3 million Vietnamese people and tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers are affected by Agent Orange — a chemical weapon used by the U.S. government during the Vietnam War which causes cancer, other life-threatening illnesses, and serious birth defects in children — even those born several generations after the war.
U.S. veterans received some compensation after years of struggle, but Vietnamese victims have received nothing from the U.S. government that sprayed Agent Orange and the chemical companies who made and profited from it. Both the companies and the government deny both the toxic effects of Agent Orange and their responsibility to compensate the victims and cleanup the dioxin “hot spots” still remaining.
Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims are suing Dow Chemical and the other dioxin manufacturers and the appeal of the lower court’s dismissal of their lawsuit is being heard on June 18th.
Many of us developed our activism and political consciousness during the movement against the war in Vietnam. Now the Vietnamese people need our solidarity to achieve justice and compensation. Tell Dow Chemical, Monsanto and the U.S. government that more than 30 years is enough — justice delayed IS justice denied.
** Please show your solidarity with the struggle of Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims — and the struggle of all peoples against chemical warfare — by organizing solidarity actions in front of your local federal courthouse/building. Fly orange balloons and wear orange ribbons!
** If you live in New York City please:
- Come to help fill the Courthouse for the suit against Dow Chemical and the other corporate profiteers on Monday, June 18th: 12 noon — Foley Square; 1 pm — 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, 500 Pearl Street.
- Come to a public forum to hear the stories of Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims who are fighting for compensation from the U.S. government and chemical companies, along with Vietnam and Iraq veterans on Saturday, June 16, 2007 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center, 1199 SEIU, (Manhattan), 310 West 43rd Street (8th & 9th Aves.).
Leaflets for NYC and draft leaflets for organizing actions in your city on June 18th are available.
Below is the June 1st Appeal of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, the organization that speaks for millions of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.
|Appeal from the Vietnamese Victims of
The Vietnam War has passed for almost 30 years, but several million Vietnamese are still suffering physically and mentally from diseases caused by the U.S spraying of dioxin laced toxic chemicals, especially Agent Orange. This responsibility, as a matter of course, should rest on the U.S.
On the occasion of the oral argument held by the U.S Appellate Court of the Second Circuit, June 18th, 2007 in New York, to judge the lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese victims of these toxic chemicals, we the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) and all victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, earnestly call upon all the governments, organizations and our friends, far and near, all over the world to raise their strong voices and make every practical effort to demand that the U.S court rise above any illegal and immoral pressure and make a truly fair and just decision that results in enforcing the liability of the U.S companies — manufacturers and suppliers of these toxic chemicals, and assuring due compensation for our victims.
Ours is a common pain of all humanity.
To demand justice for the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin means also to demand justice for all other similarly situated victims in other countries, including the U.S.
This struggle for justice depends on all of us!
Merle E. Ratner is the Co-Coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign and the Co-Chair of the Brecht Forum.