43 years ago today, the Americans began dropping Agent Orange dioxin on Vietnam.

43 years and in that time millions of dollars has (rightly) been paid out to Vietnam Veterans in the United States and Australia (possibly others) in compensation for the effects that contact with this deadly chemical have had. Yet to date, the people most effected and the ones who continue to be most effected have been largely ignored. The decision to spread this defoliant was amoral, but ignoring the plight of citizens of Vietnam is doubly so.

Recently, a group of Vietnamese citizens (Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin) filed a civil action in a federal court in New York, USA, demanding restitution for all of the victims. I would like to make you aware of an on-line petition whose purpose is to raise awareness of the action filed and to show support for the victims. The petition can be accessed at: http://www.petitiononline.com/AOVN/petition.html and I urge you to respond by filling it out. It only takes a few minutes to do and may help to make a difference.

Additionally, the Vietnam Fatherland Front has declared today the first ever “Day for Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims”. I find it strange that it has taken so long for this recognition to be shown, however it is timely that acknowledgment of the plight of so many victims may reinforce the legal case. It is estimated that 150,000 children are suffering as an affect of Agent Orange. I will be visiting the HCMC Peace Village at the pediatric hospital on Cong Quynh St on Thursday afternoon with some of our RMIT students who are helping out there as part of the Student Ambassador Program. I will report back on my thoughts and feelings after that date.