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+ RED GROW THE RASHES - O +
 



When Michael Parker's moment of green joy was interrupted by the real world, he was for a moment nonplussed. But then his corporate training kicked in and he began to trot out, in a flat monotone, the same weary stuff we have heard over and over again from his public relations people. (Our responses to their lies and omissions are given in this rather fetching green.)

I appreciate your concern. (Oh fie, tut, pshaw, etc...)

In 1984 there was a an enormous chemical tragedy that occured in Bhopal. In India.

The company that was involved in that was in joint venture, but it was Union Carbide. (The PR script omits the fact that Union Carbide US had a 51.9% stake, giving it the controlling interest, and that the crucial decisions about siting, design, technology and fatal cost-cutting were made by the US parent)

... a company we acquired a little less than two years ago. (Also thereby acquiring its liabilities as we have seen in the case of asbestos victims in the USA)

And, er, it was an enormous tragedy... (It certainly was, moosh, and still is. The factory is still poisoning drinking water with cancer- and birth-defect causing chemicals. It has never stopped killing people)

Er, it basically involved many thousands of people dying because of the chemical emissions that came out of that facility... (and which are still coming out of it)

...and er, in the context of all of that, er... (yes? what can he possibly be about to say?)

I...I can still remember where I was on that day

and anybody in the chemical industry can remember the tragedy of that day (In Bhopal, it is referred to as "that night" not "that day". Managers of giant corporations on the far side of the world can have had no conception of what it was actually like for those who were woken in their beds with their eyes on fire and their mouths and throats already full of Carbide's gases)

It had an enormous impact on our industry as a whole ... (Yes, the American Chemical Manufacturers' Association met in a panic and immediately began brainstorming ways to protect themselves against laws that would force them to clean up their acts. Among other things they devised the PR initiative known as Responsible Care. In the minutes of their meetings in the months that followed the Bhopal leak there is never once any mention of concern for the innocent victims of the chemical industry.)

We acquired er Union Carbide as I mentioned two years ago and clearly... obviously... although all of the issues actually related to legal responsibility of Bhopal were all resolved by Union Carbide... (The big lie. Either he is ignorant of the facts, which is grossly negligent to his shareholders. Or he believes that the rest of the world is ill-informed and gullible – or may be just stupid enough – to believe him.)

Anyone who has written a letter to Dow about Bhopal and has had a reply signed by Michael Parker will be able to quote it by heart. All together now...

Mr Parker, we don't care where you were on that day. You don't seem to realise where you are today. At the helm of a company whose futile attempts to evade justice are costing lives. What we care about is that every day, our people are dying.

Anyone who wants to listen to Michael Parker being jhaadoo'd by Kinnu, Diane and friends, can download this mp3 recording captured by journalist Jackson Allers at the luncheon.

Meanwhile here's a new song for Michael and the Dowettes...

I'll give you one O
Red grow the rashes O
What is your one O?
Dow you are responsible and ever more shall be so!

(To be continued, your contributions for further verses are earnestly solicited)

And now back to Houston and that luncheon. Jackson's recording catches a little of Parker's planned speech. When Diane Wilson interrupts, you will hear jeering and calls of "Siddown!" from The Nature Conservancy's $75-a-head guests. They fall into silence as Kinnu delivers her rebuke – and the broom. As Parker regains his wits and begins intoning the desperate mantras that will fail to save his company, you can hear security people trying to hustle Kinnu and Diane out of the room. And when Parker – evidently with huge relief at the departure of this "group of people who are representing Bhopal and, er, the whole subject of Bhopal" – is able to return to his eco-drivel, the luncheon guests rally him with a round of applause.

Who were these nature lovers? Bhopal.Net took a look.