It is a trick of the light. Or perhaps it is the geometry of it that makes you believe that you see deeper into the bowls of that corridor than is the case. Deeper still into memory – a memory that belongs to others, not you. And yet its remnant cannot fail to detach itself from the shadows, creep along the length of the hairs that have taken an upstanding position on the back of your neck and now serve as rope ladders for the misery of those entombed in this fiery furnace. In their hundreds. Thousands. The stench of torture seeps into your pores doubled up with the heat and humidity of the day. You cannot hear their screams, but somewhere beneath your diaphragm the echoes vibrate still. Before long you are at one with the past – a part of it – and there is nowhere to escape to.
About this image: This is a shot of one of the preserved hallways of Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi, Vietnam (October, 2014). Built by the French it in late 19th century and originally referred to by the authorities as Maison Centrale, the prison’s better known nickname is The Hanoi Hilton, as coined by American POWs during the Vietnam War. Only a small part of the complex has been preserved for posterity and is now a museum. Incidentally, on the former grounds an actual Hilton Hotel has since been erected.
The haze of the light seems tell us of the many souls that must be trapped in the walls of this corridor. great photo
It sent shivers up my spine despite the warmth of the day. Thank you.
It certainly does seemed to suck you into the depths of ‘humanity’.
I read 19Q4 by Murakami last year, and he includes a disturbing scene of dispassionate torture at one point in the story – chilling as you know that it is based in truth. Well worth a read if you haven’t already.
Nice to hear from you again, Vic.
I remember this reference when I was a teen in Ireland (we protested too). The new Hilton is either irony or creepy. Thanks for the flashback vic.
Oh dear Vicki, what a haunting photograph. It is beautiful though, but makes one wonder what mysteries lie behind that door.
A brilliant photo, Vic. It almost looks like a mirrored door at the end of the corridor. Like many an old gaol or prison camp, it is important (though chilling) to preserve it, to remind us what humanity is capable of.
Great photo…your words so descriptive I could feel the place as if I were there. Nice job!
This photo and your words are so moving. Sorry I have been away so much. It has been a busy few months. Wishing you the best.
I hope all is well with you if you still get these emails. 🙂