The Weekly Reflektion 01/2024

Prevention of Major Accidents is a journey that will never actually end so we will never know if we are ultimately successful. Our objective therefore is to stay on the road and keep on trying. The question on how many times we need to try is difficult to answer. However, we at Reflekt are certain that one more attempt can be worthwhile.

The historic Camp David agreement signing

Would you do anything different if you knew someone you loved would be a victim of a Major Accident?

The Camp David Accords were two political agreements signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on 17 September 1978. The first framework (A Framework for Peace in the Middle East), which dealt with the Palestinian territories, was written without participation of the Palestinians, and was condemned by the United Nations. Unfortunately, this unresolved tragic situation continues to cause death and destruction in Israel and the Palestinian areas. The second of these frameworks (A Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel) led directly to the 1979 Egypt–Israel peace treaty. Sadat and Begin received the 1978 Nobel Peace Prizefor their efforts to promote peace.

Following the Yom Kippur war in October 1973 there had been tentative peace talks between Israel and Egypt without any breakthrough. When Jimmy Carter became president in January 1977 one of his objectives was to rejuvenate the Middle East peace process. Following 14 months of diplomatic efforts Egypt and Israel were ready to come together. Negotiations were held in secret at the US Presidents country retreat at Camp David in Maryland. The talks were initially unsuccessful, and the participants had decided to give up and return home. Just before leaving Menachem Begin asked Jimmy Carter if he would sign pictures of Carter, Sadat and Begin for his eight grandchildren. Carter agreed and his secretary Susan Clough called to a contact in Israel and obtained the names of the eight grandchildren. Carter then signed each of the photographs, ‘With love and best wishes toxxx’, and then he wrote the name of the grandchild. Carter went over to the cabin where Begin was staying and knocked on the door. Begin answered and despite being obviously angry at the way the talks had developed he greeted the president courteously. Carter expressed his disappointment that they had not been successful and handed Begin the eight photographs. Begin took the photographs read out loud the first message including the name of his grandchild, he read the second and by the time he read the third his chin was trembling, and tears filled his eyes. Carter was also moved to tears by his reaction. Begin turned to Carter and said, ‘Mr President, why don’t we try one more time?’

There is only so much you can do to distance yourself from the consequences of your decisions and actions. When these consequences are seen in the context of someone you love then it really can bring it home to you how important prevention of Major Accidents is.

Happy New Year to everyone. 2024 is the 40th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster where over 500 000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC). Almost 4000 people died directly, another 8000 within two weeks and an estimated additional 8000 from illnesses related to the exposure. 20000 loved ones gone. Bhopal is often considered the world’s worst industrial accident. There is much to learn and Reflekt will be here to help things along.

Reflekt AS