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The Rediff Special/Jane Fonda

March 08, 2004

Jane Fonda's was perhaps the loudest voice against the Vietnam war.

Long before the anti-war movement gathered momentum across college campuses in the US and eventually drew thousands to its cause in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Henry Fonda's daughter had vociferously condemned American intervention in Indo-China, earning her admiration and abuse in equal measure.

In 1972, she made a controversial trip to North Vietnam -- earning the sobriquet 'Hanoi Jane' -- and accusations of treason. Even though she apologised for that journey in an interview to Barbara Walters 16 years after she traveled to Hanoi, some Vietnam veterans and right-wingers found it difficult to forgive her.

Still a hate figure for conservatives in America, Fonda has kept a low profile on America's intervention in Iraq, which many have compared to the Vietnam war.

In this first person piece exclusive to rediff.com, Jane Fonda explains her stand on the Iraq war.

I have been very opposed to our going to war in Iraq. But because I am so controversial the general feeling among those who were opposed to the war was that it would not help the cause for me to be centrally identified with the anti-Iraq war movement. I carry a lot of baggage. That is why I did not come forward publically.

["But you did come forward, you signed a letter, playwright Eve Ensler interrupts.]

It was not at the level at which I opposed the war in Vietnam.

The Bush administration has done a good job -- well, he said you are either for us or you are against us. You either support what I am doing or you are unpatriotic -- and I think that has scared a lot of people. But as time has gone by and we have seen what a terrible mistake has been made in the sense that we have not been prepared to bring peace to Iraq, we have not been prepared to bring security to Iraq, more and more people are coming forward with more courage to say this is wrong.

[Both Ensler and actress Marisa Tomei say the huge demonstrations in the US were not reported.]

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects is that military personnel and their families are opposed to it and have been part of those demonstrations. Just like the whole GI movement in the Vietnam veterans movement to oppose the war was sort of written out of history, the press also did not focus on the number of veterans who were opposing what Bush is doing in Iraq.

As told to Archana Masih

Photograph: Jewella C Miranda

Image: Dominic Xavier


The Rediff Specials


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