Friday, April 15, 2011

A Head-scratcher at the Hanoi Hilton

Today we visited the Hoa Lo Prison, or the "Hanoi Hilton" as the captured American pilots of the Vietnam War called it. You may have heard of the prison before, it is where Senator John McCain was detained after his plane was shot down in 1967.

The visit was an interesting one and left me really scratching my head. This place had pictures of the captured American soldiers living it up while in the prison! They were playing sports, attending church, drawing and coloring pictures together and even cheerfully decorating a christmas tree.

Now whether or not these pictures accurately portray the prisoners' daily life I do not know. I am not familiar enough with the subject. Nevertheless, it certainly made me rethink the stereotypical war-movie conditions that I imagine for a POW. It turns out, the situation is not always that simple; it sometimes, as in the case of the Vietnam War, involves a complex mix of strategic, public persuasion and world perception.

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