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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Courageous marchers for Bhopal Justice

In 1984, a toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India resulted in the deaths of thousands of people; over 100,000 continue to suffer. Yet Dow Chemical Corporation, the parent company, has refused to accept any responsibility. Over 100 survivors from the Bhopal gas disaster are currently on an 800 km march from Bhopal to Delhi. When they reach Delhi, in the last week of March, they hope to meet with the Prime Minister, and present him with a charter of demands.

Here is their brave and moving daily blog (great photos too).

Here is a petition you can sign to support them.

And finally, here is an excerpt from a piece in OUTLOOK INDIA from 2002.

'Bhopal isn’t only about charred lungs, poisoned kidneys and deformed foetuses. It’s also about corporate crime, multinational skullduggery, injustice, dirty deals, medical malpractice, corruption, callousness and contempt for the poor. Nothing else explains why the victims’ average compensation was just $500 — for a lifetime of misery . . . Yet the victims haven't given up. Their struggle for justice and dignity is one of the most valiant anywhere. They have unbelievable energy and hope . . . the fight has not ended. It won’t, so long as our collective conscience stirs.'

I think at the heart of it all is the "'contempt for the poor'" the passage mentioned.

I've been trying to find a quote from William Jennings Bryan in which he said that if you speak in favor of trying to make things better for the poor, you're called a socialist who wants to rob the rich; but if you want to exploit the poor for profit, you're called a "financier." It's okay for the exploitation to go one way, it seems. Does anyone have the exact quote.
Couldn't find that quote, but found I had this one by Bryan:

"This is not a contest between persons. The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. I come to you in defense of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty - the cause of humanity."
this is an isolated case. there are many more incidents. not necessarily of this magnitude. but yes the corporate crimes against the poor continue even today....
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
Is one of my favorite quotes I feel fits here - by Martin Luther King Jr of course.
Just wanted to say thanks for not being silent, Gary..

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