Subject: The Photograph of Kim Phúc that Changed History
From: Alex Kemp
Date: Thursday, 29 October 2015 02:10:05 +0000
To: Oliver Kemp, Micaela Kemp, Liisa Kemp, Davin Kemp (Radio 5 Live clip)

I think that it is fair to say that, once the photo below left was published, that the USA was going to abandon the Vietnam War. It simply took the politicians & the military another 3 years to be forced to accept reality.

Kim Phúc running from a Napalm bomb attack, Trang Bang, South Vietnam, June 8, 1972, and (right) today 2015

Phan Thị Kim Phúc (born 2 April 1963) lived with her family in the village of Trang Bang, South Vietnam. Her country was at war with communist North Vietnam (the Vietnam War) and on 8 June 1972 a group of North Vietnamese forces had attacked & overrun their village. Kim Phúc & some other children & villagers were amongst a group of South Vietnamese soldiers that were attempting to reach the safety of South Vietnamese-held positions. A South Vietnamese pilot (so he said) mistook the group for the enemy & dropped a napalm bomb on them.

Napalm is, essentially, sticky petrol, and a glorious example of how the military will always use the latest technology in support of it’s heartfelt desire to efficiently annihilate as many human beings as possible. It was developed by the USA in 1942 & first used in WW2 against buildings. Later, it was realised to be most efficient as an anti-personnel (human beings) weapon, and was used in that way in the Korean & Vietnam Wars.

Kim Phúc managed to survive (some others did not), but the back of her clothes were on fire, so she tore them off. It was whilst she was running down the road shouting Nóng quá, nóng quá ("too hot, too hot") that AP photographer Nick Ut took his iconic photographs of her. It made the front page of the New York Times the next day, won a Pulitzer Prize and was chosen as the World Press Photo of the Year for 1972.

Nick took Kim Phúc and the other injured children to Barsky Hospital in Saigon; the doctors declared that she was unlikely to survive. They were wrong.

In later life Kim Phúc claimed--and received--asylum in Canada.

In 2015 Kim Phúc has been offered--and accepted--treatment free-of-charge from Doctor Jill Waibel, who is treating Kim at the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. That will involve 7 sets of laser treatment intended to smooth and soften pale thick scar tissue which ripples from her left hand up her arm, up her neck to her hairline, and down her back (picture top right). It is hoped the treatments will also relieve the deep aches and pains from her burns which Kim Phúc has suffered from daily from inception at 9 years old to this day.

Alex Kemp