Robert Redford
Click on the 2004 prize and watch the one made by Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla
A news investigation into the search for Warren Anderson.
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What can you do?
  • This Friday the 3rd is the Global Day of Action for Bhopal...see what can be done...sign the petition above...or you can just reslove to tell people you know about the tragedy and you can hang a sign on your car or out your window saying you remember Bhopal.
  • "Sambhavna is a Sanskrit / Hindi word which means "possibility". Read as "sama" and "bhavna" it means: "similar feelings" or "compassion"(The Sambhavna Medical Appeal)
  • "EQUATE was established in 1995 as a joint venture between Government-owned Petrochemical Industries Company of Kuwait and Union Carbide Corporation, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow. Each holds 45% ownership with the additional 10% held by Boubyan Petrochemical Company a publicly traded company on the Kuwait Stock Exchange."(Dow.com)(In case you thought it has nothing to do with us here)
  • Remember there are factories everywhere, we could all be living in the next Bhopal..Ignore one's crimes and you encourage others.

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