Dow Action Diary: Day 26
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On July 17, activist Diane Wilson began a hunger strike in front of the gates of the Dow Chemical/Union Carbide corporation in Seadrift, Texas. She hopes to call attention to the plight of victims of 1984's industrial accident in Bhopal, India where, to date, Dow has still not cleaned up the derelict factory or adequately compensated the victims and survivors. Supporting Diane are Jodie Evans and other members of the group UnReasonable Women. What follows are excerpts from the daily emails Jodie and others send to the hundreds of supporters also on hunger strikes around the world in support of the victims of Bhopal.
Sky is unpredictable. An unreasonable woman for sure. First, sky wants to rain, then no no, the other side says it wants sun. But the rain wins and I get thunderstorm (for a minute I think it is the old rusting flare going off) and every little tear I've got in the tarp now pours rain.
Eventually the sun comes out and I find a dry spot and go sound asleep. wake up when a truck pulls up. I don't know the fella but he knows me -- wants to know what I've been doing in front of the plant for so long, so I hop up like it's Day 1 of the hungerstrike and pull out my Bhopal information.
Yes, he remembers Bhopal all right. Said he heard it was one of those Indian saboteurs who did it, and so don't you know we had quite a conversation about Carbide's version of the truth. I told him if Carbide believes it was saboteurs then why the heck didn't they bring their evidence to court in India and prove it for once and always. I said instead the CEO has vanished for 11 years.
Later we get into things that all folks know who live around chemical plants. He said he grew cotton and every year Carbide's ethelene oxide releases ruined it. You know, he said, ethelene causes things to ripen early so there went his crop. Used to be Carbide would pay damages, but didn't anymore. Another neighbor who lived around the plant was bought out, lock stock and barrel. She was glad to go. She bred dogs and in some of the births, the puppies were turning up with mutations. Three legs, things like that.
The man in his truck was in a talking mood. Told me about Carbide's injection wells. Now that's a story. Carbide doesn't have injection wells. Ask them any ol' day and they say, "NO!! No injections wells."
The neighbor says, sure they did, and points out the property where they injected their waste. Had a few wells and that's where they took it. Another thing they had was big burning pits where they burned everything in the world.
Burned it at night when nobody could see the big black smoke, then during the day, they shut it off. Finally EPA got wind of it and said clean it up, too many ducks flying over and dying in the process. So Carbide took the waste and trucked it behind the Carbide clubhouse along side of the barge canal, alongside of the drinking water in Goff Bayou.
I say goodby to the neighbor who throws a jaundiced eye to Carbide/Dow. He says he had a daughter who worked there. He knows what they did. Most people don't believe it, don't want to hear it. Ignorance is bliss.
Before I break camp, another storm breaks through and it gets windy and I think a finger of a tornado is dropping from the sky, but no, it goes back into the clouds and all I get is threatening rain. Two women come. One is a woman from Houston who brought an Earth flag. I'm like a real carnival in my truck now: signs and banners and flags and tarp. If I had my sign out, I could read fortunes. The lady from Houston sits in my truck and dials eveybody she knows to come to Seadrift on Aug. l5. Probably recurited ta least three people while she was sitting there, including a dance team.
The actions for Thursday are building momentum: bring your brooms and signs asking Dow to clean up their mess in Bhopal and "Freedom from Corporate Rule."
1pm: Dow on main hwy in Seadrift Texas, join Diane Wilson and friends.
11am, Dow, join Jodie Evans at 305 Crenshaw, south off the 405.
11am, Dow, join Julia Butterfly and Susan Griffen, at 901 Loveridge Road, Pittsburg (SF Bay Area), hwy 680 heading north, take 242 to hwy 4 going east, exit at Loveridge road, turn left. check this website to find other Dow locations near you....take your brooms and signs. http://www.dow.com/facilities/namerica/index.htm.