On Thursday at noon, in a demonstration of solidarity with the Bhopal survivors’ march to Delhi, eight rowdy members of the Ann Arbor Coalition for Justice in Bhopal stormed the University of Michigan campus. Mounted on a shiny red bicycle-built-for-two, the Dow Grim Reaper and the Personified Indian Government road in circles around the main square in front of the graduate library, pursued by the jeers of a few sign-brandishing hecklers. Armed with an Indian hand drum, I led the group in a caustic variation of the well-known schoolyard refrain:
Dow and the Government, sittin’ in a tree,
First comes BLOOD, then comes DENIAL,
then comes Dow absconding from trial!
Meanwhile, two participants handed out flyers with information about the March to Delhi and instructions for faxing the Prime Minister’s office.
After fifteen minutes, student traffic had settled down and our supply of flyers was depleted. Launching the second stage of our demonstration, we embarked on the “Minimarch for Justice”. Dismounting from their mechanical steed, the Reaper and the Gov joined hands to prance at the head of the procession, followed by the hecklers, the drummer, and a valiant marcher who trudged under the burden of an industrial-size steel barrel. At the end of our short trek, we deposited this rusty titan in a small library at the East Quad dormitory, where it will be on display for the next couple weeks. The barrel is painted in fiery hues with images and facts related to the Bhopal disaster. A collage of liquid sitar tones and human voices, juxtaposing quotes from survivors, activists, and Dow-Carbide spokesmen, issues from within the metallic cavern.