Lillian Anderson, caught by Channel 4's reporter as she drove
her silver Cadillac into the couple's $1,150,000 home -which
stands on a white sand beach on the Atlantic ocrean - did
not want to talk. She said huffily, "My husband flew
to India and they put him in jail". In fact, Warren Anderson
spent three hours under nominal 'house arrest' at Carbide's
luxury guest house. He was freed on a surety of $1,500 and
left for America, promising "I will come back to India
whenever the law requires it."
But when the law required it, he
said he did not recognise the court's jurisdiction. He never
inconvenient of Bhopal's dead and injured -"We've got
people coming to dinner"
Anderson have anything to say about the 20,000 people who
have died in Bhopal as a result of Carbide's gas leak? He
did not. Instead his wife testily told Channel 4's reporter,
Zoe Conway, "This is most inconvenient. We've got people
coming to dinner." Pressed to ask her husband to say
what his current feelings were on the continuing suffering
of more than 130,000 people in Bhopal, Mrs Anderson snapped,
"I told you, we are giving a dinner party, and it
isn't even catered"
comments were not shown on last week's broadcast -
we learned of them in a telephone call from a friend
- they prompted us to do a bit of finding out about
the Andersons' lifestyle.
Island's Hamptons are an expensive part of the world.
Steven Spielberg has a house there. "Meg Ryan was
at Sunset Beach on Shelter Island on Saturday night
having dinner,' gushed a recent issue of New York Metro
magazine. "Helena Christensen is always there,
Liv Tyler is always there, and socialites like Lulu
de Kwiatkowski always turn up. The locals have nicknamed
some of the customers the boat people, because they
all come over on their incredible boats, and they leave
So what is a dinner party
in the Hampton's like? What sort of shopping might Mrs
Anderson's Cadillac have been carrying home?
Bridgehampton Polo Club is just
down the road
from the Andersons. Membership costs upwards
of $7,500 a year.
part of the real world.
"I have to tell you, we're not part of the real world,"
said Bridgehampton's society caterer Brent Newsom, when
we put these questions to him. "It costs to live
It would seem that
Lillian Anderson is used to having her dinner parties
catered. A Newsom dinner for eight people could easily
cost over $1,000. At a recent seven-person lunch attended
by the Governor of New York, the food cost $800. There
were two staff at $350 and flowers at around $250.
The client generally
provides the wine, because New York licensing laws mean
a caterer would have to charge restaurant prices, say
$100 for a bottle of wine that cost $30 in the shops.
Lillian had been over to the Amagansett Wine Store, where
they do a decent Latour Pouilly Fuisse for $22 a bottle,
and a Paumanok 2000 Sauvignon Blanc, a local version of
a Sauterne for a mere $80.
she be cooking? Well, beef would be a usual choice for
a smart dinner party, but of course it's red meat. Although
Warren appears fit for his age, he has to take care of
Island lobster will be off the menu. The lobsters have
been poisoned, probably by pesticides.
in this area of stunning seascapes is a favourite food.
It's delicious, low in fats and not particularly high
ahead and have Southampton's Clamman cook my lobsters,"
says local resident Jamee Gregory, adding, "I don't
like to hear them scream."
Beach, Florida, where the Andersons have their other
holiday home, P.V.Martin's Oceanside restaurant, famous
for its "champagne brunch" does giant Florida
lobster tails at $30, but in the exclusive Hamptons, a
local told us, "Places that serve lobster do not
have the prices on the menu." Eight
jumbo-sized lobsters for a dinner party would cost about
$240. But fishermen report a "widespread lobster
die off". The suspected cause: pesticides like those
made by Union Carbide.
Long Islanders are partial to tomalley, the pale green
stuff found in the lobster's body, but local Lobster Promotion
Councils advise against eating it, warning that as tomalley
is the liver and pancrea, dioxins might have entered the
system from the environment. Ironically, the dioxins enter
the environment courtesy of Dow Chemical, which bought
Warren's old company, Union Carbide.
second thoughts, Warren and Lillian wouldn't eat those
lobsters anyway. Pesticides can do awful things to your
untouched by herbicides and pesticides
can find fruit and vegetables at the Scuttle Hole farm
shop, just a quick dash from her house up to the top
of Ocean Road and a jink across the Montauk Highway.
Brent Newsom thinks its
worth going further afield."If I want really good
field-ripened tomatoes, I go to to Round Swamp in East
Hampton. They grow almost everything they sell, and
their corn is fabulous. It's fresh organic produce untouched
by herbicides or pesticides," Sounds wonderful.
