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Thich Quang Duc Analysis

Decent Essays
On the morning of June 11th 1963, in the Vietnamese town of Saigon, a Buddhist monk by the name of Thich Quang Duc engaged himself in one of the most famous cases of self immolation in modern history. Photographer Malcolm Browne captured Duc’s final moments in his iconic photo that earned him a Pulitzer prize as the World Press Photo of the Year in 1963, and forever changed the way the American public viewed the escalating crisis between the Vietnamese communists and the Buddhist monks (Browne 179). Former President Kennedy said, regarding this photograph, that “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one” (Browne 175). This quote certainly sums up the impact of Duc’s final push against the oppressive Vietnamese regime, and explains why this photograph is still praised today.
To truly understand the message that Thic Quang Duc made in his statement, it is important to understand the historical context behind this photograph.
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Buddhist monks became unhappy with the way their leader was treating them, and soon turned to drastic measures in order to finally have their voice heard (Browne 192). It is at this point where the skills of war journalist Malcolm Browne comes into play. Browne describes his first interaction with the event that happened on the main street of Saigon as a phone call that happened on Monday, June 10th, one day before the self immolation. Browne received this call from a Buddhist monk named Thich Duc Nghiep who told him to come to a meeting that was to be held the following morning, because “...something very important may happen”(Browne 175). Something important did indeed happen, and we may be thankful that Malcolm Browne did decide to attend that day. If he had not, we would not have the famous photograph that was plastered all around the
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