The seventy-two-year-old lady gets attention from everyone in the
room for her confidence. It is not surprising that I don't notice any
signs of ailment, not to mention serious diseases that Nga has
contracted as a consequence of dioxin.
Unlike most people who
might have collapsed after being diagnosed with dioxin in their blood,
Nga remembered that she was in tears but felt extremely joyous when
receiving medical test results which showed her exposure to high levels
of dioxin in her blood.
"It doesn't matter if test results are
available or not as the diseases are already there in my body. What is
important is that they are proof for us to file a lawsuit against US
chemical companies," Nga says softly.
She knows without a shadow
of a doubt that it is not only her and her loved ones being tortured by
the fatal disease, but several millions of people who are living in
physical and mental agony.
It is nearly 40 years since the
anti-American war ended, but Nga - a petite Vietnamese French national
decided to sue giant US chemical companies for producing and providing
Agent Orange, also known as one of the herbicides and defoliants, which
were then sprayed by the American forces in Viet Nam's southern
Working side by side with her is Paris-based William
Bourdon & Forestier law firm. The two, as one, filed the lawsuit
against the US chemical companies on June 11 in a local court in Evry
City, demanding compensation.
"If it had not been for the millions
of Agent Orange victims who died and/or could not go to the courts to
sue US companies for reasons beyond their control, I would not have come
forward to file this lawsuit," Nga says, denying what someone said
about her being courageous.
"It is Agent Orange victims and
advocates of the lawsuit who gave me strength and braveness to confront
the US chemical companies. I am not brave at all," she says.
victim and witness at an International People's Tribunal of Conscience
in 2009, Nga lodged a complaint in the court by herself, narrating the
heart-breaking stories of Agent Orange victims and those who died from
breathing and being affected by the toxic chemicals.
Her stories moved many people at the tribunal which included lawyer William Bourdon, who later represented Nga.
with other Agent Orange victims my story is just normal," she says
sincerely, not talking about her current role as a claimant, but simply
comparing herself as a 'hyphen' between people.
"I have been
playing my role as a 'hyphen' between people. In the wartime, I used to
be a courier. Through working with donors I have also connected them
with 400 children who suffer from a cleft lip and/or cleft palate to
undergo smile operations. And now I go between the court and Agent
Orange victims," she says.
READ MORE: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/society/108509/demanding-justice-for-agent-orange-victims.html