Posted in 1. June 2022, 13:17
This is one of the most memorable scenes of the 20th century: Nick Ut presses the shutter button when a Vietnamese village is attacked with napalm.
One of the most memorable recordings of the 20th century was made 50 years ago. Phan Thi Kim Phuc with a photo of her as a child.
Only IMAGO / photo
Nick Ut pulls the trigger when a Vietnamese village is attacked with napalm.
“This picture still reminds me that I lost my childhood,” she recently said in an audience with Pope Francis, for which she and her good friend Ut traveled to the Vatican.
A young girl, naked and screaming, runs straight towards the photographer. He presses the shutter button – and in the blink of an eye he captures the great horror of the Vietnam War on film. “Terror of War” – the title of the recording – is still one of the most important depictions of the violence and cruelty to which civilians are exposed during the war five decades later. Nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc has become a symbol burned into global memory.
The central element in the composition of the painting is the torment of the girl in the middle of the stage. Her cousin in the foreground, the other children are also part of the family. In the background, soldiers and thick clouds of smoke. Another factor that makes this image so moving with its iconic effect is the happy ending, according to photography expert Michael Ebert, who teaches at the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal. Because Kim Phuc survived.
The plane dropped four napalm bombs
When on June 8, 1972, the South Vietnamese army mistakenly shelled the village of Trang Bang, some 40 kilometers northwest of what was then Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), the withdrawal of allied US troops from the country was in full swing.
Photographer Nick Ut is in place. At that time, the 21-year-old Vietnamese worked for six years for the American news agency Associated Press (AP). Shortly before his scheduled return to Saigon, “I saw a plane drop four napalm bombs,” he wrote decades later in the US magazine Newsweek.
People, some of whom have dead children in their arms, run towards him. Including Kim Phuc. “I was wondering why she wasn’t wearing any clothes,” recalls Ut. “But when I got closer to her and took pictures, I could see how badly she was burned.” The photographer and his colleagues from other media took up to 15 seconds to help the children. Sam Ut takes the girl and the others to the hospital.
The girl now works as a Peace Ambassador
The photo is printed in the evening newspapers, and the next day it is on the front page of the New York Times. It was later awarded the “Press Photo of the Year” title, and Ut also received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In early 2021, US President Donald Trump will award him the National Medal of Art.
Kim Phuc suffered third degree burns to one half of her body during this time. Must stay in hospital for 14 months. Today, the 59-year-old works, among others as a peace ambassador to the United Nations. He has been living in Canada since the early 1990s.
“This picture still reminds me that I lost my childhood,” she recently said in an audience with Pope Francis, for which she and her good friend Ut traveled to the Vatican. “I am no longer a victim of the war. I am a mother, a grandmother and a survivor crying for peace. “
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(lea / dpa)