5th Denis Kevans Memorial ANZAC Week Peace Concert (2013)
Date: Wednesday 24th April 2013
Bands/DJs: Dan Hopkins, Martin Doherty & Leigh Birkett, Maree Cunnington, Mary Jane Field & AshCappella, Margaret Walters, Sonia Bennett, Jack Mundey, Jenni Nixon, Tony Barry, Jenny Campbell.
Venue: Gaelic Club Upstairs Bar 164 Devonshire St, Surry Hills
Start time 6pm - Cost $25/$15 concession
Advanced tickets Gaelic Club bar (9212 1587)
Gig info email@example.com or phone 02 9569 6070
More information is in the downloadable flyer [pdf]
Dear members and friends of AOJ,
Following successful meetings with Aussie and NZ Vietnam veterans, the Australian Institute of International Affairs as well as a broader sympathetic audience in Sydney [link to photos], the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) delegation that Agent Orange Justice is currently touring Australia attended a highly eventful gathering in the ACT which could mark the beginning of an Agent Orange justice campaign in the Australian national capital. The following 37-minuteYoutube captures the key highlights.
The first speaker was Dr Sue Wareham from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, followed by Mr Nguyen Minh Y of VAVA and the Greens Minister in the ACT Shane Rattenbury.
Extremely warm and special thanks to Penny Lockwood for putting an extraordinary effort in making this remarkable event a reality. Thanks Vern Weitzel for videotaping. Gratitude to Paula and Dien for other important associated support. Please circulate this clip in your network to get the message further out.
This Canberra break through follows an historic gathering of three AO-related groups in Australia on Monday 4 March 2013 where they shared the same platform with VAVA during the latter's first ever visit to Australia. The three groups are the Hobart-based Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange Trust, the Victoria-based Artists for Orphans and us -- the Sydney-based AOJ. MiVAC, a group of Australian Vietnam veterans who are doing great work in Laos in helping the population there coping with the continuing tragic legacy of unexploded mines and ordnance, also spoke about their valuable experiences.
Two AOJ events for your diaries
AOJ Meeting Justice for Agent Orange Victims with members of the Vietnam Association of the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA)
View Larger Map
Come on down for a fun filled night of trivia, food, drinks and prizes at Addison Road Community Centre. Money raised will go towards those affected by Agent Orange and local community programs. There will be a children's art corner where kids can win prizes. In the Gumbramorra Hall at the Addison Road Community Centre on 22 March 2013 at 7:30PM. Tickets can be purchased online at Tickebooth ($10-$15) or at the door ($15-$20). Visit Ticketbooth, flyer or Facebook event page for more details. Postscript - Thanks to all who attended, we raised over $2,000 for the ongoing work of AOJ-AVSN.
Dear AOJ members and supporters,
Here are some glimpses of the Agent Orange concert happened at the Sydney Granville RSL club this last weekend, which happened to be the very day of Tet (Lunar New Year) to the Vietnamese people. Event organiser is Vietnam veteran Clarence Ormsby in his bright orange wig and outfit. The Granville RSL generously provided their auditorium free. A great day taking the AOJ message to a new crowd.
Dear members and friends of Agent Orange Justice
On behalf of Agent Orange Justice, we would like to warmly thank you for your valuable and highly valued assistance with the very successful art exhibition – Beautiful Art for Innocent Children – recently concluded at the Mori Gallery in Sydney.
The exhibition was highly successful, with some 300 people attending the opening and many more throughout the week, raising a very substantial amount of money (details in letter) which will go to directly aiding child victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, and attracting significant media attention to this largely forgotten, but still very real, issue [continue reading the full thank you list here [pdf]].
Results of Agent Orange Justice Raffle (drawn August 11 at Mori Gallery)
First prize: Ticket No 212, Marilyn Hoey. Dinner for two at Le Tran Vietnamese Restaurant, Rozelle.
Second prize: Ticket No 721, Adam Chapman. Year's subscription to New Internationalist Magazine.
Third prize: Ticket No 90, Liz Duggan. $100 book voucher for Gould's Bookshop, Newtown.
