On Olympics eve, Bhopal children will showcase Dow’s greenwash

Even as the world prepares to witness the London Olympics starting Friday, victims and survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy have decided to pre-empt the organisers by holding a “Bhopal Special Olympics” here on Thursday. Five survivor organisations, led by the Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA), will jointly organise the event on Thursday to oppose sponsorship of the Olympic Games by Dow Chemical — the current owner of Union Carbide Corporation — which “continues to evade civil, criminal and environmental liabilities of Bhopal inherited from Union Carbide.”

Children born with disabilities, as a fallout of the world’s worst industrial disaster, will participate in the “Bhopal Olympics” to counter Dow Chemical’s attempts to “greenwash its crimes through the sponsorship of the Olympic Games,” representatives of the five organisations said here.

The Bhopal Olympics, with the theme “From East India Company to the Dow Chemical Company,” will be held in the Afri Nagar stadium right behind the abandoned Union Carbide factory that continues to leach carcinogenic chemicals into groundwater, causing birth defects in children even today.

To show their plight

Affected children will participate in “crab race,” “25 metres sprint” and “assisted walking,” all aimed at bringing out the plight of those who continue to live in the shadow of the tragedy that shook Bhopal from its slumber on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984.

“Contrary to the opening ceremony in London that is expected to highlight all that a British citizen could be proud of, the Bhopal event will open with songs and dances focussing on matters that British people could be ashamed of,” Rachna Dhingra of the BGIA told The Hindu .

Over the last one year, victims have been campaigning to get Dow Chemical dropped as a sponsor of the games, an effort that even found favour with the Government of India and the Government of Madhya Pradesh.

However, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have backed Dow Chemical throughout the controversy, holding that the company was “not responsible” for the tragedy and even hailing it as “an industry leader in terms of operating with the highest standards of ethics and sustainability.”

“The London Olympics 2012 has laid to rest the spirit of Olympism — namely the quest for world peace, environmental sustainability and health through sport,” said Ms. Dhingra.

Through the counter-Olympics, the victims seek to “underline the irony of a corporation that has disabled thousands of children in Bhopal, Vietnam, Nicaragua, New Zealand, the U.S. and other countries, sponsoring the Olympic Games — an event that celebrates human physical effort.”

Event to oppose sponsorship of Olympic Games by Dow Chemical

Bhopal Olympics will feature songs, dances on matters the British could be ashamed of

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