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An Open Letter to all Employees of MonsantoLen Aldis for Salem-News.com
Next year will see the 50th anniversary of the spraying of Agent Orange on Vietnam.
(LONDON) - The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans were also exposed and most have died.
The tireless voice of Len Aldis of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society has issued an open letter to those employees that work at Monsanto. This company was one of the principal manufacturers of Agent Orange, an indiscriminate chemical defoliant sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam. Monsanto is now engaged in a different sort of battle. It concerns the control of the world's food supply by locking away natural seed varieties and implementing a strategy of dominance vis-a-vis their patented processes in genetically modified food.
Speaking on the attack of Pearl Harbour December 7th 1941, President Roosevelt stated, “…a date which will live in infamy...”
So too friends will August 10th 1961, for on that day began the spraying of 80 million litres of Agent Orange – manufactured by your company along with others. The spraying was to continue for ten-years. I ask you to imagine every day for ten-years A Vietnamese Pearl Harbour. The loss of life on that day in 1941 was indeed tragic, but consider the loss of life over ten-years, and the millions born years after the war ended in 1975 crippled in mind and body due to Agent Orange.
Today in Vietnam there are over three million victims suffering from the effects of Agent Orange, and the company you work for Monsanto, is one of those responsible.
Hugh Grant who holds the positions of President, Chairman, and Chief Executive of your company was just three years of age when the spraying began and 13 years when it stopped. So we cannot blame him then. But, on reaching the age of 23 in 1981 – six-years after the Vietnam War ended, Hugh Grant joined Monsanto, and would have known the history of the company and its products including Agent Orange, its use on Vietnam and the effect on the people and land.
When he became President, Chairman and CEO if he did not know of Agent Orange and its use, then he is unfit to remain with the company.
Shamefully Monsanto’s public relation office to this very day continues to deny any responsibility for the illnesses and deformities that Agent Orange has caused to the people of Vietnam. Nor have they made any financial compensation to the Vietnamese victims. Yet the evidence is plain to see if Hugh Grant or the people who write these denials were to visit the victims in the hospitals, clinics, or in their homes as I have done many times indeed, the offices of Monsanto and Dow Chemicals – another company responsible for Agent Orange – are just a ten-minute car ride away from the Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
In my visits to these offices I have asked that the director or manager to visit or come with me to the Tu Du Hospital, each time they have refused, instead they give me a statement that denies all responsibility.
But Hugh Grant and/or his board members do not have to go to Vietnam to see some of the victims of Agent Orange; they can see in many cities of the United States, for those who served in Vietnam were also affected and are suffering from the same illnesses and disabilities that the Vietnamese have. Many, again like the Vietnamese victims, have died as a result of Agent Orange.
Friends, next year 2011, will see the 50th anniversary of the spraying of Agent Orange on Vietnam. Remember the date 10th August. It will be a day when millions in Vietnam and its friends in many countries around the world will commemorate as a day of infamy.
Tomorrow, as you walk through the gates of your employer; Monsanto, I ask you to remember the deaths and disabilities that Agent Orange has caused, and give special thought to the many thousands of innocent children who were lost during pregnancy, and those who survived but were born with deformities. Then ask yourself:
Why am I working for such a company as MONSANTO?
Len Aldis. Secretary
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