Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Agent Orange in Vietnam Apocalypse

Interview with André Bouny, author of "Agent Orange in Vietnam Apocalypse"

Silvia Cattori/André Bouny
Wednesday August 24, 2011

In the past the United States fought in Vietnam devastating using chemical weapons against communism, a regime that so embodied the struggle for national independence of the Vietnamese people who opposed their rule. Today, continuing the same policies as absurd as unjustifiable, from Afghanistan to Iraq through Serbia, from Lebanon to Gaza, the United States, NATO and Israel throw phosphorous weapons, fragmentation or depleted uranium on civilian populations who refuse to undergo its dictates. Now it is known that these weapons cause particular cancers and monstrous malformations in newborns, and will continue to affect the health of a growing number of people. In his recent book â Agent Orange - Apocalypse Viêt Nam [Agent Orange to Vietnam Apocalypse], André Bouny reminds us that nearly half a century after the war the Vietnamese mothers are giving birth to babies monstrous. Responds here to questions from Silvia Cattori.

Silvia Cattori : All politicians with conscience and means to act should read and take seriously his book Agent Orange to Vietnam Apocalypse, which I devoured in one sitting and with a sinking heart. This works well documented and illustrated with moving pictures of most chemical warfare in the history of humanity should be disclosed to the public, mobilize the youth and all parents, whose children ’s health is at risk if there is life after the madness sa war destroys these which, curiously, has never opposed any Green Party. Neither ecologists Daniel Cohn -Bendit and Joschka Fischer opposed the war tons of depleted uranium dropped on Serbia. What you describe here and should be one of the major concerns for anyone still strangely ignored by the media. How do you, that ’s not a journalist, or doctor, or scientist, has come to be involved at that point for half a century later, to bring to light the frightening consequences of chemical warfare that took place in Vietnam? Could you explain what motivated him?

André Bouny : It is indeed surprising that no great journalist has written a book about this crime is so enormous magnitude that almost surpasses understanding, no doubt this issue so complex, covering many domains which deters undertake this enterprise in a world increasingly specialized. In fact, you do not wake up one day saying he’ll write a book about Agent Orange, this work is the result of a long dive. The first images I saw as a teenager on television in black and white people showed me the war in Vietnam. Remained engraved in me. Later, while studying in Paris, I participated in protests against this war and we knew it was being used chemical weapons. Then I discovered this country. It is necessary to make this great misfortune both to our citizens and to international public opinion. This book includes photographs that are extremely important because they provide insight into the ravages of Agent Orange. Most of the illustrations are previously unpublished. They are all decent photos because it is not a book " striking "at least not in the bad sense of the term is primarily a book " enlightening. " I do not feel belonging only to my country but the world in the broadest sense. Of course, relies very much the fact that my children whom I adopted, are of Vietnamese origin. The association D.E.F.I. Viêt Nam, which I founded, has established close links with different layers of Vietnamese society, especially in the south. Many containers of medical supplies have been sent there have equipped hospital services, maternity hospitals, clinics and dentists. Visits to sponsored children can discover some amazing places with living conditions unimaginable in cities and countryside. When was the CIS (International Committee in Support of Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange) were created new links, this time in the north. This’ reunification ’ allowed me to travel the country from one end to another and better understand the complexity of this town.

Agent Orange, named after the color of the stripe on the barrels in which the defoliant sprayed by American forces during the Vietnam War
Silvia Cattori : Although the Vietnam War may seem distant to the younger generation, his work seems frighteningly present at least two reasons. First, because it shows that the effects of Agent Orange are still unfolding today its appalling consequences for millions of people. At the moment children are born monstrous because genetic mutations acquired by infected persons are transmitted to their descendants, which, as you write, is a real "crime against the human genome. " And secondly because other weapons could cause long-term effects such terrible -especially DU weapons have been used recently in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon and are still used. At the conclusion of the book you say : " Be aware of the catastrophe caused by Agent Orange is the first step needed to prevent and avoid further disasters of the same type (ecological, environmental and health), and even worse. " In this perspective, has established contacts with groups or researchers to investigate these new weapons? Do you plan common stock?

André Bouny : For my generation recalls the Vietnam war for the young, a tourist destination ico. A new war makes us forget the previous and largely hidden consequences, especially as the information is focused exclusively on the latter. In our case , actually being born as we speak disabled children affected by serious and sometimes inhuman forms , although science has not shown, or understood , yet the mechanisms that demonstrate that these teratogenic effects are due to acquired genetic modification Victims of Agent Orange, such as the experience with [ fly ] Drosophila by two American biologists . However, the Vietnamese authorities raised whether to leave childbearing to the victims of Agent Orange. The similarity between the effects of Agent Orange and depleted uranium in infants is surprising and requires a comparison. We know from experience the risks and consequences of radioactivity. Moreover, the controversy over low-level radioactivity, for example, that associated with ingested or inhaled particles removed by the warheads pyrophoric effect of depleted - uranium weapons reminded that Agent Orange has been known to lobby chemistry and in the case of depleted uranium as it is the nuclear. Similarly, the limits of dioxin allowed in food in any case fail to take effect. The parallelism between both venoms also exists in the civilian uses : in the case of dioxin, agriculture, forest management and disposal, among others, for radioactivity, energy and medical use. The consciousness of a catastrophe such as Agent Orange on the environment and all life that inhabits it is not assumed in our consumer society, left to believe that there is a solution for everything by means of progress and transformation materials in "goods" of consumption, polluting the nature and , therefore , our body, thus generating a vicious circle without end. both lead the fight for justice and the recognition that victims are compensated leaves no time or energy to be on several fronts, but all they are entitled to our compassion and above all, our support and solidarity. However, it notes that the image of the CIS, there are many individuals that are activated tirelessly for the victims of depleted uranium. Yes, awareness of these persons is joint action and information.

