23 years ago, I heard a huge explosion outside my window in Seadrift, Texas. It was the Union Carbide factory. The explosion rattled windows twenty miles away and threw shrapnel the size of a car into the fields. It shook my house. One person was killed and 30 were injured–it could have been much worse.
A few weeks later I was on a plane to Bhopal, India, to meet the survivors of the Union Carbide gas disaster, whose lives were torn apart the night of December 3rd, 1984. They wanted to meet other activists campaigning around Union Carbide.
When I was in India, my life changed forever.
I met mothers who lost their unborn babies from the gas and the children who were born after, with birth defects and major health problems. I saw the abandoned factory still leaching toxic chemicals into the ground water. I wrote my own message on the walls at that derelict Union Carbide facility: Never Forget Bhopal!
Have you ever had a life-changing moment like this?
I vowed to return home to Texas and take action in solidarity with the survivors who held so much in common with my own small fishing community. The actions I took later (climbing and chaining myself to the top of Union Carbide/Dow’s chemical tower) were in memory of those who died in Bhopal and for those who still suffered from the negligence of that company.
Today, and on the eve of the 30th year anniversary of the Bhopal tragedy, I read the newspaper headlines of Warren Anderson’s death. The man most responsible for the world’s worst environmental disaster has died. Unshackled.
It brought home to me the solid nature of justice undelivered. I cannot imagine what it felt like to the Bhopal survivors. But still they fight. Their persistence is immeasurable. As one Bhopal woman intimately involved in the struggle said:
“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 mystery of life. “
As a supporter of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, you know how the gas disaster survivors have been fighting for 30 years for justice. People all over the world have joined them, too, in demanding justice for Bhopal:
- at the United Nations, demanding they end their association with Dow Chemical and provide technical assistance toward medical relief and environmental remediation;
- to the Indian government, to revise death and injury figures and schedule a hearing on the Curative Petition ;
- by urging consumers to “Dump Dow” and never letting up the pressure on the company to take responsibility for their actions.
But there is still so much to do! On the 30th anniversary on December 3rd, people are taking action all over the world, to remind the world and the power brokers that we will not be silent until there is justice in Bhopal.
I will not let this one go and neither should you!
I believe it’s our moral obligation to do something. We cannot allow reckless, criminal behavior to go unchecked. The bottom line is: We are all Bhopal. The next major industrial disaster could be anywhere and even the more privileged in North American are not safe from harm. I should know because the Texas Chemical Council had just named the Union Carbide facility that blew up in my hometown of Seadrift, Texas the “Safest Plant in Texas”!
How’s that for safe and secure?
I am writing to you today to encourage you to support the campaign for justice in Bhopal. Take some kind of action and show that thirty years later countless people are still holding the power brokers accountable.
One way that you can help to keep up the pressure is to make a donation. There are additional expenses this year to pay for 30th anniversary organizing, outreach, and events. We are trying to raise $10,000 by the end of the year to support this work and to have additional money to pay for educational events in 2015.
Please make a donation that is meaningful to you and send back the reply card today. You can even donate monthly if you prefer.
Thank you for everything you have done to show love for the Bhopal survivors. I am so glad we share a vision for healthy lives and a livable planet.
P.S. You can donate online at our newly upgraded www.bhopal.net. It’s an incredible resource too!
P.P.S. Inspired to take action now? 30th Anniversary events and actions are listed on our website too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.