Congratulations to the prize-winners, and thanks to you and all the other ticket buyers for your support for the Agent Orange Justice campaign. We've had a fantastic result with the AOJ Art Exhibition, raising more than $25,000 for the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange from the art auction and other fundraising activities such as the raffle. Please continue to support our activities. We'll be announcing our next activities through our Facebook page and our mailing list (infoATagentorangejustice.org.au to be added.) Keep an eye out for our next raffle.
Thankyou to all our supporters...
Our art exhibition to help raise funds for Agent Orange victims and awareness for the international campaign for justice has been hugely successful. Hundreds of people attended the opening night, and hundreds more throughout the week. While I do not want to disclose the amount raised for the artworks through silent auction until the actual cash comes in, I can say that the amount is very substantial, far more than we expected, and this will be of concrete help to AO-affected Vietnamese children.
Many people have written in with questions last couple of days, about results of the silent auction, or more general questions about AOJ. We welcome all these questions, but please be patient: the organising committee, all of whom have worked on this for months, and flat out for weeks, are all absolutely exhausted, and we'll get back to you in the next few days.
The organising committee - Peter Arfanis, Rosanna Barbero, Carol Dance, Ian Dance, Michael Karadjis, Jefferson Lee, John Percy, Vi Pham, and Eva To, would like to warmly thank all AOJ members and non-members (who we will all thank by name in a few days when we have recovered our energy) who volunteered a great deal of their time and energy to this exhibition, the 80 artists who contributed works, Stephen Mori for giving us the gallery free of charge, the Vietnamese diplomatic mission staff, and VAVA for facilitating getting artworks from Vietnam, and many more who again we will spell out by name in a few days. AOJ-AVSN 13 August 2012 .
View photos from the exhibition on AOJ-AVSN's Facebook page here.
We hope you can make it to one or more of the following events in the rest of the AOJ show week.
- Wednesday August 8, 6pm: In the Year of the Pig. A 1968 documentary on the War in Vietnam, by Emile de Antonio. 103 minutes. Plus there will be an AOJ PowerPoint presentation on the Agent Orange issue.
- Thursday August 9, 6pm: Two documentaries produced by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange. Agent Orange/Dioxin and the Right to Life, 32 mins, and The Path to Justice, 30 mins. Plus Agent Orange, Agent Blue, a short film by David Bradbury using poem by Denis Kevans.
- Friday August 10, 6pm: Agent Orange: A Personal Requiem, made by Japanese film-maker Sakata Masako, whose husband Greg Davis died as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange while he served in the US Army in Vietnam. 71 mins.
- Saturday August 11, 3pm. Seminar on the impact of Agent Orange. Speakers include Kate Mulvany, actor and playwright, who suffered from her father's exposure to Agent Orange while he served in the Australian Army in Vietnam, and John Kaye, Greens NSW MP, and Eva To for AOJ.
Acoustic music starting at 5pm preceding screenings:
- Wednesday 8 August: Dennis Aubrey
- Thursday 9 August: Margaret Bradford
- Friday 10 August: Jenny Watson
- Acoustic music at social following seminar, 5pm Saturday 11 August: Jenni Nixon & Friends.
Read coverage of the event on the News & Media page
We warmly invite you to the opening of Agent Orange Justice's Beautiful Art for Innocent Children, on August 7 at 6:00 PM at the Mori Gallery, Sydney. The Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, is opening this courageous exhibition of affordable art.
"Transgressing the Carp" by Mai Nguyen-Long (1997) oil on canvas 175x110cm; Represented by NG Art Gallery
Kate Mulvany will be performing extracts from her award winning play, The Seed, about the daughter of an agent orange affected Australian Vietnam veteran.
The exhibition is in aid of the innocent children being born now in Vietnam as a consequence of Agent Orange/dioxin remaining in the soil and in the genetic make-up.
Australian-Vietnamese, Vietnamese and Australian artists, cartoonists and photographers have donated beautiful contemporary artwork for the exhibition. Australian-Vietnamese, Vietnamese and Australian artists, cartoonists and photographers have donated beautiful contemporary artwork for the exhibition. They include a Dobell Prize winner, an Archibald finalist and artists represented in state and national galleries and international collections.
