Eloquence

Viet Nam – An Execution Caught on Camera …

Posted on February 2, 2018. Filed under: American Thinkers, Eloquence, Personalities |

Eddie Adams’ iconic Vietnam War photo n What happened next.

Photo – journalist Eddie Adams captured one of the most famous images of the Vietnam War – the very instant of an execution during the chaos of the Tet Offensive. It would bring him a lifetime of glory – but as James Jeffrey writes, also of sorrow.

The snub-nosed pistol is already recoiling in the man’s outstretched arm as the prisoner’s face contorts from the force of a bullet entering his skull. To the left of the frame, a watching soldier seems to be grimacing in shock.

It’s hard to not feel the same repulsion, and guilt, with the knowledge one is looking at the precise moment of death. Ballistic experts say the picture – which became known as Saigon Execution – shows the microsecond the bullet entered the man’s head.

Eddie Adams’s photo of Brigadier General Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting a Viet Cong prisoner is considered one of the most influential images of the Vietnam War.

At the time, the image was reprinted around the world and came to symbolize for many the brutality and anarchy of the war. It also galvanized growing sentiment in America about the futility of the fight – that the war was unwinnable.

“There’s something in the nature of a still image that deeply affects the viewer and stays with them,” says Ben Wright, associate director for communications at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

The centre, based at the University of Texas at Austin, houses Adams’s archive of photos, documents and correspondence. “The film footage of the shooting, while ghastly, doesn’t evoke the same feelings of urgency and stark tragedy.”

But the photo did not – could not – fully explain the circumstances on the streets of Saigon on 1 February 1968, two days after the forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive. Dozens of South Vietnamese cities were caught by surprise.

Heavy street fighting had pitched Saigon into chaos when South Vietnamese military caught a suspected Viet Cong squad leader, Nguyen Van Lem, at the site of a mass grave of more than 30 civilians. Adams began taking photos as Lem was frogmarched through the streets to Loan’s jeep.

Loan stood beside Lem before pointing his pistol at the prisoner’s head. “I thought he was going to threaten or terrorise the guy,” Adams recalled afterwards, “so I just naturally raised my camera and took the picture.”

Lem was believed to have murdered the wife and six children of one of Loan’s colleagues. The general fired his pistol. “If you hesitate, if you didn’t do your duty, the men won’t follow you,” the general said about the suddenness of his actions.

Loan played a crucial role during the first 72 hours of the Tet Offensive, galvanising troops to prevent the fall of Saigon, according to Colonel Tullius Acampora, who worked for two years as the US Army’s liaison officer to Loan.

Adams said his immediate impression was that Loan was a “cold, callous killer”. But after travelling with him around the country he revised his assessment. “He is a product of modern Vietnam and his time,” Adams said in a dispatch from Vietnam.

By May the following year, the photo had won Adams a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography.

But despite this crowning journalistic achievement and letters of congratulation from fellow Pulitzer winners, President Richard Nixon and even school children across America, the photo would come to haunt Adams.

“I was getting money for showing one man killing another,” Adams said at a later awards ceremony. “Two lives were destroyed, and I was getting paid for it. I was a hero.”

Adams and Loan stayed in touch, even becoming friends after the general fled South Vietnam at the end of the war for the United States. But upon Loan’s arrival, US Immigration and Nationalization Services wanted to deport him, a move influenced by the photo.

They approached Adams to testify against Loan, but Adams instead testified in his favour. Adams even appeared on television to explain the circumstances of the photograph.

Congress eventually lifted the deportation and Loan was allowed to stay, opening a restaurant in a Washington, DC suburb serving hamburgers, pizza and Vietnamese dishes. An old Washington Post newspaper article photo shows an older smiling Loan sitting at the restaurant counter.

But he was eventually forced into retirement when publicity about his past soured business. Adams recalled that on his last visit to the restaurant he found abusive graffiti about Loan scrawled in the toilet.

Hal Buell, Adams’ Photo Editor at the AP, says the Saigon Execution still holds sway 50 years later because the photo, “in one frame, symbolizes the full war’s brutality”.

“Like all icons, it summarises what has gone before, captures a current moment and, if we are smart enough, tells us something about the future brutality all wars promise.”

And Buell says the experience taught Adams about the limits of a single photograph telling a whole story.

“Eddie is quoted as saying that photography is a powerful weapon,” Buell says. “Photography by its nature is selective. It isolates a single moment, divorcing that moment from the moments before and after that possibly lead to adjusted meaning.”

Adams went on to an expansive photography career, winning more than 500 photojournalism awards and photographing high-profile figures including Ronald Reagan, Fidel Castro and Malcolm X. But despite all he achieved after Vietnam, the moment of his most famous photograph would always remain with Adams.

“Two people died in that Photograph,” Adams wrote following Loan’s death from cancer in 1998. “The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera.”

.

