On 3rd December 2016, people gathered in Edinburgh to stand in solidarity with the people of Bhopal on the 32nd anniversary of the gas disaster. Wreaths and candles were placed beneath the Bhopal memorial plaque in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard.
Songs were sung by Edinburgh’s radical choir, Protest in Harmony, and short messages of solidarity given by Des Loughney from Edinburgh TUC and Kathy Jenkins from the Bhopal Medical Appeal.
Kathy Jenkins said:
Tonight in Bhopal survivors groups come together to march with flaming torches to the memorial statue of the gas affected mother opposite the Union Carbide factory, where ground water is still being contaminated by hazardous chemical waste. They cry for the dead and they protest for the living. We stand today in solidarity with the people of Bhopal. That solidarity continues to support the campaign for justice and the provision of crucial health care for survivors and their children through the Sambhavna and Chingari clinics. Tonight I want to speak of hope rather than despair — I want to speak about the care given at Sambhavna — a health clinic almost entirely funded by individuals in the UK. From the time I visited the clinic in Bhopal 2 years ago, I have believed that we can all learn from the ethos of Sambhavna: ‘that for the long term sick love is the most powerful
of medicines, because love, even when it cannot cure, always heals. There are strong medicinal reasons why care should involve caring. Body, mind and what we may call soul are inseparable and a suffering person needs to be cherished and to know that they are.’
Des Loughney said:
We support the survivors, who suffer from ailments and disabilities, in
their struggle with Indian authorities for proper medical care. We support the campaign to pressurise Dow Chemicals into paying appropriate compensation. We condemn the double standards of capitalism and trans nationals that places a much higher value on US or British suffering and death compared with Indian. In the trade union we have no doubt that the biggest challenge in our times for British, US or Indian workers is to control transnationals. Any struggle to force them to respect justice, health and safety, environmental issues, dignity at work and human rights is one we all must support.