The artists include Suzanne Archer, Ray Beattie, Zanny Begg, Robert Carter, Elizabeth Cummings, Carol Dance, Nguyen Nghia Cuong, Carleen Devine, Vuong Trong Duc, Bonita Ely, Rod Emmerson, Wayne Fleming, George Gittoes, Nguyen The Hung, Dominic Nguyen Hong Golding, Pamela Griffith, Kevin Hegarty, Nguyen Hien, Johanna Hildebrandt, Astra Howard, Dot Kolentsis, Nguyen Thi Chinh Le, Geoff Levitus, Eric Lobbecke, Carlie Lopez, Nerine Martini, Euan Macleod, Khue Nguyen, Mai Nguyen-Long, Torbjorn Lundmark, Kelly Manning, Alan Moir, Reg Mombassa, Susan Norrie, Bruce Petty, Hoai Thanh Pham, Nguyen Nghia Phuong, Phi Phi Oanh, Peter O'Doherty, Sue Pedley, Larry Pickering, David Pope, Ambrose Reisch, Erik Royds, Van Rudd, Feyona van Stom, Nik Scott, Wendy Sharpe, My Le Thi, Mark Tippett, Sophie Verrechia, Fiona White.
"Wealth Beneath" by Carol Dance
The exhibit includes Hoai Thanh Pham's famous photographs of Vietnamese child victims plus contemporary art from 20 Vietnamese artists.
This beautiful affordable art will be auctioned.
The exhibition continues Wednesday, August 8 to Saturday August 11 from 11 AM and into the evening with seminars and DVDs about Agent Orange. We hope you will join us for the opening and an invitation to the launch can be downloaded here. Coverage of the exhibition on Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA's website can be read here.
Directions to Mori Gallery, 168 Day Street, Sydney: Town Hall station; Day Street is one block west of Sussex, just north of Chinatown near Trades Hall, between Bathurst and Liverpool; closest parking station is 521 Kent St. Google Map link here.
Dear AOJ members,
You may be aware that the Sydney May Day march this year will take place this coming Sunday, May 6, gathering at the Archibald Fountain of Hyde Park at 12 noon.
As in years past, many social movement groups came out with their banners and other campaign materials on this important day to greet the many wonderful participants who came to the march. This is the first May Day since the launch of AOJ in June last year and we wouldn't want to miss out on this mobilisation, especially the crowd there would be inclined to be very sympathetic to our cause. It's also important that they get to know of our upcoming Agent Orange art show on August 7-11. A coloured flyer on that has been prepared for distribution on that day, and of course we'd like to collect more names to our contact list and join more people to AOJ.
Your participation in the AOJ contingent is very much appreciated. Look for the AOJ banner near the cafe behind St James Station a short distance before reaching the fountain.
An email to infoATagentorangejustice.org.au before Sunday on whether you can come or not would be appreciated. Hope to see you there.
This article will appear in a coming edition of the Friends of the Earth magazine - Chain Reaction, article by John Percy.
Australian and Vietnamese artists are contributing works to an art exhibition in Sydney August 7-11 to expose the ongoing horror of the Agent Orange chemical warfare inflicted on the Vietnamese people by the American war in the 1960s and ’70s.
Eighty million litres of “herbicide” were sprayed on the forests, fields and people of Vietnam over 10 years, to deny shelter to the Vietnamese freedom fighters, and to deny them food and support from the local community. More than 3 million people were killed or affected, with terrible birth defects inflicted up to the third and fourth generations. US and Australian service men and women and their children have also been affected.
The exhibition aims to raise consciousness on the Agent Orange issue and to raise funds for Vietnamese victims. It will launch a petition calling for support of victims, land remediation and recognition of Agent Orange health issues for all veterans, and calling for the governments involved to acknowledge their responsibility.
The exhibition will be held at the Mori Gallery, 168 Day Street, Sydney, which has been kindly donated by gallery director Stephen Mori. The artists are donating their work, some of which will be available for sale.
Over the four days of the exhibition there will be seminars and film showings each evening, as well as a bookstall with literature and DVDs on Agent Orange and the War in Vietnam. Vietnamese food will be available.