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Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’ …

Posted on March 23, 2017. Filed under: Eloquence, Great Writing, Searching for Success |

Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, chose as his favorite, “Let My Country Awake” by Rabindranath Tagore.

Salil Shetty describes the poem as “a powerful call to action and a declaration of belief in achievable change”. Perhaps most moving, however, is his statement that the final phrase, “let my country awake”, could quite easily be replaced with, “let the world awake”.

The poem is “about universal aspirations” and improving ourselves and is a great source of inspiration and motivation.

“Let My Country Awake”

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

PS  Rabindranath Tagore was an admirer of Tolstoy’s humanism. However according to Tagore, “Everything about Tolstoy is filled with strength and energy and violence!”
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Who is the Greatest Person that History has Forgotten? – Quora …

Posted on September 30, 2016. Filed under: Eloquence |

One…………..  The world will little note nor long remember what we say or do here – but it can Never forget what They did here ………………

Two. ………  . Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness in the desert air. Full many a gem of the purest ray serene the dark unfathomed caves of oceans bear ………..

Three. ……… Is it not strange? – that of the myriads who have passed the Door of Darkness through, not one has returned to tell us of the road to learn about which we must travel too …….
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Three Words and Culture .. ….

Posted on November 5, 2015. Filed under: Eloquence, Guide Posts, Searching for Success |

These Three Words have Everything – Culture, Care, Courtesy, Consideration, Courage.

I will help ……… I am here …………. Count on Me;

Things are alright ….. Nothing to worry ….. I thank you;

Forgive me please……  You are right …… I am wrong;

I understand you; I respect you; I miss you; I love you;

Life is based on thoughtfulness. Culture shows consideration. It has quality and style. It exhibits gentleness, sweetness, politeness and kindness.

Anticipation is the Soul of Happiness. Everybody – specially wives and husbands – like attention. Neglect any and they will seek it elsewhere. Errors, mistakes, stupidity cannot be corrected by scolding and offensive action.

Charms are embellishments of manner, method, thought and feeling. They give power and advantage to those that possess them.

Charms enforce evenness of action and freedom from friction. They make one appear cool and free from embarrassment. When charm is strong, brain is strong.

Practice politeness as an art before the the high and low. Talk to the least of your fellow humans as if you believed them worthy. Become skilled in the art of etiquette and polished in good breeding.

Sympathy is a Quality of the Heart. Politeness is a Quality of the Mind and Muscles. Polish is the fairest of all accomplishments.

Alone or in company, take exacting care to behave and speak with the best culture. Diction should be free from coarseness and slang. Private refinement enriches the character.

Observe yourself and note the faults that will lesson the respect others may have for you.

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Jesus’ – Sermon on the Mount …

Posted on June 3, 2010. Filed under: Eloquence, The Good Book |

First. Jesus the Speaker  from TR Glover’s, ‘The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire’.

“What stamps the language of Jesus is its delicate ease, implying a sensibility to every real aspect of the matter in hand – a sense of mastery and peace’.

“Men marvelled at the charm of his words. The homely parable may in other hands be coarse enough, but the parables of Jesus have a quality about them after all these years that leaves one certain that he smiled as he spoke them’.

At the cost of a little study of human character and close reading of the synoptists and some careful imagination, it is possible to see him as he spoke – the flash of the eye, the smile on the lip, the gesture of the hand, all the natural expression of himself and his thought that a man unconsciously gives in speaking, when he has forgotten himself in his matter and his hearer – his physiognamy, in fact’.

“We realize very soon his complete mastery of various aspects of what he says. That he realizes every implication of his words is less likely, for there is a spontaneity about them – they are out of the abundance of his heart; the form is not studied; they are for the man and the moment. But they imply the speaker and his whole relationship to God and man – they cannot help implying this, and that is their charm. Living words, flashed out on the spur of the moment from the depths of him, they are the man’.

“It was not idly that the early Church used to say, ‘Remember the words of the Lord Jesus’. On any showing it is of importance to learn the mind of one whose speech is so full of life, and it is happily possible to do this from even the small collection we possess of his recorded sayings”.

Randomly selected quotes from Jesus’,  ‘Sermon on the Mount’.

“Blessed are the meek in spirit, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

He maketh his Sun to shine on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.

Behold the fowls of the air; they do not sow, and neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them.

Our Father! Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts; lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

It was said by them of old times, “Thou shall not commit adultery”; but I say unto you, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”.

Take heed that you do not your alms hefore men. When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thy alms may be in secret. And thy Heavenly Father shall reward thee openly.

Enter ye in the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads unto life”.

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John of Antioch …

Posted on September 14, 2008. Filed under: Eloquence, Searching for Success |

Saint John Chrysostom was nicknamed, the ‘golden mouthed’; and rose to become Archbishop of Constantinople. He is supposed to have gone into the desert for nearly a decade of self study and discipline before he accidentally came upon his chosen field.

