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Parade to welcome Vietnam veterans opposed


26 April, 2001.
MEDIA RELEASE:

Parade to welcome Vietnam veterans opposed.

Auckland City Council tonight agreed to a request from the joint armed services for a "Right of Charter" to be granted on 23 June, 2001. It is proposed that this Civic Parade will incorporate a welcome to the veterans of the Vietnam War. The resolution was opposed by Cr Maire Leadbeater.

" I have compassion for the Vietnam War veterans both for the suffering they experienced during the war itself and for the suffering they have been subjected to because of the aftermath of agent orange. Those who volunteered were no doubt sincere in their motivation to 'serve their country'. "

"But what about the Vietnamese people? Most people now concede this was an unjust war and that the Vietnamese people were defending both their country and their right to determine their own destiny. During 21 years of conflict from 1954 to 1975 at least 3 million Vietnamese people were killed. How are they to view this 'welcome parade'. Who will remember their dead, their agent orange deformed children and their devastated country?"

"Until we have honoured the Vietnamese people and their brave resistance to a war of aggression, and apologised to them for the wrong we did to them we should not consider holding a 'welcome parade' for our veterans. "

"This war was finally brought to an end because of two key factors: the strength of the Vietnamese resistance and the strength of the international anti-war movement."

"I mean no disrespect to the veterans but this is a case of first things first and the scars of this war will not heal until the wrongs of the past are acknowledged."

for further information: Maire Leadbeater 09-376-9098, cell phone 025-436-957

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