On Thursday, a judge in Bhopal, 25 years after the fact, issued an arrest warrant for the former boss of Union Carbide.
The Union Carbide disaster was one of the most significant moments in the history of both enviromentalism and environmental justice. I’ve written extensively about the need for reparative justice for Bhopal, but even I was unprepared for crowds beating an effigy of an 90 year-old man, no matter what he symbolizes, at this event. There is no forgiveness, however, without reparation; there may never be forgiveness regardless of reparative acts. Forgiveness is a gift, not an entitlement, and if you are going to make the CEO salary, you had probably better be ready to take on the big consequences of what your organization does.
There are so many questions in the Bhopal case remaining. Is it even reparative to pay $500 million to a national government when the effects were localized? Given the scope of human misery, $500 million seems very little. in comparison to the billions paid out for bailouts.
I wish I had something profound to say here, but I do not. This is a situation that simply defies justice.