|Phan Thị Kim Phúc, 1972|
Phan Thị Kim Phúc was nine years old in the summer of 1972. She lived in Trảng Bàng, a town in South Vietnam, which was invaded by the Communists in early June. Their troops dug in, waiting for the inevitable American and South Vietnamese retaliation, while Phúc and other civilians took refuge with some South Vietnamese soldiers in a nearby temple.
Two days later, a pair of South Vietnamese bombers appeared in the sky above the town. They circled and then dove, using eight napalm bombs to turn the ground below into a hellscape of liquid fire, mistakenly attacking their own troops and civilians as they fled from the temple. Phúc's clothes were burnt completely off her. Her back and one of her arms were turned into a mess of blisters and peeling skin. Third degree burns covered more than half of her body. She ran, along with her brothers and the rest of the survivors, down the road out of town, naked, screaming, burning.
I guess it's cheating a bit, since she doesn't actually live within the boundaries of the city proper, but this is the story that leaps to mind every time Rob Ford repeats his absurd idea that Toronto can't afford to take in any more immigrants. Phan Thị Kim Phúc told her story to NPR here. And talked to the BBC, along with one the filmmakers who helped save her life that day, here. Nick Ut also talked to them, which you can find here. There are more deeply disturbing photos of the napalming and her burns here and here. Here's what she looks like all grown up. And, finally, I'll post footage shot by a film crew who were standing there with Ut that day. As you might imagine, it's upsetting as all fuck: