National Geographic : 1989 Nov
Burned into the world's memory Protestinggovernment persecution of Buddhists, Thich Quang Due, a 73 year-old monk from Hue, immolated himself on June 11, 1963, in Saigon (right). Malcolm W. Browne ofthe Asso ciated Press took this photograph, which dominated newspaper front pages around the world the next morning. Bud dhist leaders delivered a funeral address beside Quang Duc's remains, then asked for assistance from the U. S. military personnel advising South Vietnam. Restricted in receipt of donations and in land ownership by the French, who ruled Vietnam from 1884 to 1954, the Buddhists saw little improvement in their status under Roman Catholic Pres ident Ngo Dinh Diem. In August four more monks immolated themselves. "Let them burn," responded Madame Nhu, Diem's sister-in-law, "andwe shall clap our hands." Troops directed by her hus band attacked pagodas on August 21, arresting more than a thousand people. Madame Nhu'sfather, the government's ambassadorin Washington,quit in pro test. U. S. supportfor Diem dissolved, and on November 2 Diem and his brotherwere killed in a military coup. Although some 30 monks and nuns eventually burned themselves, Quang Duc's death was the first and therefore the most shocking. At his home pagoda of Thien Mu, the monk who doused him with gasoline displays the historicphoto graphon the windshield of the car that had carriedthem throughSaigon.