Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Phan Thi Kim Phuc

So it goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I often dismiss this maxim. A thousand words written by a talented writer may easily surpass an image. A thousand words rumbling around in my brain, disambiguating, can reveal a depth of truth deeper than any image. For me, word trumps image. I’ve stubbornly dug my heels into the dirt: words win.

Then an image dilates my pupils and I stand corrected, awestruck by the indescribable emotion of an image. One particular image that trumps any mountain of words, is the 1972 Pulitzer winning photograph of nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc. That photograph was taken June 8, 1972 shortly after Kim’s village was bombed and napalm burned her clothing from her body. This photograph made Kim a vivid victim of war to the international community and a propaganda symbol for the Vietnamese government. She now resides in Ontario and leads a remarkable life. Denise Chong’s The Girl in the Picture: the Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War tells Kim’s story.

Other books that discuss children and war:

The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam

And Still Peace Did Not Come: a Memoir of Reconciliation

Clara’s War: One Girl’s Story of Survival

Hidden Children of the Holocaust

Courageous Journey: Walking the Lost Boys’ Path from Sudan to America

No comments: