Tonight (or early Thursday morning, depending on where you are) is the Aquarius Full Moon at 11:27 pm EDT. It’s the Full Moon of the current Olympic games, not just because it falls during the competition. Yesterday Eric described this Moon as having “a need to be supportive of others, or at minimum, to organize with others in a way that’s useful.”
Before the Full Moon happens, the Moon opposes retrograde Mercury in Leo just before noon EDT. This is a caution to think through, as in consider carefully, anything that comes across your mind as intuition. The blend of the Moon in intellectually-oriented Aquarius opposite Mercury dancing backwards could come with some mixed signals about what is really true. Please, check your facts before acting on any information that comes your way — whether you think it’s intuitive of whether you hear something from someone.
Meanwhile, in public life, we’re seeing an illustration of what the Full Moon is about in the form of Olympic protests, with one in particular focused on Dow Chemical standing out. In Bhopal, India last week, five activist groups joined together to hold an unofficial ‘Special Olympics’ to protest Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the official Olympic games. This is part of an ongoing protest against Dow for its role in the Bhopal disaster.
In 1984, Bhopal was the site of a massive gas leak by Union Carbide (Dow purchased Union Carbide in 1999, assuming its liabilities). The official death toll immediately after the incident was more than 3,000, with an unofficial toll of 7,000-8,000 and over 15,000 total deaths to date. Nearly 600,000 people have been affected by the the massive chemical release.
If you’ve been reading Planet Waves for a while, you may be familiar with Bhopal, since the 25th anniversary of the disaster there was the focus of a famous Yes Men direct action on BBC World (see the video here).
In 1989, a $470 million compensation was paid out — a paltry sum — and Dow refuses to add to it. Now it’s attempting to ‘greenwash’ its image by sponsoring the most globally loved, feel-good event of all: the Olympics, full of strong, healthy, cheerful young people.
Maybe it sounds like Dow has done its moral duty. Maybe it has. But did you know Dow Chemical was responsible for making napalm during the Vietnam War? Investorplace.com says Dow is considered “the chemical companies’ chemical company” since it mainly sells to other manufacturers rather than end-users. It’s kind of a great-granddaddy to all kinds of really toxic stuff.
That’s why these activist groups have pulled together in protest. Why should Dow Chemical — even if it ‘inherited’ the Bhopal legacy — get to sparkle like a gold medal (or a green one) when children are still being born in the footprint of the leak with high rates of cerebral palsy, cancer and birth defects?
“Dow as sponsor of Olympics is like a dance on the graves of Bhopal gas victims,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action. “On the one hand, Dow is running away from its liabilities in Bhopal, but on the other hand it is doing [a] public relations [exercise] at the Olympics.”
Or, as our intrepid chemicals investigator Carol Van Strum put it, “Dow’s $11.4 million ‘donation’ to the Olympics is like the bishop hiding a pedophile priest and paying lobbyists to avoid prosecution.”
So with this Full Moon, consider joining with the activists in Bhopal to shine some light on the corporate/political underbelly of the Olympics. You don’t have to hate the games. I don’t think there’s any use in undermining or negating the amazing stories and sacrifices and accomplishments of the athletes. But right now, despite nearly all the world looking at London, there are still stories in the shadows. There have been other protests, such as a Critical Mass bike ride near the Olympic Stadium that resulted in 182 people being held overnight — including a 13-year-old boy — aimed at being sure voices of dissent are not drowned out by advertising hype.
Not all protesters can actually get anywhere near the Olympic Stadium. It’s up to us to ‘organize in a way that’s useful’, and we have some incredible, Aquarian tools (like the Internet) and Leo tools (like how our values guide our actions and purchases) at our disposal.