I do not know how to write about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
I do not know if I even want to write about what happened
oceans away. Who writes about the mangled people of my country.
Do borders exist for pain and suffering.
(BP pays compensation: the President knew whose ass to kick.
Will he kick Anderson’s ass too,
take up the pending criminal case against Union Carbide.
25 years is long time no?)
Are certain lives dispensable.
A genre of poetry on oil spill is out there on the net.
thousands of people fell like flies,
we are still searching for a voice to tell their story:
they are going away. A generation of them.
A chemical meant to break the nervous system of pests
rendered crawling insects of human lives:
death seems more merciful.
Birds won’t have wetlands to nest.
Fish get coated with crude oil.
Oil gets ingested every time the water fowl preens its sticky feathers.
Can somebody close the eyes of the dead child
who stares at me from her grave?
A decade after, I refused to take a train past Bhopal:
I was pregnant then.
(Please read here to know of the world’s worst industrial disaster at Bhopal, a city in India. This happened 25 years ago, suffering has not ended for the survivors and the family members of the deceased.
On June 7, 2010, twenty-five years after the incident a verdict was given on the 7 accused under Indian Penal Code sections including section 304 A (causing death by negligence), 336 (acts endangering life or personal safety of others) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others). They were each sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and a fine of INR100,000 (approx. USD 2097). Union Carbide India Limited has been awarded a fine of INR500,000 (approx. USD 10,483).
However, there was no mention in the verdict of Warren Anderson who was the Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation in 1984. He has been declared an absconder after he refused to return to India from the US and stand trial.
The investigation of the judicial proceedings in India of the case gets murky everyday. It brings back pain and anger all over again.)
Photograph of the wilted flower: Stephen Johnson