Author Topic: Report on Peace Boat #77 voyage between Yokohama Japan and DaNang Vietnam  (Read 2169 times)

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Mike Blais

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Report on Peace Boat #77 voyage between Yokohama Japan and DaNang Vietnam and our Agent Orange Presentations.
First let me say at although I have known for some time that the Canadian Government has kept our use of the Toxic Defoliation Chemicals which were later called Agents Orange, Purple and White (or The Rainbow Chemicals) a better kept secret then the Avro Arrow or our production of the guidance systems for the US cruse missiles, it was never the less with a bit of genuine surprise that I learnt that China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea’s national media all had no idea that Canada was involved with Agent Orange or any of the other chemicals, let alone that we produced them for the US Military’s use in Vietnam and sprayed them on our own Soldiers at CFB Gagetown. This hole in our international and Military History I am glad to report has been rectified and that many of these countries top media reporters now have the facts.
It also must be noted, that when we talk about these chemicals we all tend to call then collectively by the most notorious chemical or, “Agent Orange.” This is necessary because although we know that many other chemicals were in fact sprayed and that nearly 28 different contaminants were in fact dumped on us, no one is researching the other chemicals and even the US Institute Of Medicine (IOM) when doing their medical comparisons of Veterans who served in Vietnam as apposed to Veterans who did not, have never even try to separate any of the many chemicals used and all of the generally accepted medicals conditions associated with the use of all of these chemicals has always been presented as having been caused by TCDD Dioxin found in Agent Orange.
Our Class action was in effect thrown out of court because we could not definitively prove that Dioxin was actually the only cause of our medical conditions because the Government had (according to their own lawyers) sprayed us with 26 other deadly chemicals. This admission alone made it imposable for us to prove which chemical or combination of chemicals actually did the dirty work. I believe that because all governments and scientific instructions involved have been laying the blame for all of the chemicals used on Agent Orange and more specifically on the TCDD Dioxin within this particular chemical, that the courts could have and maybe should have ruled in our favour because the Governments and chemical companies had in fact set the president of this use of terms.
On the 24th of August, 2012, Three Agent Orange survivors arrived in Yokohama harbour and gave a press conference to many reporters from Japan and other countries from the area, including some of Japan’s most renowned reporters and media figures. I was interviewed by four of them separately there after before I boarded the Peace Boat, each of them telling me that they had no previous knowledge that Canada had anything to do with Agent Orange.
We then boarded the boat and went about departing and reacquainting ourselves with other Agent Orange Activists and survivors, many of who I have been dealing with for years but had not yet met, some new and many friends form past Rainbow chemical projects. I must admit that we as Guest Teachers were treated like gold and we each received a private cabin with window and private bathroom, but we were also received by the over 1,000 people on the Boat as somewhat special, and treated with great respect.
I had gone on this project with the assumption that between 30 and 50 students would be the class size that we would present our stories to and was somewhat surprised when were shown the room which we would be giving our presentations in, as it could hold around 600 people comfortably and later realized that there were very few if any seats empty when we did present out material. We had five 75 minute scheduled presentations and one Question and Answer period of just over one hour. To my surprise and delight we packed the house at each presentation and Q&A period. What’s more because of the quality of the questions asked and because of the people stopping us around the boat and commenting or asking further questions, there is no doubt that we were actually listened to and what is more, understood.
We had a team of four excellent and permanently assigned to our presentations translators Called CC’s and we also ended up with about a dozen volunteer workers called, “Misapas,” who’s jobs were to advertise, organize both students and other interested parties to attend our lectures and Power Point presentations, and to work on projects to involve the people aboard ship between lectures. I say excellent translators because they didn’t only translate the words but the feelings, the concepts and the actual meanings of what we were trying to say. The first two days aboard ship they took their time and talked to us to figure out what we wished to portray in our presentations, and therefore sometimes had to talk longer in order to explain then just translating the actual words we had spoken.
Our Power Point and verbal presentations had been sent to the Peace Boat weeks before so that they could translate and add sub titles to our Power Point presentations.
I was interview a further six times by different reporters (translators always present) and also gave a filmed interview for the Peace Boat files and for future advertisement, and again I was continually told that they were shocked and surprised at Canada’s participation or involvement with these chemicals.
DaNang Vietnam.
Once we left Yokohama Port we were on our way to DaNang Vietnam however after the first day out we hit the Typhoon which we were actually trying to get by before it hit and had to turn far off of our course ending some 500 miles off our route and adding one full day to our trip. We spent around 72 hours in this typhoon although it was probably because there was another much larger one right behind the first one, and arrived in DaNang one full day and a couple of hours late on the 31st of August. Our team then proceeded to take a trip out of town to one of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) locations, where the vice President Of VAVA greeted us where gave yet another press conference for the Vietnamese media. We were then take to our hotels or to the airport depending on where we were going next.
A day later we received a message from the Peace Boat that Vietnam English TV wanted to interview us on air of TV, but in Hanoi. To of us were as luck would have it in Hanoi and were able to be interview, however I was still in DaNang doing some research of my own and talking to people. I let the Vietnam TV know that I would make myself available to them in DaNang, however then wanted to get me on a talk show and so they suggested that I let them know when I was going to be next in Hanoi and that they would centre a program around my story.
Overview Of my Peace Boat # 77 experience.
View album    
Peace Boat # 77 the AO voyage.
This album has 4 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 11/12/2012.
View album    View album    View album         
Picture #1 The four Peace Boat # 77, Agent Orange Guest Teachers.
Picture #2 Heather Bowser, Myself and Jenna Mack (Miss California and Miss Heart of the US) Press conference Yokohama Japan before boarding Peace Boat # 77.
Picture #3 Myself giving my Oral and Power Point Presentation aboard Peace Boat # 77.
Picture #4 Our Peace Boat # 77, Agent Orange Presentation team.
I have nothing bad to say about the Peace Boat, and in fact it is probably the most rewarding experience I have ever had when it comes to Agent Orange or any of the rest of these chemicals. It felt good to have not only a very large audience but people who were interested in listening to what we had to say. However it left me wondering what the heck is wrong with Canadians, when people from Japan are more interested in what happened in CFB Gagetown to Canadian Soldiers and civilians alike, then our own citizens do, when the Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean media are both more interested and willing to publish our story then our own Canadian Media.
All in all I would do it again at the drop of a hat.

Kenneth H. Young CD
3205 Telescope Terrace
Nanaimo, BC V9T-3V4

Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada
Our Duty
Veterans Of Canada
NATO Veterans Organization of Canada