Further information was presented on the self-immolation at the Washington National Mall by BBC that I had discussed in my previous post. Apparently the man’s last name was Constantino, he was 64, and had a history of mental illness. The report claimed that there was no political backing to his act. Unfortunately, this means that while the act correlates to my research into self-immolation, it does not correlate to the political aspects of self-immolation that were present in Thich’s death. That makes it a little less relevant to the photo and today’s society.
An article on Motherboard.com discusses the idea that self-immolation has transformed over the years and into “whisteblowing.” It discusses the basic concept that Duc had when going into his death and relates it to Snowden’s leaking of government secrets. The idea is that Thich sacrificed everything to bring to light abhorrent religious prosecution and get it out to the world. He felt that it was necessary to lose everything in order to help his people. Snowden, in a way, gave his life in order to bring to light terrible infringements of the U.S. government on citizens around the world. While he hasn’t given his life, he certainly has given up large aspects of himself and any hope of a normal life. While I’m still unsure of whether or not I agree with the article, it is interesting in how it’s presenting. It does have a basic logical assessment. It does make me wonder if whistleblwing is, in fact, a form of self-immolation. It may not be an immediate life or death situation, but there is a certain kind of sacrifice to the action.
On a side note that’s away from my research, in class we had discussed a few songs from the 60’s and 70’s in regards to the war. A very good song by Old Crow Medicine Show illustrated an aspect of the war that I felt might be appreciated by some people. Here’s the link (if you can ignore the cheesy fan-made video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy-f1qetjYE