The exhibition will be launched on August 7 with a public meeting at the gallery with prominent Australian and Vietnamese speakers. August 10 is the 51st anniversary of the beginning of spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Australian and Vietnamese artists
Artists who have pledged works for the exhibition so far include: the Australian-Vietnamese artists Van Rudd, Mai Long, My Le Thi and Dominic Golding; Australian artists Susan Norrie, Carol Dance, Zanny Begg, Alex Loverh and Kelly Manning.
Two AOJ members are currently in Vietnam inviting participation of Vietnamese artists and have received an enthusiastic response.
Cartoonist Bruce Petty has already contributed a cartoon, and other cartoonists have also promised work, including Matt Bissett-Johnson and Vincent McCutcheon.
In addition to the exhibition of original artworks and cartoons, there will be an exhibition of photographs from Vietnam of the impact and results of Agent Orange spraying, as well as a display of anti-war posters from the campaign against the war in Vietnam. There will also be information displays taken from web sites, newspaper articles, research journals and other sources.
Following the Sydney exhibition, it’s hoped to take the event to Melbourne and Brisbane also.
The campaign is inviting other artists and cartoonists in Australia and Vietnam to contribute artworks to the exhibition, and supporters to volunteer to publicise and help staff the exhibition.
Artists living in Australia are invited to donate works. The curatorial process is for the art committee to view the works sent as jpgs by the artists.
The exhibition is inviting artists working in Vietnam to donate works that could be easily posted to Australia — prints, drawings, cartoons, and rolled small canvasses. Works that are not sold could remain in Australia for subsequent exhibition in other cities.
Agent Orange Justice
The exhibition has been initiated by Agent Orange Justice – Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network. AOJ was established in June 2011, with a launch meeting addressed by Mai Phuoc Dung, the Vietnamese consul-general, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, green bans activist Jack Mundey and Mike Karadjis from AOJ.
AOJ is the Australian section of the international campaign to hold the United States government responsible for the disaster it created for millions of Vietnamese people through its 10-year spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam between 1961 and 1971.
This international campaign is spearheaded by the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) and aims to pressure the US government and the chemical companies that produced Agent Orange to pay to clean up the toxic mess still contaminating parts of Vietnam’s environment and to provide adequate compensation to the Vietnamese who are affected.
Four AOJ members participated in the second international conference organised by VAVA in Hanoi in August 2011. Money raised by the art exhibition will go to VAVA to help the victims.
AOJ member Senator Lee Rhiannon presented a speech to parliament on the issue on 8 November 2011. Trade unions and other organisations have affiliated.
AOJ has ambitious plans to develop the campaign in 2012. Further outreach forums will be held, including speaking at events and meetings of other organisations.
The fourth Denis Kevans Memorial Anzac Week Peace Concert this year will be held to raise funds for AO victims. It will be at 6pm April 24 at the Gaelic Club, 164 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, Sydney.
Contact AOJ to build or contribute to our events, or to join or affiliate: infoATagentorangejustice.org.au or PO Box 290, Enmore NSW 2042.
Agent Orange Justice is the sponsor for the 4th memorial concert in Sydney for Denis Kevans, Australia's renowned radical poet and activist. It is a fundraiser for the three million plus victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
The concert, organised by Jefferson Lee, will be held at the Gaelic Club, 164 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, on 24 April 2012 at 6pm. Performers confirmed so far are Sonia Bennett, Dennis Aubrey, Trude Aspeling & friends, Dennis Rice, and Jenni Nixon. The guest speaker is Jack Mundey.
Below are two PDF files for the leaflet advertising the event, and would appreciate it if you could publicise the event wherever you can - print off some leaflets for friends and workmates, circulate them in your activist lists or Facebook network, stick them up in your suburb.
From the Direct Action website by John Percy
The many crimes of the rapacious global corporation Monsanto were exposed at a public forum in Sydney November 23, organised by Agent Orange Justice — Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network.
AOJ’s Rosanna Barbero presented a very educational talk interspersed with excerpts from videos that thoroughly demonstrated that this capitalist company puts its profits way ahead of the health of individuals and even the health and safety of humanity as a whole. It prompted a very useful and inclusive discussion.