Silvia Cattori : In his comprehensive Agent Orange to Vietnam Apocalypse you do a thorough review of many aspects of the problem. In your opinion, what are the specific elements that brings you new?

André Bouny : The most striking new element is probably the recalculation of the volume of chemical agents that have established teas from Stellman Report data , the official study funded by the United States in the early 2000s in Vietnam, a report downward alter all calculations generally accepted until then. To simplify things, I went to data provided by the U.S. military archives, which are probably incomplete , and other information outlets ran into these same files also. The result is simply terrific. Jeanne Mager Stellman, an American biologist who prepared a report that bears his name, read my book carefully and not put into question at any time propose the new calculation on the volume of chemicals used in Vietnam. Moreover, the manner in which he spoke of the Vietnam War in this book is not told in Western history books : the perspective is that of the Vietnamese. Indeed, the backdrop is punctuated by many elements too little known, forgotten by amnesia selective. I speak of the fake attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin which allowed wage war against Communist North Vietnam and deceive the Congress or the network of secret wars which took place in Laos and Cambodia in the most perfect national and international lawlessness, or even the unimaginable tonnage of bombs dropped during the Second Indochina War, the unthinkable number of deaths and injuries, or damages multiplied however, that this long war of independence on the civilian population, first recent victim of post-colonial conflicts . .. Here are some examples.

Silvia Cattori : In the 1970s I toured Vietnam with a broken heart. I admired these fragile Vietnamese doctors, which operated day and night in the jungle to the victims of the U.S. bombing continually throwing their deadly cargoes. How are today the effects of Agent Orange on humans, flora and wildlife in these countries of the former Indochina where veterans live and where you stored the product?

 Victims Of Agent Orange in Vietnam

André Bouny : The present situation in Vietnam is simply catastrophic. A few days ago the vice president of the National Assembly of Vietnam announced that four million people were currently infected. This may seem extraordinary and yet, these figures are proportionally much lower than, for example, South Korean veterans who have taken the matter to court. However, they were not exposed in a manner comparable to the situation in which the Vietnamese people still finding it! Both former combatants and civilians without distinction, suffering from incurable diseases and cancers in a country where access to medical care when there is difficult. newborns are also coming into the world with monstrous deformities , partial or total absence of members and / or mental deficiencies. The same occurs in Laos and Cambodia, countries in which they cruelly lacking means to establish, like Vietnam, which is actually the epidemiological situation. Both in the United States, Canada, Australia , New Zealand, South Korea and around military bases in the Philippines where the poison was stored veterans and civilians who were exposed to Agent Orange develop the same ailments. As regards the environment, the rain forest does not regenerate missing and can not do that again raises the rainforest where eroded soils lose their nutrients, generated by the forest itself and allow you to grow and exist; is an inextricable and desperate situation. In Vietnam, there are whole areas where farming has been banned or are off-limits, are the hots spots. These " hot spots " are often former U.S. military bases that extended considerable surface - true city- where Agent Orange was stored prior to transfer the aircraft or ground equipment, and whose surroundings were largely defoliated for obvious security reasons. As regards the United States, Canada, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, the problem affects more particularly to veterans and to varying degrees to the places where chemical agents were tested (or sometimes produced, as in the case of New Zealand) during testing to put in place. The battle of the veterans of these countries, the sick and affected with a parallel descent, is best known for Vietnam compared to these countries benefit from health facilities. Even so, the struggle of these veterans of so-called developed countries was long and fierce to obtain recognition of the cause- effect relationship between Agent Orange and its diseases. And this struggle continues today. For most veterans the recognition and compensation are still being expected.

Silvia Cattori : You describe in detail, with great compassion and tact, the daily lives of the victims and their families. Is there hope for them?

André Bouny : Hope requires satisfying three points. First, that the media support victims to public opinion, without which the following points will be unattainable : that justice, which implies a consistent and appropriate compensation, financial budgets finally make advance science in the domains of physical and environmental decontamination (just learned that the geneticist John Greg Venter just controlling a bacteria). Bacteria are the main hope as regards the decontamination of soils. Beyond that, President Barack Obama might soften the angles of this issue in relation to geopolitical issues .

Silvia Cattori : In the Annexes of the work you do a count of all major documentaries, books and articles on the subject, in French and English. Why are there so few?

