When photos tell a lie

Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
4,986
Pillium
#41
The OP reminds me of a photo that a friend of mine took in Jerusalem in the late 80's.
It shows two young IDF soldiers, rifles slung over shoulders, wearing sunglasses, laughing and walking away from the camera across a city square.
In the foreground an elderly man is down on his hands and knees, face towards the ground above a puddle of dark fluid.

Everyone who sees the photo says "what did the old man say or do?" or "why did they knock him down?"

The reality: The two recruits had just gone off duty and were going for a coffee at a cafe in the square. The elderly man was a city maintenance worker, resetting and replacing broken paving slabs. His tools are out of shot and the puddle of dark fluid is water used to help settle the slabs in place and wash away excess filler between the slabs.

Just three guys going about their lawful employment but it triggers peoples bias and preconception every time.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,044
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#43
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quaint story-
that does NOT mean it was not a brutal out of hand murder in a brutal war. The man's hands were tied- he was clearly captured, and in that moment no threat to anyone.
He was NOT accorded the treatment prisoners of war are supposed to get according to Geneva convention... He was NOT tried in a military court and sentenced to death.
He was summarily executed by a man who had no authority to do so.

Summary Execution is a War Crime. ( yes- even when the guy had it coming)

Sorry- there is no story that can excuse it, nor make the shooter less of a criminal.
The japanese officers who beheaded captured US and British soldiers felt justified because those soldiers had Killed their fellow Japanese- this is the exact same thing.

Awful things are done in the heat and chaos of war- but they are Still inexcusable. and anyone who does this deserves to be shunned by society, if that society wishes to uphold the true meaning and purpose of personal honor.
He was an illegal combatant, and therefore NOT entitled to treatment as a prisoner of war.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,044
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#44
The OP reminds me of a photo that a friend of mine took in Jerusalem in the late 80's.
It shows two young IDF soldiers, rifles slung over shoulders, wearing sunglasses, laughing and walking away from the camera across a city square.
In the foreground an elderly man is down on his hands and knees, face towards the ground above a puddle of dark fluid.

Everyone who sees the photo says "what did the old man say or do?" or "why did they knock him down?"

The reality: The two recruits had just gone off duty and were going for a coffee at a cafe in the square. The elderly man was a city maintenance worker, resetting and replacing broken paving slabs. His tools are out of shot and the puddle of dark fluid is water used to help settle the slabs in place and wash away excess filler between the slabs.

Just three guys going about their lawful employment but it triggers peoples bias and preconception every time.
Excellent example.

This thread isn't about doctored or altered photos. It's about images that give a false impression.
 
Feb 2011
6,459
#45
If the story behind the photo is true, then the Viet Cong agent just killed the executioner's mother/wife/children by slitting their throats. A bullet to the head is getting off easy. Most people probably would have done way worse. If anyone should be at fault, it should be the upper management who shouldn't have allowed the captain to be anywhere near the agent, as the South Vietnamese captain was obviously going to be emotionally compromised. In fact, anyone that emotionally compromised shouldn't be left in charge of a lemonade stand, much less soldiers with guns. The law shouldn't punish people for things beyond their ability to control. And when your entire family was murdered, the captain's going to be seeing red and you can't expect him to be in the vicinity of the murderer and do nothing.

And of course, the agent could have tried NOT slitting the throats of women/children/elderly. At the very least it couldn't have hurt his chances of getting out alive.
 
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Feb 2016
575
ROK
#47
A picture is worth a thousand words. Or are they?

In this day and age, photos can be easily doctored with Photoshop. But even when they are not, a picture can still tell a lie.

Possibly the most famous example is this:


The picture shows the execution of Nguyen Van Lem. A brutal out-of-hand murder in a brutal war, right? Not quite. What the picture doesn't tell you is that the man being shot is a North Vietnamese captain who had earlier in the day murdered several family members of a comrade of the officer on the left, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan.

Loan left Vietnam and settled in the US, where he suffered because of this photo. The US tried to prosecute him for it, but he was acquitted after the photographer Eddie Adams spoke in his defence. His restaurant was vandalised by people who didn't know the story behind the photo.

Discuss, and if you know any other examples, please do post them.
I for one know that this has been mentioned in some of the Vietnam War history books for a long time. It wasn't made up recently. The first time that I saw this photo and the explanation on what was really going on was in 1990 at my school library. (This was an international school). But most people don't read historical war books. Hence, the realities of war stay unknown to them. My first experience in watching a proper war documentary was during the 1980s. At that time, South Korea used to show Korean War documentaries every June 25th, the date when the Korean War began. They continued this tradition during the early to the mid-1990s. The documentaries were quite honest about the war. I'd say that the majority of the Koreans in my generation who watched these documentaries when they were growing up are anti-war.

I remember reading somewhere about a comic book about the Vietnam War and the incident shown in the photo above. (It was an old comic book that was illustrated before I was born, and I'm unaware of the details). In that comic book, there's this part in which the photographer is yelling something like, "yeah, go kill him! This would be exciting to look at!" as he took the photo. It clearly showed what most of the people were thinking when they saw the photo.

There's also a footage of that execution. It was probably the first execution-in-war footage done in colour. My school principle took part in the anti-war protests when she was young. That photo and the footage were one of the main reasons that motivated her to join the protests. She was still unaware of the reality behind that photo when she explained it to us. However, many atrocities did happen in Vietnam and were done by both sides.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,807
Sydney
#48
the photos , like history don't lie ,
people do
by omission , misdirection , obfuscation ,misinformation , prejudice ....
does a peorson who tell you an untruth he believe is lying to you ?
 
Apr 2018
705
India
#50
And here are some more details about the incident. However it seems establishing the exact circumstances in which Captain "Bay Lop" was caught is a bit difficult. Most of the sources mention a mass grave. However the term is a bit misleading. It appears to be a place where they kept some kidnapped Saigon Cops and civilians (apparently family members of the cops). It seems the media in those days completely ignored the backstory just to provide a cheesy stuff and left everything to the readers' imaginations. And quite a few of the readers happened to be crack pumped Hippies and attention seeking aerobics trainers.

The Story Behind the Man Who was Killed in the Famous "Saigon Execution" Photo

More on this later..........
 

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