The iconic shot was taken in 1963 by photographer Malcolm Brown. For this work, the photographer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and recognized as the best world press photo of the year.
The Buddhist monk who committed a public act of suicide in protest of the oppression of Buddhism was named Thich Quang Duc. At that time, the first Vietnamese president, Ngo Dinh Diem, pursued a policy of ousting the religion of Buddhism from the country.
At the same time, a photographer from the New York edition of the Associated Press, Malcolm Brown, received a call and was informed that on the morning of June 11 he should appear at a specified location in Saigon. It was reported that a great and historically significant event was to take place there.
The photographer arrived at the specified location exactly on time, taking with him a reporter from the New York Times. Soon a blue “Austin” appeared on the street, from which a group of monks came out, among them was the same Thich Quang Duc. He calmly sat down on the ground in a lotus position, holding a box of matches in his hands. The monks took a can of gasoline and doused Thich Kuang Duc’s body with it, then the monk himself lit a match, and soon his body was burning with a bright flame. The most amazing fact in this whole story is that during the process of self-immolation, the monk was remarkably calm. He didn’t utter a single word or even change his posture. Only after his body was completely burned did it drop dead. But as it turned out, the monk’s heart did not burn, and now it is considered a relic of Buddhism. As well as the blue “Austin”, which brought the monks to Saigon.
As it turned out, shortly before the incident, the monk who committed self-immolation sent a letter to the President of Vietnam asking him to stop the widespread repression of Buddhists, not to detain the monks and give them the right to quietly preach their religion. However, there was no response to the letter. And after this terrible performance of the wife of the President’s brother was made on the city street, Madame Niu said that she was very upset because she could not see how the monk Thich Quang Duc was burning, but she would gladly “clap her hands “on another burning of Buddhists.