söndag 23 november 2014

The Bhopal disaster 30 years

38 views. April 12, 2015.

Of course, I follow the Bhopal catastrophe, also from this distance. My Bhopali family has been so important for me for 20 years now - and it is because of the Bhopal catastrophe I met them. I also used quite a lot of time preparing my thesis for Master of Public Health and my book The Bhopal Saga that was published exactly 10 years ago.
I was so sure that I would go back to Bhopal once a year as long as my body would allow me. Like going home, or going to one's summerhouse. But in January 2011, when I was sent back from Indira Gandhi airport by return flight, life changed. Now I am worrying about my family all the time without getting the possibility to really know what their lives are.

The only person with whom I can communicate by telephone is my oldest "grandchild" who became 21 yesterday. We are very close together (I still remember her 1st birthday), and she has been here three times. Her younger brother was here in January - and now he understands why he must study! - This is why it was so fantastic to see half the family in Nepal in May. We had such a good time together! But I still have not seen the other half since 2010.

Am I an "activist"? Well, I do follow Bhopal Medical Appeal (financing Sambhavna clinic anc Chingari trust) on Facebook, and I click "like" now and then. I sometimes go into Wikipedia to check the changes that are done - but the text is now so different from what I added some years ago. This time of the year, I search the web to see what is new.

I think it is fantastic that this event is still discussed so much, after 30 years. Some days ago, there was a big article in the free paper Metro. Yes, The Bhopal Saga was mentioned - journalists find it interesting that a Swedish doctor has written this kind of book about an internationally welknown disaster. I also understand that The Bhopal Saga is more and more cited, although it is not easy to find. I feel flattered!

And why is it important to keep the memory alive? Because big and small Bhopals are happening every day! The Union Carbide disaster became the symbol for multinational companie's cynic view on human beings, and government's passive acceptance of this. Bhopal changed the view on the multinational's responsibility and the importance of adequate laws.

Today, when I searched the web, I found some "new" material: 

Remembering Bhopal - 30 years on  Loss Prevention Journal 240, Dec 2014 

India: Victory for Bhopal leak survivors as government promises additional compensation  Amnesty 14.11.2014

Bhopal 84 documentary project  A new film with films and photos from the first days. Yes, I will offer some money.

Women & Children of Bhopal: Thirty years after the gas disaster  Presentation of ongoing research at the 142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition, New Orleans, Nov 18, 2014.

The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, Charter on industrial hazards 1996

My old blogtexts in Dagens Medicin (in Swedish):
De handikappade barnen i Bhopal  The handicapped children in Bhopal June 1, 2009
Åter i Bhopal  Back in Bhopal 7.2.2010

Uppdated Nov 26, 2014


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