What Tragedy?

Like everyone else, the video of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy was so surprising to me. No one I have talked to about this video has even heard of Bhopal and the tragedy that they went through. But then I began thinking, neither did I. Why is it in school we learn about history from hundreds of years ago yet we don’t learn about how the rest of the world may be struggling. It is like if it does not affect us, why would we talk about it? This is what I think.. I think people need to begin looking outside of their comfort zone. A lot of the reason people don’t talk about events like the Bhopal Gas leakage is because they feel uncomfortable not knowing answers. They feel uncomfortable hearing events like this but not knowing what to do about it. They feel uncomfortable because the company that caused this issue is a main source for many people. So why would they want to lose something that means something to them for a tragedy that isn’t affecting themselves. I know not everyone thinks like this, but main businesses, even in a political some people wouldn’t want people to actually understand what is happening in this area. What I find even more interesting is that people still don’t know what exactly caused this leakage. There has been assumptions of lines breaking and accidents. Doing some research I came across an interview with an Ambassador to India. He was asked the question, “Was there anything that American industry, or your embassy, or the Indian authorities could have done to prevent the Union Carbide disaster at Bhopal?” Gaheen’s (the Ambassador’s) response was, “I was shocked by that. I visited that plant. I’m not a scientist or technologist so I’m in no position to say whether it was well run or not. Interestingly enough, however, it was a piece of collaboration of which both Indian business and the Indian Government were very proud…Now I think it remains very much a matter of dispute whether it was negligence that caused the accident. The Union Carbide people are convinced it was an act of sabotage and they know who did it, but the Indian Government doesn’t want to recognize that; so, it remains a very disputed case. But the consequences were terrible, including the fact that it is all hung up in the courts. The poor people who have suffered have gotten no compensation at all to speak of.” I found this response completely fascinating considering I didn’t know that an act of sabotage was even an idea that they had.

Bhopal abandoned

This picture is of Gaheen and is visit to Bhopal

It has actually been found that the company found altered logs and documents. Carbide says these indicate that several employees at its Bhopal pesticide plant knew about the start of the accident earlier than they have acknowledged, then tried covering up the knowledge. “Indian officials and former Indian employees of Carbide’s Bhopal plant vehemently dispute the company’s assertions of sabotage. These officials and former workers say the company has failed to offer any proof of its charges and is maligning the people on whom it once relied to run the plant.” I find it incredibly interesting that all of this was found. Overall though, people need to open their eyes about the tragedies happening in the world and realize these things are not going to go away on their own.

-Alli Stamper

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/23/world/theory-of-bhopal-sabotage-is-offered.html?pagewanted=all

http://adst.org/2014/12/the-bhopal-chemical-disaster/

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