Mail Online, August 29, 2012
The phone calls went out from Saigon’s Xa-Loi Buddhist pagoda to chosen members of the foreign news corps. The message: Be at a certain location tomorrow for a ‘very important’ happening.
The next morning, June 11, 1963, an elderly monk named Thich Quang Duc, clad in a brown robe and sandals, assumed the lotus position on a cushion in a blocked-off street intersection. Aides drenched him with aviation fuel, and the monk calmly lit a match and set himself ablaze.
Of the foreign journalists who had been alerted to the shocking political protest against South Vietnam’s U.S.-supported government, only one, Malcolm Browne of The Associated Press, showed up.
The photos he took appeared on front pages around the globe and sent shudders all the way to the White House, prompting President John F. Kennedy to order a re-evaluation of his administration’s Vietnam policy.
‘We have to do something about that regime,’ Kennedy told Henry Cabot Lodge, who was about to become U.S. ambassador to Saigon. Continue reading