[Marxism] Agent Orange International Solidarity Campaign
davidrail68 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 1 09:49:22 MDT 2009
from Green Left Weekly published in Australia by the Democratic Socialist Perspective -- Dave
Agent Orange International Solidarity Campaign
Vietnam calls for justice
Even though the Vietnam War ended 30 years ago, the US.s saturation chemical bombing is still wreaking havoc on millions, including the newly born . making them third-generation victims. Nobody knows when the congenital deformities, one of many horrific health consequences of the toxic chemicals, will end.
As well as being teratogenic, Class-one human carcinogen dioxin was the most lethal poison left by the 80 million litres of herbicides/defoliants . more than half of which were nicknamed Agent Orange . that the US military sprayed or dumped regularly in central and southern Vietnam for 10 years until 1971. The defoliants were intended to destroy the Vietnamese liberation fighters. forest cover and deprive them of food supply.
As a result of these chemical attacks, a cocktail of health nightmares have been plaguing millions of Vietnamese who, after 50 years of war, foreign invasion and embargo, have lived in peace only since 1989.
In more recent years, the Vietnamese authorities have begun to grasp the true scale and very long-term consequences of the devastation wreaked by Agent Orange. Meanwhile, the human toll arising from the growing problem is weighing down many communities. As well as the hundreds of thousands of victims who have died over the years, there are an estimated 3 million living victims.
International solidarity needed
In the 1973 Peace Accords that paved the way to end the Vietnam War, the US promised Vietnam reparations of US$3.5 billion. So far, not a cent has been paid.
Hanoi has also demanded that Washington honour its moral responsibility towards the victims devastated by its Agent Orange attacks, and help out in decontamination. Under .sovereign immunity., the US government cannot be sued. Hanoi, therefore, seeks redress from the major chemical corporations that supplied Agent Orange and other deadly chemicals to the US military during the war. Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxins (VAVA) was formed in January 2004, partly to carry out this task.
According to VAVA first vice-president Do Xuan Dien, in January 2004 VAVA and three Agent Orange victims launched a test lawsuit in a US court against 37 US chemical corporations. The number of individual plaintiffs increased to 28 in September 2004, but the case was dismissed by a US court in March 2005. Do told GLW that VAVA and other plaintiffs planned to officially submit the appeal soon, expecting court sessions to begin March 2006.
On behalf of all Agent Orange victims in Vietnam, Do sent a special appeal to GLW readers for solidarity actions, especially in support of the court case. Maximum pressure before March 2006 will be particularly helpful.
Special appeal to Australia.s Vietnam War veterans
VAVA honourary president and former vice-president of Vietnam Mme Nguyen Thi Binh called on Australia.s Vietnam War veterans to lend their support. Any action or statement of solidarity clearly identifying the veterans. unique voice would be most appreciated, Do said.
What you can do
Do also called for support for an international online petition in solidarity with the Agent Orange victims. Launched in 2004, more than 600,000 signatures have been collected. VAVA is hoping to present the petition to Washington when the 1 million mark is reached.
To sign the petition, visit http://www.petitiononline.com/AOVN.
To contact VAVA, email <hnncddcvn at fpt.vn>
Donations can be made to this bank account: Hoi Nan nhan chat doc da cam/dioxin Viet Nam 001.1000.863681, Bank Transactions Office, Vietcombank.
Please inform GLW of your solidarity actions <eva at greenleft.org.au> or <glw at greenleft.org.au>
Australian veterans interested in further actions can email <intl at dsp.org.au> or <eva at greenleft.org.au>
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