Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Shadow of Bhopal...

Tower Bridge

The Olympics are closing in. The opportunity to live in a city hosting it is a once in a life time experience. I have mixed feelings about the Olympics.
On one hand I love London, the city that welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home.
I am amazed by the diverse , multicultural experience that London has to offer.
And then there is Bhopal and Dow Chemicals association with the Olympics, which deeply saddens me.

And so I thought I would blog about the whole experience of being here in London and watching the Olympics unfurl., both about what's good and whats bad and all that's in between.

Over the weekend we walked around London Bridge and standing on the bridge itself,  under overcast skies and the rain threatening to pour  down, a trickle of sunshine momentarily brightened up the scene. It was as if they were spot lights on tower bridge itself and the huge Olympic rings that had been placed there to make one month to the Olympic games. In the background HMS Belfast stood out in gorgeous steely greys against the beautiful Thames.

The massive rings measuring - 82 feet (25 m) wide and 38 feet (11.5 m) tall look spectacular against the London skyline. The gold rimmed tips of Tower Bridge seem to be reaching up to touch the sky.
Around me people walk, some with cameras in hand , some others with children, everyone taking in the beautiful sight of the Thames and the hustle and bustle of London around it.


And then my thoughts return to Bhopal. I feel a little guilty for enjoying it all .
What does puzzle me sometimes is that I hardly find mention about the worst industrial disaster in human memory mentioned in the press or as part of conversation itself. If we pride ourselves on human rights shouldn't a stronger protest be marked somehow?
A colleague very casually told me that , Dow didn't own the company at that point in time and so shouldn't be held accountable. I find this apathy shocking. I have family/ friends who are activists and while they hold strong views with regard to certain things, the death of 15000 people in a beautiful city does not feature highly in their areas of concern.Most people know about Chernobyl but have never heard about Bhopal!

Have we become so blind, that we can condone an action that cost the lives of 15000 living, breathing souls. Were they worth anything at all?

Why do I write this then? Because I am torn.
On one hand I love this city and I have always held London as a model of tolerance, and so I feel let down  by Dows association with the games.

 But I  do believe people can do what governments around the world can't and I really do hope that this city tolerant as it is , somewhere finds the voice to stand up for what happened to the thousands who died at Bhopal.




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