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   Undertoad  Thursday Jun 19 12:16 PM

6/19/2003: Iranian afire



People on fire are very likely to make the IotD. Now let's consult the scorecard to see whether we can make any sense of this event.

On Tuesday, France decided to crack down on the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, otherwise known as the Mujahedeen Khalq. This organization is listed as a terrorist organization by both the US and the EU.

Maybe they are. I don't know. I do know that they say the Iranian government has killed 120,000 of them since 1979.

On Wednesday, this man and a few others in Paris and across Europe set themselves afire to protest the French crackdown. One woman died from her burns.

The crackdown happens at a very key point in history. Iranian students are protesting nightly in every Iranian city. The rule of the Mullahs there appears to be near an end in what may, with the greatest of hope, be a bloodless revolution.

The crackdown is seen as the French taking sides with the Mullahs.

Also on Tuesday, French foreign minister de Villepin said that the EU should not list Hamas as a terrorist organization.

It seems obvious that if you light yourself on fire, you are a Ghandi-like protester; if you light yourself on fire and in the process intentionally light others on fire, you are a terrorist. This simple math seems too difficult for French politicians, and their country will suffer for it.



warch  Thursday Jun 19 12:38 PM

What an amazing and horrible image.



hot_pastrami  Thursday Jun 19 01:00 PM

Seeing that image as a photo is deeply disturbing. Imagine seeing it first-hand. The screams of pain. Ugh.



juju  Thursday Jun 19 01:07 PM

Instead of looking for a bucket of water, the reporter grabbed his camera. What a nice guy.



ndetroit  Thursday Jun 19 01:25 PM

Something about journalistic objectivism, right. .... ?

the guy on fire was making a political statement.... by choice.

the journalist had no choice but to get his camera... a bucket of water would have surely put him in a very non-ethical position.


interesting stuff, eh? save a life? let him die? don't interfere? do your duty and capture the event on film.... (which is really what the guy wanted, isn't it? I mean, you don't light yourself on fire for fun.. you do it as a last resort to bring publicity to your cause)...


does it come down to our personal need to save the life (out of guilt, or doing what we believe is right) vs that mans need to give his life to further his cause ?


What about journalistic objectivity?


This is one of the most disturbing images I've ever experienced at the cellar.



cin  Thursday Jun 19 03:21 PM

Wow...

In the past several months I've had to deal with mobs of angry (confused) anti-war protestors toting their "No Blood For Oil", "Stop Bush" signs, etc. When I drove by these herds of followers, I thought about what they were saying, but was more interested in the traffic jam they were causing. Imagine what the guy driving the car on the other side of this protestor was thinking. Did he honk? Yell something? What's his reply to this?

If people want to do things to their bodies to bring attention to something they think the world should know about, I have nothing against it. Although, I can't think of anything that I'd torch myself for.



dave  Thursday Jun 19 03:31 PM

Yeah, but he's running around like a big sissy. No one did it better than the most famous, Thich Quang Duc. Just sitting there all calm... that guy had balls.



elSicomoro  Thursday Jun 19 03:41 PM

It's being discussed on PRI's The World right now. (The program is available at their site after 5pm EDT. It airs here in Philadelphia on WHYY 91FM at 8pm.)

Here's more about the protests from the BBC.



cin  Thursday Jun 19 04:14 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by dave
Yeah, but he's running around like a big sissy. No one did it better than the most famous, Thich Quang Duc. Just sitting there all calm... that guy had balls.
Hell yeah.


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jun 19 06:04 PM

Quote:
Yeah, but he's running around like a big sissy.
Sissy?Sissy? C'mon Dave, he may be a lot of things, but sissy?


dave  Thursday Jun 19 06:38 PM

Any asshole can set themselves on fire. BFD. The real test is sitting there and taking it like a man.



lhand  Thursday Jun 19 06:42 PM

Ruined clothes

Nice shirt. Nice pants. If I were going to do this, I'd at least wear something already worn out. What a waste.



juju  Thursday Jun 19 07:10 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by dave
Any asshole can set themselves on fire. BFD. The real test is sitting there and taking it like a man.
I doubt it. It takes real willpower to set yourself on fire.


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jun 19 07:28 PM

Quote:
I doubt it. It takes real willpower to set yourself on fire.
Or really, really, really good/bad drugs.

Oh yeah....or a woman.


elSicomoro  Thursday Jun 19 10:10 PM

"Pussies will never be heroes."--unknown



Nothing But Net  Friday Jun 20 12:18 AM

Well, he's had his 15 minutes, though I doubt he lasted that long

<img src="http://images.art.com/images/PRODUCTS/large/10086000/10086114.jpg">

All kidding aside, this guy would have won hands down the contest for 'Best Costume' at the Burning Man Festival.



jtm  Friday Jun 20 01:30 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by dave
Any asshole can set themselves on fire. BFD. The real test is sitting there and taking it like a man.
My guess is that he's running away from the police, EMS, or bystanders trying to put out the fire. The French may be seen as jerks in the US, but I doubt they'd just stand there and watch a man immolate himself.


wolf  Friday Jun 20 01:50 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by xoxoxoBruce
Sissy?Sissy? C'mon Dave, he may be a lot of things, but sissy?
The word Dave was probably searching for was "crispy".


wolf  Friday Jun 20 01:53 AM

We had a patient set himself on fire on our front porch once. It wasn't clear whether this was an intentional act, or just that the dude was so drunk lighting his cigarette represented more than the usual challenge.

