[Videolib] Two new films on the Bhopal Disaster

Steve Fesenmaier (fesenms@wvlc.lib.wv.us)
Fri, 28 Oct 2005 10:01:46 -0400

Two New Films on Bhopal

By Steve Fesenmaier

Last fall First Run/Icarus Films released a landmark film on the Bhopal
Disaster called "Litigating Disaster." The National Film Board of Canada
has released two new films this fall - "Bhopal: The Search for Justice" and
"Scared Sacred." The first film is 52 minutes and covers the events of the
Disaster and what has happened since. The second just has one segment on the
disaster. It tours "Ground Zeroes" of the world, showing people who are
trying positive ways to build on the disaster. Using stunning imagery, it
visits post-9/11 NYC, the minefields of Cambodia, war-torn Afghanistan,
Hiroshima, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine, and Bhopal. "Sacred" has won several
major awards and is being shown commercially around the country. "Justice"
focuses on the expanding tragedy of Bhopal.

The legal settlements were all based on a few thousand deaths and a small
number of people who were made sick. The actual numbers are much larger and
there has been a new generation born to women with genetic and other health
damage. The physical area is still extremely toxic - the ground water, the
soil, etc. Union Carbide never physically cleaned the site, leaving it to
rust. You can contact the NFBC at -1800-542-2164 or www.nfb.ca/store.

I know that there are many groups around the US and world that are still
active in helping the people of Bhopal. A Spanish film based on the book,
"by Javier Moro and Dominique Lapierre shows that Bhopal is the largest
Moslem city in India and that terrorists around the world plan on "doing to
the West what the West did to Bhopal." Everyone especially people in West
Virginia should be aware that what seems like ancient history to them is
very much alive in the minds and hearts of the people in Bhopal and their

Last spring I screened "Chemical Valley," Mimi Pickering's film on Bhopal
and its sister plant in Institute, WV, in South Charleston, the location of
several events that happened after The Disaster including a march in support
of Union Carbide. Mimi drove up from Whitesburg, Ky. Unfortunately, not many
people came. Mike Harmon, an activist locally, came and had dinner with Mimi
and Jack Spadaro, a local environmental hero. Pam Nixon, the leader of one
group, now working for WV State government, also attended. Apparently the
engineers, managers, lawyers, etc. have left the Kanawha Valley. Carbide was
bought by Dow, thousands around the world lost their jobs, and the people of
Bhopal are still suffering. Hopefully these two new films and "Litigating
Disaster" can help us all reflect on the worst industrial accident in human
history- that could have been totally avoided if only the safety equipment
that was in-place had been used.

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