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July 19, 1972: Fonda on visit to Nam Dihn

FBIS Transcript #4:

Jane Fonda Reports on 18 July Visit to Nam Dihn

B210457 Hanoi in English to Europe, Africa and the Middle East 2000 GMT 19 Jul 72 B

U. S. warplanes have conducted savage airstrikes on Nam Dinh, North Vietnam's third largest city. The effects bear an extermination character. American actress Jane Fonda, now in North Vietnam, on July 18 visited the bombed city. Follows her address to American servicemen involved in the Vietnam War after visiting Nam Dinh.

((Follows recorded female voice with American accent b FBIS))

I was taken to all parts of the city. I saw with my own eyes that in this city which is the textile capital of Vietnam, there are no military targets.

I saw for example, on Hang Tien Street, bombed on the 23d of June, huge bomb craters which had destroyed houses in this very populated residential section of town. There were two women who were picking through the rubble left by the bombs and they came over and spoke to me. One of the women said that shebd been at the market when the bomb fell on the top of her house. Her house has been turned into a huge bomb crater. Her husband and three children were all killed. Her oldest son was 25 years old, her next oldest son had been 22, and her youngest son was 18. Three families in this area were entirely destroyed by the bombs.

As I walked through the streets, beautiful Vietnamese girls looked at me through the doors and returned my smile. Their eyes seemed to be questioning: How is it that the Americans can do this to our city? We have done nothing to them.

I saw a secondary school where 600 students from 5th to 7th grade had been in class. The school had been hit by two bombs.

I saw the center of a Chinese residential district, bombed -- three places -- houses razed to the ground.

The number 1 hospital of the city which had had 200 beds and it treated people from all over the city, large parts of it had been completely destroyed, particularly the pediat -- pediatrics department and the supply dep -- er -- department where the medicines had been kept.

The large factory, the textile factories of Nam Dinh, in charred ruins. No one isn't allowed to go in there because there are delayed reaction bombs.

I went to the dike, the dike system of the city of Nam Dinh. Just this morning at 4 o'clock, it was bombed again, and I was told that an hour after we left the city, planes came back and rebombed Nam Dinh. The dike in many places has been cut in half and there are huge fissures running across the top of it.

Again, I am talking about these things and I am describing to you what I am seeing on the ground because I think that you must not understand that the destruction is being caused to civilian populations and residential areas, to cultural centers. I saw the pagodas bombed in Nam Dinh. The area in which there are theaters where people come to rest, the recreation centers were all destroyed in Nam Dinh.

What are your commanders telling you? How are they justifying this to you? Have you any idea what your bombs are doing when you pull the levers and push the buttons?

Some day webre going to have to answer to our children for this war. Some day we are going to have to explain to the rest of the world how it is that we caused this type of suffering and death and destruction to a people who -- who have done us no harm. Perhaps we should start to do it now before it is, too late.

Perhaps, however, the most important thing that has to be said about Vietnam is that despite all that Nixon is doing here and that Johnson has done before him, despite all the bombs, the people are more determined than ever to fight.

Take Nam Dinh for example. There are people who are still living in Nam Dinh. The factories have been dispersed and they are still working. There is still electricity. People are going about their business.

Perhaps the most important thing that can be said about Vietnam at this time is that in spite of, or perhaps because of, the bombs and the destruction that has been caused by the Nixon administration and was caused by the Johnson administration before him to Vietnam, the resistance and the determination to resist has spread to every district, to every village, to every hamlet, to every house and to every Vietnamese heart.

This is very important to understand. Every man, woman and child in this country has a determination like a bright flame, burying them, strengthening their determination to go forward, to fight for freedom and independence.

And what interests me so much is that as an American, is that this is so much like the essence of the American people. The one unifying quality I believe about the American people, the common denominator that we all share, is the love for freedom and democracy. The problem is that the definition of, of freedom and democracy has been distorted for us and we have to redefine what that means. But the Vietnamese who have been fighting for 4,000 years know very well.

And as in Nam Dinh for example, all the rubble and all of the destruction has not stopped them. It is fascinating to see. There are people still living there, there is still electricity in the city. The factories have been dispersed, but it is still working. The textiles are still being produced. Families are still producing food for a ((?certainty)). They are still going to the markets, and they are still ready to pick up a gun if necessary and defend their homes and their land.

((Recording ends -- FBIS)

That was Jane Fonda's address to American servicemen involved in the Vietnam War after visiting U.S. bombed city of Nam Dinh.

Last Updated Thursday, June 19 2008 @ 01:10 PM MDT; 4,731 Hits View Printable Version