Of Flowers And Flames is a multimedia music project by AndreaMolino, conceived on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster. The title of the project is taken from a statement by Rashida Bee, a survivor of the disaster and now a key personality in the international campaign seeking justice for Bhopal:

“We are not expendable.
We are not flowers offered at the altar of profit and power.
We are flames
committed to conquering darkness
and to challenging those who threaten the planet
and the magic and mystery of life.”

In the subtitle, Those Who Were Not There refers to two categories of people – those who did not experience the tragedy directly, and therefore need a narration to get to know the facts and the consequences – and in particular for those who, despite not having been directly exposed to the event, are forced every day to bear its consequences. For example the many who even now have no choice but to drink the polluted water in the surroundings of the
factory; or the children who were conceived by women exposed to the gas leak and came into the world with a range of malformations: the so-called ‘Second Generation Victims’.

The goal of the project is not to recount once more the story of the disaster, nor to contribute to, collect, or spread new information but to give voice and pay homage to the effort and the longing for justice.

As in previous multimedia works by Andrea Molino, the creation of this project and of the musical score, follows a personal visit to the locations of the event by the composer. In the second half of June 2009 Andrea Molino travelled to Bhopal, accompanied by a video crew directed by Federica Palmarin. A selection of the audiovisual material that was collected on location, including portraits of survivors and footage of the factory where the gas cloud originated, is projected during the performance, organically embedded in the musical composition.

An important part of the project is the musical contribution of the distinguished Indian Sarangi player, Sarwar Hussein, who is based in Bhopal. His performance, which was specially conceived for this occasion, was video recorded in the contaminated factory premises and is included in the music narration.

The world premiere took place on the evening of October 3rd, 2009, during a Gala Concert to mark the conclusion of the World Venice Forum at the Basilica dei Frari in Venice, in front of all delegates of the Forum; among them, a number of Nobel Peace Laureates (including the IAES President, Adolfo Perez Esquivel) and prominent personalities of the political and cultural world, including international Heads of State and Government. The project is conceived as a work in progress: after the world premiere it will develop over the coming years and will accompany the future activities and international initiatives connected with the International Environmental Criminal Court and the European Environmental Criminal Court.

Watch: Of Flowers And Flames

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.