Welcome to my Blog “Shutup & Listen”, this is the greatest blog you will ever read written by the most fascinating person you will ever meet.  So, shut up & listen,

Lets start at the beginning, somewhere in the beginning….

As the time approached to pick out a project based on the coming of age novel “Animal’s people” I was anxious for many reasons. One, I was afraid that the guidelines were just too ambiguous for me. I had never addressed such an abstract concept before as an assignment and I was anxious that I would some how fail at the task. Second, and perhaps this was my greatest fear, that I would not do Animal, or the novel justice. The novel spoke to me in such a way that I felt extremely moved by Animal, not only because he was unjustly disabled, but I felt- could almost relate, to his adolescent, coming of age plight.

The novel, to me, had no limitations, it crossed over boundaries to reached people who would not generally be affected, or could not generally relate to a disabled character. That’s the beauty of “Animal’s People” -it’s not another book about a disabled character, because that’s not who Animal is. Animal is so much more than a disability, he is a human, a vulnerable, relatable adolescent human- and that’s how the novel crossed all boarders, in a way it almost broke a mold.

So, for me the problem was folks -I wanted to give my friend Animal respect, I wanted to make his story proud, therefore a killer project idea was superlative.  I began my brainstorming by deciphering what I personally took from the novel, the “main ideas” if you will. I came up with a few ideas, but I decided, after much debating, that the idea of self-sacrifice, and why people genuinely care about the wellbeing of others is the theme of the novel. While reading the novel Animal is suspicious of Zafar, he frequently questions the sincerity and genuine nature of his self-sacrifice. We also see the people of Khaufpur skepticism about the nature of Elli and her Clinique. In general, we as people are confused about the sincerity of people when they sacrifice so much. Does this mean we as humans are selfish? Does this mean we don’t care about the unfortunate or those who have been hurt unjustly? Do we just care about issues that effect us directly? These are the questions that the novel left me with and I thought the project was a perfect opportunity to get the answers, to get to the heart of these issues in my mind.

After researching the actual events that inspired and influenced Indra Sinha to write “Animal’s People” I came up with the beyond, brilliant idea that I would survey people and get their reactions to the actual event of the Bhopal disaster.

For those of you reading my beyond brilliant blog that aren’t educated on the Bhopal Disaster, it is very similar to the chemical disaster described in the novel.  I will insert a brief explanation and description of the disaster from Greenpeace (Greenpeace is a non-government organization focused on environmentalism, human rights and peace, they have been actively involved in the clean up and advocacy of Bhopal)

BHOPAL, India — It all began 18 years ago during the night of 2 December 1984 when 40 tones of lethal gases leaked from Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. People just did not know what had hit them. There was no warning. Before anyone could realize the full impact of the disaster an area of about 40 square kilometers, with a resident population of over half a million, was engulfed in dense clouds of poison.

People woke up coughing, gasping for breath, their eyes burning. Many fell dead as they ran. Others succumbed at the hospitals where doctors were overwhelmed by the numbers and lacked information on the nature of the poisoning. By the third day of the disaster, an estimated 8,000 people had died from direct exposure to the gases and a further 500,000 were injured. Today, the number of deaths stands at 20,000.”  (Greenpeace, December 2002)

To focus back to the social experiment, I set out to survey two groups of college students.  Group one would be non- international college students with no affiliations with foreign countries (meaning no relatives live over seas and/or they never have lived over seas). The second group would be students who are either international or have international afflictions.  The surveying originally went pretty well, I gave them information from the Greenpeace website about Bhopal (Although, pictures are very moving I did not want to give them pictures, pictures would no doubt tug at my testis heart strings, but for now I wanted the reactions to be based solely on facts not images. Perhaps, later if I continue the study I will use pictures as another variable) Armed with the information and my survey I sent my testis on their way. I did not want to be near them when they read the information, or answered the questions, I did not want to be a variable on their results.

Now, I know you’re dying to hear about my results! So, without further adieu…….

This is the exact questioner survey everyone of the testis received.

1)   How does this information make you feel?

2)   Have you ever heard of Bhopal before?

3)   What do you think should be done about it?

4)   Do you feel as if you can help?

5)   Do you feel as if you need to be extremely rich to financially contribute to the survivors or the cause?

6)   Do you think America should take action? If so why?

7)   What to you is the worst part of the disaster?

8)   What do you think the consequences for Dow should be?

9)   If you had 200 dollars and you were asked to donate it to the cause would you? If so why?

10) What would you sacrifice to help this cause?

It was sort of difficult to tally and make a conclusion on this experiment because the answer sheet was not  simply” yes” or “no” answers, I had to make an educated conclusion on the information I received.

IMPORTANT NOTE- I encouraged my entire test group to be as honest as they possibly could, and I promised them no names would be used and no one would judge them.

Results  (My results are currently based on fourteen people from both groups)

1. ) 12 out of fourteen people polled answer the first question with “sad”

2 out of 14 people responded with the word “angry”, these two people were from the            American group.

2.) 11 people out of 14 answered they have never heard of Bhopal before, of the three that had two were American students while the other was from England.

3.) 13 out of 14 people answered that those harmed by the Bhopal disastore should receive retribution from the Union Carbide Corporation, and the corporation should be forced to pay. One person who’s answer differentiated from the others was  from the American group polled responded ” It was an unfortunate accident, and things similar to it happen everyday everywhere. Nothing can be fairly done”.

4.) Surprisingly 14 out of 14 felt as if there was nothing they could do about it, and they couldn’t help.

5.) Only 5 out of 14 people polled  felt they needed to be extremely rich to financially contribute to the cause, all five were American persons.

6.) 13 out of 14 polled felt as if the Americans should not take action, the discerning answer was from an American persons. The majority’s answer for why was because the United States is either too nosey with other people’s problems, or has their own problems to deal with both of these responses were from Americans.

7.) 14 out of 14 people polled answered that “injured people were the worst part of the disaster”.

8.) 9 out of 14 people polled responded with “I don’t know” or  I am not qualified to say the answers were from both groups, 3 American’s answered they should pay off damages, the other answers ranged from jail time for the offenders, to a trial.

9.) 7 out of 14 said they would donate their 200 dollars, three were Americans and four were or had ties to over seas. Their answers ranged from ” I would donate my money because they need it more than I do”, “I would donate the 200 because I have enough to spare” both of these answers were from Americans. Those who would not spare their 200 dollars to the cause four were Americans and three were not. Their answers ranged from “It’s a recession, no way”- an American polled, ” I can’t spare money like that” a Cuban polled.

10.) The answer to question ten was not a yes or no answer. However, I shall list some of the responses. Five Americans, and three non-Americans said they would sacrifice time to help, The remaining two Americans noted they would sacrifice anywhere from 50 dollars to 200 dollars, and the four remaining non-Americans noted they would sacrifice anywhere from 50 to 1000.

I can’t really come to a conclusion, as I had wished before. As I finished polling all my persons and while tallying up my final answers I discovered my answers were too all over the board to make such a generalization as I had originally wanted. Perhaps, this is a good thing- maybe its a message that one group of people doesn’t care less or more than another. I truly enjoyed working on this project, and of my project I have done for the blog, finishing up this I realized this was my favorite. I really enjoyed interacting with people and finding out their true thoughts about an important issue. I will post the survey here so any one reading can take part and tell me their thoughts !