Agent Orange = horror, shame, disbelief & anger

25 09 2006

I happened to watch a documentary on the Belgian TV Channel Canvas yesterday, in their program called “Terzake”. I say happened because I was just zapping. The crew went to Vietnam to investigate the aftermath of spraying Agent Orange by the US military there during the war. The images shown were horrible, very disturbing and almost unbelievable. The military sprayed some 80m litres of Agent Orange on North and South Vietnam in the 1960’s, aiming at destroying jungle foliage in order to find communists fighters more easily. As far as Agent Orange is concerned, it is highly toxic, and has polluted the ground & water of Vietnam.

30 years on, and the 2nd and 3rd generation children are the direct victims of this. Their bodies so utterly disformed. Some can only walk on their feet & hands for they cannot stand up straight. Others can’t use their eyes, because the eyelid skin covers them totally. Others look like their eyes are about to pop out. Others’ skin looks like they’ve been burned to the 3rd degree. And the number of examples and deformations go on and on; no possibility for these kids to ever lead a so-called normal life, they need constant care, their parents aren’t rich, the medical infrastructure is not as developed in Vietnam as it is in our western countries.

This is so sad. I really couldn’t believe what I was watching, and had no idea either. What a world. What a shame.

What a huge and unmeasurable shame.

Feelings of anger rose in me. But especially an immense sadness.

Some vietnamese people are trying to get the manufacturers of Agent Orange to acknowledge the damage done, acknowledge that there is a direct link between it and the malformations – without success. Every day, parents dump their disformed children at the door of a welfare centre. Every day, new kids.

I haven’t found that many links about this online, but here are a few articles:

on BBC News:

on Wikipedia:

on De Waarheid (Dutch):

on THE U.S. VETERAN DISPATCH:

I don’t know if there is a fund to help victims. I’ll keep on searching. For now I just hope for the world a much brighter face than that one. And realize once again how well-off we are in the west. How happily and disgustingly well-off.

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2 responses

25 09 2006
cat

Please, do not say happily and disgustingly well-off… i can believe this piece of info is hard to bear but dear Dylan there will always be an evil size in this world. and yes, everyday be happy to be able to use your body… because it’s not the case for everyone on this earth. thanks for getting us more aware of happiness. i will go somewhere one day to help those who have less. I know. But for now I have human beings next to me who need me. And next to you there are also some who need you.
Lot of passion, little wizzard!

25 09 2006
An add-on « Dylan Jones’ Diary

[…] I ended up my previous post about Agent Orange on a pretty enraged and negative note. It’s difficult not to feel affected by those images, you see. Still I do believe much more in looking at the bright side of things. Being happy is of course not disgusting. But our hapiness next to those kids’ condemnation at birth does feel grotesque; can’t help feeling that way about it. […]

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