In the Nineteenth Century John Henry Newman painted this notable portrait –

“He spoke because his heart, his head, were brimful of things to speak about.

His elocution corresponded to that strength and flexibility of limb, that quickness of eye, hand and foot, by which a man excels in manly games of mechanical skill.

It would be a great mistake, in speaking of it, to ask whether it was Asiatic or Attic, terse or flowing – when its distinctive praise was that it was natural’.

‘His unrivaled charm, as that of every. eloquent man, lies in his singleness of purpose, his fixed grasp of his aim and his noble earnestness”.

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Debate – Point and Counter Point!!!

Posted on March 12, 2008. Filed under: Eloquence |

Charles Darwin provided scientific evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from one or a few common ancestors through the process of natural selection. Thomas Henry Huxley was a biologist, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” who had little schooling and taught himself almost everything he knew. Here is an extract from a famous debate which gave Huxley instant stardom. 

The charming, eloquent, overconfident Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, set out to ‘smash Darwin’. In the course of his hour long discourse, he casually remarked –

“I would like to ask Professor Huxley, who is sitting by my side, ready to tear me to pieces when I sit down, as to his belief in being descended from an ape. Is it on his Grand Fathers or his Grand Mothers side that the ape ancestry comes in?”.

The Bishop sat down to a storm of applause and there was little enthusiasm when Huxley proceeded with his severely scientific discussion of Darwin’s Theory. He concluded with this response to the Bishop’s and gained instant Stardom!

“I assert that a man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather.

If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling, it would rather be a man – a man of restless and versatile intellect – who not content with an equivocal success in his chosen sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no acquaintance, only to obscure them with aimless rhetoric – and distract the attention of his hearers from the point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice”.

 

 

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Eloquence – a Style!

Posted on February 8, 2008. Filed under: Eloquence |

Jean Léon Jaurès (1859 – 1914) was a French Speaker and Socialist leader – the first of the Social Democrats. Georges Benjamin Clemenceau (1841 – 1929) was a statesman, physician and journalist. He was the French Premier who led France during World War I.

Jean Jaures and Georges Clemenceau, the two most famed personalities of the era, are in the Chamber of Deputies, Paris, June 1906, debating the question of Capital and Labor.

Jaures, ” There is no means ….. to reconcile, definitely, these two opposing forces”.

Clemenceau, ” You must not confound the bankruptcy of the human mind with the bankruptcy of the mind of M. Jaures”.

Churchill on Clemenceau –

“He ranged from one side of the tribune to the other, without a note or book of reference or scrap of paper, barking out short staccato sentences as the thought broke upon his mind. He looked like a wild animal pacing to and fro, behind bars, growling and glaring. All around was an assembly, which would have done anything to avoid being there, but having put him there, felt they must obey”.

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Lord Curzon on an Irish Leader …

Posted on January 17, 2008. Filed under: Eloquence, Personalities, Searching for Success |

Curzon as Viceroy of India, controlled the NWFP and established British presence in Tibet. He was perhaps the only civilian leader who lost to the army when he failed to get political support in his dispute with the army’s Lord Kitchner.

Curzon did not have Lloyd George’s support either. This PM thought him overly pompous and self-important. It was said that he used him as if he were using a Rolls-Royce to deliver a parcel.

Lloyd George said that Churchill treated his Ministers in a way that he would never have treated his; “They were all men of substance — well, except Curzon.” The sense of opportunities missed by Curzon was summed up by Winston Churchill when he observed, “The morning had been golden; the noontide was bronze; and the evening lead. But all were polished till it shone after its fashion”.

Now let us hear Curzon describe an Irish Leader in Parliament –

“The ill kempt handsome Irishman who could so soberly, steadily, deliberately and with that full familiar deep insight into the facts speak on any thing touching his nation- rarely spoke. But when he did speak, the silence that crept over the House was painful in its intensity’.

“He was not eloquent, much less an orator but as he hissed out his sentences of concentrated passion and scorn, he gave an impression of almost demonic self control and illimitable strength”.

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You and Poise – I

Posted on May 9, 2007. Filed under: Eloquence, Personal Magnetism, Public Speaking, Searching for Success |

Midway between extremes is natural perfection and this is Poise.

A person, who controls all moods and feelings, is in personal poise and he becomes their master and they become his slave.

Poise inspires the highest degree of confidence and creates self containment.
No other single trait of personality can equal it.
Law of Poise favors vitality.

A person in poise holds many reins of control and he himself is not controlled by any power – human or other – except by deliberate consent.

A person out of poise cannot control others but he himself may the more readily be swayed.
Lack of personal poise results in loss of immediate advantage, loss of power and it produces a feeling of distrust and disgust.
It is lack of Poise that makes the masses, slaves to feelings and devoid of their thinking faculties

A person of power is always self contained and in perfect poise.

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