Two of our number in Bhopal.
‘Never give up, oh never give up,’ we sang in the dark December evening. ‘Never, never, never, never, never give up’ to the people still campaigning for justice and compensation for the disastrous effects of the Bhopal chemical leak 30 years ago.
Around half a million people were exposed to toxic fumes in the central Indian city of Bhopal on the night of December 2 to 3, 1984. Nearly 4,000 people died in the immediate aftermath, and around 10,000 subsequent deaths have been blamed on the disaster. The 2 companies involved have avoided any consequences. They have not even disclosed what the poisons comprised of so that effective medical treatment continues to elude doctors.
‘Stand, oh stand firm’ we sang as the memorial candles flickered for the thousands who have died and been disabled and impoverished as a result of the greed and rapacity of corporate business. ‘See what we all can do’.
‘Think of me, forget me not, remember me wherever you go’ we sang as the wreaths were laid. ‘I am yours and you are mine, remember me wherever you go’ — in solidarity with those still fighting for goodness and truth in the face of monumental wickedness.
As Pablo Neruda wrote, ‘To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvellous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses – that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things’.
I hope we managed to send our thoughts as far as Bhopal.