André Bouny : In the works generated by the Vietnam War this chemical weapon is mentioned briefly and rarely is the subject of an entire page. In the U.S. there are works devoted to Agent Orange, mostly in reference to national veterans. In 2005 the Association of Franco -Vietnamese Friendship published in French a little anthology of thirteen specialized authors. In the film, for its part, although there are some documentaries -often - personal initiative yet no film has been dedicated to the topic. The film on this subject, scheduled in a French television channel, lasts 75 minutes and is dedicated to the Vietnamese legal steps on U.S. soil. Certainly there are objective reasons for this, but also irrational : no budget for a work that projected the image of a U.S. benefactor, self-censorship in order to preserve an honor not to hurt or alarm or outrage against public images Children unbearable monsters. The crime of Agent Orange can re-emerge during the urgent desire to preserve the environment that is not free from being a passing fad. Moreover, the use of chemical congeners of Agent Orange on pesticides used in industrial agriculture mobilizes people in connection with a frightening power, and rightly so, with what pesticides are related well with the current food resources; On the contrary, the Agent Orange used in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to destroy food resources yesterday. When closed, this circle works inextricably joined The World According to Monsanto by Marie -Monique Robin, Local solutions for global disorder of Coline Serreau and Agent Orange Apocalypse Viêt Nam: a sign of the times.

Silvia Cattori : It is very courageous to engage in an issue that the powers to ignore. It is predicting that his book, which has already been picked up by new media, have the reception it deserves in the mainstream press.

André Bouny : 2010 is the year of biodiversity. It should be every year! The authors observed a trend toward greater public awareness, interest and awareness to discern the damage of our industrial society on our own lives. This observation means to the public and the media, as both are inextricably linked. Although, unfortunately, Agent Orange is not a thing of the past because at this moment are dying and being born victims, of course there is a duty to remember and, above all, repair. I have confidence: the traditional media can not stay away from a problem concerning millions of victims. In my opinion, Internet and traditional media are not antagonistic, as is often the last believed, but complementary. They need not be feared each other: they simply must abolish the line that divides them on certain information. If certain sites benefit from an important audience, is also a fact that for an information reaches the public must be disclosed by major traditional media, the Internet can not replace, at least not yet. I hope that web pages are an intermediary step towards the media that you call ’ line ’ I’m not naive, but maybe I’m too optimistic. NGOs such as Medecins du Monde, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Handicap International, WWF, Red Cross, etc., must also approach the victims of Agent Orange who need them all. Everyone must leave their land. Public opinion is the only one who can exert a strong enough pressure to force their representatives and policy makers to engage with their counterparts in all countries and in particular the United States. The victims are among us, although many of those exposed have died. The innocent children today, three generations after the war, born without arms or legs, or without eyes, even without a brain or two units (the number of malformations has no limits), these children are our neighbors in the more secular the term. Silence is tantamount to supporting the crime. Furthermore, when the criminals not only go unpunished but to thrive with other crimes, the chances of committing another in the future. You must know the past to prevent this from happening again.

Silvia Cattori : In his book recounts how the action undertaken in the U.S. Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange resulted in a denial of justice, which barely reported the mass media, and you mention the intersecting interests of large industrial groups, large powers and authorities to explain this outrageous media silence. The same silence around today to the information they have gathered some groups of researchers on the effects of depleted uranium weapons, whose works have only known by the time a broadcast too narrow to mobilize public opinion. In view of this, how to remain as optimistic as you seem to be? In your opinion, what are the factors that could change the situation decisively?

André Bouny : Properly identify the barriers to justice is a need to win cases in the judicial field. It is essential information about these obstacles, not only for reporting but to gain the support of public opinion because justice can only be obtained if and when everyone has understood the proof of the injustice. But we are in a vicious immoral because the financial interests attached to arms dealers and media powers. Add to this self-censorship, consciously or unconsciously, made by an individualist ideology which is based on the miracle of a perpetual and unrestricted progress, leaving to believe and accept that basically nothing is so serious and that any problems find one day your solution and will eventually work itself out. It’s kind of the same intellectual lie that is the belief that renewable energy sources are inexhaustible and eternal. As regards the optimism, I know that journalists are curious and humanist, enlightened and courageous, as always has been. Can not be next to the victims and not believing in what you set out for them, otherwise it is useless to start the least action that aims to achieve better living conditions for them. Of course, reality can destroy hope. It sometimes happens also that optimism fades or, rather, is out. But if supporters of the victims showed a resigned pessimism, with whom they could count? The situation of victims of Agent Orange, like other victims, can only change if information held on a lasting basis made aware of its existence to the international public opinion.

 Andre Bouny, and is led Committee International Support Victims Vietnamese Agent Orange (CIS) Author of “AGENT ORANGE – VIETNAM APOCALYPSE, (foreword by Howard Zinn) 2010, Éditions Demi-Lune, Paris : click here PS After reading this book, Stephane Hessel, Jacques Perrin, and Henri Alleg just joined the CIS.

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