December 2, 1984. One of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes takes place in Bhopal, India. A gas leak at an American owned pesticide plant. Between 7 and 10 thousand people were killed instantly. Over the next 20 years, another 15 thousand die.
Today, the site is STILL contaminated. Over 100 thousand people are still affected.
In many ways, it is a forgotten tragedy. One that is linked to the London Olympic Games.
The owners of the plant are Dow Chemicals. They are one of the BIG sponsors of the 2012 games.
Amnesty International says they have never addressed the human rights impact of Bhopal. To highlight what they call this tainted Olympics link, they have invited acclaimed Indian artist Samar Jodha to showcase his controversial Bhopal art installation right in the heart of the east London games.
The head of the London Olympics Committee that secured the contract with Dow Chemicals has defended the company. Organizations like Amnesty call this a betrayal.
The legacy of the Bhopal disaster haunts dow chemicals. And now dow chemicals involvement in the Olympics may haunt the legacy of the games. The Olympics traditionally has a global community message, one activists say has been sold out to corporation. London 2012 won’t want messages like the one behind me to be what the games are remembered for.