Welcome to the Olympics brought to you partially buy Union Carbide and Dow Chemical.
Let's see, why does that Union Carbide name ring a bell? Oh yeah, they're the folks who killed thousands of Indians at Bhopal back when, aren't they?
The survivors don't want you to forget what happened and they don't want you to forget that Dow has yet to meet its responsibility to the dead and to the survivors. They don't want yu to forget those thousands who died in hideous ways. They don't want you to forget the corporate kingpins who never went to jail. They don't want you to forget the Empire that didn't care. They don't want you to forget that this sort of crap goes on everyday somewhere out there. They don't want you to forget that a year long attempt to convince the Olympic bosses to drop Dow failed.
The Bhopal Medical Appeal reminds us:
Dow Chemical’s Olympic sponsorship legitimises its abnegation of responsibility for the health and wellbeing of Bhopal, thereby perpetuating the denial of basic rights to thousands of suffering people.
We celebrate the Olympics, their ancient sanctity and nobility of spirit. We salute the Games that unite us all in delight at the health, strength, beauty and grace of the young contestants from around the world. All of these things the association with Dow therefore debases and disgraces.
With the theme “From East India Company to The Dow Chemical Company”, the opening ceremony will draw attention to the many famines caused by British rule over India, the mass hanging in the wake of the first battle for Indian independence in 1857, the massacre at Jalianwala Baug in 1919 and the support extended by the British Prime Minister to the Dow Chemical Company.
The Bhopal Medical Appeal joined five other organizations joined together to organize the "Bhopal special Olympics" which was held the day before the opening of the London Olympics. Taking part in this special Olympics are children born with disabilities due to the poisoning by Union Carbide. The poisoning by the way has not ended.
The special Olympics protest games featured children like Zehara Javed who won the crab walking competition as the only girl entered in that even.
The Times of India takes up the story:
Zehra's father Mohd Javed is a victim of gas tragedy. "He was severely affected after the MIC exposure. Consequently, his eyes and kidney were badly affected," Javed's wife Noosrat Jehan said with tears rolled down her eyes.
Zehra is a second generation gas victim with congenital physical problems. "After her birth, we came to know that she could not speak and her one leg was not developed. Later, we got to know that it was just because of the ill-effects of the gas that she got from her father," Noosrat said recounting her woes.
Noosrat said: "With our participation, my family and I wanted to protest against the Dow Chemicals. We can't accept that the company which should own the legacy of the Union Carbide has been supported by the international Olympic Committee ( IOC)."
Referring to the participants like Zehra, Rachna Dhingra, one of the organizers, said, "This is what we wanted to convey to the London Olympics organisers that despite facing odds in the life, even small kids affected from gas would keep protesting the decision of taking sponsorships from Dow chemicals."
The following is from AFP.
"The children are born like this because of the gas," said Kesar Bai, a 45-year-old mother from a slum near the plant who believes that the disaster and its lingering impact caused her son Pratap's severe cerebral palsy.