“We are not expendable. We are not flowers offered at the altar of profit and power. We are dancing flames committed to conquering darkness and to challenging those who threaten the planet and the magic and mystery of life.” -Rashida Bee, gas survivor, receiving the prestigious 2004 Goldman Environmental Prize
A Coalition for Justice
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) is a coalition that is comprised of survivors of the disaster, international volunteers, and environmental, social justice and human rights groups. Using education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action, ICJB works to hold Dow Chemical and the Indian Government accountable for the ongoing chemical disaster in Bhopal, India. Through empowering and advising campaigners in this worldwide movement, ICJB strives to further the Bhopalis’ demands for justice. ICJB is led by half a dozen Bhopal survivor organizations working in close alliance with coalition members in India, Canada, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.
As outlined in our Mission Statement and Guiding Principles, ICJB’s aim is to achieve justice and a life of dignity for the survivors of the disaster, who consist of all those affected by the gas leak of 1984 and the subsequent soil and water contamination and children who are born with birth defects as a result of their parents’ exposure. Beyond this we seek to help, support and share knowledge and resources with communities all over the world that are similarly impacted by chemical contamination and irresponsible development.
Our Struggle is Yours Too, Join Us
Our struggle is one of the most important in the world today, because it is not just about Bhopal, it is about bringing to an end the rule of greedy unaccountable corporations and corrupt politicians. If we win, everyone wins.
The struggle of ordinary people to assert their fundamental human rights in face of the power, greed and heartlessness of giant corporations will be the defining battle of the twenty first century. We are in the front line of that battle, which takes many forms. Some are played out in the courts, others on the streets, but the crucial battlefield is the heart.
We have gained many substantial victories, but the battle for ultimate justice rages on.
The Battle Song of the Bhopalis
There are many ways to respond to years of pain, illness and neglect. Pain turns to anger, anger to despair and despair to violence. Despite the enormous suffering and injustice inflicted upon them the Bhopali justice movement, despite sore trials, has always been dedicated to non-violent struggle. The long march on foot, the sit-in, the hunger strike: our methods are those of Gandhi, who also battled against overwhelming power and overcame it. We may be poor and sick, but we are not weak, powerless, or despicable. We have found that we have the grit to survive, the vision to help ourselves and the resolve to fight on for as long as it may take. We have discovered the joy of the shared fight, of comradeship, of affection and caring for one another and when, as so often, there is nothing else we can do, in laughing at our oppressors and ourselves. We may have nothing, but having nothing makes us undefeatable for we have nothing to lose. Perhaps living so close to death makes each day more intense, more colourful, more alive.