Genetically modified food
Monsanto’s corporate crimes have so far gone unpunished, and its profits have soared, while it continues to destroy our food supply, our health and the planet. Monsanto is well known as the promoter of genetically modified food, which locks farmers into a dead-end dependence on the company, and the world into a dangerous course of patented and hazardous food crops that ultimately threaten the safety of the world’s food production [read more at the Direct Action website].
Adjournment speech, Tuesday 8 November 2011
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (22:20): Earlier this year, I attended the launch of Agent Orange Justice. This is the Australian section of the international campaign to hold the United States government responsible for the disaster it created for millions of Vietnamese people as a result of its 10-year spraying of the chemical weapon Agent Orange. This year, 10 August marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam. I grew up with this war. I remember the photos of children deformed by Agent Orange. It was a shock to me to learn recently how this chemical is so stable in the soil that it is still causing terrible harm.
The international campaign by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin is targeting the US government and the chemical companies which produced Agent Orange to pay to clean up the poisoned soil and wherever else this contaminant is found in Vietnam's environment. The campaign is also calling for adequate compensation for some three million Vietnamese who are still affected by this chemical [read more at Senator Rhiannon's website].
Monsanto’s list of corporate crimes have gone unpunished, their profits soar while they continue to destroy our food supply, our health and the planet.
Monsanto was the major financial beneficiary of Agent Orange a herbicide used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam and destroy the health of millions of Vietnamese and their offspring.
Rosanna Barbero of Agent Orange Justice and other speakers will talk on Monsanto’s role in the manufacture of Agent Orange and their refusal to accept responsibility for their crimes.
Wednesday 23 November 2011 at 18:30
AGENT ORANGE JUSTICE - Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network
Teachers Federation Meeting Room 3 on Level 1
23-33 Mary Street,
Surry Hills NSW
The next meeting of Agent Orange Justice - Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network will happen on 27 September 2011 between 18:30 - 20:30 at:
Queensland Council of Unions *NOTE NEW LOCATION*
16 Peel Street
South Brisbane, Australia
The topic for the meeting will be 50 years of agent orange crime... justice when?
The Vietnamese Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) hosted the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Hanoi August 8-9, 2011.
Attending the conference were participants from over 20 countries and 30 organisations, including Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists. The conference coincided with the 50th anniversary of the first spraying of the toxic chemical Agent Orange, on August 10, 1961, by US forces in Vietnam.
During the Vietnam War, from 1961 to 1971, US forces sprayed nearly 80 million litres of herbicides over South Vietnam, of which 61% was Agent Orange, containing at least 366 kg of dioxin, one of the most toxic substances known. This camapign is still claiming victims in Vietnam and around the world everyday.
Hamish Chitts with four other members of Agent Orange Justice Australia, travelled to Hanoi to participate, and he will report back on this important global event for the victims and opponents of all chemical weapons.
A cheap meal will be available from 6pm.
Allen was a US GI active in resisting against the US war on Vietnam in the 1960s and was court-martialled twice for his activism. He has been a political activist ever since and is currently the assistant editor of the Australian socialist newspaper Direct Action. [pdf]
Speech delivered at the Second International Conference on the Victims of Agent Orange in Hanoi, August 8-9, 2011 by Agent Orange Justice-Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network (AOJ-AVSN) representative Hamish Chitts.
Hamish was an infantry soldier with the Australian military and served in East Timor in the late 1990s. He is a founder of the anti-war veterans group StandFast in Australia. [pdf]
By Hamish Chitts, in Hanoi
The Vietnamese Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) hosted the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Hanoi August 8-9. Attending the conference were participants from more than 20 countries and 30 organisations, including Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists. The conference coincided with an important historical event, the 50th anniversary of the first spraying of the toxic chemical Agent Orange, on August 10, 1961, by US forces in Vietnam.
During the Vietnam War, from 1961 to 1971, US forces sprayed nearly 80 million litres of herbicides over South Vietnam, of which 61% was Agent Orange, containing at least 366kg of dioxin, one of the most toxic substances known.
