Saturday, April 18, 2015

My 100th Post: Part 2 (Thích Quảng Đức and the Burning Monk statue)

I know that part two of my 100th post is technically my 101st post, but I had a lot to say in order to celebrate 100 and it was easier to split them up. 

That being said, this post is a little Wikipedia heavy and picture-lite because I feel like they explain it better than I ever could, despite having taken Meredith Lair's excellent class on The Vietnam War at George Mason University. I don't know if you've ever heard of The Burning Monk statue in HCMC, but I hadn't either until I got there. I didn't know where it was, but I was driving through downtown on my way home from planning at school on a Friday when I realised I was at the intersection where Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire to protest Ngo Dinh Diem's treatment of Buddhist monks.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
'Thích Quảng Đức[1] (1897 – 11 June 1963, born Lâm Văn Túc), was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963.[2] Quang Duc was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngô Đình Diệm. Photographs of his self-immolation were circulated widely across the world and brought attention to the policies of the Diệm government. John F. Kennedy said in reference to a photograph of Duc on fire, "No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one."[3] Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the monk's death.[4][5]
Quang Duc's act increased international pressure on Diệm and led him to announce reforms with the intention of mollifying the Buddhists. However, the promised reforms were not implemented, leading to a deterioration in the dispute. With protests continuing, theARVN Special Forces loyal to Diệm's brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, launched nationwide raids on Buddhist pagodas, seizing Quang Duc's heart and causing deaths and widespread damage. Several Buddhist monks followed Quang Duc's example, also immolating themselves. Eventually, an Army coup toppled Diệm, who was assassinated on 2 November 1963."

Here are pictures I took:

I also found an article on Thought Catalog that published the original photos that Malcolm Browne took. There's also a video. They're both very graphic so be forewarned. 

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