Five organizations of the survivors of the Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal will jointly organize “Bhopal Special Olympics” on July 26, a day ahead of the London Olympics to oppose sponsorship of the Olympic Games by the current owner of Union Carbide.
Addressing a press conference today, leaders of the organizations said that this event was being organized to protest against the sponsorship of the London Olympics by Dow Chemical that continues to evade civil, criminal and environmental liabilities of Bhopal inherited from Union Carbide.
The organizations said that children born with disabilities due to poisoning by Union Carbide would be taking part in the “Bhopal Special Olympics” to counter Dow Chemical’s attempts to “greenwash” its crimes through the sponsorship of the Olympic Games.
The Bhopal Olympics will be organized in a stadium right behind the abandoned Union Carbide factory that continues to leach cancer and birth defect causing chemicals in to the local groundwater. Children affected by the toxic contamination will take part in such sporting events as crab race, 25 metres sprint and assisted walking.
Contrary to the opening ceremony of the London Olympics that is expected to highlight all that a British citizen could be proud of, the Bhopal Special Olympics will open with songs and dances focusing on matters that British people could be ashamed of.
With the theme “From East India Company to The Dow Chemical Company”, the opening ceremony will draw attention to the many famines caused by British rule over India, the mass hanging in the wake of the first battle for Indian independence in 1857, the massacre at Jalianwala Baug in 1919 and the support extended by the British Prime Minister to the Dow Chemical Company.
Leaders of the organizations said that their year long attempt to get Dow Chemical dropped as a sponsor came to a nought due to the shameful defence of the company by the organizers of the London Olympics including the British Government. They said that the Bhopal Special Olympics underlined the irony of a corporation that had disabled thousands of children in Bhopal, Vietnam, Nicaragua, New Zealand, USA and other countries, sponsoring the Olympic Games.