Remember back in October, when I went to New York for a visit… I blogged about the great work that Dick Hughes is doing to bring to light the lasting impacts (through generations of Vietnamese and Americans) of the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. For those not familiar with the history of Agent Orange use as a chemical warfare agent in Vietnam, Agent Orange is a dioxin chemical herbicide and defoliant manufactured by Monsanto and Dow during the Vietnam War for the U.S. Department of Defense. In Vietnam, American troops sprayed millions of acres of land with this chemical, aiming to destroy forest cover as well as the ability of the Vietnamese to grow their own food for survival. The use of Agent Orange has affected at least 3 million people, causing directly the death and maiming of close to half a million Vietnamese and at least half a million severe birth defects in future generations of children who are currently sick and dying from Agent Orange exposure. Click here to read the full post about Dick’s work.
In October, my dad was staying with Dick and some of Dick’s family from Pittsburgh and they were all working feverishly to prepare for an event that brought together Fred Wilcox (author of Scorched Earth and Waiting for an Army to Die) and Noam Chomsky (linguist, writer and cultural/political critic) in a conversation about Agent Orange. The event was so well attended that people were pouring out onto the sidewalk trying to hear the important discussion within. The event covered pressing issues relating to informing people about Agent Orange and engaging in a critical discussion of the impacts of U.S. military policy and the advancement of U.S. corporate interests throughout Southeast Asia. As a real treat, you can WATCH THIS EVENT HERE.
Dick Hughes, as part of Loose Cannon Inc., is challenging Dow Chemical to take responsibility for the continuing damage Agent Orange is doing to millions of Vietnamese. He has begun a ‘Sue Me, Dow Chemical Campaign’:
Pass it along…Post it on your Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social networking device you use. Let’s see if we can make a difference for the millions of Vietnamese still suffering. Dick’s hopes are that this can go viral and get Dow’s attention.
There are, of course, myriad reasons to be skeptical about the work of chemical and biotech companies like Dow and Monsanto. Agent Orange is one tragic example. On a slightly different note, for a different angle on Monsanto’s involvement in the food system, watch The Future of Food. It is a fantastic full-length documentary about the state of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply and the revolving door between U.S. government and Big Business (like Monsanto and Dow). A fascinating watch. I’ve included the full video (about an hour and half) here for your viewing pleasure:
Thoughts on Agent Orange, Dow, Monsanto, food, and what we can do? How else can we help to get the word out and educate people on the effects of Agent Orange and, more broadly, the frequently destructive practices of Dow, Monsanto and other large corporations who have so much political and economic influence in the U.S. and around the world?