University of Michigan Performance Reenacts Disaster

On December 2nd, 2005, the Ann Arbor chapter of the Association for India’s Development, EnAct, Environmental Justice and Students for Bhopal co-sponsored several performances of a powerful Bhopal performance on the Diag, the central crossroads of the University of Michigan campus. The event was covered in the campus newspaper, The Michigan Daily, and over the course of the day several hundred people watched the performance.
Writes the Daily: “LSA junior Joseph Mathias and LSA senior Deetti Reddy rolled on the ground while smoke emitted from a large black barrel in the Diag on Friday. The performance was a part of the Students for Bhopal’s re-enactment of the Bhopal Tragedy, a chemical spill that killed thousands of Indians nearly two decades ago.
“’Not a lot of people know that the Bhopal disaster ever happened,’ said performer Jeff Collins, a University alum who works with Students for Bhopal, a student group that supports reparations for victims of the disaster. ‘There is still responsibility that has not been taken,’ Collins said. ‘Union Carbide just picked up and left. (The chemicals are) all still there.’ Students for Bhopal wants Dow to clean up the toxins, face a trial, provide long-term health care and provide economic support for the victims.”
The five-minute silent skit is an abstract reenactment of the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster. Its purpose is to remind the public that Dow’s liability in Bhopal remains unresolved as people continue to die from the effects of the toxic gas. The Dow Grim Reaper represents Dow’s culpability in these deaths. The person in white represents those who have died. The person in red represents the injured, who carry the legacy of the disaster in their blood. The person in gray represents the rest of us, who are neither criminals nor victims, but nonetheless must bury the dead, care for the injured, and demand justice from Dow. Read the script and watch a video (Quicktime: 24 MB) of the performance!

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