G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What is common to Bhopal’s MIC (Methyl Isocyanate) and Vietnam’s Agent Orange?

Answer: MIC (Military-industrial complex) in general and Dow Chemical in particular.

Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 killed between sixteen thousand and thirty thousand and injured around five hundred thousand. No court of law passed judgment on Union Carbide for the crime it committed in Bhopal.

Union Carbide’s legal team argued that an American court was not competent to assess the value of a human life-life that lives in shacks-in the Third World. Wall Street Journal wrote: “An American life is worth approximately five hundred thousand dollars. Taking into account the fact that India’s gross national product is 1.7% of the US, the Court should compensate for the decease of each Indian victim proportionately, that is to say, with eight thousand five hundred dollars”.

The Economist (25 November 2004) says: ” TWENTY years after lethal gases from a Union Carbide pesticide factory billowed across a densely populated shanty town in the Indian city of Bhopal, both the dilapidated plant and its highly contaminated surrounding areas stand as monuments to governmental and corporate inaction. Compensation has still not been fully paid to over 500,000 victims, the plant has not been dismantled and toxic waste estimated to amount to several thousand tonnes remains on the site, polluting local water supplies. Legal cases are continuing in both Bhopal and New York against the American company, which was taken over by Dow Chemical in 2001, and against Warren Anderson, Union Carbide's chairman in the early 1980s, whom India has tried and failed to extradite …..……. Dow Chemical, together with its Union Carbide subsidiary, denies responsibility for victims' health or the state of the site, following an overall settlement reached in 1989 with the Indian government. The claims totalled $3 billion, but the government settled for $470m (then worth 7.5 billion rupees) plus a further $43m in rupees. A criminal case is in progress in Bhopal, and a New York court has yet to decide whether the company should be ordered to clean the site, in addition to paying out more for health problems. Payment of the $470m compensation to victims and those suffering ill health has been slow, mired in bureaucratic delays, judicial appeals and corruption. Eventually, by late last year, most of the 570,000 confirmed victims had received payments averaging 25,000 rupees. That left 15.6 billion rupees (at current dollar values), which is being distributed on orders issued last month by India's Supreme Court.”

DANIELLE TRUSSONI’s writes (NYT June 18, 2007 “End Vietnam’s Air War”): “……United States sprayed about 19.5 million gallons of Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides over the jungles of South Vietnam…… Today the federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, is scheduled to hear oral arguments against Dow, Monsanto and 35 other companies that manufactured Agent Orange and related herbicides used during the Vietnam War. In addition, 16 appeals by American veterans will be heard, as well as an appeal by a group that represents Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange……. Perhaps now, after 40 years, the victims of Agent Orange will finally get such recognition.”

Better luck to American veterans and Vietnamese peasants! As per CIA’s website GDP of Vietnam (2006 est.purchasing power parity) is 2% of USA. Therefore, Vietnamese should expect only 2 dollars for every 100 Americans get as compensation,if any!

Wikipedia says: “The term military-industrial complex refers to a close and symbiotic relationship among a nation's armed forces, its private industry, and associated political and commercial interests. In such a system, the military is dependent on industry to supply material and other support, while the defense industry depends on government for revenue. The term is most often used in reference to the United States, where it gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.”


Artist: Frank Modell The New Yorker 28 Sept 1968

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