Vinh Linh, Vietnam • 2013
17°1’27.4362” N, 106°58’22.2492” E
Part of the Quang Tri province, Vinh Linh is a small community on the 17th Parallel. During intense bombing from 1965 to 1972, the people of Vĩnh Linh constructed a system of underground shelters, connected by tunnels, to survive. Many of the women we spoke with told harrowing tales of the war with America, and some even recalled the war with the French. Though our project was approved by the leaders of the community months in advance, we were the objects of intense scrutiny. We were always accompanied by Party officials, who sometimes suggested answers to hesitant women. Yet we were also warmly received, as women brought out food and drink and shared intimate stories with the first foreign women they had ever met.
One woman told us: “The country of Vietnam and the United States were said to be two enemies, but in actuality that is not true. It is only the leaders, they were wrong. But the people all prefer to love, to respect one another.”
Text by Anne Goldberg