'A threat to all'
VAVA President Nguyen Van Rinh opened the conference, saying: “Several wounds of war have been healed for Vietnam, the US and other countries, but the wounds caused by Agent Orange persist to this day. With every passing day, there are several more victims who die, suffer more intensified sickness, poverty, despair and misery – not only for those directly exposed, but for many innocent children born after the war, and not only for Vietnamese victims but also for victims of many countries. They include veterans from the US, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, who were directly involved in the war, people in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand who lived near the Vietnamese border, people in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Europe and other parts of Asia who lived and laboured where Agent Orange was produced, tested or stored for use in Vietnam.” [read more at Direct Action].
From VOV News AOJ-AVSN is quoted in this article
(VOV) - A two-day conference opened in Hanoi on August 8 attended by ambassadors, embassy representatives and more than 100 international delegates from 25 countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, President of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/ Dioxin (VAVA), senior lieutenant-general Nguyen Van Rinh, emphasized that the conference will have great significance for all the participants, particularly those who are working for peace and an end to war.
Rinh said several of the wounds of war have been healed for both Vietnam and the US as well as other countries, but the wounds caused by Agent Orange are persistent. With every passing day, several more victims die. The victims are not only those who were directly exposed, but also innocent children born after the war, and not only in Vietnam. There are also millions of victims in other countries that suffer more intensified sickness, poverty, despair and misery [read more at VOV News].
Justice When? 50 Years Of Agent Orange Crime
August 10 marks the 50th anniversary of the first spraying of toxic defoliants, mainly Agent Orange, by the United States during its war in Vietnam. From 1961 until 1971, millions of litres of such defoliants were sprayed or dumped over millions of acres of Vietnamese forest and farmland. The devastating legacy of Agent Orange continues with over three million Vietnamese, including third-generation victims, having suffered from the effects of exposure to dioxin, the terribly poisonous contaminant.
Groups in various countries in solidarity with AO victims in Vietnam met recently in Hanoi at the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange held by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) to map out plans to bring the justice campaign forward.
Hamish Chitts and Carol Dance, members of Agent Orange Justice Australia, travelled to Hanoi to participate, and will share with us their experiences from the conference and meetings and discussions with Vietnamese and international activists.
AGENT ORANGE JUSTICE -
Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network
23-33 Mary Street
Surry Hills NSW
Meeting Room 3 on level 1,
Wednesday 24 August, 6.30 pm
Two articles appeared in Direct Action about the launch of AOJ-AVSN, links to the articles are below.
Agent Orange Justice formed in Sydney by John Percy [pdf]
Agent Orange Justice – Australia-Vietnam Solidarity Network, has now been established in Australia. A very successful inaugural meeting was held in Sydney on June 1, attended by more than 40 people, with 20 new members joining AOJ.
Millions continue to suffer - transcript of speech by Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney, Mai Phuoc Dung [pdf]
Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends:
First of all, I would like to thank the Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network for its initiative to launch the international campaign to hold the US responsible for its 10-year chemical warfare against Vietnam, to get it to clean up the toxic mess left in some parts of Vietnam’s environment and win compensation for the 3 million Vietnamese who are devastated, some of whom are third generation victims.
Come and join the Agent Orange Justice - AVSN contingent at the World Environment Day rally at Prince Alfred Park (near Central Station) in Sydney at 11am Sunday June 5. For further information email infoATagentorangejustice org.au (please change the AT to @ in your email client).
At the debut ceremony, AOJ launched a campaign to call for assistance to Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims and demand US chemical companies to clean up the environment and compensate the victims in the Southeast Asian country.
John Percy, National Secretary of the Revolutionary Social Party said the ceremony that although the war ended over 35 years ago, many Vietnamese people are living with heavy after-effects caused by AO/dioxin sprayed by US troops.
Percy said AOJ is building a website at www.agentorangejustice.org.au to gather more support for the victims and serve as a forum for everyone to better understand the aftermaths Vietnamese people are suffering from this toxic chemical.
The Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney, Mai Phuoc Dung, spoke highly of AOJ’s initiative, promising to work closely with AOJ in the campaign to seek justice for AO/dioxin victims in Vietnam .
AOJ was established as apart of an international campaign to force the US government take responsibility for the consequences of AO/dioxin that US troops sprayed onto Vietnam from 1961 to 1971.
