Dow Action Diary: Day 14

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.

dow at dawn

The tarp and banners up, sunscreen and lipbalm applied we began our day as the red (from all the chemicals) sun came over the spires of the factory. Pickup truck after pickup truck turning off the road to work.

Trains were passing, the road was noisy, the sun was hot and we had lots to think and talk about. The heart of the earth felt like it was beating in the tent, we could feel the magic so we went to work on a plan. How to bring the victims and injustice of Bhopal into an intimate relationship with Seadrift and then link it to what the press is hungry for now, corporate greed.

The date of August 15 is perfect to align with our friends in India and to use an action to expose what is happening here that mirrors what happened and continues to happen in Bhopal. Over the next few days we will visit places where the water is being contaminated, take samples and photos and collect stories from workers.

dow at dawnSo why haven't they agreed to zero discharge, I ask Diane, we need to get them to make a statement to us before the 15th. Out of the truck we leap, with our green and red Chinese umbrellas and head for the administration building. The sign we pass tells us this is a VERY SAFE plant, next a sign says no cameras beyond this point. Diane asks at the reception desk for the plant manager, he is no where to be found, a security guard enters to watch us and then the PR woman comes to 'manage us.' She wasn't ready for our rebuttals, we weren't going away so easily, she got very hot and bothered and had to agree to a meeting in the morning to educate us on Dow and their plans for zero discharge. We need to know their story before we move forward.

In the reception area was a newsletter with perfect language for our use:

"Zero is the only standard that we should employ, since no one should be a safety statistic. We all want to have security and freedom from injury or danger. To obtain zero we must have a safety awareness that is second to none."

Now they were talking about plant safety but we will extend their intention for them, to Bhopal and the waters of Seadrift.

Diane felt stronger today, the day was long and full, but as it ended for us at the plant, she was off to get food for the family and supplies at the hardware store. You wouldn't know she was on her 14th day of a fast: unstoppable energy, enthusiasm and passion.

I, on the other hand, was taken by the Angel Michael Berryhill through the mouth and up into the most delightful little river, with hyacinths and tiny green frogs, and fabulous dragonflies and spider lilies and the magical flights of what looked like white cranes (he called them something else) against the sun falling in the sky.

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