RASHIDA BEE, PRESIDENT, BHOPAL GAS-AFFECTED WOMEN’S STATIONERY EMPLOYEES UNION
12.30pm FRIDAY 15 April
CROSSROADS WOMEN’S CENTRE, 230A KENTISH TOWN ROAD, LONDON NW5
In this 20th anniversary year of the December 1984 gas tragedy in Bhopal, India – the world’s worst industrial disaster – Ms Bee will speak about the struggle led by women gas survivors in Bhopal, Muslim and Hindu together: for clean water, a clean-up of the site, proper wages for survivors in “sheltered” work and prosecution of the US multi-national Dow Chemical responsible for the disaster, demanding justice and compensation — and opposing all corporate killing.
VENUE: Crossroads Women’s Centre, 230A Kentish Town Road NW5, (entrance in Caversham Road, nearest tube Kentish Town, fully wheelchair accessible). All welcome. Entrance by donation in support of Bhopali women activists
Formed by grassroots women survivors, the stationery employees’ union is a leading member of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, and is recognised as one of the chief representatives of survivors both within and outside India.
* Farah Edwards-Khan, Bhopali activist and translator
* Claire Glasman, WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities) which since it was founded in 1984 has publicised the Bhopal struggle as part of its fight against discrimination.
* Sara Callaway, Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike, on women’s opposition to corporate killing and killing for corporations everywhere (including in Iraq).
On the night of 2-3 December 1984, a gas cloud from the pesticides plant in Bhopal immediately killed over 8,000 children, women and men. A further 12,000 people have since died, at least half a million more are poisoned. Bhopal is recognised as the world’s worst industrial disaster.
The company responsible, US multinational Union Carbide, was taken over by Dow Chemical which made napalm and Agent Orange used in Vietnam. Toxic chemicals continue to wash into the land and wells, poisoning new generations. (See https://www.bhopal.net/poisoning.html)
Years later toxic chemicals are still found in the breast milk of women living near the plant. Dow Chemical refuses to clean up the site.
Compensation has been almost impossible to get, especially for women. Only those who have documents to prove their claim have been paid – less than $500 each – about 5p a day – enough to buy a cup of tea in Bhopal. Women have led the fight for compensation and accountability from the company and the Indian government, on behalf of the whole community.
The killing pesticide gas is similar to nerve gas and causes death, disability and devastation on the same scale as that suffered by people, animals and the environment exposed to military weapons of mass destruction – depleted uranium in Iraq, Agent Orange in Vietnam and nuclear testing in the Pacific . . .