“Agent Orange Justice (AOJ) - Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network” of Australia yesterday launched a campaign calling for more support to Vietnamese AO victims and to hold American Chemical Companies responsible for cleaning up the contaminated environment and pay compensation to AO victims in Vietnam.
Present at the ceremony were designate Senator Lee Rhiannon of the Green Party, Vietnamese Consul-General in Australia, Mai Phuoc Dung, representatives from parties, charity organisations and overseas Vietnamese.
Addressing the event Mr. John Percy, National Secretary of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party appealed to more people to join the Vietnam-Australia Union System’s campaign to bring about justice for Vietnamese AO victims. The Union System has launched an website http://www.agentorangejustice.org.au, to attract more support from the community to Vietnamese AO victims and help people understand the serious long-term consequences of Agent Orange which the American military sprayed in Vietnam during the war.
Mr. Percy stated that the Australian people will always be side-by-side with Vietnamese people to help Vietnam get justice for AO victims.
For his part, Vietnamese Consul-General in Australia, Mai Phuoc Dung highly appreciated the initiative of AOJ and promised to work closely with AOJ in the campaign for Vietnamese AO victims’ justice.
AOJ was established to raise the Australian people’ awareness of the serious consequences of Agent Orange as well as raise money for Vietnamese AO victims. The organisation is in the framework of a campaign, which aims to mobilise international community to demand that the American Government to take responsibility for long-term consequences that they left behind during the war in Vietnam, from 1961 to 1971.
Translated by Tran Hoai
Tổ chức "Công lý cho nạn nhân chất độc da cam - Mạng lưới đoàn kết Australia-Việt Nam" (AOJ / Agent Orange Justice - Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network) của Australia đã tổ chức lễ ra mắt và phát động chiến dịch kêu gọi giúp đỡ các nạn nhân chất độc da cam ở Việt Nam, yêu cầu các công ty hóa chất của Mỹ phải có trách nhiệm tẩy độc môi trường cũng như bồi thường cho các nạn nhân.
Tham dự lễ ra mắt tổ chức tại Sydney tối 1/6 có Thượng nghị sĩ đắc cử Lee Rhiannon thuộc đảng Xanh, Tổng lãnh sự Việt Nam tại Sydney Mai Phước Dũng, đại diện đảng Cách mạng Xã hội chủ nghĩa Australia (RSP), đại diện nhiều quỹ từ thiện của Australia cùng đông đảo bà con Việt kiều và lưu học sinh Việt Nam.
Trong bài phát biểu khai mạc, ông John Percy, Bí thư toàn quốc RSP, nói mặc dù chiến tranh đã qua hơn 35 năm, nhưng nhiều người dân Việt Nam vẫn phải sống với những di chứng nặng nề do chất độc da cam quân đội Mỹ đã rải xuống. Ông John Percy kêu gọi mọi người tích cực tham gia Mạng lưới đoàn kết Australia - Việt Nam, tích cực tài trợ để cuộc vận động trên đạt được kết quả thiết thực.
Ông cho biết hiện nay mạng lưới đang thiết lập trang web trên địa chỉ: http://www.agentorangejustice.org.au nhằm thu hút thêm tiếng nói ủng hộ các nạn nhân chất độc da cam ở Việt Nam, đồng đóng vai trò như là diễn đàn để mọi người có thể truy cập, hiểu rõ hơn về hậu quả của chất độc da cam đối với người dân Việt Nam thông qua các bài viết và hình ảnh.
Ban tổ chức cho biết AOJ là một tổ chức được thành lập trong khuôn khổ chiến dịch vận động quốc tế nhằm buộc Chính phủ Mỹ chịu trách nhiệm về thảm họa mà họ gây ra trong thời gian 10 năm rải chất độc da cam ở Việt Nam từ 1961 đến 1971. Ngoài việc biểu thị tình đoàn kết với chiến dịch này, một mục tiêu nữa của AOJ là nâng cao nhận thức của người dân Ôxtrâylia về hậu quả của chất độc da cam và gây quỹ ủng hộ nạn nhân chất độc da cam ở Việt Nam.