"But", he admits, "it is très
cher, too, are the butchers, but of course the meat
is simply the best.
"Dreesen's in East Hampton
is good, and the shop delivers - it's a fabulous if
you don't mind paying $18 for veal scallopini."
how much at minimum must Lillian Anderson's dinner party
Perhaps $40 on nibbles
from somewhere inexpensive like Gemelli's of Babylon
- you wouldn't want to be fussed with them yourself.
$160 for the meat, because you want the best, and another
$40 for the très cher vegetables. Four
bottles of Latour Pouilly Fuisse, $88 and the Paumanok
can only afford Sagaponack's Loaves & Fishes once
a month," one local complains. "It seems like
it's $20 for a quarter-pound of anything." $80.
Dessert? Fresh fruit, enough for eight, $40.
from the garden - after all why else keep three gardeners?
And the total is $528.
world away from Lillian's $500 bash: Leela Bai's dinner
party in Bhopal.
her shack, lit by a single dim bulb, Leela Bai prepares
dinner for her family. She is the same age as Warren
Anderson and like him, has to watch her health. It'll
be rice again tonight, the same as last night, seasoned
with a little salt. Rice costs 9¢
a pound in Bhopal.
There is nothing
else in the house. Occasionally there will be a some
daal (lentils), and perhaps some spinach (4¢
a pound). When hunger becomes unbearable,
they tie scarves tightly round their bellies to give
the illusion of fullness.
was one of those caught by Union Carbide's cloud of
poison gas nearly eighteen years ago. She recalls
the terror of "that night", waking with
eyes and mouth burning, every breath like inhaling
acid. The panic in the narrow lanes, when people were
trampled. People choking and dropping dead, with bloody
foam bubbling from their lips.
family of six survived, but ever since they have suffered
from breathlessness and spells of vomiting. One of
her sons has gone blind. All
six family members suffer from breathlessness and
spells of vomiting.
Burdened by injury
they cannot earn well. The family's joint income is
$30 a month.
rains wash toxins from the factory into the groundwater.
Drinking wells are polluted by carcinogens and heavy
metals, including 20,000 to 6 million times the expected
levels of mercury.
Organophosphates don't taste as nice as organics.
their meal, Leela and her family will be drinking not
wine but water. Mind you this is no ordinary water.
Chateau Carbide, laced with chemicals leaching into
the ground water and wells from the toxins dumped by
Carbide for years before and after the gas leak.
Piles of dangerous chemicals are still lying in the
abandoned factory. Each monsoon's rains washes them
into the soil and groundwater.
Greenpeace analaysed the drinking
water of communities like Leela's who live the near
the factory. They found chemicals capable of causing
cancers, leukemia, damage to vital organs and birth
defects. People who drink the water report symptoms
like those who were gassed in the original disaster.
French writer Dominique Lapierre,
whose book Five Past Midnight in Bhopal demonstrates
how Union Carbide's neglect led inexorably to the disaster,
drank a half glass of the water and reported:
"My mouth, my throat, my tongue
instantly got on fire, while my arms and legs suffered
an immediate skin rash. This was the simple manifestation
of what men, women and children have to endure daily,
eighteen years after the tragedy".
Warren Anderson probably spent more in one night than
his victims got 'in compensation' for a lifetime of
the gas victims of Bhopal every day of the past eighteen
years has been a struggle against breathlessness, nausea,
brain damage, cancers, fevers, numbness, panic attacks,
menstrual chaos, monstrous births. Yet of
those who have received any compensation, ninety percent
got less than $500.
Leela got just $208.
"No one in my family received more than that",
she told us. "The money went on medicines as soon
as it came to our hands."
Over eighteen years $208
works out at just 3 cents a day and with each day that
passes, its value dwindles. - which is why the case
must not be stalled any longer. The
survivors demand that Anderson and Union Carbide (now
a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemicals) must no
longer be allowed to obstruct justice.
The poor and the hungry
of Bhopal live in the real world. Mr Anderson does not
Last week, he was annoyed
when Bhopal came knocking at his door in the idyllic
Hamptons and held up his smart dinner party. How ironic
is that from a man who has been holding up justice for
thousands of poor, sick and hungry people for eleven
Three days ago the Indian Government
finally announced that it will seek Warren Anderson's
extradition from the US.
He and his wife must have
been hoping Bhopal had gone away. But Bhopal will never
go away. Not until there is justice.