Raising awareness of the damage caused by defoliant and poison gas

by Miho Kuwajima, Staff Writer

An Iranian doctor who has provided support to the victims of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and a U.S. veteran of the Vietnam War (1960-1975) met in Hiroshima on August 6, with others, and agreed to work together to raise greater awareness of the damage caused by war. The group plans to share the experience of the victims of chemical defoliant and poison gas and organize exhibitions on this theme.

Among the four who came to Hiroshima to attend the Peace Memorial Ceremony are Dr. Shahriar Khateri, 37, from Teheran; Mike Boehm, 60, from Madison in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, who has offered support to the victims of Son My, a village which suffered a mass killing during the Vietnam War; and Phan Van Do, 57, from Hanoi.

They intend to film sufferers of defoliant and poison gas speaking about their experiences, interview these participants, and post their accounts, with video clips, on a website. They also hope to hold exhibitions in various countries, working closely with A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima.

Dr. Khateri is the director of international relations at the Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support (SCWVS), an NGO based in Teheran. “Little is known about the damage caused by chemical weapons,” Dr. Khateri remarked. “I would like to network with the victims of the Vietnam War and stir public opposition to war.”

(Originally published on August 7, 2008)