One of our EMT's came in and annouced, "Hey, there's a guy on fire on the front porch."

She was VERY perturbed when my only response was, "Well, did you put him out?"



observer  Friday Jun 20 07:03 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by ndetroit
Something about journalistic objectivism, right. .... ?

the journalist had no choice but to get his camera... a bucket of water would have surely put him in a very non-ethical position.

What about journalistic objectivity?
Interestingly, a man attempted the same thing in front of the French embassy in Ottawa, Canada and the CBC reporter covering the event was the one that pulled the lighter out of his hand while police and other protestors tackled the guy to prevent him from starting the fire (he was already covered in gasoline).

I'm not sure that it's interfering with journalistic objectivity to prevent someone from harming themselves, as the statement being made can still be made ("a man was admitted to hospital after attempting to set himself on fire to protest .....").

If the reporter gave the man the lighter, then that would be questionable objectivity. It's very subtle, but i think that in real-life practice, there can be a distinction made.

CBC = Canadian Broadcast Corp - the state-run media corp.

-r.


quzah  Saturday Jun 21 01:33 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by observer
Interestingly, a man attempted the same thing in front of the French embassy in Ottawa, Canada and the CBC reporter covering the event was the one that pulled the lighter out of his hand while police and other protestors tackled the guy to prevent him from starting the fire (he was already covered in gasoline).
The reporter should have carried a machete or something. That way, they could have just cut his hand off, preventing the fire. Then the guy could have some suffering like he wanted, got a ton of publicity, and the reporter could have still been a hero. The blood all over the concrete would also leave a nice reminder of his protest for the rest of the people there. A tournakit would have kept him from dying. All would have been well.

Yeah, it turned out well anyway, but this would have been more noteworthy, which is what the guy wanted anyway.

Quzah.


stumpy  Saturday Jun 21 10:27 AM

Having watched him light up on the 'BBC' all I can think about is how much this asshat is going to cost the NHS, I hope he died quick, saving me a fortune.



Bitmap  Monday Jun 23 12:12 PM

if you could find us a video clip that would be awesome!



modernhamlet  Monday Jun 23 11:04 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by observer


I'm not sure that it's interfering with journalistic objectivity to prevent someone from harming themselves, as the statement being made can still be made...

If the reporter gave the man the lighter, then that would be questionable objectivity. It's very subtle, but i think that in real-life practice, there can be a distinction made.
During war, journalists must maintain journalistic integrity for their safety. To prevent one person from harming another is asking to be harmed yourself. Is there a substantial difference between stopping someone from harming themselves and stopping someone from harming others? I can't imagine there is. "Journalist integrity" doesn't just boil down to self-preservation does it?

Agreed on the latter statement though. Handing him the lighter would clearly be the opposite of journalistic integrity.

Or to ask it a completely different way... would it be right for a journalist to have stopped Thich Quang Duc? A normal civilian?


Elspode  Friday Jun 27 02:31 PM

Images such as these are horrible, but also horribly riveting.

My wife often asks me why I watch things like Real TV and You Gotta See This. My answer is always the same, and in two parts:

1) If these people are going to go to all the trouble of doing incredibly stupid shit, and videotaping it, the least I can do is honor their memories by watching it.
2) I consider such images to be a primer on things not to do. In short, it is educational, and inspires me not to, for example, attempt to leap over moving trains on a motorcycle, or take a joy ride in a tank until shot to death by police. If I hadn't seen what happened to the people who did those things, I might well be think something similar would be a good idea...



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jun 27 04:35 PM

Car and Driver was doing a photo shoot on this huge wrecker with a boom that swivels 360 degrees and picks up 80 tons. They had the boom out and were picking up a cement truck when a local cop pulls up. The cop says "Lemme guess. In the last 1/2 hour somebody here said Hey watch this." I think the same goes for most of those reality videos.



Billy  Sunday Sep 7 05:20 AM

I tear for it

I don't hope this thing happen. I saw one large oil fire when I was young. They still make me feel terrible....



Nothing But Net  Sunday Sep 7 05:27 AM

Actually with gas prices being so high, self-immolation is a fairly expensive proposition these days. That's probably why you don't see it happening very often in the non-OPEC nations anymore.



jaguar  Tuesday Sep 9 02:30 AM

Quote:
I doubt it. It takes real willpower to set yourself on fire.
Or remarkable stupidity.


Your reply here?

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