|June 8, 1972: Kim Phúc, age 9, near Trang Bang after being burned by napalm|
(photo by Nick Ut / The Associated Press)
I want to share this moving poem by Veterans for Peace co-founder Doug Rawlings here. I have been pasting it in as the perfect comment on social media rah-rah "patriotism" around Armistice Day.
THE GIRL IN THE PICTURE
for Phan Thi Kim Phúc
"Whatever you run from becomes your shadow."-- traditional
If you're a namvet, a survivor of sorts,she'll come for you across the decadescasting a shadow in the dying light of your dreams,naked and nine, terror in her eyes
Of course you will have to ignore her --if you wish to survive over the years --but then your daughters will turn nineand then your granddaughters nine
As the shadows lengthen.
So, you will have no choice on that one nightscreaming down the Ridge Road, lights off,under a full moon, she standing in the middle of the road,still naked and nine, terror in her eyes
Now you must stop to pick her up, to carry her backhome to where she came from, to that gentlevillage where the forgiving and the forgivengather at high noon. There are no shadows.
-- Doug Rawlings
The burnt children just keep piling up while the U.S. taxpayer funding it all looks to the flag and pretends not to see what wars are doing to our soul.
Afghanistan is the war the corporate party candidates ignored. But those whose babies are burnt by it are well aware of what 13+ years of U.S. military presence has done there.
Napalm burns did not kill Kim, although they were expected to. She grew up and became a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO. In 1996 she had the opportunity to meet the pilot who coordinated the bombing of her village; she forgave him.
Here she is with her family.
Kim Phúc survived her trauma but many of the U.S. soldiers who came home with moral injuries from their participation in the war in Vietnam went on to suffer from drug addiction, homelessness and suicide. Many veterans have reported feeling especially horrible when people call them heroes. Even if they were drafted as teenagers, their guilt is overwhelming, and they often have not survived it.
The only winners in war are the profiteers who make money from it. Why do you think corporate media outlets work so hard to make every child in the U.S. "thank" veterans?
Here's what little kids were coloring at my school this week:
The saddest thing is it's likely no one will ever teach them that November 11 was originally celebrated because it marked the end of a horrific war that devastated millions.
The war in Vietnam is now undergoing a similar revision of history as the baby boomers who lived its truth die off. Veterans for Peace has created Full Disclosure as a resource for those interested in knowing the truth. And, if you happen to be in Maine today, you have the opportunity to hear the story of a VFP member, Vietnam vet S. Brian Wilson, and his heroic work for peace in the decades since he lost both legs.