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Prologue - The Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Prologue - The Bhopal Gas Tragedy

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Published by Tushar A Amin
An overview of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy
An overview of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

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Published by: Tushar A Amin on Mar 15, 2013
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03/15/2013

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PROLOGUE: AN INCONVENIENT QUESTION OPENING DOUBLE SPREAD: An image of a survivor affected for life by the leak.

Torture Me aim a blowtorch at my eyes pour acid down my throat strip the tissue from my lungs. drown me in my own blood. choke my baby to death in front of me. make me watch her struggles as she dies. cripple my children. let pain be their daily and their only playmate. spare me nothing. wreck my health so I can no longer feed my family. watch us starve. say it's nothing to do with you. don’t ever say sorry. poison our water. cause monsters to be born among us. make us curse God. stunt our living children’s growth. for twenty years ignore our cries. teach me that my rage is as useless as my tears. prove to me beyond all doubt that there is no justice in the world. you are a wealthy american corporation and I am a gas victim of bhopal. Pan Bai, a Bhopal Gas Tragedy Survivor DOUBLE SPREAD: An image of the Union Carbide Plant as it stands today. A toxic cloud of MIC (Methyl Isocynate) and other lethal gases escaped into Bhopal’s atmosphere in the early hours of December 3, 1984. Thousands died and hundreds of thousands continue to suffer the disastrous after effects of this poison. The cloud took days to loosen its deadly grip over the city. The chemical acted according to its nature, and disintegrated when its half-life period was over. In its wake, the gas cloud exposed something even more gruesome – the greed and corruption of human nature. Over two-and-a-half decades have passed since that night of December 3, 1984. In these twenty-odd years, a thousand questions over the roles of Union Carbide, the State and the legal system have been raised, evaded, brushed aside and covered up. Volunteers, aid organisations, relief trusts, ambulance chasers and NGOs… the ones to raise these questions have been mostly outsiders. Each group has been motivated by it’s own pursuit ranging from seeking justice (in the case of those working for the cause of victims and survivors) to manipulation and evasion (in the case of those seeking to exonerate those responsible) to plain easy money (in the case of legal firms offering to sue the chemical colossus on behalf of the victims). Armed with these inconvenient questions and supported by organisations with their own agendas, hundreds of thousands of

a fundamental question remains unanswered. Dow Chemicals denies any legal obligation on its part to inherit Union Carbide’s ghastly legacy. The surviving victims of the tragedy live in a hope that the State would relent and take a stand against those responsible. Not unlike the toxic cloud that crept over the heart of India that fateful night and wiped out thousands of lives and sentenced hundreds of thousands others to a life-long battle with diseases. And the question is: “Why did we have to die?” This question hangs in the air over Bhopal today. However. Their question is an assault on the ethical. thanks to the clever sleight of hand called mergers and acquisitions. Union Carbide is no longer an entity. Simply because. They are mere numbers in the wheeling and dealings of investigative teams. These are specters that prick our conscience and phantoms that haunt our collective consciousness. they did not have to… . But the ones who are asking this question have long become mere statistics.survivors continue to wage a losing battle against an enemy that has virtually ceased to exist. with ‘positive investment climate’ being a bigger priority that ‘citizen welfare’ for those in power. the State and the Good Samaritans continues to unravel. deformities and defects. the moral and the legal righteousness of our society. “Why did we have to die?” has no answer. As the quarter century old passing the buck blame game between Union Carbide (which has since been taken over by Dow Chemicals). It comes from the thousands buried six-feet under or cremated by truck-loads. there is little hope of the culprits being brought to book. power brokers and high profile negotiators.

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