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American anti-war activist Merle Ratner mourned in Vietnam

Originally published: Hanoi Times on February 8, 2024 by Son Nguyen (more by Hanoi Times) (Posted Feb 13, 2024)

Le Hoai Trung, secretary of the Party’s Central Committee and head of its Commission for External Relations, has expressed the Vietnamese Communist Party’s condolences to the family of U.S. anti-war activist Merle Ratner following her death.

Merle Ratner, a left-wing and anti-war activist in the U.S., died in a car accident earlier this week.

According to her husband, New York University professor Ngo Thanh Nhan, she was struck and killed by a truck while crossing the street near her home in Brooklyn.

The New York-based U.S. activist was born in 1956. Growing up, she developed a special affection for Vietnam.

Merle joined anti-war demonstrations at the age of 13 and became famous for hanging anti-war banners on the Statue of Liberty.

She also helped found and run the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC) in New York.

During her career, Merle began to play an active role in anti-war protests against the war in Vietnam and was a strong supporter of the Vietnamese armies and people in their struggle for independence and reunification in the late 1960s.

The activist also joined U.S. communities in the anti-imperialist movements of the 1970s and 1980s and anti-racism campaigns in America today.

After 1975, Merle worked tirelessly for the normalization of the Vietnam-U.S. relations  and supported Vietnam’s international missions.

She made several visits to Vietnam, where she met with the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, and others.

In 2013, she was awarded the insignia “For the Development of Vietnamese Women” in 2010 and the insignia “For Vietnam Agent Orange Victims“.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency in New York on February 1 on the occasion of the 94th anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, she praised the crucial role of the Party as the main contributor to Vietnam’s successes and achievements.

The anti-war activist stressed that Vietnam will fulfil its tasks and achieve its goals because of its steadfastness on the path it has chosen.

According to Jonathan Moore, a lawyer and board member of the VAORRC, Merle is a loyal friend who has devoted her entire life to the rights of Agent Orange victims.

Le Thanh Chung, a Vietnamese expatriate in New York, said the activist had a strong belief in communist ideals and believed socialism was the right way for people to pursue happiness.

Both Jonathan and Chung believe Merle will be remembered for her love and loyalty to Vietnam and its people, and for her support of those seeking dignity and social justice.

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