Vietnam

On June 25, federal trade minister Simon Crean signed a deal to export up to 20 million tonnes of dried brown coal to Vietnam. The deal was signed with ironically-named Victorian company Environmental Clean Technologies (ECT). Fifty people protested outside the venue in Southbank where the deal was signed, despite the rain and only a few hours notice of the event.
Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: An Extraordinary Diary of Courage from the Vietnam War
By Dand Thuy Tram
Rider, 2007
225 pages, $32.95 (pb)
Forty years ago, the Tet Offensive changed the course of the Vietnam War and world history. On January 31, 1968, fighters of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) — known dismissively as the “Vietcong” — launched an all-out assault on cities and towns throughout US-occupied South Vietnam, catching the US and its puppet regime completely by surprise, and stunning the world with their courage and audacity.
Whenever a socialist from the generation whose political ideas were shaped by involvement in the global movement against the US-led Vietnam War pay their first visit to Vietnam, it is a bit like a pilgrimage. It is an encounter with a symbolic home of our political hopes and convictions.
On April 29, eight solidarity groups from across Europe adopted a Public Appeal of International Lawyers issued in December that calls on the US government to honour its responsibility towards the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. Used during the Vietnam War, this dioxin-rich defoliant is still seriously contaminating pockets of Vietnam’s environment and food chain, with devastating human consequences.
Nearly 700,000 people have signed an international online petition in solidarity with Vietnam’s victims of Agent Orange, which was sprayed extensively by the US military during the Vietnam War. The petition, which was launched in 2004, will be presented to the judges of the US Court of Appeal on the eve of an expected June ruling on a victims’ lawsuit against the nearly 40 chemical companies that produced the deadly chemical for the US military.
Through its Vietnam ambassador, the Bush administration announced on February 9 that it will fund 40% of a US$1 million plan to study how to clean up a former US military base in Vietnam that is contaminated by dioxin, a class-one human carcinogen. Dioxin was a key ingredient in Agent Orange, a defoliant that Washington used extensively in the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971.

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