Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Kim Phúc

36 years ago this month Nick Út (Huỳnh Công Út) took one of the most memorable war photographs ever:

 Kim Phúc
It shows a young and burned child (Kim Phúc) running naked on the street as soldiers who are close by seemingly pay her little attention.

It’s the sort of picture that should be a wake up call to presidents that have no idea of the carnage they are causing from behind their heavy wooden desks.

But Nixon doubted the veracity of the photograph and thought the picture was “fixed”.

And many years later the lesson was still not learnt as Bush bombed Baghdad. No napalm this time around, but the deaths of children were real enough.

And as for the photographer Nick Út?

Well, in a bizarre twist of fate, he is the one who took the famous photos of a crying Paris Hilton exactly 35 years after the Phúc photo. But unlike Phúc, Paris Hilton wasn’t crying because her skin had been burnt off by napalm but because she was being taken to the Los Angeles County jail. Lucky for her.

Note: During the course of the Vietnam war, nearly 400,000 tonnes of napalm, a jellied petroleum substance which burns intensely, was used by the US, along with millions of gallons of Agent Orange. They were sprayed across the country to destroy forest cover used by guerillas. It resulted in not only people being killed or maimed for life, but also vast swathes of forests were destroyed. And the American government thinks it takes the moral high ground. WTF!