The vortex of London unexpectedly reveals Sathyu coming to London to give a talk at Frontline (Paddington) on Bhopal 25 years on. He took me back 10 years to that campaiging life. Unchanged, except, like me he ports glasses. His dedication to the cause is undiluted and impressive. For 25 years – his adult life – he has dedicated to fighting this corner that many would like forgotten.
That’s where the emphasis was: the desire to cover up and abandon, and the blame unequivolcally at DOW’s feet. New to me was the 2004 spoof engineered by THE YES MEN:
At 9am GMT, Dow’s spokesperson appears live on the BBC World Service in front of the Eiffel Tower. He is ecstatic to make the announcement: Dow will accept full responsibility for the Bhopal disaster, and has a $12 billion dollar plan to compensate the victims and remediate the site. (Dow will raise the $12 billion by liquidating Union Carbide, which cost them that much to acquire.) (Watch the broadcast.)
In 20 minutes, $2 billion lost from Dow shares – all regained when Dow vigerously denied the authenticity. It was a delight to watch. Empowering, undermining of reality, and something light iin the dark of the subject. http://www.theyesmen.org/hijinks/bbcbhopal
However, once again, I missed the closer to home investigation. Easier to blame the relatively easy to raise spector of bad big America. The government of India negotiated the DOW settlement, not wantiing to upset an apple cart of foreign company investment in India. The government of India arranged the compensation. The government of India did not supply any antidote to the gas immediately after the event, to ease treatment. The government of India led the cover up of numbers who died.
Wosh! I’m back again with that campaigers righteous repetition – it was just asleep under the skin.