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Atlanta Remembers “The Story of Bhopal”

January 2007
Atlanta Remembers “The Story of Bhopal”

Alka Roy of AID-Atlanta addressing the small gathering of concerned citizens at the Manuel's Tavern.

On December 5th, 2006, Association of India's Development (AID) and Amnesty International members remembered the disaster in Bhopal in Atlanta by hosting ‘The Story of Bhopal: 22 year in the Making" at Manuel's Tavern. The event included the screening of a short documentary on the continuing campaign and struggles in Bhopal, provided updates from Bhopal, answered questions and held the Atlanta Premier of "One Night in Bhopal" -- a film based on interviews from the survivors of the horrific disaster,

The event was part of nationwide actions on the anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, the world's worst industrial catastrophe. Students and community members in seven cities staged funeral processions and die-ins, carrying black coffins and shrouded bearers. Concerned community members in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Midland, MI presented Dow Chemical Board members with orange prison jumpsuits to highlight the fugitive status (in Indian Criminal Court) of Union Carbide, a fully-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor students marched to the campus Dow Chemical building on December 6th, to close six days of activities focused on the ongoing human rights struggle in Bhopal.

On December 2, 1984, thousands of people in Bhopal, India, were gassed to death after a catastrophic chemical leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant. Advocates say Carbide's owner Dow Chemical is to blame for daily deaths in Bhopal due to its refusal to clean up the disaster site and provide adequate care to the survivors.

The night of the Bhopal Disaster, none of the six safety systems at the Union Carbide (Dow Chemical) plant were functional. Following a partial 1989 settlement, Union Carbide fled India, leaving behind unresolved criminal liabilities and several thousand metric tons of hazardous waste, which has poisoned the drinking water for 20,000 Bhopal residents. According to Amnesty International, Dow's behavior is a fundamental violation of the Bhopalis' human rights. Eighteen members of the US Congress signed a letter to Dow in 2003, calling Dow's behavior a "blatant disregard for the law."

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