Friday, July 16, 2010

Vietnamese AO Victim Calls for Help for American AO Victims

"We want those responsible for the terrible consequences of Agent Orange to hear our pain and respond to us as humans," she said, speaking not only for Vietnamese victims but for "the children and grandchildren of Americans who were exposed to Agent Orange and who are suffering like us."
23 year old Tran Thi Hoan testifying before US Congress

Vietnam Agent Orange victim wants 'human response' to ongoing tragedy
By Karin Zeitvogel

WASHINGTON, Friday 16 July 2010 (AFP) - At 23, Tran Thi Hoan dreams the dreams of a typical young woman: find a good job, start a family and, as a native of a country long ravaged by war, live in peace.

But Hoan is a victim of Agent Orange, the herbicide laced with dioxin-tainted defoliant that was sprayed across huge swaths of Vietnam between in the 1960s and early 1970s, and she fears that she could pass on the poison that saw her born without legs and with a withered hand to her children.

So she's let go of part of her dream.

"Maybe my children will be disabled like me. So I don't believe I can get married," Hoan told AFP after she became the first Vietnamese victim of Agent Orange to testify before the US Congress.

"I'm worried," she added quietly.

"I'm scared."

Hoan had just read a three-page testimony in English to US lawmakers in a packed hearing room.

"I am not unique, but am one of hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been marked by our parents' or grandparents' exposure to Agent Orange," she said.

"I was born as you see me: without legs and missing a hand."


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