Trong bài tham luận tại lễ ra mắt AOJ, Tổng lãnh sự Việt Nam tại Sydney Mai Phước Dũng cho biết dù chiến tranh đã lùi xa hơn 1/3 thế kỷ nhưng thảm họa chất độc da cam vẫn gây hậu quả hết sức nặng nề đối với môi trường sống và sức khỏa con người, tiếp tục gây nên khổ đau, bệnh tật cho các nạn nhân cùng gia đình.
Tổng lãnh sự Mai Phước Dũng đánh giá cao sáng kiến của AOJ cũng như những ý kiến tham gia đóng góp về hoạt động của tổ chức này, đồng thời bày tỏ mong muốn phối hợp chặt chẽ hơn với AOJ trong chiến dịch vì công lý cho các nạn nhân chất độc da cam ở Việt Nam.
Những người tham dự lễ ra mắt đã vô cùng xúc động khi xem những thước phim tài liệu về các nạn nhân chất độc da cam tại Việt Nam. Thay mặt những người bạn Australia, ông John Percy một lần nữa cam kết sẽ luôn sát cánh cùng các nhân dân Việt Nam trong cuộc chiến đòi công lý này./.
The inaugural meeting of the campaign was held in Sydney today. Here are some images from the launch.
Peter Jennings, APHEDA at the Agent Orange Justice (AOJ) launch
By Michael Karadjis
Even though the US war on Vietnam ended nearly 40 years ago, the US’s saturation chemical bombing during that war is still wreaking havoc on the lives of at least 3 million people in Vietnam — including the newly born, making them third generation victims.
Nobody knows when the congenital deformities, one of many horrific health consequences of the toxic chemicals, will end.
The main chemical in question is nicknamed Agent Orange — a class-one human carcinogen dioxin. About 80 million litres of it and other similar “defoliants” were sprayed or dumped by the US military on about 10% of central and southern Vietnam for 10 years until 1971.
Dioxin is chemically stable and does not dilute in water, so it doesn’t easily decompose. It still exists in concentrated forms in Vietnam today, penetrating the ecosystems and food chains of parts of Vietnam.
This enables it to continue to claim new victims, especially among the younger generations, for the mere fact that people — many of whom are dirt poor and seriously impoverished — live off the land and water systems contaminated by it.
Women with dioxin in their blood can pass it on to their offspring, including through breast milk.
“Agent Orange Justice — Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network” is a new organisation being established as the Australian section of the international campaign to hold the United States government responsible for the disaster it created as a result of its 10-year spraying of Agent Orange between 1961 and 1971.
The international campaign is spearheaded by the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), which was formed in 2003 by Vietnamese doctors, scientists, Agent Orange victims and their supporters, with supporting organisations in many countries.
It aims to pressure the US government, and the chemical companies that produced Agent Orange, to pay to clean up the toxic mess still contaminating parts of Vietnam’s environment and to provide adequate compensation to the 3 million Vietnamese affected by this chemical.
For years, the Vietnamese have been pursuing the US government through diplomatic channels to get them to accept responsibility for the health and environmental consequences left by its application of Agent Orange in their country. Yet these negotiations didn’t get very far.
The US government has repeatedly said that it doesn’t recognise any legal liability for damages “alleged” to be related to Agent Orange.
In 2004, VAVA launched a civil law suit in a US district court against nearly 40 US chemical companies for their role in supplying the Agent Orange used to ravage Vietnam.
Defendants include major US multinational companies such as Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Hercules and Occidental Chemical. To date, this has been unsuccessful, with the US Supreme Court final rejecting it in March 2009, despite an international petition that collected 12 million signatures in support of the campaign.
However, another lawsuit is now in the making.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the US’s first spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam, which falls on August 10, VAVA is hosting the Second International Conference on the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin on August 8-9 in Hanoi.
In addition to this solidarity with this campaign, Agent Orange Justice will also aim to raise awareness of the issue more broadly in the Australian community, pressure the Australian government to recognise its responsibility for this disaster as part of the US war on Vietnam, link this issue with other anti-war issues, and do our own small part in raising solidarity funds for the victims.
A public launch of thenew organisation will be held on June 1 at the Teachers Federation building in Surry Hills, at 6.30pm, to be addressed by Jack Mundey and Lee Rhiannon, among others.
Read original article at the Green Left Weekly website