Mr. Maurice K. Kurtz
World Affairs Conference
St. Petersburg in the World, Inc.
200 2nd Ave S, #319
St Petersburg, FL 33701
Mr. Kurtz and World Affairs Conference Colleagues,
Re: AGENT ORANGE: DO NOT FORGET ME
A peacebuilding project to raise awareness of the impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam, Laos, and globally
Thank you for the invitation to apply to the World Affairs Conference in February 2022. Attached is an initial proposal on Agent Orange and how it can fit into your conference and segue with other presenters.
Agent Orange: Do Not Forget Me is a multimedia presentation and discussion on the impact of Agent Orange (AO) in Vietnam and globally. There are an estimated 3 million Vietnamese with AO syndrome. Not only was the ecosystem severely damaged by the pesticide more than fifty years ago during the war, but the genetic effects of the poison continue to impact the grandchildren and great-grandchildren from the Vietnam era. But as it is reported by the recent documentary film, “People vs. Agent Orange,” the poison has impacted the Philippines, Laos, Japan, and even military bases in the USA.
I am a Vietnam-era veteran, educator, and artist. My presentation will be based on my 2020 journey to Vietnam and the art/ writing residency I undertook for two months called “Journey to Forgiveness” about the impact of the war. The talk is based on my journey as a young sailor during the war and becoming a pacifist and an activist for peace.
I had presented on AO at the National Veterans for Peace conference. My presentation and interactive discussion will include information and visuals on iconic events of the Vietnam War, such as the My Lai massacre, where five hundred and five innocent men, women, and children were killed. To deepen my audience’s understanding of the use of Agent Orange, a chemical weapon.
Attached is a description of the program we are creating. During the conference, I will pose the questions of: What is our responsibility as Americans in remediating the damage from the war? What is our responsibility to the millions of Vietnamese who are severely ill with this disease? How are we also responsible to clean up Laos, Cambodia, and other countries impacted by this poison? What is our moral responsibility as the Vietnam Generation?
We are approaching the 50th year anniversary of the end of the war in 2023. We must acknowledge our responsibility for this horrific suffering caused the use of Agent Orange, and it is vital to consider the impact of our annual trillion-dollar military budget and the consequence for our soldiers and the civilians who are impacted.
Dr. Namaya D.Sc. MSN, MIA
AGENT ORANGE DO NOT FORGET ME – By Namaya for War Remnants Museum in HCMC Vietnam
AGENT ORANGE: DO NOT FORGET ME by Namaya and the B4 Peace Team
Agent Orange: Do Not Forget Me is a B4 Peace project by Namaya and the B4 Peace team. It is sponsored by 501 (c) () GRACE Cares. Agent Orange multimedia project is endorsed by Veterans for Peace and undertaken in cooperation with leading agencies working to assist those with Agent Orange syndrome.
Our project goals are to increase awareness and financial support regarding the ongoing environmental and human consequences of Agent Orange, an herbicide sprayed by the US Military over Vietnam and SE Asia during the Vietnam War.
The Agent Orange (AO) chemical warfare program Operation Ranch Hand left enormous environmental damage. It caused significant health problems for Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, and US military Veterans and their children and grandchildren fifty years after the war.
Presently, we estimate there are over two million individuals are suffering from Agent Orange Syndrome in Vietnam. Tragically, there are thousands of children and people with disabilities and birth defects from AO in Vietnam. Two million US veterans in the USA have AO syndrome. While many American veterans receive compensation from the US government for AO syndrome, the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian victims do not receive compensation. To learn more about the continued devastation and harm caused by Agent Orange, please watch this video: Agent Orange Video by Namaya
This AO project is part of our team’s series on the impact of war and militarism in society – the Pornography of War. Given the upcoming 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War in April 2025, we are focusing on developing art-based awareness projects both in the US and Vietnam. This will include installing a sculpture on Agent Orange) at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The sculpture has already been accepted by the museum, its installation has been delayed by the Covid epidemic. Sculpture replicas will be placed in other public and museum venues in the US, Vietnam, and Europe. Secondly, in partnership with multimedia specialists, we will create a (museum quality) video production in English, French, and Vietnamese that tells the story of Agent Orange and its current impact on children in Vietnam. Thirdly, we will develop a touring theatrical production with Nemo and his troupe in Vietnam.
The art and parallel social advocacy campaign are designed to raise awareness of the extent of the damage and inspire critical thinking, dialogue, and concrete action addressing the social impact of the chemical warfare program. In sharing the lingering effects of Agent Orange with the US and international public, we hope to promote peace and advocate for continued support for victims.
Dr. Namaya MSN, MIA, D.Sc is a poet, artist, peace activist, and USN Vietnam era, veteran. Has created art, performances, and events worldwide on the impact of war and militarism in society. He has presented peacebuilding and human rights arts and performance projects in Chile at Villa Grimaldi Peace Center, Palestine, Belfast Ireland, Mexico, and the USA. Work can be viewed at www.namayaproductions.com. The projects, in part, are supported by www.gracecares.org.
He holds a Master’s degree in International Development and has worked in Yemen, Morocco, and his not-for-profit NGO www.gracecares.org creates community development projects worldwide. He is a former graduate instructor in multicultural education. He is the author of six books of poetry and memoirs.
Children of Vietnam: At the War Remnants Museum in Vietnam Dec 2020