Go Darke

Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it

History

Summary execution

I often think about this iconic, Pulitzer prize winning photo.

Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams was on the streets of Saigon on February 1, 1968, two days after the forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong set off the Tet offensive and swarmed into dozens of South Vietnamese cities. As Adams photographed the turmoil, he came upon Brigadier General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, standing alongside ­Nguyen Van Lem, the captain of a North Vietnamese unit who had just killed the family of one of Loan’s friends.

Loan pulled out his .38 special revolver and shot Lem in the head in the middle of the street.

A clear war crime.

It should be noted that Lém was in civilian clothes and was alleged to have just cut the throats of South Vietnamese Lt Col Nguyen Tuan, his wife, their six children and the officer’s 80-year-old mother.

Interesting Eddie Adams, stayed in contact with Loan after the war. Loan moved to America and opened a restaurant and eventually died of cancer at age 67.

After his death, Adams praised him: “The guy was a hero. America should be crying. I just hate to see him go this way, without people knowing anything about him.”

Eddie Adams wrote a eulogy to Loan in Time magazine

I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. What the photograph didn’t say was, “What would you do if you were the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers?

I wonder what I would have done… its quite possible that could have been me. And that worries me.

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5 Comments

  1. Professor Taboo

    at

    This photo and blog-post reminded me of a powerful, outstanding documentary I watched not long ago on Netflix. It was called Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz. Have you by chance seen it? When I could finally pick my jaw up off the floor at the end of the documentary, I realized in several unknown, ignorant ways that I have been and still am… an Accessory to war-crimes, or mass shootings, or all sorts of hate-crimes if I continue to be a member on and by default support Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any media-platform that continue to allow these sorts of crimes on their stage-medium without policing it and the content. Benjamin Ferencz had helped me realize that I was no different than any Nazi SS guard or book-keeper nearby watching other SS soldiers shoot mothers and their children or bashing in the heads of Jewish infants on the side of a wall or German half-ton truck until the baby stopped crying. Ferencz helped me realize that standing by watching and doing nothing is indeed, in most all legal courtrooms like Nuremberg, being an Accessory to the crime(s).

    If you haven’t watched the documentary, I highly recommend it Sir.

    1. Jo

      at

      I’ve never even heard of this movie. Sounds like its right up alley… I am definitely going to check it out.

      You echo my own philosophical musings down to a tee… eh… when I’m not philosophizing about why my naval lint is always blue I mean.

      We are all likely complicit… in mostly everything. From climate change to genocide. I often consider that if one were to add up my contributions to the world and subtract all that I have wrought upon it… that number would be substantially negative.

      Only the dead do no more damage. And at least feed the worms… unless you are cremated of course.

      1. Professor Taboo

        at

        You are so right about our ignorant/naive complicity. It always teaches me… DO YOUR DAMN HOMEWORK/LEGWORK on everything and everybody. Because no one else will do it for you, not with the same equity and impartiality. Much of the time it is DIY… Do It Yourself. 🙂

  2. erroneouschoices

    at

    Too many hot spots here to make my brain comment on, im nearly half past midnight and all cosy under sheets with something liquor on the rocks.
    But
    I love this post
    I love every thing you said. And didn’t say

    1. Jo

      at

      I’m glad to have you back… and that you like me again. (ha ha)

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