We Are All Bhopalis

On September 12th, 2001, Jean-Marie Colombani wrote in Le Monde:

“In this tragic moment, when words seem so inadequate to express the shock people feel, the first thing that comes to mind is this: We are all Americans! We are all New Yorkers, just as surely as John F. Kennedy declared himself to be a Berliner in 1962 when he visited Berlin. Indeed, just as in the gravest moments of our own history, how can we not feel profound solidarity with those people, that country, the United States, to whom we are so close and to whom we owe our freedom, and therefore our solidarity?”

The previous day, 2,974 had people died in New York, Washington and Shanksville. And we all felt as Colombani did, our hearts going out to those innocent victims of terrorism and their bereaved families.

**

I am a Bhopali

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On December 3rd, 1984, in Bhopal, India, a leak from a methyl isocyanate gas tank in a Union Carbide plant sent out a dense poisonous cloud that killed 23,000 people — many of them that night, others soon after. Another 30,000 people have been affected since, by chemicals leaking from the abandoned factory, poisoning the water supply.

It has been described as the world’s worst industrial disaster. (Bhopal.org has many descriptions and recollections of the disaster and its aftermath.)

25 years later, the survivors still do not have justice. Such compensation as has been offered has been paltry. And, of course, chemicals continue to leak, continue to poison Bhopalis, continue to result in disease, birth defects, and more suffering.

We would like you help in bringing the world’s attention back to Bhopal. We would like to invite you to declare, loud and strong, that you are a Bhopali too.

(We do not want any financial support; this WordPress sub-domain is free, and if we do move to our own website, we’re happy to pay for the domain and the hosting. If you want to help financially, please use the ‘donate’ buttons on the Bhopal.org site or any other organisations that will use your money to help the survivors in Bhopal.)

16 Responses to We Are All Bhopalis

  1. vesuvinum says:

    Aye, I’m a Bhopali.

  2. Sudha says:

    I’m a Bhopali!

  3. Supriya B says:

    I was 8 mths old when the Bhopal gas tragedy took place. Born and brought up in a city far away from the gas tragedy. So far away that I could grow up not knowing anything about union carbide or Bhopal other than the Raghu Rai image of a small child , with eyes that had turned milky. I probably didn’t understand what had happened , but that image scared me enough to make me look away. Every time Bhopal was discussed that image stood as its sole story , and I kept looking away.

    When I was in school, while studying World War II , the bombings of Hiroshima Nagasaki , a teacher in passing mentioned Bhopal , there were no bombs there , so Bhopal didn’t make it to my school text book. I found out about Bhopal Gas tragedy much later , when I was 18 or more , and the stories of Bhopal gas victims made me shudder , it made me think I was lucky to not be in Bhopal . Then a protest against Dow Chemicals happened not too far from Pune while I was studying there, Dow wanted to set up a plant there. The ministers , came in and told the villagers to willingly part with their land for their own good and the future of their nation. 25 years after Bhopal , I think I might not be so lucky after all. It was not a freak accident that happened , but something that allowed a multi national corporation to carry out something resembling the holocaust and the Hiroshima – Nagasaki bombings , call it an accident , a mere leak and come back to rake in profits from other parts of the same nation. It makes me wonder how many more Bhopals before we wake up to the truth . How many more casualties till we start taking the responsibility for what happened.

  4. radha says:

    I’m a Bhopali

  5. Sudeep says:

    I am a Bhopali. I also am: Naga; Manipuri; Mizo; Gondi; among those 250 million in India who do not get a proper meal; among those who die in custody; who lives in Salwa Judum camps; dead in the name of god; a soldier/policeman who dies fighting someone else’s war; a taxpayer who sees his money stolen; a person with an inexhaustible list of crimes against me. I am Indian.

  6. […] Peter Griffin talks about how, in a sense, we are all Bhopalis. That is true.  But Bhopal is even more personal to me – I was living in Bhopal on Dec 2, […]

  7. a traveller says:

    I am indeed a Bhopali.

    My mother was 6 months pregnant with me, and my father, based in Lagos, had sent her home to Bhopal to stay with my paternal grandparents till my birth. She refused to stay without him, and in the face of opposition from everyone in the family, went back to Lagos a couple of weeks before the gas leak happened.

  8. Arpita Shivmani says:

    I am a Bhopali

  9. anoop says:

    bhopali..yes

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