Action needed on Agent Orange

Agent Orange is the code name of the dioxin-laced chemical used by the United States to defoliate huge areas of Vietnam and destroy food crops during its devastating war against the people of Vietnam. Between 1962 and 1971, the US military machine sprayed 80 million litres of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. A quarter of the rural areas of South Vietnam were hit.

Agent Orange had a terrible impact on the Vietnamese people, as well as devastating the ecology. 4.8 million people were affected, causing death and horrible deformities, generation after generation.

This is a continuing legacy of the US —  and Australian —  war against the people of Vietnam. Do a Google search and you find numerous reports of the continuing effects on US Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the chemical, and the financial compensation they have obtained from the US government.

But the Vietnamese people, the main victims and sufferers, have yet to receive any compensation from either the US government or the chemical manufacturers of the poison. Not a cent of reparations has been received, even though, as part of the peace agreement US$3.5 billion had been promised. Thirty-five years after the liberation of Vietnam and its reunification following the final victory on April 30, 1975, suffering continues.

Following successful seminars held this year initiated by the Revolutionary Socialist Party in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth commemorating the struggle of the Vietnamese people, it was resolved to establish an ongoing organisation to publicise the Agent Orange issue in Australia and coordinate solidarity. Many participants in those seminars put their names down for information about establishing a solidarity group. We’ll be calling a first organising meeting for early 2011 in Sydney, and possibly other cities. If you are interested in helping or want more information, send your email address to: johnp@rsp.org.au.

To help the Vietnamese victims directly, please contact the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) formed in 2004 to assist victims, campaign and publicise the issue (email: hnncddcvn@fpt.vn website: Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin. Donations can be made to bank account: Hoi Nan nhan chat doc da cam/dioxin Viet Nam 001.1000.863681, Bank Transactions Office, Vietcombank.)