Thich Quang Duc needed to make a point and he needed the world to finally listen.
So, the Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk, who was very loudly protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government, made a decision. The last decision he would ever make for his cause.
And he would do it so that no one could ever deny knowing again.
On June 11th, 1963, Quang Duc walked silently into an intersection in Saigon. Two monks walked with him. One placed a cushion on the pavement while the other collected a five gallon gas can from the trunk of a nearby car.
Quang Duc sat down on the cushion in a meditative fashion and his colleague pour the gasoline over his head. Quang Duc then recited a prayer, working the beads that he held in his hands. When he was finished, he struck a match and set himself on fire.
And although onlookers gasped loudly, cried and moaned out in horror, Quang Duc did not move at all nor did a sound emanate from him. But the whole world heard him loud and clear this time! (pic credit – Wikipedia/Reddit)
John F. Kennedy from the United States of America would say of the image, “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.”
The photograph swept across the world and did indeed bring all eyes down upon the policies of the South Vietnamese, Ngo Dihn Diem, government.
Increased international pressure was put on Diệm and reforms were announced but ultimately never implemented, which lead to deaths and widespread damages. It would take several more monks immolating themselves before an army coup would over through Diem, who was assassinated November 2nd, 1963.