Dear Mr Nguyen Danh Thai, Chairman, and members of the Olympic & Paralympics Committee of Vietnam.
In a few weeks time from the date of this letter, athletes from many countries will be preparing to make their way to my country to take part in both of these international games. But I raise with you as I did when I wrote to you in September and later emailed you - unfortunately I have yet to receive a reply the news that Dow Chemicals, one of the companies that manufactured Agent Orange and incidentally napalm, had been made a sponsor of the Olympic and Paralympics Games, further they had been given a £7 million contract to surround the Olympic Stadium with 336 giant panels for advertisements including their logo. Due to pressure by many, they have agreed to drop their logo. However, that is not enough, the contract itself must be cancelled.
The effects of Agent Orange has now entered into the fourth generation and so I ask myself why has the Olympic Committee of Vietnam remained silent on the issue of Dow Chemicals involvement with the Olympics? When athletes from America, Canada and India have protested at Dow being involved and called on their respective Olympic committees to demand that Dow Chemical be dropped as a sponsor. The open letter to all athletes by the Canadian and American swimmers was a brilliant exposure of the crimes committed by Dow, yet the country on which Agent Orange was used over a period of TEN YEARS remains SILENT.
Individuals and organizations, including those who supported Vietnam during the war and know the crimes committed by Dow Chemical, have added their support by writing to the International Olympic and the London Olympic Committee calling for Dow Chemical to be dropped as a sponsor of the Games. Yet your committee remains SILENT.
Mr. Nguyen Danh Thai, this is no time to be silent, this is the time for action and for your committee to say in a loud, clear voice: "We speak on behalf of the four million Vietnamese suffering today from the effects of Agent Orange, and all others from other lands also affected, when we demand that Dow Chemical must not continue as a sponsor of the London Olympic and Paralympics Games. Justice demands this."
By Len Aldis
The writer is the Secretary of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society