Thursday, December 11, 2008

Public Declarations and Remembrance for Those Killed in the Bhopal Tragedy

In 1984 something tragic happened in India.  

Atrociously enough, it was more tragic than the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that just occurred two weeks ago.  In the 1984 tragedy, the perpetrator was an American company located in Michigan called *Dow Chemical*.  And they *still have not cleaned up the chemical spill* still infests the groundwater and continues to poison the people that live there over twenty years later.

This blog post will first provide you a snippet of background information from Wikipedia page on the Bhopal disaster (*click here* to connect to the page).  

It will then provide you with a Public Declaration for Collective Action and accompanying press statement on the 24th Anniversary of Remembrance of this disaster submitted by Obama is America! blogger *GardensForPeace*.

*Click here* to connect to Dow Chemical's 'Contact us' page to submit a request that they clean up the mess in Bhopal, or to declare your anger at the human injustice their corporation has perpetuated.


The Bhopal disaster was an industrial disaster that occurred in the city of BhopalMadhya PradeshIndia, resulting in the immediate deaths of more than 3,000 people, according to the Indian Supreme Court. A more probable figure is that 8,000 died within two weeks, and it is estimated that an additional 8,000 have since died from gas related diseases.[1][2]

The incident took place in the early hours of the morning of December 3, 1984, in the heart of the city of Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. A Union Carbide subsidiarypesticide plant released 42 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, exposing at least 520,000 people to toxic gases. The Bhopal disaster is frequently cited as the world's worst industrial disaster.[1][2][3][4][5] The International Medical Commission on Bhopal was established in 1993 to respond to the disasters.


Let us pray for the lives and health of these Global and Indian citizens so easily forgotten by the international media, and the international community. When we think about global citizenship, human rights, and the idea of the individual, how can we as an internationally community mourn foreign tourists killed in Mumbai, but so easily forget the truncated lives, poisoned environments, and daily deaths of Bhopal. What makes our society so enraged and inspired by 9/11, but so deeply disassociated from Hurricane Katrina. What makes the preservation of wealth more important than the preservation of life? 

At this moment we are at a critical junction  where global society needs to take decisive and immediate action to address the impending crises facing our world, and the dream of effective and immediate mobilization has been awakened to in the hearts of Americans and global citizens. However, to really create the change needed, we will have to to build a new generation, a new approach, and a new vision of priorities, morals and values to really move change. Change will come from the bottom up as can be seen by the way Obama's presidential campaign was conducted. But it must also come from the top down. Governments, big business, well-paid individuals need to re-evaluate key priorities critical for mutual societal benefit. Only when we work together, can real change happen in society and within ourselves.

We are at a critical juncture where we must collectively envision a better world, and actively work towards that goal. Primary in my vision, is the fundamental right to a healthy environment. We can no longer forget the lives fighting for justice in Bhopal and around the world. We must envision a sustainable society that does not rely upon the destruction of our environments to fuel our economies. This environmental destruction inevitably becomes a destruction of human life, dream and possibility that affects everyone living on this planet.


December 03, 2008

Bhopal's 24th anniversary rally honours its own

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh 
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha 
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

December 3, 2008

*Press Statement*

On the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster thousands of survivors along with neighborhood residents exposed to pollution from Union Carbide's chemical waste today marched in a rally to the abandoned factory that is the site of the world's worst industrial disaster. They burnt an effigy of Dow Chemical, the current owner of Union Carbide in front of the factory and held a public meeting where individual survivor activists were felicitated.

Leaders of the three organizations: Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari SanghBhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Bhopal Group for Information and Action leading the 24th Anniversary rally warned the Central and the State governments that if the Empowered Commission for long term rehabilitation of the survivors and their children is not set up soon they will intensify their agitation in Bhopal and New Delhi.

They said that there were still over 100,000 people battling with chronic illnesses caused by Union Carbide's chemical poisons. Additionally an unusually large number of people are suffering from Tuberculosis, Diabetes and Hypertension and mental health problems as a consequence of toxic exposure. Government agencies such as the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies have reported that contaminated ground water is causing diseases of the lungs, eyes, skin and the digestive system in a population of over 25 thousand people living next to the abandoned factory.

Most worrisome is the fact of unusually large number of children in the affected communities with birth defects such as damaged brain, undeveloped limbs, cleft lip and missing palate and severe growth disorders. The organizations said that currently the government does not provide any help to thousands of children born with disabilities and the country's apex research body Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is yet top carry out studies on the effects on the next generation of Bhopal victims.

The organizations said that the state government has completely failed to provide economic and social rehabilitation to the victims and has caused more harm than good in the matter of the thousands of tones of hazardous waste dumped in and around the abandoned Union carbide factory. They said that they have a lot of expectations from the Empowered Commission on Bhopal for sustained medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation and they will not tolerate any delay in its setting up.

The organizations said that the support given to Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals by the governments of USA and India is the main cause for continuing injustice in Bhopal. Warren Anderson and the authorized representative of Union Carbide are still absconding from the criminal case on the world's worst industrial massacre. Violating principles of 'polluter pays' and that of 'successor liability' that are established both in USA and India, Dow Chemical continues to deny liability for the toxic contamination of soil and ground water in and around the factory in Bhopal.

On 3rd Dec hundreds of gas affected survivors and people affected by water contamination will stage a massive rally from Bharat Talkies to the infamous Union Carbide factory. Survivors' organisations will hold a public event to felicitate people who contributed significantly to the victory of the 2008 Bhopal to New Delhi Padyatra. Replicas of the iconic mother-and-child statue commemorating the disaster, and citations will be handed over to more than 100 people, including children who participated in the Padyatra.

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