Brother Quy will be missed
Our dear brother and friend, Nguyen Van Quy, a member of the second Vietnam Agent Orange Justice delegation, died yesterday in Hai Phong, Vietnam, at the age of 52 from Agent Orange-related illnesses.
Many of you remember Quy from his visit to New York, California, Midland, Mich., Chicago and Washington, D.C. He was a veteran of the People’s Army of Vietnam who served along the Ho Chi Minh Trail from 1972 to 1975.
He is survived by his wife, Vu Thi Loan, and his children: son, Nguyen Quang Trung, and daughter, Nguyen Thi Thuy Nga, both of whom are severely physically and developmentally disabled.
Quy knew he was in the terminal stage of cancer when he came to the U.S., and his dedication, heroism and passion for justice in the face of tremendous suffering is deeply moving.
Quy was a mass leader and Communist Party activist in his community and spoke about his work to ensure a better life for the people, and particularly the youth. He was also very knowledgeable about revolutionary and Marxist theory and practice, which he generously discussed with me during the trip.
A true internationalist, Quy was interested in our movements for peace and justice here in the U.S., asking many questions and kindly sharing his suggestions and ideas for strengthening our movements.
Quy was also a good cook — the day before the delegation left, he cooked Canh Chua (Vietnamese sweet and sour fish soup) for us. Not only was he skilled in household matters, but he treated the women he worked with on the trip with a high level of respect and equality.
Quy had a sweetness and honesty along with a great sense of humor. He also had a great sense of optimism and the spirit of a revolutionary fighter. Despite being at the end stage of cancer, he was determined to use his last ounce of strength in fighting for the justice to which he dedicated his life.
His absence is a great loss to all of us. I miss him.
Nguyen Van Quy’s death means that we all have to work harder to take his place in the struggle for justice!
New York NY
Merle Ratner is co-coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign. For more information: .
Air travel? A revolting experience
Flying into O’Hare Airport in Chicago on United, then out on American Airlines, has fully convinced me that the discomfort of passengers, above and beyond those necessary security procedures, surely must have millions prepared to wage a determined campaign for Air Travel Liberation Now! Travel by air should not be a torture session. I long for those good old days when seats were wider, with enough space to permit you to recline your seat and not cause the passenger to your rear to loudly protest your intrusion into their space.
Forget about ordering the Kosher meal, a much better value then the plain meal. Now just picture a tin of sardines, without the olive oil, but with little arms attempting to relax their bodies yet concerned their hand might fall on someone’s thigh.
Groaning and apologizing for bumping someone as we exited the torture chamber in Tampa, I thought how different this all will be, wider seats, well-spaced and comfortable, operated exclusively by our nonprofit National Airline. People power can make it a reality.
Saint Petersburg FL
Remembering Vilma Espin
Reading the tribute to Vilma Espin brought back many memories of a time and place I had
almost forgotten. As a child of suburbia of the 1950s, I had romantic daydreams of fighting with Che and the Castro brothers in the hills of Cuba.
As soon as I was out of school I headed to Havana to pick sugar cane for the revolution. It was exhausting backbreaking work, with none of the romance and intrigue I had hoped for.
Then Vilma Espin came to see us and talk with us. My world changed forever. This woman had lived my dreams but she was so much more as she embodied the ability of women to live and work as equals in a man’s world. I grew up at a time when women had no say except what to fix for dinner, so this was something new and wonderful.
Vilma Espin went on to accomplish many great things for both Cuba and women worldwide. I never fought in a revolution but I took back with me a new understanding of myself and my place in the world. This lady from Cuba taught me I could attain anything I set my mind to.
Organizing support for HR 676
I must tell you about the most exhilarating political experience I’ve had since the 2006 elections. A group of us came up with the idea of getting a card printed addressed to our congresswoman, Rep. Heather Wilson. On the address side was the simple statement: “I want national, universal single-payer health care to be passed and enacted! Vote for HR 676 (Medicare for All Act).” Then there were lines for the sender’s name and address.
The other side of the card had a picture taken from the PWW pamphlet “Medicare for All,” showing a woman holding a sign saying, “I’m a Health Care Voter!”
We decided to be bold and have 1,000 printed. Some of us planned to go into the theater where “Sicko” was showing and hand these out to the people as they came in. Our plan succeeded beyond our wildest dreams! At the theater where my husband and I handed them out, people not only took the cards for themselves, but for others, and thanked us warmly. One theatergoer approached us and said he wanted to show his appreciation by buying us refreshments — anything we wanted! We settled for soda and water, and he brought that.
Others did the same thing at another theater, and had warm receptions every time, with the result that the 1,000 cards are almost completely gone, and we are ordering another 1,000.
The film is so convincing and riveting that we are sure that most people who took the cards will actually mail them.
We recommend that activists working for passage of HR 676 try this technique. It works.
Rio Rancho NM
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