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A Call to Remember - 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War
Kia ora, we have received the following 'A Call to Remember' which comes from the Vietnam Peace 25th Anniversary Committee in the US.
If you or your group are interested in marking the anniversary in your town or city here, please let us know at PMA firstname.lastname@example.org and we will circulate your ideas / plans to others who are interested.
A CALL TO REMEMBER
April 30, 2000 marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. An entire generation has been born and grown to adulthood--with other generations on the way--without knowing the horrors of that conflict. But we remember.
We remember the millions of Vietnamese dead, and the millions more broken and maimed bodies that survived the slaughter of the innocents. We remember the Cambodian nation destroyed and the million of its people butchered in the carnage that grew out of U.S. policy in Indochina.
We remember that one half of the Laotian people were forced for years to live as displaced persons in their own country because of U.S. saturation bombing. We remember the Tiger Cages and other tortures inflicted on Vietnamese patriots by the "government" imposed on them by Washington.
We remember the napalm and the phosphorous bombs that rained on peasant villages, leaving burnt bodies and blackened holes where once there was family life.
We remember My Lai and hundreds of other hamlets where children, women and elderly were killed by U.S. armed forces ordered to impose Washington's will upon a people who wanted to be left in peace.
We remember the Agent Orange and other poisonous chemicals that eliminated Vietnam's forests and that left behind - today, a quarter of a century later - an array of severe birth defects passed along from generation to generation. We remember the policy decisions in the White House and Pentagon to "bomb into the Stone Age" the hospitals, schools, bridges, roads and civilian infrastructure of one of the poorest countries on earth.
We remember that, even as the civil rights movement gathered force to end segregation in the Deep South and racism throughout this country, our government sent as cannon fodder ground troops that were disproportionately African-American and Latino while carrying out a criminal war against an Asian people. We remember that the antiwar movement that grew to resist the aggression was sparked and inspired by the civil rights movement, some of the most courageous leaders of which came to speak on behalf of both movements.
We also remember the more than 58,000 Americans--almost entirely the sons and daughters of poor and working-class families--who lost their lives, ordered into battle by arrogant men 10,000 miles away. We remember the hundreds of thousands of GIs who returned home, many with bodies wounded and minds suffering with the trauma of war. We remember those addicted to alcohol or drugs, others incarcerated because of acts of despair, and still others homeless. We remember how our government turned their backs on these veterans.
We remember the many thousands of families broken by the loss of loved ones who went to war, or went to prison or into exile to resist the insanity. We remember that when peace finally came, and our government agreed to help rebuild Vietnam with reparations, that agreement was immediately betrayed and has never been implemented. All of this has left a gaping wound in the life of our country that has never been closed.
And we remember that, because the Vietnamese would not bend to the will of U.S. policy-makers, and because the American people in their majority came to oppose this war of unending atrocity, we finally brought it to an end.
After 14 years of daily lies by our elected leaders, after jailings of thousands of resisters, after killings of protesters at Kent State, Jackson State & other campuses, after GIs refused to fight & organized an anti-war movement within the armed forces, after teach-ins & sit-ins and peaceful protests and massive mobilizations built a popular majority that forced Pres. Lyndon Johnson & Pres. Richard Nixon out of office, the peoples of Vietnam & the United States were able to impose peace. This was one of the great triumphs of an incorruptible human spirit.
We remember all this. And we will never forget it.
Subsequent generations of U.S. policy makers have tried to make us forget, to glorify the war, to "put Vietnam behind us," to end "the Vietnam syndrome" by which is meant the unwillingness of Americans to kill and die for the imperial designs of others. What the men who sit in the halls of power have learned is that to conduct "successful" wars now requires high-tech slaughter from the air (or where possible, the use of proxy armies), economic sanctions which result in children dying from lack of food and medicine, control of the television images reaching into our homes, and avoiding casualties to U.S. troops--and to do so in the name of "humanitarianism" and "non-intervention".
We have learned different lessons--of the arrogance of power, of the right of nations to self-determination, of the need to resolve political differences peaceably, of the distinction between international solidarity and "globalization". We have experienced the calamity to our cities, our public-education and public-health systems when war making and war preparation get first call on our nation's treasury. We have also learned that when we are determined, organized and united and when our cause is just, the people of this country can impose our will on elected officials and policy makers.
These are memories, lessons and moral responsibilities that we keep alive for new generations. We ask, as a first step in fulfilling the U.S. commitment to the agreements we signed in ending the war, that our government resolve, without qualification, to work with Vietnam to eliminate the environmental and health plagues visited on both our peoples by the use of Agent Orange and other defoliants. We commit ourselves to continue to oppose U.S. interventionism, foreign policy driven by corporate profits and greed, and assaults on the rights of people around the world.
We call upon you to join us in commemorating the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War this Spring.
Issued by the Vietnam Peace 25th Anniversary Committee (USA).
You can view the above text, and more information, on their website at http://www.vietnam25.org./index-net-f.html
If you wish to add your name or organisation to the Call then you can do so via the web site above, or by emailing your name and address to email@example.com