Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Death Through A Lens

Mr and Mrs Loan in 1976

Nguyen Ngoc Loan wasn't famous for the hamburgers, pizza or Vietnamese food he served at his restaurant in the suburbs of Washington DC. After having a little trouble getting into the country he was allowed in to pursue the American dream which was still a real thing back then.

US Immigration and Nationalization Services wanted to deport him but Pulitzer prize winning Photojournalist Eddie Adams spoke up for him. 

This image of Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner Nguyen Van Lem that Adams took gave them reason to question letting him in. 

He was Brigadier General Nguyen Ngoc Loan at the time in 1968. Lem was a squad leader thought to be responsible for the murder of at least 30 civilians found in a mass grave. He also killed the wife and 6 children of a friend of Loan. 

Experts say the photo was taken at the exact moment the bullet entered Lem's little brain. Adams didn't think he was going to shoot him he thought he was just going to intimidate him or something. SURPRISE!  

Loan played an important role in the Tet Offensive keeping the troops together and preventing the fall of Saigon.  What he said after the shooting was, "If you hesitate, if you didn't do your duty, the men won't follow you." 

And that was why the skinny dying fucker was a General. Sometimes there is strength in showing mercy but if some fucker kills a load of men, women and children then kill him, he deserves worse. It was probably a better quicker death than he had given most of his victims.    

Loan was a hero for fucks sake. In the US rich men had bone spurs and there were riots about the war itself. You don't have to agree about the war but Loan was defending his homeland. 

Adams said that the General killed Lem and that he and his camera killed the General.  Word got out that it was Loan running the restaurant and business went down hill. While Adams had a career that won him over 500 awards, Loan was forced into retirement.  He died in 1998 from cancer. Adams himself died in 2004 from Lou Gehrig's disease. 

The picture is harsh and brutal to anyone that has lived a soft life and have never had to fight for survival. If it hadn't been taken no one would know and it would have gone along with the rest of the stuff people manage to never see. It still happens though whether there is a camera there or not. 

Who knows what your local restaurant owner, mechanic or plumber might of had to do to survive in another life.    

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