Boston shares AO pain with Vietnam

by Minh Phuong, VietNamNet

A Vietnamese Agent Orange delegation visited Boston, US, from November 18 to 21 to seek justice from US chemical makers that produced the chemical defoliant during the American War.

The delegation arrived in Boston on the afternoon of November 18 and immediately travelled to Boston College and Phillips Andover Academy.

On November 19, the delegation met at Harvard with representatives of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC), Veterans for Peace (VFP), Harvard University student groups, the American Friends Service Committee, the Dow Accountability Campaign, the William Joiner Research Centre on War Consequences and Society and United for Peace and Justice.

The presentation began with a short documentary film showing the effects of Agent Orange (AO) sprayed in Vietnam during the American War. Presenters also related the lives of two victims – Dang Thi Hong Nhut from HCM City and Ho Sy Hai from Thai Binh – who represent more than 3mil AO victims in Vietnam.

Professor Do Trong Nhan, who leads the delegation, and AO activist Merl Ratney spoke on progress with a Vietnamese lawsuit against Dow Chemical, which manufactured the toxic defoliant. The most common question raised was: “What can we specifically do to help those victims?”

Audience members and speakers alike put forward suggestions on how to obtain restitution for the damages done by the chemical defoliants, such as sending a petition to the US House of Representatives, conducting studies at Harvard and MIT on the effects of the toxin and studying cases brought successfully against the US government by American veterans of the war.

The delegation will visit the University of Massachusetts at Boston on November 21.

November 18-21, 2005

Boston Tour Contact: Kevin Bowen (UMB Joiner Center)


— 11/18/2005, Boston College, 5:00 PM with the Vietnamese Students Association;n

— 11/18/2005, Philips Andover Academy 8:00 PM

— 11/19/2005, Harvard University, 3:00 PM

— 11/20/2005, Reception by David Thomas 6:00 PM

— 11/21/2005, Talk at Joiner Center UMB 11:30 AM; interview by the Joiner Curriculum Project 1:00 PM.