Rapper Sofia Ashraf's previous video Kodaikanal Won't made waves across the world. Its message to make Unilever accountable for its actions resonated with many people and the video clocked over three million views. Modelled on Nicki Minaj's famous song Anaconda, the video asked Unilever to pay for mercury poisoning it caused in Kodaikanal. The company finally agreed to compensate the victims and their families.
Now, Ashraf has come up with another video. Titled Dow v/s Bhopal | Toxic Rap Battle, it aims to bring to the forefront the the 32-year old Bhopal gas tragedy and continue the fight to ensure that the victims are compensated. She has joined hands with a group of activists who have also started a petition on the White House website, urging the US Department of Justice to get involved so that DOW chemicals, which bought over Union Carbide, will compensate the victims of the tragedy for the leak.
Considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters of all time, the Bhopal gas tragedy exposed over 5,00,000 people to methyl-isocyanate, killing many and affecting even the third generation born in Bhopal.
The internet is an incredibly volatile medium, and rap is a means, and not an end, says Ashraf, adding that there is an entire generation which is growing up without even knowing about the tragedy. This is something that needs to be addressed, she explains.
The video shows Ashraf arguing both sides - the people of Bhopal as well as DOW Chemicals. The most striking visual of this video however, is the noose that is shown around Ashraf's neck while she argues for the people of Bhopal, a metaphor for being refused justice for 32 years.
After the tragedy, India had charged Union Carbide with manslaughter, but Union Carbide refused to appear at the trial. Post the takeover by DOW Chemicals, the Indian government had sent multiple notices to the United States Department of Justice, but to no avail. In the video, Ashraf asks the DoJ to pick a side, as it has itself been in a position where it has made the wrongdoers pay — such as Deepwater Horizon for its oil spill.
Speaking to Firstpost, Ashraf said that although there are a lot of petitions floating on the internet (and she is downing in a barrage of them), this petition on the White House website needs to be signed as it aims to push the US government to get DOW Chemicals to meet its obligations and answer the summons of the Bhopal court. But in order to get any response, the petition needs 1,00,000 signatures by 14 June.
As Ashraf signs off in the video - "If you sign one petition this year, let it be this one."
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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2016 08:31:12 IST