“Mr. Nguyen Trong Nhan, Vice President of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, said that the American Ambassy in Hanoi denied visa for Muoi on the ground that he was poor, unemployed and that they are suspicious that Mr. Muoi is going to the States looking for job. “He is a son of a soldier of the ARVN but he is taken care of like any other agent orange victims.” Mr. Nhan added.
ENGLISH UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION
Two Vietnamese victims of the Agent Orange/Dioxin are leaving for the United States on November 12 to voice about the consequences of the chemical war waged by the US in Vietnam. The group would have had three people if the visa for the third member was not denied by the American Embassy in Hanoi.
The group goes to the United States at the invitation and on the financial support by the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsiblility Campaign (VAORRC) and the American Veterans for Peace organization (VFP) which are both American nongovernmental oganizations. During their one month visit the delegation will have public speaking sessions, organize documentaries shows and display of evidences, etc., in 12 major US cities.
Mrs. Dang Thi Hong Nhut – former Rector of the Ho Chi Minh Cit y based Women Leadership National School – who lived in areas where defoliants were spayed heavily by the US during the war. Mrs. Nhut, a native of Saigon, was a political cadre responsible for mobilizing popular support in Binh Long, Phuoc Long, Tay Ninh provinces. During May-June, 1965 while on the way from Tay Ninh to Cu Chi Mrs. Nhut was moving under a thin layer of fog-like midst as US planes flew over. The fog -like substance became a white powder on tree leaves and had a terrible ordor. Soon after, she had skin rash all over but she, like many other people, did not think that it was because of that chemical agent.
Mrs. Nhut’s first child, born in 1960, grew up normally. After the war, she wanted to have more children but had three miscarrages out of four pregnancies. And the fourth was a still born. The fetus had spina bifida – an illiness that the children of Vietnam veterans whom have will be compensated by the US Government. Mrs. Nhut’s husband who was operating in the southeast of the southern part of Vietnam also had directly exposed to the toxic chemical . He died in 1999 of cancer.
In 1966, Ho Sy Hai was a truck driver for the 559 army corps in the South. He drove across all over the province of Quang Tri and then Phuoc Long. Mr. Hai remembers vividly the images of dead forest stretches up to 3 km wide that ran along the supply routes, from the Ho village (at the 17 Parallel) to Binh Long, Phuoc Long. Some stretches were 20-30 km long.
“A normal squadron used to spray the chemical agents onto the Truong Son routes [Ho Chi Minh Trail] would have from 3 to 4 planes. They would often start spraying at sun-rise or at 3 to 4 in the afternoon. Sometimes, they also sprayed at the time we had diner. We had to live together with the spray and the substances for several years. Then we did not know about the consequences of the chemical toxics, we only hoped to survive.”
After the war, Mr. Hai got married to a woman who had served as a young volunteer in the South. His wife bore 6 pregnancies. Two pregnancies resulted in still born. The couple had a child who was able to survive but died at the age of 5 because of cancer. Out of the three living children, two are suffering dumb and deaf while the youngest child, born in 1980 has mental illiness. The Agent Orange has taken toll to the second and third generation. For Mr. Hai, his grandson (child of the his first child) who was born in 2004 does not have a nomal growth. Still, Mr. Hai thinks that his case is not the most serious one compared to other over 29,900 victims of agent orange in his native province of Thai Binh when many of them have given birth to abnormal children.
The third case, Nguyen Muoi, the supposed third member of the delegation, who could have made his way to the United States with other members. Nguyen Muoi is 22 years of age from Phu Vang district, Thua Thien – Hue province. Muoi has spina bifida because his father was affected by the agent orange. His father is Nguyen DinhThanh, a soldier of the Saigon army (ARVN) who served as a cook for the troops based in A Luoi valley, Thua Thien – Hue.
Mr. Nguyen Trong Nhan, Vice President of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, said that the American Ambassy in Hanoi denied visa for Muoi on the ground that he was poor, unemployed and that they are suspicious that Mr. Muoi is going to the States looking for job. “He is a son of a soldier of the ARVN but he is taken care of like any other agent orange victims.” Mr. Nhan added.