Featured Victim: Trịnh Thế Chiến
Author: Grace Canning
Trịnh Thế Chiến
Birthday: 19 May, 1988
An Phuc journalists have interviewed via email Trịnh Thế Chiến, a fourth generation victim of Agent Orange contamination. Chiến has been disabled since he was born. He gets around in a little tricycle as his legs and body are deformed to inhibit walking on his own.
Chiến recalls his “disabilities in general [being] a burden for his relatives.” He arrived at the An Phuc House in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – the shelter for Agent Orange victims that An Phuc named itself after – in 2010. In order to offer some relief to his family, he initially went to “integrate into the community” by crafting “souvenir products,” such as key chains and beaded jewelry, with other victims. This is an example of one way the An Phuc House raises money for the victims who do not receive government assistance, since many of them cannot do other jobs due to disabilities.
In spite of seeing himself as a burden and subsequently changing his lifestyle to help out his family, he treasures the reciprocated love between them: “I was born at the right hand of my father… I have been happy when family and friends love me.”
Chiến is an intelligent, hardworking and positive force within his local community as he often participates in events geared toward helping himself and his fellow victims. However, under Vietnamese policy, Chiến is not entitled to any compensation for his deformities because neither he nor his parents served in the military. “I have not received any government assistance or social assistance,” Chiến says, “with my point of view, although I am handicapped, I still try to get over my headache. I have tried everything I can to take care of myself… I now only wish the government of the United States to help me with my own home and all victims of Agent Orange Vietnam.” One of Chiến’s goals is to have his own house one day. One of An Phuc’s goals is to help him get there.
The plight of Chiến and other victims lies in their deserved compensation being thwarted by not only unfair and negligent government policy, but also by a lack of accountability by the United States government. Agent Orange contamination has done more than diminish food supply and fertile land, it has damaged the lives of millions of civilians by continuing to cause deformities in subsequent generations.
Victims like Chiến seem to be overlooked in the United States. It is not common knowledge that people are still being born with deformities, multiple generations after the war has ended. Chiến asserts the importance of “learning about the consequences of war and the consequences of dioxin: …I do not understand why there are young people in a modern country like the United States [who] do not know about dioxin and do not know about victims of dioxin… I just want you to learn about the consequences of war and the consequences of dioxin. How many generations [were affected] as we and the media call for the help of all people to [aid] most dioxin victims in Vietnam.” (G. Canning, personal communication, January 3, 2018). Original interview can be seen below.
If anyone knows of any other Agent Orange victims that would benefit from being interviewed, please contact Grace Canning at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Q: Have you been disabled since birth? Can you describe your disability? How are you different from most people?
A: day I was born. I can not help thinking that the future is not the state of the people. I do not like the soldiers in the pages of the grape be not worried about the coal.
Q: When did you learn what the cause of your disability was?
A: When I was born, I was born with the right hand of my father
Q: What was your childhood like? What could or couldn’t you do?
A: My wife is not the same as other women who depend on other people and helpers in life.
Q: When did you first go to An Phuc House?
A: I went to the happy house in 2010
Q: How has your condition affected your parents and siblings?
A: With my disability as my own and all my disabilities in general are a burden for my relatives
Q: How has being away at An Phuc House affected your family?
A: I go to the happy home I make souvenir products to integrate into the community and less burdensome family
Q: What have you had to give up in life because of your condition?
A: I have been happy when I have family friends love me
Q: What help do you receive from your government for being a victim of dioxin poisoning by the American government?
A: I have not received any government assistance or social assistance
Q: We’re you officially recognized as a victim of Dioxin / Agent Orange by the Vietnamese government?
A: I am very happy you and your friend are interested in victims of Agent Orange Vietnam
Q: If so, what aid did they provide to you or your family?
A: Me and my family are not supported by the government
Q: If you could, what would you like to say to the people in the US government who decided to spray the crop fields of your country with Agent Orange which has affected your people for generations?
A: I now only wish the government of the United States to help me with my own home and all victims of Agent Orange Vietnam.
Q: What would you say to the young people living in America now?
A: I send to all young people in America is life and work is useful for family and society.
Q: How is your life as an adult? What do you do everyday? What do you do for fun? Are you independent?
A: I live with my parents, brothers and sisters. Usually I work at a happy house. I and everyone in good health watching TV talk in the evening
Q: How is your outlook on your situation? Have you found a way to deal with being disabled? Can you still be happy?
A: With my point of view, although I am handicapped, I still try to get over my headache. I have tried everything I can to take care of myself.
Q: What would you like to tell American citizens who don’t know about people like you? Who don’t know about agent orange?
A: I do not understand why there are young people in a modern country like the United States do not know about dioxin and do not know about victims of dioxin I just want you to learn about the consequences of war and the consequences of dioxin. How many generations as we and the media call for the help of all people to most dioxin victims in Vietnam