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Kim Phuc. The new life of the napalm girl

Kim Phuc, the Vietnamese girl burned by napalm eases her psychological and physical pain by undergoing a sophisticated laser treatment. Here’s her story.

A 9-year-old, naked, terrified little girl. This is Kim Phuc, in the picture that led many people to want the Vietnam War to end, more than any negotiation, bomb, or president could. 43 years have passed from that moment captured on 8 June 1972 by the photographer Nick Ut, awarded the Associated Press’ Pulizer Prize, when he was only 21 years old. Today, Phuc is 52. She spent most of her life trying to run away from that picture. She tried to forget such inhuman moment. However, leaving behind something you carry with you, on your skin, every single day is quite impossible. Therefore, Phuc stopped trying to avoid that picture, and started bringing it with her, all around the world, to tell people the horrors of war. She has been appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

 

kim phuc vietnam 1972
Vietnam. Kim Phuc, 1972, by Nick Ut

 

Phuc seems to have found peace after long time: “So many years I thought that I have no more scars, no more pain when I’m in heaven. But now – heaven on earth for me!” Thanks to a laser treatment carried out by Doctor Jill Waibel of Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute, United States, she will be able to relieve her pain and reduce scars, effects of the napalm dropped on her Vietnamese village by the US army. With her, the same photographer of 43 years ago, Nick Ut.

Kim Phuc has been living with her family in Canada for more than 20 years. She has two children and alongside her commitment with the United Nations she founded the Kim Foundation International, association dedicated to help children victims of wars, through the construction of schools and hospitals and trying to find a home to orphans. Thanks to her strength and tenacity she became an example to follow. She is a woman able to forgive. That’s why that image is nothing more than one of the scars now painless to her.

Translated by

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