28/11/2015 17:02 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Journey to Seek Justice for Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange

To seek justice for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, Tran To Nga, a 73 year old woman of French nationality, has sued 26 American chemicals companies which had supplied chemicals for American troops in the Vietnam war.
In August 2015, Nga joined the William Bourdon Forestier Law Office in Paris and with an American film team, returned to Vietnam to consolidate files for the lawsuit and to make a documentary film on the consequences of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

With a gentle face, bright eyes and a charming speaking voice,  Nga  gave strong impressions to those who talked to her.  Once a war reporter for the Liberation News Agency (now Vietnam News Agency) from 1966-1970, she lived and worked in areas seriously affected by toxic chemicals sprayed by American troops like Cu Chi, Binh Long, Tay Ninh and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As a result, she was exposed to Agent Orange during that period.

None of  Nga’s three children lived a normal life due to the after-effects of Agent Orange. Her eldest child, aged 17 months, died.


Tran To Nga has sued 26 American chemicals companies
which had supplied chemicals for American troops in the Vietnam war.



Tran To Nga walks with victims of Agent Orange in Ho Chi Minh City on the occasion
of the 10th founding anniversary of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange. Photo: An Hieu

She visits a sponsor centre for Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.


Sentiment and support of Agent Orange victims are the Tran To Nga’s huge encouragement during her journey. 


Her pain and sympathy with Agent Orange victims trigger Nga to follow the lawsuit to the last.

 

Evry town court in France accepted the case against 26 American chemical companies brought by Tran To Nga in June 2014. Tran To Nga acts as the plaintiff and also as a witness in her capacity as an Agent Orange victim in the Vietnam war..
Returning to visit the old battle fields, Tran To Nga could not suppress her feelings which were hardly expressed in words. Meeting her old colleagues from the Vietnam New Agency, she rarely spoke of herself but instead shared her feelings with her fellow-members, about the good memories full of hardship and pride, of the future and her belief in her justice-seeking journey.

During her stay in Vietnam, she joined Agent Orange victims on a walk in Ho Chi Minh City and visited the Hanoi- based Social Relief Centre where Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange are nourished, and provided with functional rehabilitation and professional training.

The accompanying French lawyers could not help feeling deeply moved when working with  Nga and witnessing the life of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam. They saw with their own eyes the war relics left in the fierce battle areas. Lawyer Bertrand Repold said: “Seeing the suffering and iron will of many victims of Agent Orange, we are further resolved to consolidate files and find witnesses to follow the lawsuit to the end”.

Accompanying Nga was an American film- making team, including Director Alan Adelson and Cameraman Scott Sinkler. The team planned to produce a documentary film titled “A Marvelous Torch” about the life of Nga and the consequences of Agent Orange in Vietnam. The film team was led by Nga in visits to various places such as the Vietnam News Agency, Ho Chi Minh City War Relics Museum, the former battlefields of Cu Chi, Tay Ninh, Con Dao, Can Tho, Soc Trang and Hanoi.



An American film-making team makes a documentary titled “A Marvellous Torch”
about the life of Nga and the consequences of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Photo: An Hieu.



Cameraman Scott Sinkler is accompanion to Tran To Nga in the trip to return Vietnam
to make a documentary about her life and Agent Orange victims.



She talks  with her friends about the lawsuit against 26 American chemical companies. 


She visits the War Remnants Museum in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. 


Tran To Nga and her friends and old colleagues revisit the old battle in Cu Chi. Photo: An Hieu

Tran To Nga cannot suppress her feelings when meeting again her old friends and colleagues. Photo: An Hieu

During these trips, she received support from people throughout the country. Nearly 18,000 people in Soc Trang Province, her hometown, signed their support for the lawsuit in France. This was a great source of encouragement for Nga in her journey to seek justice for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange .
Story: Son Nghia  - Photos: An Hieu