A tale of two Disasters

Disaster 1: Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Location: Bhopal, India
When: midnight of December 2nd and 3rd

Disaster 2: BP Oil Spill
Location: Gulf of Mexico
When: 20th April 2010

The only commonality between these two great disasters, apart from the fact that they are both man made, is that both start with the letter “B”. However it’s not that this insignificant and rather useless commonality, but its the post disaster recovery process that is worth mentioning which probably should be emulated or even adopted by the international community. But what do I know about this, I am not a disaster recovery expert nor am I an environmental expert. If one looks at the comparison below, one would understand why one doesn’t need to be an expert.

In a nut shell

It’s clear that the Bhopal Gas Tragedy has never been owned by the government representing the victims nor the government representing the offender. However, Bhopal Gas Tragedy still features in the media (occasionally) and talked about in the schools, at environmental festivals only because of the relentless efforts of the victims and the few good volunteers in India and abroad. I’ve add the opportunity to meet and interact with the victims of the tragedy and the volunteers fighting for this cause. The victims were two young kids who belonged to the second generation. When they both addressed the large gathering at a 2 day AID conference held in Duke University a couple of years ago, the power in their voice and the fighting spirit in them made me realize that they are not victims, they are in fact leaders born to lead the fight. That’s exactly what these kids were doing inspiring and motivating people to stand up and fight for their cause. It’s leaders like them and the tireless volunteers who are keeping the movement alive.

The governments turned a blind eye and the victims turned activists, the water became polluted and the children became handicapped, the media went silent and the offender went missing,the people got sick and the hospitals got overcrowded – 27 years on, the disaster still continues haunting the victims, the survivors and passing on the dreadful memories to the next generations in the form of physical and mental disabilities.

For those government agencies that are fighting to control what’s posted on Facebook or twitter or even the blogs, this is a grim reminder, they are picking up the wrong fights. There are much bigger causes to fight for, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy is just one such cause worth fighting for.


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