The Hanoi Hilton | Memories of Vietnam

The Hanoi Hilton Underbelly by Vic Briggs

Photo Challenge: Converge

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.

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9 thoughts on “The Hanoi Hilton | Memories of Vietnam

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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