Photos Taken in Evidence on the Streets of Two Capitals
Exhibit A, October 1967
The park is crowded, but all eyes are on a woman, seventeen, still in high school, she and the flower held as offering and option in her outstretched hands already a threat to those in power, enough that men at most two or three years her senior form a line to block her yet lean away as if the flower could kill, could somehow erase their crisp, green uniforms and ill-fitting steel helmets, could beat their rifles with fixed bayonets into things of real use and value. Having placed the potent flower in a rifle’s barrel, knowing it can never stop lead on its own, she steps back, gaze unfaltering, spreads her arms wide as though presenting a sister’s embrace, as if preparing to welcome bullet or blade, opening her life to welcome what comes next.
Exhibit B, February 1968
These streets are emptier, a calm space in the fighting occupied by soldiers watching the scene unfolding, a man in his later thirties, an officer in flak vest and stained fatigues, with a pistol in his outstretched right hand shining beneath the hot sun, the lines drawing all eyes along the short barrel to another, barely younger man, hands bound, shirt and short pants muddied by dust and fear, who grimaces, shuts his eyes tight, leans his head away from the bullet that will arrive by the time the next, post mortem frame is taken and he sprawls gracelessly on concrete. Having carried out the sentence, the first man holsters his pistol, turns, and moves on to the next act of war.