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Americans on Trip to Discover AO Concequences in Viet Nam

March 14, 2005

This article appeared on the Viet Nam News Agency (http://www.vnagency.com.vn)
[ Collage of Viet Nam pictures ] Ha Noi (VNA) -- Americans should know more about the sufferings caused by Agent Orange (AO), commented two professors and nine students from Ohio Wesleyan University, the US, who are on a week-long fact-finding tour about AO consequences in Viet Nam.
During the trip, which was initiated by two Vietnamese students who are studying at the university, the faculty and students have visited the Hoa Binh (Peace) and Huu Nghi (Friendship) villages, home to AO child victims, and have seen first hand the devastating effects of the substance.
In talks with the Lao Dong (Labour) daily on Mar. 14, these students revealed that history books and newspapers in the US mention little about AO and its consequences. They said that the AO issue must receive more exposure.
Mathew Laferty admitted that he knew nothing about AO and that few Americans had heard about the toxic chemical.
From what he has witnessed, Mathew said that people should assist AO victims because AO has left severe consequences for the second and even third generations in the post-war period.
Prof. John Powers said these students and he discussed how to contact the lawyers representing Vietnamese AO victims in their lawsuit against US chemical producers at the Brooklyn court and invite them to talk at the university to help students understand about AO and its consequences. He said he will ask them what they can do to assist Vietnamese AO victims in their lawsuit.
The professor said it is not merely a matter of a lawsuit, stressing that in a broader sense, the US government broke the Geneva Convention when it waged a chemical war against an innocent nation.
He said a dialogue needed to be held with the US government, the United Nations and neutral countries, and the US needed to admit the truth and accept its moral responsibility for this tragedy.
Professor Lisa Spradley promised to bring the court evidence of the truth, including pictures of AO effects on children, war veterans and the environment in Viet Nam.
Melanie Hill and Jennifer Bronston said the judge's denial of the Vietnamese AO victims' lawsuit was only a temporary setback, and they expressed their hope that all concerned people will work together to continue the lawsuit.
Prof. John Powers confided that prior to the trip to Viet Nam, he was aware of the AO issue logically, but during the trip, his heart has been touched.
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