Resist the us traitors - both buddhists and catholics are united as one
One of the iconic photographs of the Vietnam War is of a monk ablaze, yet sitting cross-legged and serene, as depicted in this image. The image of Lam Van Tuc, the Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk, who burnt himself to death at a busy intersection in Saigon on 11 June 1963, is on first impression, perhaps a surprising subject to be depicted in a collection of propaganda posters firmly rooted in Marxist/Leninist ideolog.
This event shocked Vietnam and reverberated around the world, arousing profound disquiet at a grass-roots level across political lines.
The heavy-handed repression of the Buddhist community by the Diem regime in South Vietnam was the catalyst for Lam Van Tuc s act of self sacrifice. The monk s self-immolation led to an even more violent repression of the Buddhist community and an infamous, and ultimately extremely damaging, utterance by the surrogate First Lady of South Vietnam, Madam Ngo Dinh Nhu, the wife of Diem s younger brother and chief adviser- on learning of the monk s death and inspired, it would seem, by Marie Antoinette s attitude towards her adopted people in France, Madam Ngo said that she would clap hands at seeing another monk barbecue show.
President Diem was later the victim of a coup and assassinated alongside his brother and Madam Ngo in November of the same year in circumstances that are still debated among historians of the period and those who study the Kennedy Administration.