Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Remembering Bhopal

Please visit REMEMBER BHOPAL to leave your thoughts, your comments, your reminiscences of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The 25th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster starts on the night of the 3rd and continues for 72 hours.


Anonymous said...

hi ms.mp thanQ 4 shaking us back to these sordid times. it infuri8s me to read all this - but what can we really do now to make a difference? gt

marginalien said...

I know what you mean about the helplessness and believe me, I am no cause-chasing candle-vigilista. But here are two thoughts: (1) remembering is the very least we can do. If we do nothing else, we must (I think) pass on links, post comments and share the memory of the horror of that time. (2)We can donate and inspire others to donate.

I nearly always only do (1). That's what I've done this time too, i.e., by creating and posting my graphic. But every so often, a tipping point will be reached and I cross over into donation. So I figure it really does help to do (1) -- because there will be others who have a similar life-cycle. Everyone needs a push. So the take home message here is: BE A PUSHER!!! At the very least.

Anonymous said...

ranting and raving helps no one except perhaps oneself - in the allusion that something has been done. donations - gosh 90% or even more of all donations never even reach the intended parties! i think one needs to garner support from some powerful international corporate lawyers who can chase the dow chemical scoundrels, make them pay the victims - and circumvent the greedy corrupt political bastards who always stay in the interception pathways gt

marginalien said...

Nothing gets done when the culprits are wealthy and powerful. I believe it's important to realize that forgetting is part of how they get away with what they do. The least one can offer is the memory of an atrocious misdeed. What is happening with Bhopal is that it's been gradually forgotten under the slush of all the other misdeeds that have followed it and the numbing of our sensibilities as the daily accounts of fresh horrors build up.

Today's newspaper (we get the Asian Age) did not so much as feature a headline on Bhopal on the front page!

marginalien said...

-- to add to what I said in my previous comment: gt, post the link to the I AM BHOPALI to as many people as you can. And leave comments there (or at any of the other related sites). And don't forget.

Anonymous said...

have alerted a few folks. even got feedback. haven't 4go10. gt

marginalien said...

There's been so little traffic at that website ... it's very sad. This is where I think we've got to recognize the worth of raving and ranting -- in a world where the squeaking wheel gets greased, they are the squeakers.

I am NOT good at raving/ranting and I resist "hearing" those who do. So I guess I'm not good at either end of the spectrum. I think it's atrocious that Bhopal gets so little attention. Why is it so? In my opinion it's because there's a deep-seated cultural abhorrence towards criticizing "home" and "family"; many Indians transpose their feelings towards HOME/FAMILY onto the country they belong to -- without thinking their feelings through. There has to be SOME reason why so few writers/artists/film-makers have chosen Bhopal as their subject!

A more cynical reason: no catastrophe of similar proportions has occurred in Western democracies, hence there are no ballads/films/novels from which Indians can make their localized imitations ...

But WHY isn't there a greater sense of shame, horror, repugnance?

I didn't like Indra Sinha's ANIMAL'S PEOPLE -- I found it crudely polarized in the familiar Bollywoodian style,so that we're left with a cast of grotesques and one-dimensionals. Still -- at least it was written, at least it's there to be critiqued and dissected!

There should be many more.

I drew posters for the street exhibition in Bombay immediately after the news broke. That's the extent of my involvement. I don't have any valid excuses to offer. I can only complain, about myself and about others. But hey -- at least I'm complaining!

gt said...

i suppose there is a sense of apathy that you feel - and try to not let it ooze out. but certainly you are right in that it seems to be a 4go10 tragedy...... and the poor victims suffer doubly - with their afflictions and the fact that we, their brothers and sisters 4get them. i was alerted to a front page write up in the london times a few says ago - and i have also seen write ups in CNN - but shamefully very little in domestic indian papers. you might be correct in noting that indians dont feel com4table in openly criticising this...or is it in recognizing the futility of complaining? collective guilt? i cant get the london times link but the write up follows - i put it here because of its unusual nature and belief in humanity (something i don't share) gt

Anonymous said...

"Elvis wasn't his real name, but it's what everyone called him. Raju 'Elvis' Thanwar, my 18 year old brother. He worked as a daily wage labourer at the straw board mill near the Bhopal bus stand. Raju spoke no English, but he knew the words to all Elvis's songs.
It's exactly 25 years since Union Carbide's factory killed my husband, children, my brother Elvis and many, many, of our family and friends, but in that whole time it has not been punished. There is a criminal case pending in the Bhopal court, but for eighteen years the company has just refused to attend. It says, you can't make us come.
When Union Carbide ran away from Bhopal it left the factory full of poisons. They are lying all over. In the areas near the place, the wells have become toxic. The poisons are flowing in people's blood and even in the milk of nursing mothers.
Anyone who doubts should go and look, see just how many babies are born with twisted limbs, cleft-lips, tumours, brain problems.
I think of my children a lot. If Puja had survived, she'd be 28 now, married with kids of her own. But who knows in what terrible mangled condition they might be? Maybe my children were lucky, after all. I met an old lady who told me it would have been better for her son to have died than to have the life he has today. Maybe the god I cursed was being kind.
Not many people remember my kids, but people still remember Elvis. I suppose he is hard to forget. My friends have asked me to tell my story, so people all over the world can know what is happening to us here in Bhopal. I said no, what is the use? I have told it before. What difference did it make? Did Union Carbide come to the court? Aren't the poisons still flowing inside our bodies? Aren't the poor, maimed children still being born? Yes, my friends said, so tell them again.
I am old now, tired, sick, and despairing for a world that allows injustice and suffering to go on and on, and does not help. But today I saw a child laughing, and I thought, yes, while there is life there's hope. So I have once again told my story. Someone may hear, someone will care.
There must be someone.
But oh, it is hard, so hard to believe that 25 years have passed, since the gas leaked." from london times 4 dec 2009

marginalien said...

Thanks for that gt -- I think every little bit DOES make a difference. For instance, responding to your comments caused me to continue to think about and react to the situation -- as a result of which I posted another item at that site. Like the writer of your London Times piece says, we just have to keep putting out messages. The item won't appear right away, maybe in a day.

Anonymous said...

The writer of that London Times piece and the writer of Animal's People are one and the same.