Thursday 1 June 2023

“Napalm girl” Kim Phuc in Costa Rica to launch the book about her life in Spanish

Kim Phuc presents the first Spanish edition of her book "La Ruta del Fuego" in San José

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QCOSTARICA – South-Vietnamese born Canadian Kim Phuc, known as the napalm girl for a historic photo taken in 1972 during the Vietnam War, presented this week in Costa Rica the first Spanish edition of her book “La Ruta del Fuego”, in which she narrates the story of her life and her path to forgiveness.

Kim Phuc presents the first Spanish edition of her book “La Ruta del Fuego” in San José (Costa Rica). Image: EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas

Phuc, who presented the book at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, recalled that June 8, 1972, when photographer Huỳnh Công Út, known professionally as Nick Ut, portrayed the moment in which the girl ran in terror, naked and with serious burns on her body as a result of from a napalm bombing during the Vietnam War.

The woman explained that in her book she tells the testimony of her life, the years she lived in Vietnam; in Cuba, where she studied medicine; and finally to Canada where she defected with her husband and became an activist for children’s rights and peace.

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Phuc claimed that at one point in her life she converted to Christianity and she was able to forgive her enemies, including the American pilots who were in charge of the bombing.

The woman recalled that after the iconic photograph of her, she spent 3 days in a morgue because they gave her no hope to live, later she remained hospitalized for 14 months, to then undergo various treatments and therapies throughout her life.

Phuc, who now runs a foundation that helps children around the world, thanked Costa Rica for its support for the translation and launch of her book in Spanish, the English edition of which was published in 2017.

The Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Arnoldo André, was in charge of the prologue of this first edition of the book in Spanish.

The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lydia Peralta, said at the official ceremony on Wednesday that Costa Rica will always support initiatives aimed at promoting peace, democracy and disarmament, as they are values and principles of the country’s foreign policy.

The Vietnamese Kim Phuc, known as the napalm girl from a historic photo taken by Nick Ut (i) in 1972. Image: EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas
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“Costa Rica, as an unarmed democracy and faithful to its pacifist tradition, will continue to insist that peace must be the path and the highest aspiration of the rulers for their peoples. For our country it is a source of pride that the message of hope that Kim Phuc transmits in his book reaches the Spanish-speaking world thanks to Costa Rican diplomatic action,” said Peralta.

The idea of translating the book into Spanish arose from the former Costa Rican ambassador to Canada, Mauricio Ortiz, who met Phuc during those functions and set himself the goal of making the translation a reality, for which he obtained private support through donations from businessmen. Costa Ricans, as well as the organizational and logistical collaboration of the Foreign Ministry.

Phuc is accompanied in Costa Rica by the photojournalist Nick Ut, and both will have an audience with the country’s president, Rodrigo Chaves, they will visit state universities, the University for Peace, schools, among other places.

Image: EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas
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The book “La Ruta del Fuego” and the photograph of “La niña de napalm” represent a faithful denunciation of the atrocities suffered by the victims of armed conflicts and a call to the States to outline the necessary actions to curb violence and encourage a culture of peace, from childhood, highlighted the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry.

On Tuesday, April 18, Mrs. Kim Phu and UT will be signing her book at the Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos (IIDH) – Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, located in Los Yoses, San José, Costa Rica.


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